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The year 1843 will be long remembered
in the Church of Rome for the submission of Dr. Newman to her authority. This
was considered by many Roman Catholics as one of the greatest triumphs ever
gained by their church against Protestantism. But some of us, more acquainted
with the daily contradictions and tergiversations of the Oxford divine, could
not associate ourselves in the public rejoicings of our church.
From almost the very beginning of his public life, Dr. Newman as well as Dr. Pusey appeared to many of us as cowards and traitors in the Protestant camp, whose object was to betray the church which was feeding them, and which they were sworn to defend. They both seemed to us to be skillful but dishonest conspirators.
Dr. Newman, caught in the very act of that conspiracy, has boldly denied it. Brought before the tribunal of public opinion as a traitor who, though enrolled under the banners of the Church of England, was giving help and comfort to its foe, the Church of Rome, he has published a remarkable book under the title of "apologia pro vita sua," to exculpate himself. I hold in my hands the New York edition of 1865. Few men will read that book from beginning to end; and still fewer will understand it at its first reading. The art of throwing dust in the eyes of the public is brought to perfection in that work. I have read many books in my long life, but I have never met with anything like the Jesuit ability shown by Dr. Newman in giving a colour of truth to the most palpable errors and falsehoods. I have had to read it at least four times, with the utmost attention, before being sure of having unlocked all its dark corners and sophistries.
That we may be perfectly fair towards Dr. Newman, let us forget what his adversaries have written against him, and let us hear only what he says in his own defense. Here it is. I dare say that his most bitter enemies could never have been able to write a book so damaging against him as this one, which he has given us for his apology.
Let me tell the reader at once that I, with many other priests of Rome, felt at first an unspeakable joy at the reading of many of the "Tracts for the Times." It is true that we keenly felt the blows Dr. Newman was giving us now and then; but we were soon consoled by the more deadly blows which he was striking at his own Church the Church of England. Besides that, it soon became evident that the more he was advancing in his controversial work, the nearer he was coming to us. We were not long without saying to each other: "Dr. Newman is evidently, though secretly, for us; he is a Roman Catholic at heart, and will soon join us. It is only from want of moral courage and honesty that he remains a Protestant."
But from the very beginning there was a cloud in my mind, and in the minds of many other of my co-priests, about him. His contradictions were so numerous, his sudden transitions from one side to the other extreme, when speaking of Romanism and Anglicanism; his eulogiums of our Church today, and his abuses of it the very next day; his expressions of love and respect for his own Church in one tract, so suddenly followed by the condemnation of her dearest doctrines and practices in the next, caused many others, as well as myself, to suspect that he had no settled principles, or faith in any religion.
What was my surprise, when reading this strange book, I found that my suspicions were too well founded; that Dr. Newman was nothing else than one of those free-thinkers who had no real faith in any of the secret dogmas he was preaching, and on which he was writing so eloquently! What was my astonishment when, in 1865, I read in his own book the confession made by that unfortunate man that he was nothing else but a giant weathercock, when the whole people of England were looking upon him as one of the most sincere and learned ministers of the Gospel. Here in his own confession, pages 111, 112. Speaking of the years he had spent in the Episcopal Church as a minister, he says: "Alas! It was my portion, for whole years, to remain without any satisfactory basis for my religious profession; in a state of moral sickness, neither able to acquiesce in Anglicanism, or able to go to Rome!" This is Cardinal Newman, painted by himself! He tells us how miserable he was when an Episcopalian minister, by feeling that his religion had no basis no foundation!
hat is a preacher of religion who feels that he has no basis, no foundation, no reason to believe in that religion? Is he not that blind man of whom Christ speaks, "who leads other blind men into the ditch?"
Note it is not Rev. Charles Kingsley; it is not any of the able Protestant controversialists; it is not even the old Chiniquy who says that Dr. Newman was nothing else but an unbeliever, when the Protestant people were looking upon him as one of their most pious and sincere Christian theologians. It is Dr. Newman himself who, without suspecting it, is forced by the marvelous providence of God to reveal that deplorable fact in his "Apologia pro vita sua."
Now, what was the opinion entertained by him on the high and low sections of his church? Here are his very words, p. 91: "As to the High Church and the Low Church, I thought that the one had not much more of a logical basis than the other; while I had a thorough contempt for the Evangelical!" But please observe that, when this minister of the Church of England had found, with the help of Dr. Pusey, that this church had no logical basis, and that he had a "thorough contempt for the Evangelical," he kept a firm and continuous hold upon the living which he was enjoying from day to day. Nay, it is when paid by his church to preach her doctrines and fight her battles, that he set at work to raise another church! Of course, the new church was to have a firm basis of logic, history, and the Gospel: the new church was to be worthy of the British people it was to be the modern ark to save the perishing world!
The reader will, perhaps, think I am joking, and that I am caricaturing Dr. Newman. No! the hour in which we live is too solemn to be spent in jokes it is rather with tears and sobs that we must approach the subject. Here are the very words of Dr. Newman about the new church he wished to build after demolishing the Church of England as established by law. He says (page 116): "I have said enough on what I consider to have been the general objects of the various works which I wrote, edited, or prompted in the years which I am reviewing. I wanted to bring out in a substantive form a living Church of England, in a position proper to herself and founded on distinct principles; as far as paper could do it, and as earnestly preaching it and influencing others towards it could tend to make it a fact; a living church, made of flesh and blood, with voice, complexion, motion, and action, and a will of its own." If I had not said that these words were written by Dr. Newman, would the reader have suspected?
What is to be the name of the new church? Dr. Newman himself called it "Via Media." As the phrase indicates, it was to stand between the rival Churches of England and Rome, and it was to be built with the materials taken, as much as possible, from the ruins of both.
The first thing to be done was, then, to demolish that huge, illogical, unscriptural, unchristian church restored by the English Reformers. Dr. Newman bravely set to work, under the eye and direction of Dr. Pusey. His merciless hammer was heard almost day and night, from 1833 to 1843, striking alternately with hard blows, now against the church of the Pope, whom he called Antichrist, and then against his own church, which he was, very soon, to find still more corrupted and defiled than its anti-Christian rival. For as he was proceeding in his work of demolition, he tells us that he found more clearly, every day, that the materials and the foundations of the Church of Rome were exceedingly better than those of his own. He then determined to give a coup de grace to the Church of England, and strike such a blow that her walls would be for ever pulverized. His perfidious Tract XC. aims at this object.
Nothing can surpass the ability and the pious cunning with which Dr. Newman tries to conceal his shameful conspiracy in his "Apologia."
Hear the un-British and unmanly excuses which he gives for having deceived his readers, when he was looked upon as the most reliable theologian of the day, in defense of the doctrines of the Church of England. In pages 236 7 he says: "How could I ever hope to make them believe in a second theology, when I had cheated them in the first? With what face could I publish a new edition of a dogmatic creed, and ask them to receive it as gospel? Would it not be plain to them that no certainty was to be found anywhere? Well, in my defense I could but make a lame apology; however, it was the true one, viz., that I had not read the Fathers critically enough; that in such nice points as those which determine the angle of divergence between the two churches, I had made considerable miscalculations; and how came this about? Why, the fact was, unpleasant as it was to avow, that I had leaned too much upon the assertions of Usher, Jeremy Taylor, or Barrow, and had been deceived by them."
Here is a specimen of the learning and honesty of the great Oxford divine! Dr. Newman confesses that when he was telling his people, "St. Augustine says this, St. Jerome says that" when he assured them that St. Gregory supported this doctrine, and Origen that, it was all false. Those holy fathers had never taught such doctrines. It was Usher, Taylor, and Barrow who were citing them, and they had deceived him!
Is it not a strange thing that such a shrewd man as Dr. Newman should have so completely destroyed his own good name in the very book he wrote, with so much care and ingenuity, to defend himself? One remains confounded he can hardly believe his own eyes at such want of honesty in such a man. It is evident that his mind was troubled at the souvenir of such a course of procedure. But he wanted to excuse himself by saying it was the fault of Usher, Taylor, and Barrow!
Are we not forcibly brought to the solemn and terrible drama in the Garden of Eden? Adam hoped to be excused by saying, "The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me the fruit of the tree, and I did eat." The woman said, "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." But what was the result of those excuses? We read: "Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden." Dr. Newman has lost the precious inheritance God had given him. He has lost the lamp he had received to guide his steps, and he is now in the dark dungeon of Popery, worshiping, as a poor slave, the wafer god of Rome.
But what has become of that new church, or religion, the Via Media which had just come out from the sickly brain of the Oxford professor? Let us hear its sad and premature end from Dr. Newman himself. Let me, however, premise, that when Dr. Newman began his attack against his church, he at first so skillfully mixed the most eloquent eulogiums with his criticisms, that, though many sincere Christians were grieved, few dared to complain. The names of Pusey and Newman commanded such respect that few raised their voice against the conspiracy. This emboldened them. Month after month they become unguarded in their denunciations of the Church of England, and more explicit in their support of Romanism. In the meantime the Church of Rome was reaping a rich harvest of perverts; for many Protestants were unsettled in their faith, and were going the whole length of the road to Rome so cunningly indicated by the conspirators. At last, the 90th Tract appeared in 1843. It fell as a thunderbolt on the church. A loud cry of indignation was raised all over England against those who had so mercilessly struck at the heart of that church which they had sworn to defend. The bishops almost unanimously denounced Dr. Newman and his Romish tendencies, and showed the absurdity of his Via Media.
Now, let us hear him telling himself this episode of his life. For I want to be perfectly fair to Dr. Newman. It is only from his own words and public acts that I want the reader to judge him.
Here is what he says of himself, after being publicly condemned: "I saw indeed clearly that my place in the movement was lost. Public confidence was at an end. My occupation was gone. It was simply an impossibility that I could say anything henceforth to good effect, when I had been posted up by the Marshal on the buttery hatch of every college of my University after the manner of discommend pastry-cooks, and when, in every part of the country, and every class of society, through every organ and occasion of opinion, in newspapers, in periodicals, at meetings, in pulpits, at dinner tables, in coffee-rooms, in railway carriages, I was denounced as a traitor who had laid his train, and was detected in the very act of firing it against the time-honoured establishment."....."Confidence in me was lost. But I had already lost full confidence in myself" (p 132).
Let the reader hear these words from the very lips of Dr. Newman "Confidence in me was lost! But I had already lost full confidence in myself" (p. 132). Are these words the indications of a brave, innocent man? Or are they not the cry of despair of a cowardly and guilty conscience?
Was it not when Wishart heard that the Pope and his millions of slaves had condemned him to death, that he raised his head as a giant, and showed that he was more above his accusers and his judges than the heavens are above the earth? He had lost his confidence in himself and in his God and when he said, "I am happy to suffer and die for the cause of Truth?" Did Luther lose confidence in himself and in his God when condemned by the Pope and all his Bishops, and ordered to go before he Emperor to be condemned to death, if he would not retract? No! it is in those hours of trial the he made the world to re-echo the sublime words of David: "God is our refuge and our strength, a present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof." But Luther had a good cause. He knew, he felt that the God of Heaven was on his side, when Dr. Newman knew well that he was deceiving the world, after having deceived himself. Luther was strong and fearless; for the voice of Jesus had come through the fifteen centuries to tell him: "Fear not, I am with thee." Dr. Newman was weak, trembling before the storm, for his conscience was reproaching him for his treachery and his unbelief.
Did Latimer falter and lose his confidence in himself and in his God, when condemned by his judges and tied to the stake to be burnt? No! It is then that he uttered those immortal and sublime words: "Master Ridley: Be of good comfort and play the man; we shall, this day, light a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out!"
This is the language of men who are fighting for Christ and His Gospel. Dr. Newman could not use such noble language when he was betraying Christ and His Gospel.
Now, let us hear from himself when, after having lost the confidence of his Church and his country, and had also lost his own confidence in himself, he saw a ghost and found that the Church of Rome was right. At page 157, he says: "My friend, an anxiously religious man, pointed out the palmary words of St. Augustine which were contained in one of the extracts made in the (Dublin) Review, and which had escaped my observation, 'Securus judicat obis terrarum.' He repeated these words again and again; and when he was gone, they kept ringing in my ears....The words of St. Augustine struck me with a power which I never had felt from any words before. To take a familiar instance, they were like the 'Turn again, Whittington' of the chime; or to take a more serious one, they were like the 'tolle lege' of a child which converted St. Augustine himself. 'Securus judicat orbis terrarum!' By those great words of the ancient father, the theory of the Via Media was absolutely pulverized. I became excited at the view thus opened upon me....I had seen the shadow of a hand upon the wall....He who has seen a ghost cannot be as if he had never seen it. The heaven had opened and closed again. The thought, for the moment, had been: 'The Church of Rome will be found right, after all'" (158).
It would be amusing, indeed, if it were not so humiliating, to see the naivete with which Dr. Newman confesses his own aberrations, want of judgment and honesty in reference to the pet scheme of his whole theological existence at Oxford. "By these words," he says, "the Via Media was absolutely pulverized!"
We all know the history of the mountain in travail, which gave birth to a mouse. Dr. Newman tells us frankly that, after ten years of hard and painful travail, he produced something less than a mouse. His via Media was pulverized; it turned to be only a handful of dust.
Remember the high sounding of his trumpet about his plan of a new church, that New Jerusalem on earth, the church of the future, which was to take the place of his rotten Church of England. Let me repeat to you his very words about that new ark of salvation with which the professor of Oxford was to save the world. (Page 116): "I wanted to bring out, in a substantive form, a living Church of England, in a position proper to herself and founded on distinct principles, as far as paper could do it, and as earnestly preaching in an influencing others towards it could tend to make it a fact; a living church, made of flesh and blood, with voice, complexion, and motion, and action, and a will of its own."
Now, what was the end of that masterpiece of theological architecture of Dr. Newman? Here is its history, given by the great architect himself: "I read the palmary words of St. Augustine, 'securus judical orbis terrarum!' By those great words of the ancient father, the theory of the Via Media was pulverized! I become excited at the view thus opened before me. I had seen the shadow of a hand on the wall. He who has seen a ghost can never be as if he had not see it; the heavens had opened and closed again. The thought, for a moment, was 'The Church of Rome will be found right, after all'" (158). Have we ever seen a man destroying himself more completely at the very moment that he tries to defend himself? Here he does ingeniously confess what everyone knew before, that his whole work, for the last ten years, was not only a self-deception, but a supreme effort to deceive the world his Via Media was a perfect string of infidelity, sophism, and folly. The whole fabric had fallen to the ground at the sight of a ghost! To build a grand structure, in the place of his Church which he wanted to demolish, he had thought it was sufficient to throw a great deal of glittering sand, with some blue, white, and red dust, in the air! He tells us that one sad hour came when he heard five Latin words from St. Augustine, saw a ghost and his great structure fell to the ground!
What does this all mean? It simply means that God Almighty has dealt with Dr. Newman as He did with the impious Pharaoh in the Red Sea, when he was marching at the head of his army against the church of old, His chosen people, to destroy them.
Dr. Newman was not only marching with Dr. Pusey at the head of an army of theologians to destroy the Church of God, but he was employing all the resources of his intellect, all his false and delusive science, to raise a idolatrous church in its place; and when Pharaoh and Dr. Newman thought themselves sure of success, the God of heaven confounded them both. The first went down with his army to the bottom of the sea as a piece of lead. The second lost, not his life, but something infinitely more precious he lost his reputation for intelligence, science, and integrity; he lost the light of the Gospel, and became perfectly blind, after having lost his place in the kingdom of Christ!
I have never judged a man by the hearsay of any one, and I would prefer to have my tongue cut out than to repeat a word of what the adversaries of Dr. Newman have said against him. But we have the right, and I think it is our duty, to hear and consider what he says of himself, and to judge him on his own confession.
At page 174 we read these words from his own pen to a friend: "I cannot disguise from myself that my preaching is not calculated to defend that system of religion which has been received for three hundred years, and of which the Heads of Houses are the legitimate maintainers in this place....I fear I must allow that, whether I will or no, I am disposing them (the young men) towards Rome." Here Dr. Newman declares, in plain English, that he was disposing his hearers and students at Oxford to join the Church of Rome! I ask it: what can we think of a man who is paid and sworn to do a thing, who not only does it not, but who does the very contrary? Who would hesitate to call such a man dishonest? Who would hesitate to say that such a one has no respect for those who employ him, and no respect for himself?
Dr. Newman writes this whole book to refute the public accusation that he was a traitor, that he was preparing the people to leave the Church of England and to submit to the Pope. But, strange to say, it is in that very book we find the irrefutable proof of his shameful and ignominious treachery! In a letter to Dr. Russell, President of the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth, he wrote, page 227: "Roman Catholics will find this to be the state of things in time to come, whatever promise they may fancy there is of a large secession to their church. This man or that may leave us, but thee will be no general movement. There is, indeed, an incipient movement of our church towards yours, and this your leading men are doing all they can to frustrate by their unwearied efforts, at all risks, to carry off individuals. When will they know their position, and embrace a larger and wiser policy?" Is not evident here that God was blinding Dr. Newman, and that He was making him confess his treachery in the very moment the he was trying to conceal it? Do we not see clearly that he was complaining of the unwise policy of the leaders of the Church of Rome who were retarding that incipient movement of his church towards Romanism, for which he was working day and night with Dr. Pusey?
But had not Dr. Newman confessed his own treachery, we have, today, its undeniable proof in the letter of Dr. Pusey to the English Church Union, written in 1879. Speaking of Dr. Newman and the other Tractarians, he says: "An acute man, Dr. Hawkins, Provost of Oriel, said of the 'Tracts,' on their first appearance, 'I know they have a forced circulation.' We put the leaven into the meal, and waited to see what would come of it. Our object was to Catholicism England."
And this confession of Dr. Pusey, that he wanted to Catholicism England, is fully confirmed by Dr. Newman (pages 108, 109) where he says: "I suspect it was Dr. Pusey's influence and example which set me and made me set others on the larger and more careful works in defense of the principles of the movement which followed" (towards Rome) "in a course of years."
Nothing is more curious than to hear from Dr. Newman himself with what skill he was trying to conceal his perfidious efforts in preparing that movement towards Rome. He says on that subject, page 124: "I was embarrassed in consequence of my wish to go as far as was possible in interpreting the articles in the direction of Roman dogma, without disclosing what I was doing to the parties whose doubts I was meeting, who might be, thereby, encouraged to go still further than, at present, they found in themselves any call to do."
A straw fallen on the water indicates the way the tide goes. Here we have the straw, taken by Dr. Newman himself, and thrown by him on the water. A thousand volumes written by the ex-Professor of Oxford to deny that he was a conspirator at work to lead his people to Rome, when in the service of the Church of England, could not destroy the evident proof of his guilt given by himself in this strange book.
If we want to have a proof of the supreme contempt Dr. Newman had for his readers, and his daily habit of deceiving them by sophistries and incorrect assertions, we have it in the remarkable lines which I find at page 123 of his Apologia. Speaking of his "Doctrinal Development," he says: "I wanted to ascertain what was the limit of that elasticity in the direction of Roman dogma. But, next, I had a way of inquiry of my own which I state without defending. I instanced it afterward in my essay on 'Doctrinal Development.' That work, I believe, I have not read since I published it, and I doubt not at all that I have made many mistakes in it, partly from my ignorance of the details of doctrine as the Church of Rome holds them, but partly from my impatience to clear as large a range for the Principles of doctrinal development (waiving the question of historical fact) as was consistent with the strict apostolicity and identity of the Catholic creed. In like manner, as regards the Thirty Nine Articles, my method of inquiry was to leap in medias res" (123-124).
Dr. Newman is the author of two new systems of theology; and, from his own confession, the two systems are a compendium of error, absurdities, and folly. His Via Media was "pulverized" by the vision of a ghost, when he heard the four words of St. Augustine: "Securus judicat obis terrarum." The second, known under the name of "Doctrinal Development," is, from his own confession, full of errors on account of his ignorance of the subject on which he was writing, and his own impatience to support his sophisms.
Dr. Newman is really unfortunate in his paternity. He is the father of two literary children. The first-born was called Via Media; but as it had neither head nor feet, it was suffocated on the day of its birth by a "ghost." The second, called "Doctrinal Development," was not viable. The father is so shocked with the sight of the monster, that he publicly confesses its deformities and cries out, "Mistake! mistake! mistake!" (pages 123, 124 "Apologia pro vita sua.")
The troubled conscience of Dr. Newman has forced him to confess (page 111) that he was miserable, from his want of faith, when a minister of the Church of England and a Professor of Theology of Oxford: "Alas! it was my portion for whole years to remain without any satisfactory basis for my religious profession!" At pages 174 and 175 he tells us how miserable and anxious he was when the voice of his conscience reproached him in the position he held in the Church of England, while leading her people to Rome. At page 158 he confesses his unspeakable confusion when he saw his supreme folly in building up the Via Media, and heard its crash at the appearance of a ghost. At page 123 he acknowledges how he deceived his readers, and deceived himself, in his "Doctrinal Development." At page 132 he tell us how he had not only completely lost the confidence of his country, but lost confidence in himself. And it is after this humiliating and shameful course of life that he finds out "that the Church of Rome is right!"
Must we not thank God for having forced Dr. Newman to tell us through what dark and tortuous ways a Protestant, a disciple of the Gospel, a minister of Christ, a Professor of Oxford, fell into that sea of Sodom called Romanism or Papism! A great lesson is given us here. We see the fulfillment of Christ's words about those who have received great talents and have not used them for the "Good Master's honour and glory."
Dr. Newman, without suspecting it, tells us that it was his course of action towards that branch of the Church of Christ of which he was a minister, that caused him to lose the confidence of his country, and troubled him so much that it caused him to lose that self-confidence which is founded on our faith and our union with Christ, who is our rock, our only strength in the hour of trial. Having lost her sails, her anchor, and her helm, the poor ship was evidently doomed to become a wreck. Nothing could prevent her from drifting into the engulfing abyss of Popery.
Dr. Newman confesses that it is only when his guilty conscience was uniting its thundering voice with that of his whole country to condemn him that he said, "After all, the Church of Rome is right!" These are the arguments, the motives, the lights which have led Dr. Newman to Rome! And it is from himself that we have it! It is a just, an avenging God who forces His adversary to glorify Him and say the truth in spite of himself in this "Apologia pro vita sua."
No one can read that book, written almost with a superhuman skill, ability, and fineness, without a feeling of unspeakable sadness at the sight of such bright talents, such eloquence, such extensive studies, employed by the author to deceive himself and deceive his readers; for it is evident, on every page, that Dr. Newman has deceived himself before deceiving his readers. But no one can read that book without feeling a sense of terror also. For he will hear, at every page, the thundering voice of the God of the Gospel, "Because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved, God shall send them strong delusions, that they should believe a lie" (2 Thess. ii. 10-11).
What, at first, most painfully puzzles the mind of the Christian reader of this book is the horror which Dr. Newman has for the Holy Scriptures. The unfortunate man who is perishing from hydrophobia does not keep himself more at a distance from water than he does from the Word of God. It seems incredible, but it is the fact, that from the first page of the history of his "Religious Opinions" to page 261, where he joins the Church of Rome, we have not a single line to tell us that he has gone to the Word of God for light and comfort in his search after truth. We see Dr Newman at the feet of Daniel Wilson, Scott, Milner, Whately, Hawkins, Blanco, White, William James, Butler, Keble, Froude, Pusey, ect., asking them what to believe, what to do to be saved; but you do not see him a single minute, no, not a single minute, at the feet of the Saviour, asking him, "Master, what must I do to have 'Eternal Life'?" The sublime words of Peter to Christ, which are filling all the echoes of heaven and earth, these eighteen hundred years, "Lord! to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life!" have never reached his ears! In the long and gloomy hours, when his soul was chilled and trembling in the dark night of infidelity; when his uncertain feet were tired by vainly going here and there, to find the true way, he has never heard Christ telling him: "Come unto Me. I am the Way; I am the Door; I am the Life!" In those terrible hours of distress of which he speaks so eloquently, when he cries (page 111) "Alas, I was without any basis for my religious profession, in a state of moral sickness: neither able to acquiesce in Anglicanism, nor able to go to Rome:" when his lips were parched with thirst after truth, he never, no never, went to the fountain from which flow the waters of eternal life!
One day he goes to the Holy Fathers. But what will he find there? Will he see how St. Cyprian sternly rebuked the impudence of Stephen, Bishop of Rome, who pretended to have some jurisdiction over the See of Carthage? Will he find how Gregory positively says that the Bishop who will pretend to be the "Universal Bishop" is the forerunner of Antichrist? Will he hear St. Augustine declaring that when Christ said to Peter, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church," He was speaking of Himself as the rock upon which the Church would stand? No. The only thing which Dr. Newman brings us from the Holy Fathers is so ridiculous and so unbecoming that I am ashamed to have to repeat it. He tells us (page 78), "I have an idea. The mass of the Fathers (Justin, Athenagoras, Ireanaeus, Clement, Tertullian, Origen, Ambrose) hold that, though Satan fell from the beginning, the angels fell before the deluge, falling in love with the daughters of men. This has lately come across me as a remarkable solution of a notion I cannot help holding."
Allow me here to remind the reader that, though the Fathers have written many beautiful evangelical pages, some of them have written the greatest nonsense and the most absurd things which human folly can imagine. Many of them were born and educated as pagans. They had learned and believed the history and immorality of their demi-gods; they had brought those notions with them into the Church; and they had attributed to the angels of God, the passions and love for women which was one of the most conspicuous characters of Jupiter, Mars, Cupid, Bacchus, ect. And Dr. Newman, whose want of accuracy and judgment is so often revealed and confessed by him in this book, has not been able to see that those sayings of the Fathers were nothing but human aberrations. He has accepted that as Gospel truth, and he has been silly enough to boast of it.
The bees go to the flowers to make their precious honey; they wisely choose what is more perfect, pure and wholesome in the flowers to feed themselves. Dr. Newman does the very contrary; he goes to those flowers of past ages, the Holy Fathers, and takes from them what is impure for his food. After this, is it a wonder that he has so easily put his lips to the cup of the great enchantress who is poisoning the world with the wine of her prostitution?
When he reader has followed with attention the history of the religious opinions of Dr. Newman in his "Apologia pro vita sua," and he sees him approaching, day after day, the bottomless abyss of folly, corruption, slavery, and idolatry of Rome, into which he suddenly falls (page 261), he is forcibly reminded of the strange spectacle recorded in the eloquent pages of Chateaubriand, about the Niagara Falls.
More than once, travelers standing at the foot of that marvel of the marvels of the works of God, looking up towards heaven, have been struck by the sight of a small, dark spot moving in large circles, at a great distance above the fall. Gazing at that strange object, they soon remarked, that in its circular march in the sky, the small dark spot was rapidly growing larger, as it was coming down towards the thundering fall. They soon discovered the majestic form of one of the giant eagles of America! And the eagle, balancing himself in the air, seemed to looked down on the marvelous fall as if absolutely taken with admiration at its grandeur and magnificence! For some time, the giant of the air remained above the majestic cataract describing his large circles. But when coming down nearer and nearer the terrific abyss, he was suddenly dragged as by an irresistible power into the bottomless abyss to disappear. Some time later the body, bruised and lifeless, is seen floating on the rapid and dark waters, to be for ever lost in the bitter waters of the sea, at a long distance below.
Rome is a fall. It is the name which God Himself has given her: "There come a falling away" (2 Thess. ii. 3). As the giant eagle of America, when imprudently coming too near the mighty Fall of Niagara, is often caught in the irresistible vortex which attracts it from a long distance, so that eagle of Oxford, Dr. Newman, whom God has created for better things, his imprudently come too near the terrific papal fall. He has been enchanted by its beauty, its thousand bright rainbows: he has taken for real suns the fantastic jets of light which encircle its misty head, and conceal its dark and bottomless abyss. Bewildered by the bewitching voice of the enchantress, he has been unable to save himself from her perfidious and almost irresistible attractions. The eagle of Oxford has been caught in the whirlpool of the engulfing powers of Rome, and you see him today, bruised, lifeless, dragged on the dark waters of Popery towards the shore of a still darker eternity.
Dr. Newman could not make his submission to Rome without perjuring himself. He swore that he would never interpret the Holy Scriptures except according to the unanimous consent of the Holy Fathers. Well, I challenge him here, to meet me and show me that the Holy Fathers are unanimous on the supremacy of the power of the Pope over the other bishops; that he is infallible; that the priest has the power to make his God with a wafer; that the Virgin Mary is the only hope of sinners. I challenge him to show us that auricular confession is an ordinance of Christ. Dr. Newman knows well that those things are impostures. He has never believed, he never will believe them. The fact is that Dr. Newman confesses that he never had any faith when he was a minister of the Church of England; and it is clear that he is the same since he became a Roman Catholic. In page 282 we read this strange exposition of his faith: "We are called upon not to profess anything, but to submit and be silent," which is just the faith of the mute animal which obeys the motion of the bridle, without any resistance or thought of its own. This is I cannot deny it the true, the only faith in the Church of Rome; it is the faith which leads directly to Atheism or idiotism. But Christ gave us a very different idea of the faith He asks from His disciples when He said: "The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth" (John iv. 23).
That degrading and brutal religion of Dr. Newman surely was not the religion of Paul, when he wrote, "I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say" (1 Cor. x. 15). Dr. Newman honestly tells us (page 228), when speaking of the worship of the Virgin Mary: "Such devotional manifestations in honour of our Lady had been my great Crux as regards Catholicism. I say frankly I do not fully enter into them now...they are suitable for Italy, but are not suitable for England." He has only changed his appearance his heart is what it was formerly, when a minister of the Church of England. He wanted then another creed, another Church for England. So now, he finds that this and that practice of Rome may do for the Italians, but not for the English people!
Was he pleased with the promulgation of Papal infallibility? No. It is a public fact that one of his most solemn actions, a few years since his connection with the Church of Rome, was to protest against the promulgation of that dogma. More than that, he expressed his doubts about the wisdom and the right of the Council to proclaim it.
Let us read his interesting letter to Bishop Ullathorne "Rome ought to be a name to lighten the heart at all times; and a council's proper office is, when some great heresy or other evil impends, to inspire hope and confidence in the faithful. But now we have the greatest meeting which ever has been, and that at Rome, infusing into us by the accredited organs of Rome and of its partisans (such as the Civilta, the Armonia, the Univers, and the Tablet) little else than fear and dismay! When we are all at rest and have no doubts, and at least practically, not to say doctrinally hold the Holy Father to be infallible, suddenly there is thunder in the clear sky, and we are told to prepare for something, we know not what, to try our faith, we know not how no impending danger is to be averted, but a great difficulty is to be created. Is this the proper work of an Ecumenical Council? As to myself personally, please God, I do not expect any trial at all: but I cannot help suffering with the many souls who are suffering, and I look with anxiety at the prospect of having to defend decisions which may not be difficult to my own private judgment, but may be most difficult to maintain logically in the face of historical facts.
"What have we done to be treated as the faithful never were treated before? When has a definition de fide been a luxury of devotion, and not a stern, painful necessity? Why should an aggressive, insolent faction be allowed to 'make the heart of the just sad, whom the Lord hath not made sorrowful?' why cannot we be let alone, when we have pursued peace, and thought no evil!
"I assure you, my Lord, some of the truest minds are driven one way and another, and do not know where to rest their feet one day determining 'to give up all theology as a bed job,' and recklessly to believe henceforth almost that the Pope is impeccable: at another, tempted to 'believe all the worst which a book like Janus says:' others doubting about 'the capacity possessed by bishops drawn from corners of the earth, to judge what is fitting for European society'; and then, again, angry with the Holy See for listening to 'the flattery of a clique of Jesuits, redemptorists, and converts.' "Then, again, think of the store of Pontifical scandals in the history of eighteen centuries, which have partly been poured forth and partly are still to come. What Murphy inflicted upon us in one way, M. Veuillot is indirectly bringing on us in another. And then, again, the blight which is falling upon the multitude of Anglican Ritualists, ect., who, themselves, perhaps at least, their leaders may never become Catholics, but who are leavening the various English denominations and parties (far beyond their own range), with principles and sentiments tending towards their ultimate absorption into the Catholic Church.
"With these thoughts ever before me, I am continually asking myself whether I ought not to make my feelings public: but all I do is to pray those early doctors of the Church whose intercession would decide the matter (Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome, Athanasius, Chrysostom, and Basil) to avert this great calamity.
"If it is God's will that the Pope's infallibility be defined, then is it God's will to throw back 'the times and movements' of that triumph which He has destined for His kingdom, and I shall feel I have but to bow my head to His adorable, inscrutable providence.
"You have not touched upon the subject yourself, but I think you will allow me to express to you feelings, which, for the most part, I keep to myself."*
These eloquent complaints of the new convert exceedingly irritated Pius IX. and the Jesuits at Rome: they entirely destroyed their confidence in him. They were too shrewd to ignore that he had never been anything else but a kind of free-thinker, whose Christian faith was without any basis, as he has himself confessed. They had received him, of course, with pleasure, for he was the very best man in England to unsettle the minds of the young ministers of the Church, but they had left him alone in his oratory of Birmingham, where they seemed to ignore him.
However, when the protest of the new so-called convert showed that his submission was but a sham, and that he was more Protestant than ever, they lashed him without mercy. But before we hear the stern answers of the Roman Catholics to their new recruit, let us remember the fact the when that letter appeared, Dr. Newman has lost the memory of it; he boldly denied its paternity at first; it was only when the proofs were publicly given the he had written it, that he acknowledged it, saying for his excuse that he had forgotten his writing it!!
Now let us hear the answer to the Civilta, the organ of the Pope, to Dr. Newman: "Do you not see that it is only temptation that makes you see everything black? If the holy doctors whom you invoke, Ambrose, Jerome, ect., do not decide the controversy in your way, it is not, as the Protestant Pall Mall Gazette fancies, because they will not or cannot interpose, but because they agree with St. Peter and with the petition of the majority. Would you have us make procession in sackcloth and ashes to avert this scourge of the definition of a verity?" (Ibid., p. 271).
The clergy of France, through their organ L'Univers (Vol. II., pp. 31 34), were still more severe and sarcastic. They had just collected $4,000 to help Dr. Newman to pay the enormous expenses of the suit for his slanders against Father Achilli, which he had lost.
Dr. Newman, as it appears by the article from the pen of the celebrated editor of the Univers, had not even had the courtesy to acknowledge the gift, not the exertions of those who had collected that large sum of money. Now let us see what they thought and said in France about the ex-professor of Oxford whom they called the "Respectable convict." Speaking of the $4,000 sent from France, Veuillot says: "The respectable convict received it, and was pleased; but he gave no thanks and showed no courtesy. Father Newman ought to be more careful in what he says: everything that is comely demands it of him. But, at any rate, if his Liberal passion carries him away, till he forgets what he owes to us and to himself, what answer must one give him, but that he had better go on as he set out, silently ungrateful." (L'Univers, Vol. II. pp. 32 34; Ibid., p. 272).
These public rebukes, addressed from Paris and Rome by the two most popular organs of the Church of Rome, tell us the old story; the services of traitors may be accepted, but they are never trusted. Father Newman had not the confidence of the Roman Catholics.
But some will say: "Has not the dignity of Cardinal, to which he has lately been raised, proved that the present Pope has the greatest confidence in Dr. Newman?"
Had I not been twenty-five years a priest of Rome, I would say "Yes!" But I know too much of their tactics for that. The dignity of Cardinal has been given to Drs. Manning and Newman as the baits which the fishermen of Prince Edward Island throw into the sea to attract the mackerels. The Pope, with those long scarlet robes thrown over the shoulders of the two renegades from the Church of England, hopes to catch more English mackerel.
Besides that, we all know the remarkable words of St. Paul: "And those members of the body which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour, and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness" (1 Cor. xii. 23).
It is on that principle that the Pope has acted. He knew well that Dr. Newman had played the act of a traitor at Oxford, that he had been caught in the very act of conspiracy by his Bishops, that he had entirely lost the confidence of the English people. These public facts paralyzed the usefulness of the new convert. He was really a member of the Church of Rome, but he was one of the most uncomely ones; so much so that the last Pope, Pius IX., had left him alone, in a dark corner, for nearly eighteen years. Leo XIII. was more shrewd. He felt that Newman might become one of the most powerful agents of Romanism in England, if he were only covering his uncomeliness with the rich red Cardinal robe.
But will the scarlet colours which now clothe Dr. Newman make us forget that, today, he belongs to the most absurd, immoral, abject, and degrading form of idolatry the world has ever seen? Will we forget that Romanism, these last six centuries, is nothing else but old paganism in its most degrading forms, coming back under a Christian name? What is the divinity which is adored in those splendid temples of modern Rome? Is it anything else but the old Jupiter Tonans! Yes, the Pope has stolen the old gods of paganism, and he has sacrilegiously written the adorable name of Jesus in their faces, that the deluded modern nations may have less objection to accept the worship of their pagan ancestors. They adore a Christ in the Church of Rome: they sing beautiful hymns to His honour: they build Him magnificent temples; they are exceedingly devoted to Him they make daily enormous sacrifices to extend His power and glory all over the world. But what is that Christ? It is simply an idol of bread, baked every day by the servant-girl of the priest, or the neighbouring nuns.
I have been twenty-five years one of the most sincere and zealous priests of that Christ. I have made Him with mine own hands, and the help of my servants, for a quarter of a century; I have a right to say that I know Him perfectly well. It is that I may tell what I know of that Christ that the God of the Gospel has taken me by the hand, and granted me to give my testimony before the world. Hundreds of times I have said to my servant-girl what Dr. Newman and all the priests of Rome say, every day, to their own servants or their nuns: "Please make me some wafers, that I may say mass and give the communion to those who want to receive it." And the dutiful girl took some wheat flour, mixed it with water, and put the dough between those tow well-polished and engraven irons, which she had well heated before. In less time than I can write it, the dough was baked into wafers. Handing them to me, I brought them to the altar, and performed a ceremony which is called "the mass." In the very midst of that mass, I pronounced on that wafer five magic words, "Hoc est enim corpus meum," and had to believe, what Dr. Newman and all the priests of Rome profess to believe, that there were no more wafers, no more bread before me, but that what were wafers, had been turned into the great Eternal God who had created the world. I had to prostrate myself, and ask my people to prostrate themselves before the god I had just made with five words from my lips; and the people, on their knees, bowing their heads, and bringing their faces to the dust, adored god whom I had just made, with the help of these heated irons and my servant-girl.
Now, is this not a form of idolatry more degrading, more insulting to the infinite majesty of God than the worship of the gold calf? Where is the difference between the idolatry of Aaron and the Israelites adoring the gold calf in the wilderness and the idolatry of Dr. Newman adoring the wafer in his temple? The only difference is, that Aaron worshipped a god infinitely more respectable and powerful, in melted gold, than Dr. Newman worshiping his baked dough.
The idolatry of Dr. Newman is more degrading than the idolatry of the worshipers of the sun.
When the Persians adore the sun, they give their homage to the greatest, the most glorious being which is before us. That magnificent fiery orb, millions of miles in circumference, which rises as a giant, every morning, from behind the horizon, to march over the world and pour everywhere its floods of heat, light an life, cannot be contemplated without feelings of respect, admiration, and awe. Man must raise his eyes up to see that glorious sun he must take the eagle's wings to follow his giant strides throughout the myriads of worlds which are there, to speak to us of the wisdom, the power, and love of our God. It is easy to understand that poor, fallen, blind men may take that great being for their god. Would not every one perish and die, if the sun would forget to come every day, that we may bathe and swim in his ocean of light and life?
Then, when I see the Persian priests of the sun, in their magnificent temple, with censors in their hands, waiting for the appearance of its first rays, to intone their melodious hymns and sing their sublime canticles, I know their error and I understand it; I was about to say, I almost excuse it. I feel an immense compassion for these deluded idolaters. However, I feel they are raised above the dust of the earth: their intelligence, their souls cannot but receive some sparks of life and life from the contemplation of that inexhaustible focus of light an life. But is not Dr. Newman wit his Roman Catholic people a thousand times more worthy of our compassion and our tears, when they are abjectly prostrated before his ignoble wafer to adore it as their Saviour, their Creator, their God? Is it possible to imagine a spectacle more humiliating, blasphemous, and sacrilegious, than a multitude of men and women prostrating their faces to the dust to adore a god whom the rats and mice have, thousands of times, dragged and eaten in their dark holes? Where are the rays of light and life coming from that wafer? Instead of being enlarged and elevated at the approach of this ridiculous modern divinity, is not the human intelligence contracted, diminished, paralyzed, chilled, and struck with idiocy and death at its feet?
Can we be surprised that the Roman Catholic nations are so fast falling into the abyss of infidelity and atheism, when they hear their priests telling them that more than 200,000 times, every day, this contemptible wafer is changed by them into the great God who has created heaven and earth at the beginning, and who has saved this perishing world by sacrificing the body and the blood which He has taken as His tabernacle to show us His eternal love!
Come with me and see those multitudes of people with their faces prostrated in the dust, adoring their white elephant of Siam.
Oh! what ignorance and superstition! what blindness and folly! you will exclaim. To adore a white elephant as God!
But there is a spectacle more humiliating and more deplorable: there is a superstition, an idolatry below that of the Siamese. It is the idolatry practiced by Dr. Newman and his millions of co-religionists today. Yes! the elephant god of the Asiatic people is infinitely more respectable than the wafer god of Dr. Newman. That elephant may be taken as the symbol of strength, magnanimity,patience, ect. There is life, motion in that noble animal he sees with his eyes, he walks with his feet. Let some one attack him, he will protect himself with his mighty trunk he will throw his enemy high in the air he will crush him under his feet.
But look at this modern divinity of Rome. It has eyes, but does not see; feet, but does not move; a mouth, but does not speak. There is neither life nor strength in the wafer god of Rome.
But if the fall of Dr. Newman into the bottomless abyss of the idolatry of Rome is a deplorable fact, there is another fact still more deplorable.
How many fervent Christians, how many venerable ministers of Christ everywhere, are, just now, prostrated at the dear Saviour's feet, telling Him with tears: "Didst Thou not sow the good Gospel seed all over our dear country, through the hands of our heroic and martyred fathers? From whence, then, hath it these Popish and idolatrous tares?" And the "Good Master" answers, today, what He answered eighteen hundred years ago: "While men slept, the enemy came during the night; he has sowed those tares among the wheat, and he went away" (Matthew xii. 25).
And if you want to know the name of the enemy who has sowed tares, in the night, amongst the wheat, and went away, you have only to read this "Apologia pro vita sua." You will find this confession of Dr. Newman at page 174: -
"I cannot disguise from myself that my preaching is not calculated to defend that system of religion which has been received for three hundred years, and of which the Heads of Houses are the legitimate maintainers in this place....I must allow that I was disposing 'the minds of young men' towards Rome!"
Now, having obtained from the very enemy's lips how he has sowed tares during the night (secretly), read page 262, and you will see how he went away and prostrated himself at the feet of the most implacable enemy of all the rights and liberties of men, to call him "Most Holy Father." Read how he fell at the knees of the very power which prepared and blessed the Armada destined to cover his native land, England, with desolation, ruins, tears and blood, and enchain those of her people who would not have been slaughtered on the battle-field! See how the enemy, after having sown the tares, wet away to the feet of a Sergius III., the public lover of Marozia and to the feet of his bastard, John XI., who was still more debauched than his father and to the feet of Leo VI., killed by an outraged citizen of Rome, in the act of such an infamous crime that I cannot name it here to the feet of an Alexander, who seduced his own daughter, and surpassed in cruelty and debauchery Nero and Caligula. Let us see Dr. Newman falling at the feet of all these monsters of depravity, to call them, "Most Holy Fathers," "Most Holy Heads of the Church," "Most Holy and Infallible Vicars of Jesus Christ!"
At the sight of such a fall, what can we do, but say with Isaiah:
"The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the ruler....How art thou fallen, O Lucifer, Son of the morning! how are thou cut down to the ground?" (Is. xiv.)
* "The Pope, the Kings, and the People" (Mullan & Son, Paternoster Square), pp. 269-70. Also see (London) Standard, 7th April, 1870.