Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Dr. Newman’s ‘Apologia’

The controversy between Dr. Newman and Mr. Kingsley has raised questions of infinitely greater importance than any which relate to the combatants themselves. Of the details of the controversy we do not mean to speak. Each disputant is fully able to take care of himself, and nothing is more difficult than to give a compressed account of a dispute in such a way as to do justice to both sides, or indeed to either. The main questions at issue are of a different character. They are deeply interesting to the community at large. And upon those questions, all transitory and personal matters being waived, we feel deeply that Mr. Kingsley was right, though he expressed himself incautiously and clumsily; and that Dr. Newman was wrong, though he managed his cause with great skill. Mr. Kingsley’s original accusation was as follows—‘Truth, for its own sake, had never been a virtue with the Roman clergy. Father Newman informs us that it need not, and on the whole ought not to be; that cunning is the weapon which heaven has given to the saints wherewith to withstand the brute male force of this wicked world,’ &c. It would be more bold than wise to undertake the defence of these loose and general statements as they stand. Truth, in the sense of veracity, has always been recognized as a virtue by all moralists; and though there has been a considerable difference of opinion as to the cases in which deviations from truth are justifiable, there is nothing to show that either in theory or in practice Dr. Newman has maintained any doctrine on this subject which honest men may not, and indeed have not, held. If, and in so far as, Mr. Kingsley meant to ‘call him a liar,’ as Dr. Newman says he did, we think he was wrong. Neither Dr. Newman’s life nor his writings sustain such a charge.

There is, however, another question between the parties. Besides vindicating his individual moral character, Dr. Newman attempts to meet another and a wider charge. In his general answer to Mr. Kingsley, he says that many Protestants start with the suspicion ‘that our creed is actually set up in inevitable superstition and hypocrisy.’ He, on the contrary, affirms that this is not so; that the system of Romanism ‘is in no sense dishonest;’ and that its ‘upholders and teachers, as such, have a claim to be acquitted in their own persons of that odious imputation.’ Of course no one makes these imputations in the terms in which Dr. Newman states it. No doubt many Roman Catholics, especially those who have been born and brought up in it, hold their creed without superstition or hypocrisy; but Dr. Newman’s account of the principles by which he has been guided, and his statement of the conclusions at which he has arrived, appear to us to prove to demonstration, that he at least--and he is surely a favourable specimen of Protestants who have become Romanists —has been brought to accept superstition by sophistry. He may be an honest man, but his system is dishonest. This distinction is plain enough. The difference between mind and mind is so great that it is hardly possible to say what may or may not be honestly believed by particular people. It is no doubt possible that evidence which most men would reject with contempt, and that arguments which to most men would seem childish, may honestly appear conclusive to others. When, therefore, it is asserted that a system is dishonest, or that a man is intellectually dishonest, all that is meant is, that the system is sophistical; that the man’s mind has in fact taken a tortuous course; that the arguments to which it gives way are such as might have been accepted by a mind in search, not of the truth, but of proofs for a foregone conclusion; and that the evidence with which he has been satisfied is not such as would generally be required by reasonable men to support the propositions at which it is pointed. This of course may be morally wrong; but no one can say that it is so in a particular case. No one can pretend to dive into the mind of another person, and pass sentence upon the way in which he has managed his own intellect. Human critics can look only to results.

It must also be observed that it is difficult to connect the notion of dishonesty in any form with Dr. Newman. His Apologia is a winning, and in some ways, a touching book. It is full of courage and straightforwardness; every word that the author says of himself and his opinions bears upon it the stamp of truth. The vigour and spirit with which, in his old age, he stands up for his good name; the price which he sets upon the good opinion of the world at large; his anxiety to be freed from the most odious of all imputations on the character of a straightforward Englishman; the simple dignity with which he tells the story of his life—all these things go straight to the hearts of his readers. Almost all of us, he seems to think, are to be damned to all eternity; but with amiable inconsistency he wishes for our good opinion. He would like us to think kindly of him in hell fire.  Morituros salutat. We have no intention to say a word inconsistent with the respect due to an old and distinguished man, who appeals so manfully to the good feeling of his countrymen; but high as Dr. Newman’s personal character is, we cannot read his book without feeling that his theology is dangerous sophistry, calculated to serve no other purpose than that of drugging the minds of men who care more for peace of mind than for truth, and whose ultima ratio is found not in their reason, but in their fears or their fancies. It is the duty of every one who thinks thus, to take opportunities of proving it.

With these observations we proceed to consider Dr. Newman’s history of his own mind, and the general defence of his opinions with which that history concludes.

After a short account of his childhood, he says:— ‘When I was fifteen a great change of thought took place in me. I fell under the influence of a definite creed, and received into my intellect impressions of dogma which, through God's mercy, have never been effaced or obscured.’  About this time he became ‘conscious of an inward conversion,’ which had a deep influence over him. He also received at the same time the Calvinistic distinction between the elect and the world, which was subsequently transmuted into the kindred Catholic doctrine ‘of the warfare between the city of God and the powers of darkness.’ From this time also he gave ‘a full inward assent to the doctrine of eternal punishment,’ and conceived that it was the will of God that he should lead a single life. At Oxford he learnt a number of other doctrines. ‘Mr. James,’ he says, ‘taught me the doctrine of Apostolical succession in the course of a walk, I think, round Christ Church meadows.’ He learnt baptismal regeneration from a book of Archbishop Sumner, and came, to some extent, under the influence of Blanco White and Dr. Whately. He also read Butler’s Analogy, by which he was confirmed in a notion—which he had been inclined to as a boy—as to the unreality of ' material phenomena, and from which he learnt the doctrine that Probability is the guide of life—‘doctrines,’ he says, ‘which have led to a charge against me both of fancifulness and of scepticism.’ The general result of his reading and social relations was that, in 1827, he ‘was beginning to prefer intellectual excellence to moral, and was drifting in the direction of liberalism. I was rudely awakened from my dream at the end of 1827, by two great blows--illness and bereavement.’ It would have been curious to know precisely what changes illness and bereavement made in his opinions, and what was their logical justification; but on this point we are left in the dark. In 1827 and 1828 he became intimate with Mr. Keble and Hurrell Froude. From Mr. Keble he got in a more emphatic form than before the doctrine of probabilities, of which we shall have more to say hereafter; and by associating with Hurrell Froude he appears to have learnt, or at any rate to have fortified and expanded, his extreme indignation against all liberalism, religious and political. Wherever he got these views he certainly held them; for speaking of the Revolution of 1830, he says, ‘I believed that it was unchristian for nations to cast off their governors, and much more sovereigns who had the divine right of inheritance.‘ As to England, ‘The Whigs had come into power; Lord Grey had told the bishops to set their house in order, and some of the prelates had been insulted and threatened in the streets of London. The vital question was, how were we to keep the Church from being liberalized?’ Dr. Newman was at this time engaged in writing a book about the Arians, and he brooded over the contrast which appeared to him to exist between the position of the Church of England and that of the ante-nicene Church. He went abroad with Hurrell Froude, and his state of mind during his journey was characteristic. ‘I found pleasure in historical sites and beautiful scenes, not in men and manners. . . . I had fierce thoughts against the Liberals. . . It was the success of the Liberal cause which fretted me inwardly. I became fierce against its instruments and its manifestations. A French vessel was at Algiers; I would not even look at the tricolour. On my return, though forced to stop a day at Paris, I kept in doors the whole time, and all that I saw of that beautiful city was what I saw from the diligence.’ He returned to Oxford in 1833, full of the notion of setting up a Church party. He was full of zeal. ‘I had a supreme confidence in our cause; we were upholding that primitive Christianity which was delivered for all time by the early teachers of the Church, &c. . . . I despised every rival system of doctrine and its arguments.’ He became, in a theoretical way, fanatical in his opinions. He said of heresiarchs, ‘ The heresiarch should meet with no mercy; he assumes the office of the tempter, and so far forth as his error goes must be dealt with by the competent authority as if he were embodied evil. To spare him is a false and dangerous pity. It is to endanger the souls of thousands, and it is uncharitable towards himself.’ He adds, however, ‘ It is only fair to myself to say that neither at this nor at any other time of my life, not even when I was fiercest, could I have even cut off a Puritan’s ears; and I think the sight of a Spanish auto da fé would have been the death of me. At this point in his history, Dr. Newman gives an explicit account of the principles on which he proceeded. They were three in number.

1st. ‘First was the principle of dogma. My battle was with liberalism; by liberalism, I mean the anti-dogmatic principle and its developments. This was the first point on which I was certain . . . . . . From the age of fifteen dogma has been the fundamental principle of my religion.’

2ndly. ‘I was confident in the truth of a certain definite religious teaching based upon this foundation of dogma; viz., that there was a visible church with sacraments and rites which are the channels of invisible grace.’ The institution of bishops held a prominent place in this body. ‘I loved to act in the sight of my bishop as if I was, as it were, in the sight of God. . . . I was strict in observing my clerical engagements, not only because they were engagements, but because I considered myself simply as the servant and instrument of my bishop. . . . My own bishop was my pope. . . . My duty to him was my point of honour.’

3rdly. The third point was that the Pope was antichrist. As to this, Dr, Newman says his reason was convinced against his feelings; but his reason being convinced, he threw himself into the theory with good will, and rated the Church of Rome soundly on all occasions till near the time when he joined it.

These were the fundamental principles of the Tracts for the Times. The object of their writers appears to have been to put the Church of England into what they conceived to be its true position. This implied, to use Dr. Newman’s words in another of his books, [Lectures on Anglican Difficulties, p. 162.] ‘that the Church should have absolute power over her faith, worship, and teaching.’ It was intended to be the moral and religious sovereign of the country, and was to teach to all men, with divine authority, a certain set of dogmas which it had received by direct tradition from the time of the apostles, and which Dr. Newman and his friends were to extricate from the dust and rubbish with which they had been encumbered by ages of neglect, usurpation, and heresy.

The account of this undertaking is the least interesting part of Dr. Newman’s Apologia. It tells minutely the history of his attempts to adjust his own view of what the Church of England ought to be, with the facts which actually surrounded it. For three years all went on prosperously enough; but after handling various detached points of doctrine, always with the result that there was little real difference between the teaching of England and that of Rome, and that the errors of Rome consisted in certain modern innovations, he at last came to consider the Thirty-nine Articles, and in the famous Tract 90 set forth an ingenious theory about them, the gist of which was, that they were much less definite than they were generally supposed to be. ‘There was no doubt at all of the elasticity of the Articles. . . I wanted to ascertain what was the limit of that elasticity in the direction of Roman dogma.’ The excitement which this attempt created is sufficiently well known; but though it was perhaps the noisiest event in Dr. Newman’s career, it was far from being the most important. It is, indeed, obvious enough that the public did not understand him, and that, whatever might be the value of his details, his principle was right. The Articles unquestionably are, and were meant to be ‘elastic,’ as he calls them; but the true inference from this fact was, that the Church of England permits liberty of opinion even to the clergy on many important points, not as Dr. Newman supposed, that it has other sources of doctrine by which a vacuum may be always avoided.

The chief importance of Tract 90 seems to have been, that it opened its author’s eyes to the fact that the public at large were thoroughly opposed to him and his views, and that, in trying to renovate the Church of England upon his own principles, he was going against the nature of things. A number of incidents and writings opened his eyes by degrees to the fact that this via media which he had been trying to construct was a delusion. He thought that he found the prototype of Protestantism in the Donatists and Eutychians. He was shocked beyond measure at the establishment of the Jerusalem Bishopric, of which he says, with some truth and a good deal of humour, ‘I never heard of any good or harm it has ever done, except what it has done for me.’ At last, what between the Eutychians and the Jerusalem Bishopric, he came, after a number of oscillations, to the conclusion that his place was in the Church of Rome. The objections to Rome, which had formed one of three fundamental principles of the Tracts for the Times, were overcome by the help of the well-known doctrine of Development. As soon as he became a Roman Catholic, he found himself, so -to speak, at home; and there ends the history of his religious opinions.

It may fairly be observed in general in this history, that though Dr. Newman got to Rome honestly enough as far as anything like fraud was concerned, yet the considerations which finally decided him were of a sentimental rather than of a rational kind. Whatever may have been the occasion, no doubt the cause of his change was his profound aversion to liberalism, and the difficulty which he found in resisting it on his old principles. The argumentative value of a supposed historical parallel between the Donatists and Eutychians, and the Protestants, or of the establishment of a fancy office like that of the Bishop of Jerusalem, was just nothing at all.

The irrational weight which he attached to such illustrations, for at most they are no more, is however curious. It is exactly like some other isolated circumstances that have necessarily been omitted in this condensed sketch, and which are nevertheless extremely characteristic of the temper of mind of its subject. It is pervaded by a strange vein of something like extravagance, which finds in the most ordinary incidents food for the author’s love of the marvellous. For instance, when Dr. Newman was a middle-aged man, he found his first Latin verse-book, and on the first page was ‘a device which almost took away my breath with astonishment.’ This was a figure of a cross, surrounded with something like a string of beads, which he had drawn under his own name. He accounts for this by supposing that it may have been taken from some tale or religious picture.

During his journey on the Continent, in 1831 or 1832, he had a bad illness in Sicily, of which he nearly died. His servant asked for his last directions: he gave them, but said, “I shall not die, I shall not die; for I have not sinned against light, I have not sinned against light.’ He adds, ‘I have never been able to make out at all what I meant.’ He might as well be surprised at not being able to interpret his dreams. Before setting out on his journey, being still very weak, he burst into tears. His servant asked what was the matter. ‘I could only answer, “I have a work to do in England.’’’ Is there anything surprising in a man’s being hysterical whilst weak from fever? His doctrine about angels shows the working of the same temper that notices these things. He ‘considered them as the real causes of motion, light, and life, and of those elementary principles of the physical universe which, when offered in their developments to our senses, suggest to us the notion of cause and effect, and of what are called the laws of nature.’ He believed not only in good spirits and bad, but in a middle race of demons, who ‘gave a sort of inspiration or intelligence to races, nations, and classes of men.’ In a half-serious half-humorous letter, he reckons John Bull in the number who, poor fellow! ‘is a spirit neither of heaven or hell.’ In August, 1839, he read a review by Cardinal Wiseman on the Donatists. He did not think much of it at first; but a friend pointed out a quotation from St. Augustine, ‘ Securus judicat orbis terrarum,’ which he interpreted to mean ‘the deliberate judgment in which the whole Church at length rests and acquiesces is an infallible presumption, and a final sentence against such portions of it as protest and secede.’ It does not seem to have occurred to him that the whole Church can hardly acquiesce in a doctrine against which a part protests; but he would shrink from saying plainly that the majority are always right. There was a time when the majority were Arians. He then goes on: ‘For a mere sentence, the words of St. Augustine struck me with a power which I had never 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—Tolle lege” of the child, which arrested St. Augustine himself. “Securus judicat orbis terrarum.” By those great words of the ancient father the theory of the via media was absolutely pulverized.’ After a while he became calm, and determined to ascertain the logical value of the terrible quotation; but ‘meanwhile, so far as this was certain, I had seen the shadow of a hand upon the wall.’

Perhaps, however, the most wonderful instance of the vivacity, and at the same time of the flightiness, of Dr. Newman’s imagination, is to be found in a story which he tells with admiration of Liguori. This eminent man began life as an advocate. On one occasion he mistook the tenor of a document which was decisive of a cause in which he was engaged. His mistake being pointed out, he at once admitted his error; but such was his fear of being accused of unfair dealing, that he rushed out of court, exclaiming— ‘World, I know you now! Courts of law never shall you see me again!’ after which he went into a monastery. Surely this was the conduct not of a man of integrity and judgment, but of a vain fool, who cared more for what people thought of him than for what he really was. ‘This,’ says Dr. Newman, ‘is the man who is so flippantly pronounced to be a patron of lying.’ Whether he was or not, the man who would make such a fool of himself, is just the sort of man who would be likely to lie for want of due sturdiness. It is impossible not to recognize in these stories the passion for the marvellous rising to the surface, and ready to burst out in a stream, if surrounding circumstances were propitious. Being, as he is, a cultivated and educated Englishman of the nineteenth century, Dr. Newman abstains from expressly attaching undue weight to these things, though he evidently hankers after them, or why tell them to the world at all? But suppose he had been St. Henry of Littlemore in the twelfth century, are not these just the sort of trifles which a zealous biographer would have magnified, without conscious dishonesty into portents and miracles?

Such was the man, and such is his history, up to the time of his becoming a Roman Catholic. How far does it bear upon the charge of intellectual dishonesty? We do not think that there was anything dishonest in Dr. Newman‘s relations to the Church of England. The imputation under which he says he long laboured in popular estimation of having sailed under false colours, is certainly not true. It is clear enough that he was all along under a perfectly bonâ fide mistake as to the nature and capabilities of the Church of England, and that it was only by a long and troublesome series of investigations that he discovered that his own principles were those of the Church of Rome. The intellectual dishonesty with which he is justly chargeable lies deeper. It lies in the way in which he adopted and acted on the fundamental principles by which his whole life has been governed, and which have at last led him to the opinions which he now professes. Read his autobiography from end to end, and what is its leading principle? Hatred to liberals and liberalism. And on what is this based? On an instinctive antipathy, imbibed apparently at fifteen years of age; waived for a short time; and under the influence of illness resumed and persisted in without inquiry, without hesitation, with no better warrant than the impulse of a fierce mental passion, for nearly fifty years. What Dr. Newman means by the ‘principle of dogma,’ which was the foundation of the movement of 1833, and which he had held from 1816, it is not very easy to say with precision; but the nearest approach to an explanation of it contained in this volume, is in these words (p. 120):—‘From the age of fifteen dogma has been the fundamental principle of my religion. I know no other religion; I cannot enter into the idea of any other sort of religion; religion as a mere sentiment is to me a dream and a mockery. As well can there be filial love without the fact of a father, as devotion without the fact of a Supreme Being.’ This seems to mean that religion is a set of thoughts, feelings, sentiments, and habits of mind excited by external objects, the description of which external objects constitutes dogma. Thus God himself is the external fact. The proposition that there is a spirit, without body, parts, or passions, whom we call God, is the dogma. Our mental relations towards God, and the sentiments with which we regard him, as excited by the contemplation of this dogma, are our religion. Thus dogma is essential to religion.

If this is Dr. Newman’s theory it is simple enough, though it neglects the possibility that the feelings in question might exist, and that their operation might be beneficial to mankind, even if there were no object by which they were excited. A man’s love for his family might remain, and might restrain him from bad courses, even though his family were all dead and gone in his absence. Religion need not be a mockery, nor a dream, even if it had no object. It might be an ultimate fact in human nature of which no account could be given, but from which benefits might arise.

This, however, is by the way. The real objection to what Dr. Newman calls the dogmatic principle lies in the inferences which he seems to have drawn from it, and in the course of conduct which he adopted in connexion with those inferences. Grant that dogma is in the sense above explained essential to religion, and how does it follow that there must always be a set of perfectly true dogmas accessible to every religious person? Religion might be produced by dogmas inadequate and incorrect to a very great extent. A child might feel true filial love to a man who was not his father at all, and he might feel it although he had a wrong impression, or an absence of any impression, as to the specific nature of the relationship between parent and child. Indeed a parent’s own knowledge of the nature of his relation to his children is obviously inadequate and defective, though correct as far as it goes. In this case the filial sentiment would correspond to religion. The proposition, A B is your father, would be the dogma, and the man himself would be the fact. As he grew up the child’s feelings towards A B might remain unchanged, though the dogma itself would have quite a new meaning to him, and though his belief in its truth might be shaken or altogether destroyed, or weakened by any degree of doubt.

Thus the proposition that dogma is essential to religion, and the proposition that true dogmas are essential to religion, are entirely distinct. Good and beneficial religious feelings may be created by an inadequate, or untrue, description of God; and there is nothing absurd or inconsistent in the liberal theory that it is a duty to be religious, and that it is also a duty to purify religion by scrutinizing and correcting the dogmas which excite it. Throughout the whole of his career Dr. Newman appears to have neglected this obvious distinction, and to have assumed and acted on the assumption that because religion is good and dogma essential to it, those who do not believe in the complete and absolute truth of some one set of existing dogmas, and that in such a way as to renounce the right of ever doubting or examining their truth, even if new evidence on the subject should come to light, are the enemies of all religion, and ought in logical consistency to be atheists. This is most unjust. A liberal, as such, does not in the least degree disparage the importance of dogma. He holds, on the other hand, that to have completely true dogmas would be an inestimable blessing; that to have partially true dogmas is better than to have none; and that to extract the truth and reject the falsehood from the dogmas prevalent in a given time and place, is a duty of the highest importance. The propositions which would be necessary to justify Dr. Newman’s fierce indignation against liberalism—an indignation so fierce and irrational that he would not look at the tricolour or walk about the streets of Paris—would be somewhat as follows:—My dogmas are essential to religion. The liberals deny that my dogmas are absolutely true. Therefore the liberals are the enemies of religion. That intemperate zeal usurping dominion over an ingenious mind and a sensitive pathetic disposition should bring a man to such a conclusion is conceivable enough. That Dr. Newman should have reached this conclusion after an impartial consideration of the whole subject appears to us incredible.

Let us consider a little what this dogmatic principle, fully carried out, implies. The ‘principle of dogma,’ as Dr. Newman understands, and has since the age of fifteen years understood and maintained it, appears to be the foundation of his creed, and not the superstructure. A belief that somewhere or other there is and must be a collection of absolutely true dogmas precedes, as we understand him, the belief in specific dogmas. He believes in the Trinity, the Incarnation, &c., because it appears clear to him that some such doctrines there must be, not on account of the evidence appropriate to each of them; for if he believed them on the evidence appropriate to each, he would, of course, have to examine that evidence, and might from time to time modify his conclusions. This conviction he attained at the age of fifteen. Might not any other boy in any other part of the world attain the same conviction, and would not this lead either to the conclusion that all religious dogmas, Mahometan, Buddhist, heathenish, &c., are true, or else that none of them are true? The dogmatic principle as he seems to understand it must either prove the truth of all the dogmas of all breeds, or be insufficient to prove the truth of any dogmas whatever. The plain fact is, that the ‘principle of dogma’ is nothing else than an obscure way of describing the process of begging the question.

Whether or not, however, Dr. Newman argued correctly on this fundamental fallacy is a question of secondary interest. The real test of his intellectual honesty is to be found, not in the method which he adopted, but in the conclusions to which it brought him. Whatever may have been his intermediate oscillations and changes, his position is now finally taken. He has reached a standing point at last, upon which he resolutely takes his stand, and challenges attack. Let us, then, examine his case, and see whether it is based on solid grounds, or is an accumulation of sophistries, the acceptance of which would be pernicious to all the highest interests of mankind, and would in particular present an insuperable obstacle to the attainment of truth. If, as we believe, the latter is the case, the question whether he or Mr. Kingsley has the best of the particular controversy becomes altogether insignificant.

In order to understand the matter fully, we must look in the first place at Dr. Newman’s method of inquiry, or rather at his canon of proof in religious matters. It consists of what he calls the doctrine of probability. He originally learnt it, he says, from Butler, who teaches that probability is the guide of life. He was confirmed in it by Mr. Keble. He gives an outline of it in these words:—‘My argument is in outline as follows: that the absolute certitude which we were able to possess, whether as to the truths of natural theology, or as to the fact of a revelation, was the result of an assemblage of concurring and converging probabilities, and that both according to the constitution of the human mind and the will of its maker; that certitude was a habit of mind, and that certainty was a quality of propositions; that probabilities which did not reach to logical certainty might create a mental certitude; and that the certitude thus created might equal in measure and strength the certitude that is created by the strictest scientific demonstration.’ This is true enough if the probabilities are independent. For instance, let the question be whether Z was in a given place at a given time. A says he saw him then and there; B, independently of A, says he saw him going in that direction shortly before the time; C says he saw him coming from it shortly afterwards; and D says that he found footmarks at the place soon after the time, which had not been there before, and which corresponded accurately with Z’s shoes. Here are four facts, each raising an independent probability, and therefore all uniting to strengthen the conclusion. This is a case of accumulation of probabilities. No doubt, under particular circumstances, the result might be a certitude (to use Dr. Newman’s language) as great as that with which we believe in the multiplication table. I am at least as sure that on or about a certain day, at a certain place, I went through the marriage ceremony with the person with whom I have ever since lived as my wife, as I am that twice two are four. This is because a thousand independent and converging probabilities do in fact convince me of the truth of those assertions. I cannot say more for the multiplication table itself. Where the probabilities are dependent, the case is altogether different. Suppose the question is whether the eldest child of a newly married couple will inherit the estate of the husband. First, it is more probable than not that there will be children of the marriage. Next, if a child is born, it is probable that it will be a son, for more boys are born than girls. Thirdly, if a son is born, it will probably (let us assume) survive its father. This may look like an accumulation of probabilities, but in reality it is the reverse. The total probability diminishes at each step, and it diminishes so fast, that though each event may be probable in itself, the final result may be altogether improbable. Suppose, for the sake of illustration, that it is an even chance in each case, that is to say, that it is an even chance whether there are children of the marriage, whether the first child born is a boy, and whether the boy survives his father. The chance that the eldest child will not inherit the estate is three to one.

Dr. Newman seems to commit the error of confusing together these different things He says, ‘In 1843-4, I believed in a God on a ground of probability; I believed in Christianity on a probability; and I believed - in Catholicism on a probability; and all three were about the same kind of probability, a cumulative, a transcendent probability; but still a probability.’ It is not quite clear whether this means that each proposition taken separately rested on an accumulation of probabilities, or that the three together made up such a probability. The latter appears in this instance to be Dr. Newman’s meaning from the general scope of this argument; but surely it hardly requires argument to show that these probabilities are dependent, and not cumulative — that they resemble the second illustration, and not the first. If there is no God, the argument for Christianity is worthless. And it is logically impossible for a man to be more sure that Christianity is true than that there is a God; that belief, and that alone, can make the Christian miracles credible. If there was no Christ sent from God, the argument for Roman Catholicism is worthless. To argue against Atheism on the authority of Christ, or to argue in favour of Romanism on the some authority as against a Deist, is a process fit for reasoners of a very different order from those with whom Dr. Newman has usually been classed. If it be doubtful whether there is any God at all (and though Dr. Newman will not admit that it is, we shall see immediately that the result of his argument is that it is doubtful in the highest degree), it must be still more doubtful whether Christ was his messenger; and if this again is as doubtful as the existence of a God, the natural doubtfulness of the claims of the Roman Catholic Church to be the Church which Christ established must be weakened still further. Dr. Newman can have his probabilities whichever way he pleases; and in either he gets a result fatal to his theories. If the probability of the existence of a God, of the truth of Christianity, and of the truth of Romanism, are dependent on each other, then it must be less probable that Romanism is true than that Theism or the fact of the divine mission of Christ is true. If, on the other hand, the probabilities are independent, what becomes of the argument that every consistent man who is not a Romanist, must be an Atheist? If, independently of the probability of Romanism, there is a separate probability in favour both of Theism and of Christianity, Theism or Christianity may be believed on the ground of those probabilities, and that without resorting to Rome.

You may believe that Z was in the place at the time in question, because you believe A, who says he saw him there, and B, who says he saw him coming away; and at the same time you may think that C, who says he saw him going, was mistaken, and that D, who compared the footmarks, is telling a lie. But if the whole depended on A—if, for instance, he alone knew Z, and knew that the shoes were Z’s shoes, then if A were proved to be a liar, the evidence of B and C, who saw an unknown person in such and such places, and the evidence of D, who fitted certain shoes to certain marks, would be worthless.

This misapprehension of the nature of probability vitiates the whole of Dr. Newman’s theory. Butler is quite right in teaching that, for some practical purposes, a probability may be much the same as a certainty. A man may be wise in acting even upon a slight probability, as in fact we all do when we insure our houses against fire. He may be morally bound to act upon the supposition that there is a God, although he thinks it doubtful; but if he is to be an honest man, he is also bound to bear in mind the fact that it is a probability on which he is acting, and to keep himself open to conviction in case further evidence should be discovered.

Dr. Newman never does this. With him probability is not the guide of life but the tyrant of thought. ‘On the whole,’ he seems to say, ‘I think there is a God. Therefore I will argue as if there were no doubt at all that the particular conception of God which I at this moment possess is absolutely true. That conception of God makes Christianity probable. Therefore I will assume not only that God sent Christ into the world, but that Christ delivered a definite set of dogmas to certain specific people who were formed into a perpetual society for the sake of preserving them. I can and will recognize no other form of revelation than this. God must have chosen this form of revelation, or else there is no God at all.’ Having got so far, it next becomes necessary to find this society and these dogmas in the present day. ‘I freely admit,’ he says in effect, ‘that there is no society or theology which has all the “notes” which such a society or theology ought to have. There are facts, such as the existence of the Greek Church, which it is very hard to reconcile with the Roman claim to supremacy. There are Roman practices—if, indeed, they may not be called doctrines; for every practice implies a doctrine which justifies its use such as the worship of the Virgin Mary, which neither Christ nor the early Christians thought of; but then I comfort myself with the reflection that there are similar objections to the existence of God and the mission of Christ. And as I have made up my mind to those doctrines, notwithstanding these objections, I will do so in this case also.’ It would be at once more simple and more true to say, ‘ I believe in this system because it suits my tastes and feelings; because I happen to like it; and because I consider truth unattainable, and the search for it laborious and troublesome.’

To support this conclusion, it is necessary to go more at large into Dr. Newman’s statement of his views, and to show how, whilst he supposes himself to take probability as the guide of his life, he really attaches an arbitrary value to his own feelings and wishes, choosing the probabilities which he likes and turning his back on those which he dislikes. Thus his general view of religion is not the result of an honest balancing of probabilities, but is a castle in the air, built in defiance of probabilities to suit the taste of the architect.

To begin at the beginning, he says, ‘I am a Catholic by virtue of my believing in a God; and if I am asked why I believe in a God, I answer that it is because I believe in myself, for I feel it impossible to believe in my own existence (and of that I am quite sure) without believing in Him who lives as a personal all-seeing, all-judging being in my own conscience.’ The foundation of Dr. Newman’s belief is thus belief in himself, in his own existence, and of that he is quite sure. Why Dr. Newman does not doubt his own existence in the sense in which he affirms it is not clear. He means of course to assert the existence of his soul as a personal unit distinct from his body. There is no reason why he should be quite sure of this. The existence of the soul cannot be called a self-evident first truth. This, however, is by the way: though he ought by right to be still more sceptical, there is scepticism enough and to spare in Dr. Newman. He proceeds:——
‘Starting with the being of a God (which, as I have said, is as certain to me as the certainty of my own existence, though when I try to put the grounds of that certainty into logical shape, I find a difficulty in doing so in mood and figure to my satisfaction), I look out of myself into the world of men, and there I see a sight Which fills me with unspeakable distress. The world seems simply to give the lie to that great truth of which my whole being is so full, and the effect upon me is in consequence, as a matter of necessity, as confounding as if it denied that I am in existence myself. If I looked into a mirror and did not see my face, I should have the sort of feeling which actually comes upon me when I look into this living busy world and see no reflection of its Creator. This is to me one of the great difficulties of this absolute primary truth to which I referred just now. Were it not for this voice speaking so clearly in my conscience and my heart, I should be an atheist, or a pantheist, or a polytheist, when I looked into the world. I am speaking for myself only, and I am far from denying the real force of the arguments in proof of a God, drawn from the general facts of human society; but these do not warm me or enlighten me.’ He then goes on to speak of the world at large and human affairs as a wild confusion. He tells us of ‘the impotent conclusion of longstanding facts, the tokens so faint and broken of a superintending design, the blind evolution of what turn out to be great powers or truths, the progress of things as if from unreasoning elements, not towards first causes,’ &c. ‘All this,’ he says, ‘is a vision to dazzle and appal.’
The appalling vision suggests the reflection that ‘if there be a God, since there is a God, the human race is implicated in some terrible aboriginal calamity. This is a fact as true as the fact of its existence.’ Then, ‘supposing it were the blessed and loving will of the Creator to interfere in this anarchical condition of things,’ would it not be natural to suppose that he would raise up some miraculous ‘ face-to-face antagonist by which to withstand and baffle the fierce energy of purpose and the all-corroding, all-dissolving scepticism of the intellect in religious inquiries?’

Reason, he seems to think, is as corrupt as other parts of our nature. ‘I have no intention at all to deny that truth is the real object of our reason, and that, if it does not attain to truth, either the premiss or the process is in fault; but I am not speaking of right reason, but of reason as it acts in fact and concretely in fallen man. I know that even the unaided reason, when correctly exercised, leads to a belief in God, in the immortality of the soul, and in a future retribution; but I am considering it actually and historically; and in this point of view, I do not think I am wrong in saying that its tendency is towards a simple unbelief in matters of religion. No truth, however sacred, can stand against it, in the ‘long run; and hence it is that in the pagan world, when our Lord came, the last traces of the religious knowledge of former times were all but disappearing from those portions of the world in which the intellect had been active and had had a career.’

Much as its author struggles against it, the plain inference from all this melancholy eloquence is, that reason proves the truth of Atheism as against all persons who believe in God on the ground of arguments drawn from facts exterior to themselves. His anxious attempts to avoid this inference do not really save him. He says such arguments may be true, but they do not ‘warm or "enlighten me.’ Arguments are meant not to warm or enlighten, but to convince; and these delicate metaphors can mean nothing else than ‘I think these arguments are not sound; though as others think they are, I will not directly deny their soundness.’ So, again, what is ‘reason acting concretely and in fallen man’ except bad argument ? To talk of fallen or corrupt reason in any other sense than reason making mistakes, is like talking of a corrupt multiplication table, in some other sense than an incorrect multiplication table. Bossuet says with perfect truth that the use of the reason is to reason, that it may be seduced into reasoning wrongly by passion, and that when it is so seduced, it is corrupt and fallen. Now nothing, except the reason itself, can show that a particular argument is false, or that in accepting it the reason of a particular man fell or became corrupt; and thus Dr. Newman is bound either to admit that Atheism is reasonable, or, which is the same thing, that it is true; or else to show by uncorrupt or correct reasoning why it is not to be believed. However he may wish to do so, he cannot maintain that the process which leads to Atheism is correct, but that the conclusion does not follow. Nothing is more characteristic of his peculiar sophistry than the way in which he insinuates this by throwing the necessary dash of pathetic obscurity into his argument at the right moment, by  saying that an argument does not ‘warm or enlighten’ him, when he ought to say roundly whether he believes in it or not, and by using a set of phrases about right reason and reason acting concretely in fallen man, when he really means, and can mean, nothing but good arguments and bad arguments.

He pursues his argument. If it were God’s will to set this state of things right, ‘there is nothing to surprise the mind if he should think fit to introduce a power into the world invested with the prerogative of infallibility in religious matters. . . . A power possessed of infallibility in religious teaching is happily adapted to be a working instrument in the course of human affairs for smiting hard and throwing back the immense energy of the aggressive intellect.’ The Roman Catholic Church claims to be such a power and its teaching is consistent with its pretensions. ‘The initial doctrine of the infallible teacher must be an emphatic protest against the existing state of mankind;’ and the Church teaches ‘that it is better for the sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions on it to die of starvation in extremest agony, than that one soul, I will not say should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one wilful untruth, or should steal one poor farthing without excuse.’

The idleness of a single schoolboy in respect of not learning a single lesson, or a single outbreak of temper on the part of a fretful child, is an indefinitely greater calamity than the earthquake of Lisbon, plus the plague of London and the Black Death. It seems to follow that if Dr. Newman had to choose between giving a warning which would save thousands of lives, as by going a mile to a telegraph-office to warn the people of Sheffield of the bursting of the dam, and preventing a venial sin by sitting at home, while the warning might have been given, and preventing a naughty boy from playing truant, he ought to choose the latter—to prevent the sin and permit the catastrophe.

The Church also claims to ‘rescue human nature from its misery . . . . by lifting it up to a higher level than its own,’ and that by means of ‘a certain inward spiritual grace imparted directly from above.’ Hence ‘the distinctions between nature and grace, and between outward and inward religion, become further articles in the preamble of her divine commission.’

The infallibility claimed for the purpose of ‘pertinaciously inflicting’ and ‘vigorously reiterating’ these truths on mankind, claims ‘to have for itself a sure guidance into the very meaning of every portion of the divine message in detail which was committed by Our Lord to his apostles. It claims to know its own limits and to decide what it can determine absolutely and what not. It claims, moreover, to have a hold upon statements not directly religious so far as this—to determine whether they indirectly relate to religion, and, according to its own definitive judgment, to pronounce whether or not, in a particular case, they are consistent with revealed truth. It claims to decide magisterially, whether infallibly or not, that such and such statements are or are not prejudicial to the apostolic depositum of faith in their spirit or in their consequences, and to allow them or condemn and forbid them accordingly. It claims to impose silence at will on any matters or controversies of doctrine which, on its own ipse dixit, it pronounces to be dangerous or inexpedient or inopportune. It claims that whatever may be the judgment of Catholics upon such acts, these acts should be received by them with . . . outward marks of reverence, submission, and loyalty.’

So far from being opposed to reason, Dr. Newman considers that this power brings reason into play. It is its eternal counterpoise, and brings out its powers. ‘The energy of the human intellect “does from opposition grow;” it thrives and is joyous, with a tough elastic strength, under the terrible blows of the divinely-fashioned weapons.’ ‘It is the vast Catholic body itself, and it alone, which affords an arena for both combatants in that awful never-dying duel,’ — that awful never-dying duel, which produced in the course of about eight centuries the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Dr. Newman admits fairly enough that the collateral incidental claims of the Church are still more startling. ‘The Catholic Church claims not only to judge infallibly on religious questions, but to animadvert on opinions on secular matters which bear upon religion, on matters of philosophy, of science, of literature, of history, and it demands our submission to her claim. It claims to censure books, to silence authors, and to forbid discussions.’ In the exercise of this power the Church may be right or wrong. ‘It must of course be obeyed without a word, and perhaps in process of time it will tacitly recede from its own injunctions.’ The security to mankind against the abuse of this power is in the goodness of those who wield it. It has not, in fact, been the enemy of intellect. It has, on the contrary, been rather its servant than its master. The Church has usually waited till it saw which way the battle was going, and has then brought down the full weight of infallibility on the conquered. Victrix causa ecclesiae placuit.

This argument is so wonderful that it requires some acquaintance with Dr. Newman’s mind to believe, as we do, that he used it in perfect good faith. He says, ‘It is individuals and not the Holy See which has [?who have] taken the initiative, and given the lead to Catholic minds in theological inquiry. Indeed, it is one of the reproaches urged against the Church of Rome that it has originated nothing, and has only served as a sort of remora or break in the development of doctrine. And it is an objection which embrace as a truth, for such I conceive to be the main purpose of its extraordinary gift. . . . . The great luminary of the western world is, we know, St. Augustine; he, no infallible teacher, has formed the intellect of Europe. . . . . The case is the same as regards the Ecumenical Councils; authority in its most imposing exhibition. Grave bishops, laden with the traditions and rivalries of particular nations or places, have been guided in their decisions by the commanding genius of individuals, sometimes young and of inferior rank. Not that uninspired intellect overruled the superhuman gift which was committed to the Council, which would be a self-contradictory assertion, but that in that process of inquiry and deliberation which ended in an infallible enunciation, individual reason was paramount.’ He then proceeds to give a description of the scholastic activity of the Middle Ages. Disputes were raised in the schools, thence they passed to the universities, and at last ‘Authority is called upon to pronounce a decision which has been already arrived at by reason.’ Besides, as the Church is strong it is merciful. It very seldom decides, and when it does, it is extremely tender to its opponents. ‘By reason of the very power of the Popes, they have commonly been slow and moderate in their use of it.’ Lastly, he tells us what infallibility has done. ‘What have been its great works? All of them in the distinct province of theology to put down Arianism, Eutychianism, Pelagianism, Manichseism, Lutheranism, Jansenism. That is the broad result of its action in the past.’

Dr. Newman, for his own part, entirely believes in the Church, and has full satisfaction in his belief. He views the difficulties which apply to its doctrines, not as ‘difficulties’ in the sense of bars which prevent belief till they are removed, but as difficulties in the proper sense—like the difficulty of understanding the differential calculus Thus he says, ‘ Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt, as I understand the subject; difficulty and doubt are incommensurate.’ Taking transubstantiation as a specimen, he says, ‘It is difficult, impossible, to imagine, I grant; but how is it difficult to believe? . . . For myself I cannot indeed prove it, I cannot tell how it is; but I say why should it not be‘? What is to hinder it? What do I know of substance or matter? Just as much as the greatest philosophers, and that is nothing at all.’

Such, as we understand it, is Dr. Newman’s creed. Let us now consider whether it is an honest creed—the creed of an inquirer, who cares more for truth than for any other object in the world; or a mere piece of advocacy delivered by an ingenious man in favour of a system which he has adopted because it has enlisted his feelings and his fears against both his interest and his reason. It is fair to Dr. Newman to admit, and indeed to insist upon, the fact that his mental obliquity is neither fraudulent nor sordid. It is of that kind which goes with the fondness of a lover. He appears to us in the light of a man who, having been infatuated by a woman neither young, lovely, nor virtuous, marries her at the expense of destroying all his prospects in life, and of throwing up all his connexions, and who then exhausts every resource of his mind in proving that she combines, in ideal perfection, eternal youth, perfect beauty, and every moral and mental grace which could adorn such a person. Such conduct produces mixed feelings. It can neither be approved nor despised. But surely it is neither unjust nor uncharitable to say of such a man that he does not care for truth as truth; that he builds castles in the air and not on the ground; and that the general tendency of his writings and speculations is unfavourable to honesty in its widest sense. This fault is a very common one. The same accusation might be brought on very similar grounds, against such men as Pascal and Joseph de Maistre; [It would be a curious inquiry, which we may possibly attempt on some future occasion, whether Bishop Butler has not in some instances acted the part of an advocate under the disguise of a judge?] and, indeed, perfect honesty in the conduct of the mind is a rare virtue.

To exemplify this in detail, let us begin with Dr. Newman’s cardinal article—his belief in God. If his views upon this great subject appear to be fundamentally sophistical, it will be no wonder if every other part pf his creed is tainted with the same fault. In his later writings he has dwelt much upon this subject, not only in the Apologia, but more particularly in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth of his discourses addressed to mixed congregations. The last part of the Apologia contains a condensed summary of his views.

His general scheme of doctrine upon this subject is to drive men to an alternative between Popery and Atheism. As he says, in one of his sermons, ‘Cease to believe in Catholicism and you become Protestant, Unitarian, Deist, Pantheist, Sceptic, in a dreadful but infallible succession.’ This is his controversial object. Viewing the matter from the explanatory and historical side, he says that he is a Catholic because he believes in God, and he believes in God because he is inwardly conscious of the existence of ‘Him who lives as a personal all-seeing, all-judging being in his own conscience.’ He adds that he should be an atheist, a pantheist, or a polytheist, but for this divine voice. He tells us that ‘no truth, however sacred, can stand against the reason in the long run.’ Though, ‘correctly exercised,’ it tends to a belief in God, and a future state of rewards and punishments; yet, ‘as it acts in fact and concretely in fallen man, its tendency is towards simple unbelief in matters of religion.’ He speaks for himself alone, but he is ‘neither warmed nor enlightened ’ by the arguments (this must mean that he does not agree with the arguments) in favour of the existence of God drawn from ‘the general facts of human society.’ In the sermons he amplifies and dwells upon the considerations to which he shortly refers in the Apologia. He labours two points. First, that God’s existence is certain; and, secondly, that it involves mysteries crushing to the reason. As to the first he says, ‘Every one spontaneously embraces the doctrine of the existence of God as a first principle and a necessary assumption. It is not so much proved to him as borne in upon his mind irresistibly as a truth which it does not occur to him, nor is it possible for him to doubt; so various and so abounding is the witness for it contained in the experience and the conscience of every one.’  He then dwells upon the ‘mysteries and difficulties’ of the doctrine, ‘which must be acquiesced in by every one who believes it.’ These mysteries or difficulties are, ‘first, that Almighty God had no beginning, and that this is necessary from the nature of the case. . . . To say that a being had no beginning seems a contradiction in terms; it is a mystery as great or greater than any in the Catholic faith.’ Next he says, ‘Think of this again, which though not so baffling to the reason, still is most bewildering to the imagination, that if the Almighty had no beginning he must have lived a whole eternity by himself.’ Besides this, ‘since the world exists, and did not ever exist,’ there was a time when the Almighty changed the state of things which had lasted from all eternity for another. Next he says, ‘Let us suppose the innovation decreed in the eternal purpose of the Most High, and that creation is to be; of what, my brethren, shall it consist?’ Reason, he thinks, would suggest that the world made by such a being would be far more glorious than it is. He then proceeds to describe its actual state, in a passage which it is difficult to condense so as to do justice to the author, and which it is impossible to read without feeling that the love of exercising his gift of piling up mountains of dreary eloquence has seduced its author into speaking most harshly and, as it seems to us, faithlessly of man and his Maker. We see an universe, material for the most part and corruptible, fashioned indeed by laws of infinite skill, and betokening an all-wise hand, but lifeless and senseless; huge globes ‘hurled into space and moving mechanically.’ Next we see ‘myriads of trees and plants, the grass of the field, beautiful to the eye, but perishable and worthless in the sight of heaven.’ Then comes the brute creation, which Dr. Newman views with a sort of Manichean horror. ‘Millions of irrational creatures surround us, and it would seem as though the Creator had left part of his work in its original chaos, so monstrous are these beings which move, and feel, and act without reflection and without principle . . . The brute beasts pass to and fro in their wildness and their desolation, the enemies of all they meet, yet without the capacity of self-love. They live on each other’s flesh by an original necessity of their being; their eyes, their teeth, their claws, their muscles, their walk, their structure within, all speak of violence and blood.’ Last comes man. The preacher says of him, ‘Consider man as he is found in the world; and owning, as you must own, that the many do not act by rule or principle, and that few are any honour to their Maker; acknowledging that enmities, feuds, cruelties, oppressions, injuries, and excesses are almost the constituents of human life,’ &c., ‘can you venture to assert that the Church’s yoke is heavy?’ Upon the whole he concludes, ‘If I must submit my reason to mysteries it is not much matter whether it is a mystery more or a mystery less. The main difficulty is to believe at all; the main difficulty to an inquirer is to hold firmly that there is a living God.’

The inference which all this suggests, and there is much more of the same kind, is that if Dr. Newman was thoroughly honest he would be an atheist. According to him the balance of the argument is one way and the conclusion the other. ‘The general facts of human society’ point towards atheism. The belief in God involves what he views as a contradiction in terms, and other difficulties, moral and intellectual, equally formidable. It either ascribes perfect goodness to one who created a world of intelligent beings to be damned and tortured to all eternity, or perfect wisdom to one who, having created such a world, and having become incarnate to save it, altogether failed to do so. It leads Dr. Newman himself to the following horrible outcry-—one of the most frightful parodies of prayer, that ever came from human lips. After describing with hideous minuteness the damnation of an average man, and appearing to presage the damnation of all but an insignificant fraction of the adult part of the race, he says, ‘Oh mighty God, oh God of love, it is too much! It broke the heart of Thy sweet Son Jesus to see the misery of men spread out before his eyes  . . . . Oh most tender heart of Jesus, why wilt thou not end this ever growing load of sin and woe? When wilt thou chase away the devil into his own hell and close the pit’s mouth, that the redeemed may rejoice with thee; quitting the thought of those that perish in their willfulness?’ As the great mass of mankind, Roman Catholics included—(‘It is one opinion,’ says Dr. Newman, ‘entertained among divines and holy men, that the number of Catholics that are to be saved will on the 'whole be small,’ and other language which he uses appears to favour that opinion)—are all to be eternally ‘shut up with the devil in his own hell,’ it would seem that selfish thoughtlessness must contribute largely to the happiness of the redeemed; but this is by the way. The important thing is that Dr. Newman is prepared to believe all this for no one reason except that he has a conviction in his own mind as to the nature and attributes of God, to which all relevant facts ‘ give the lie.’ Surely he, as an educated man, must know that there is no subject in the world on which men have differed so much, or appealed with so much confidence to contradictory first principles asserted to be self-evident truths, as the nature and attributes of God. ‘God,’ he would no doubt say, ‘is just and good; and this I know by the inner voice of which I speak.’ Others would say the same; but when they came to compare their notions of the divine justice and goodness with his, they would be found to use the same words to describe characters not only different, but utterly discordant. The infinitely good God of Dr. Newman, has, to use his own language, ‘surrounded himself with the cries of fallen souls, and has created and opened the great pit.’ According to Mr. Francis Newman, the doctrine of eternal punishments thus understood is a blasphemous contradiction of the doctrine that God is good, and renders it meaning. Can it be doubted in the face of such facts as these, that upon this vital point the evidence supplied by the convictions of any one mind is altogether insufficient, and requires to be checked by full consideration of all the evidence which the world at large supplies ? It is well worthy of observation that in his sermon, where his object is to heighten to the very utmost both the certainty and-—if such an expression may be used, and Dr. Newman’s own language suggests it—the absurdity of the opinion that there is a God, he affirms that every one believes, and that no one can help believing it. Whatever he may have written under the influence of his love of pathetic eloquence, he must remember on reflection that this is not true. There are in China three hundred millions of people who do not believe in God at all. Monotheism in the heathen world was the creed of a very few. The great mass of professing Christians of all creeds in the present day have hardly thought at all upon the subject, and believe in one God, principally because it is the current established opinion of their time and country. Many of them take such a view of the character of Christ that it may be fairly said that they believe rather in two Gods than in one. Of those whose belief upon the subject is original, and the result of thought or self-examination, how many take the same view of the divine character and attributes as Dr. Newman? And, in the face of these facts, what is his own private conviction upon the subject honestly worth? How can he say that he really, calmly, and honestly considers that it ought to outweigh the accumulated evidence, which, as he says, exists on the other side? The impression unfavourable to Dr. Newman’s honesty, which prevails amongst those who have read his books, arises from their belief that if he really took probability as the guide of his life, he ought to think that the existence of God was, at most, probable enough to influence his own conduct, but not enough to justify him in supporting a claim on behalf of the Pope to moral and religious sovereignty over the whole world. Such a belief might distress him, but if it is the legitimate inference from his principles, he ought to bear the distress.

It is plain enough to any one who reads the sermons to which we have referred, not only that Dr. Newman does put the whole subject of the existence of God on a false footing, but that he gains a controversial object by doing so. His wish is to show that there are mysteries connected with it as great as the mystery of transubstantiation, or any other tenet of the Romish Church. We have shown how, in order to do this, he begins by making an obviously false assertion about the foundation on which the belief in God does in fact rest; how he represents, as a first principle ‘spontaneously embraced,’ a doctrine which has made its way slowly and partially, and which is not even now acknowledged by a majority of the human race.  Let us now inquire how far he succeeds in this attempt to connect this great doctrine with what he calls mysteries, and what others would call absurdities, for the purpose of showing that it is independent of and even hostile to the reason. For this purpose it would be necessary to show that every one who believes in God affirms, or ought to affirm, either a contradiction like that which ascribes infinite benevolence to a being who knowingly creates a world under such circumstances that nearly all of its inhabitants are sure to be damned to all eternity, or else a proposition which, if it does not contradict the senses, is altogether unmeaning, like the proposition that the substance of the bread of the sacrament is changed into the body of Christ. In no one instance can he show anything like this. All that he really shows is that our knowledge, or reasonable conjectures about the divine nature, leave many questions unanswered. He never shows that they force us to admit the truth of absurdities.

He refers to four such mysteries: one metaphysical, two imaginative, and one moral. The metaphysical difficulty is, that ‘Almighty God had no beginning, and this is necessary from the nature of the case;’ and he adds that it is ‘a mystery as great or greater than any in the Catholic faith to say that a being had no beginning.’ It is perfectly true that we are utterly unable to answer the question how being first began, or whether the word ‘began,’ as applied to anything which is not the immediate object of our own sensations, has any meaning; but what then? The fact that our knowledge is limited does not prove that we are obliged to believe an absurdity or contradiction, which is what Dr. Newman seems to understand by a mystery. The ‘general facts of human nature’ lead me to believe that an intelligent, and on the whole, a benevolent, conscious Being formed and superintends this world. Dr. Newman says, ‘Do you say that this Being existed for ever without a beginning?’ I say I know nothing at all about it. I have not the means of forming even the faintest guess on the subject. Then says Dr. Newman, ‘What pretence can you possibly have for denying that this piece of bread is God Almighty? A mystery more or less, what does it matter?’ The fact that I know nothing at all about the beginning of God, that I do not ‘even know whether the words have any sort of signification, does not prevent me from knowing perfectly well that this is bread in the only sense which I attach to the word, and nothing else but bread. Our knowledge, of course, is limited; but to deny that it is real, as far as it goes, is to assert absolute scepticism on all subjects. Perhaps in another state of being I may come to know more than I now do about the nature of God; but in the meantime, and as at present advised, I assert that this is bread and nothing else; and to give up that belief because there are many things of which I am ignorant, is like doubting the multiplication table because I am ignorant of the differential calculus.

The next two mysteries are that God ‘lived a whole eternity by himself,’ and that he innovated on a state of things which had lasted for an eternity. How does Dr. Newman know that? God may have created worlds upon worlds from all eternity; and this world may be a mere link in some vast chain. There may be, and probably are, millions of worlds all around us, impalpable and invisible to our coarse senses. Have the microscope and telescope no lessons? Here again Dr. Newman tries to confound ignorance with mystery; but his attempt is futile. I know very little, but what I do know suggests to my mind the notion of a God. ‘ If there be such a being, since there is such a being,’ I know very little about him; but that is no reason why I should obscure what I do know, or may reasonably conjecture on probable grounds, by debating questions of pure curiosity with which I have no concern and on which I have no evidence. ‘A thousand diificulties,' says Dr. Newman, ‘do not make one doubt.’ A Protestant may say, ‘The existence of millions of unanswerable questions does not oblige me to believe a single absurdity. How did man come upon the earth? Is matter infinitely divisible or not? I have not the least notion; but for all that I can assert many things about both man and matter with confidence; and by continually adding to my store of knowledge I hope to diminish my ignorance. If I adopted Dr. Newman’s principles, I should feel that I was embracing absolute scepticism upon all subjects, in the hope of coming to think at last that one absurdity was as good as another. All his mysteries fall to pieces before a man who says, I do not know.”’

The last mystery is of a different kind.  It relates to the existence of evil.  Here, no doubt, Dr. Newman has hit upon something real. ‘How can you believe,’ he says, ‘in a good God when the world is what you see?’ No doubt the state of the world does and must embarrass every believer in a good God.  It is the common difficulty of all creeds.  It tells equally against them all, and gives no advantage to any one.  It may be dealt with in various ways.  An honest inquirer may either say, Evil is an exception for which I cannot account altogether, though I can make probable guesses as to the nature of some forms of it; but the general plan of the world, both physical and moral, is beneficent. For practical purposes I assume that there is a beneficent God, but I do not forget that there are facts which look in the other direction, and they diminish my confidence in my conclusion as far as they go. It is like a case of conflicting evidence. A decision is practically necessary. Such a decision can be based on part only of the whole case. I will act on the balance of the testimony, but I will do so with a profound sense of my own extreme ignorance, and with extreme willingness to accept further information. This is more or less consciously the modern Protestant view.

Another perfectly honest course is to say, I can make nothing of it. I can form no opinion at all upon the subject, and I will dismiss it from my mind. This is atheism.

A third honest view is that which was taken by Hume. He seems to have believed in a God of a mixed character, corresponding to that mixed world from which his existence was to be inferred. The objection to this view is, that it is of no practical use. The existence or nonexistence of such a being would have no bearing on our conduct.

A fourth way of dealing with the subject is that which is taken by Dr. Newman and by other writers of great note, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, from Pascal down to the author of the Eclipse of Faith (a long and steep descent). The object of those who hold this, invariably is to exalt some form of authority at the expense of reason; and the artifice which they use consists in inferring from difficulties in the evidence, a radical defect in the instrument which weighs the evidence and recognizes the existence of the difficulties. The argument, thrown into the plainest shape, would run somewhat thus: No proposition about God can rightly be called unreasonable, for the evidence as to God’s existence and attributes is obscure, and to some extent conflicting.

To state such an argument is to refute it. I may be perfectly able to see that a proposition is unmeaning, though I may be unable to see what is the inference from a fact. Dr. Newman says, ‘God is a God of love and infinitely good, and he created an immense proportion of mankind to be eternally tormented in hell fire.’ I answer, ‘Either half of the proposition is open to proof; but put together, the two halves make nonsense.’ Dr. Newman replies, ‘You yourself say that God is good, yet he is the author of plague, famine, war, crime, and ignorance.’ I rejoin, ‘I think God is good, though he is the author of these amongst other things. If he was the author of nothing else; if I agreed with you in thinking that “enmities, frauds, cruelties, oppressions, injuries, and excesses” were “almost the constituents of human life,” I should say that God was very far from good; that in so far as he had any moral character at all he was bad. Evil is not my evidence of God’s goodness. As far as it goes it is evidence the other way. I do not draw the inference which it suggests because it is overbalanced by other evidence. That there is in man great evil, of which I can give no account at all, an evil which I have no objection to call original sin, I admit with sorrow; that that evil may go on bearing fruit indefinitely, I do not deny. I can say nothing about it; but if I did not believe that this was the exception, that the general run and current of human life, aye, and of human passion and feeling, was good, I should not believe that God was good. I probably should not believe in God at all. You are to prove that God gave Pius IX. authority to forbid all discussions on all subjects which he does not approve of—that he gave the predecessors of Pius IX. authority to burn or cause to be burnt every one who denied transubstantiation—that he authorized popes and councils to invent, or, as you call it, to develop a series of doctrines, one more monstrous and absurd than the other, and enforce them on the world on pain of torture here and hell-fire hereafter; and what witnesses do you call for the purpose? You call the plague, the small-pox, epilepsy, idiotcy, raging madness; you take me through hospitals, over fields of battle; you tell me how thousands are swallowed alive in earthquakes, how millions perish in plagues; and you go beyond all this, you taunt me with my ignorance and weakness ; you show me that my soul is stained with guilt; that I am infirm of purpose, unsteady in execution; that death will wound my affections and chance thwart my designs; and then you, or some of your allies, for you at least are a gentleman, grin in my face, [See for instance the Eclipse of Faith, and Mr. Greyson’s Letters.] and say, “It was this good God of yours that did all this; can you wonder if after all he damns you and yours for all eternity?” Sometimes you almost tempt me to believe the inference which you ought to draw. You almost make me think that you are right, that there is a bad God as well as a good one—a being who created disease, ‘and war, and sin. It is easy to understand how such a being might have invented the doctrine of transubstantiation, and established the Inquisition to burn men for denying it.’

You do not, however, altogether succeed. Whatever may be the suggestions of constitutional melancholy and haughty dreariness of disposition, no rational man who looks calmly at things and is accustomed to attach meanings to his words can admit that the world is bad in grain. There is a certain temptation to think and say that it is. Such a belief affords an inexhaustible theme for pathetic eloquence and gloomy candour. It enables a melancholy person to indulge to the utmost the sullen pleasure of condemning and secretly and piously despising his neighbours, and their little pains and pleasures; but for all that it is not true. Take the strongest case in favour of Dr. Newman’s views, and the constitution of life presents evidence, on the whole, of a beneficent design. Look, for instance, at the Chinese Empire. There live some three hundred million human creatures who are subject to fearful calamities. A civil war, horrible beyond all conception, has just destroyed some millions of them. Yeh, it was said, ordered 70,000 executions in Canton alone. In some respects, and according to our notions of morality, they are horribly immoral. The lives of many of them are most impure: they practise infanticide, they are great liars, in some respects they are very cruel. This is the black side of things; make as much as you please of it, but do not forget the bright side. For several thousand years an enormous population has lived, on the whole, in peace, and in fair average comfort, under a government which has great merits, for it encourages filial affection, personal industry, and individual talent in the highest degree. Notwithstanding the frightful rebellions which have occasionally raged, and of which we have just seen a specimen, the land, on the whole, has enjoyed a greater degree of peace than any other country in the world. Vice in China seems to be a dreadful thing; but, as in Europe, it is the exception and not the rule; and this is proved, it proof be seriously required, by the very fact that society goes on. The average Chinaman passes most of his time in working for his living, which is a good and virtuous thing; in educating his children, which is a good and virtuous thing; in discharging the duties of a man and citizen, which again is good and virtuous. That he usually succeeds in his efforts is shown by the fact that his country is the most populous in the world; that on the whole, and in some most essential respects, it is singularly well educated ; and that its government, notwithstanding obvious blemishes and faults, is, on the whole, both popular and efficient. Indeed, many very intelligent observers—Mr. Meadows, for instance, and Mr. Fortune, speak very favourably of the average Chinese and their average moral character. Add to this that God made the Chinese,—-that he has seen fit to put the vast majority of them in such a position that they never had the chance of being Christians, and how is it possible to deny that, on the whole, human life in China is rather good than bad; or that it is, on the whole, pleasing to the God who originated it. To deny either of these assertions is to destroy the meaning of such words as good and bad, and to deny the possibility of drawing any inference at all as to God’s will from his acts.

It is instructive to see the nature of the propositions believed by Dr. Newman on the ground that his belief in God breaks down his reason, and compels him to accept what he calls ‘mysteries.’ As he believes in God, he sees no difficulty in believing anything. A being so monstrous must have an equally monstrous organ in the Church; and the lessons which that organ has to teach mankind must again be expected to be equally monstrous. For instance, Dr. Newman sees no difficulty at all in transubstantiation. ‘Why should it not be‘? What is to hinder it? What do I know of substance or matter? Just as much as the greatest philosopher, and that is nothing at all.’ What is this but reckless scepticism taking the form of the wildest superstition? Since such a poor wretch as man cannot attain to truth at all, why should not this be true as well as anything else‘? If there is a God, he and his thoughts and ways must be so utterly unlike this vile dunghill of a world, which he seems to have made in a freak of omnipotent contempt, that what appears nonsense to us is probably the nearest approach to wisdom that such contemptible wretches can reach. No sane man of course could go the full length of such audacious blasphemy as this; but this is what really lies at the bottom of Dr. Newman’s theories. It is what his creed comes to when it is boldly and fully carried out. He himself, with that merciful inconsistency which usually protects men from the full consequences of their own creeds, does interpose between his own mind and such a conclusion some thin films of argument, which no doubt hide from his eyes the gulf over which his arguments are suspended by cobwebs. Thus he does not say boldly of transubstantiation ‘credo quia absurdum,’ he prefers to show that it is not absolutely inconsistent with reason, that it is the sort of thing which might possibly be believed if an infallible guide announced it. He makes this out by reducing the doctrine from being false to being unmeaning. ‘The doctrine,’ he says, ‘is that the substance of the bread becomes the body of Christ; and what do know of substance?’ But if you know nothing of substance, the proposition is unmeaning. It might as well be that ‘the — of the bread,’ or that ‘the square root of the bread,’ becomes the body of Christ; and as these propositions convey no meaning at all to my mind, I can neither believe nor disbelieve them. They are mere idle sounds which I may repeat, and which I may assert to conceal some truth or other; but as to believing the truth which they conceal, I cannot do it, for I do not know what it is. This, however, is a mere subterfuge. What is really and, so to speak, practically meant by the doctrine of transubstantiation is to assert a doctrine which directly contradicts the senses, and is therefore open to Tillotson’s unanswerable argument, that it contradicts the sense of sight by an appeal to the sense of hearing; for certainly the apostles had no other reason for supposing that Christ said ‘This is my body’ than they had for supposing that the bread which he swallowed was not his body. They trusted their ears in the one case, why should they not trust their eyes in the other? Dr. Newman’s sermons abound in glorifications of the doctrine of transubstantiation. ‘Protestants,’ he says, ‘will not believe but what we would gladly get rid of the doctrine of transubstantiation. . . . Shocking indeed, and most profane! a relief to rid ourselves of the notion that Jesus is on our altars!’ How is this consistent with the defence which he sets up for the doctrine in his Apologia? If he knows nothing about substance, how does he know that when the substance of a piece of bread is changed into Christ’s body, that makes any difference in the former relation between Christ's body and the phenomena of the bread? Why should ‘Jesus be on the altar’ any the more after the substance of the bread has been changed into Jesus’s body than he was before ? If Dr. Newman knows where the ‘substance’ of the bread is, he does know something about it; yet he says he knows nothing about it. He cannot have it both ways. If, for controversial purposes, transubstantiation is to be defended as unmeaning, it can have no devotional value. If for devotional purposes, it is to be interpreted to mean something which contradicts the senses, that meaning must be controversially maintained; and then what is to be said to Tillotson?

To a Protestant the strange thing is that Dr. Newman should altogether overlook and pass by what appears to us so clear, namely, that the doctrine of transubstantiation is in reality no more than a piece of clumsy rationalism, a crude attempt to show what Dr. Newman says cannot be shown, namely, ‘how’ the bread is turned into Christ’s body. Dr. Hampden’s account of the matter is what really requires to be answered. After speaking of scholasticism, he says, ‘The subtle speculations about matter and form, substance and accident, were accordingly introduced to establish and perfect the theory of instrumental efficiency ascribed to the rites themselves. . . . If, as is the fact, these theories are mere assumptions in physics, not resting on observation, but distinctions existing only in the mind, and applied to the analysis of external objects, it must appear that the process of transubstantiation is entirely an assumed one, and that it ought to be discarded as an idol at once of religion and of philosophy.’

It is curious to think of the uses to which Dr. Newman’s ‘what do I know of substance ’ might be turned. There is no form of idolatry which it would not justify. Suppose a rude rationalist were to say to some mild Hindoo, bowing down before his image, How can you be such a fool as to worship what you make? The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals and fashioneth it with hammers; the carpenter planeth an ash, he maketh a graven image, and falleth down thereto; he burneth part thereof in the fire, with part thereof he eateth flesh, he roasteth roast and is satisfied; and of the residue thereof he maketh a god, and prayeth to it, and saith, deliver me, for thou art my god. The Hindoo would be ready with his answer, Why not? What is to hinder it? How do I know what that image is or may be? What do I know of substance? As much as the greatest philosopher in the world, which is just nothing at all. I worship not the image, but the god in the image. The phenomena are unchanged, no doubt, but who shall say what true substance is? Why should not God stand in my grove as well as in the sky? And after all, are my mysteries greater than yours? A mystery more or less, what does it matter? Is it a Protestant prejudice to think that Isaiah has on the whole the best of the argument? Yet where is the force of what he says if a belief in the existence of God crushes the reason which accepts it?

So much for Dr. Newman’s fundamental doctrine—his belief in God. Let us now consider the next article of his creed, which is that the human race is implicated in some terrible aboriginal calamity, by which it has been altogether estranged from God. This he puts forward as an explanation of the state of the world, which suggests the existence of an infallible body to set the world to rights in religious matters. It is a singular instance of an explanation which leans things darker than they were before. We believe in a good God. We see before us a world which, though on the whole good, is deeply tinged with evil. ‘Then,’ says Dr. Newman, ‘the human race is implicated in some terrible aboriginal calamity;’ and this, he thinks, accounts for what he sees. How can the sins of the human race account for the state of the animal creation, which is one of the chief ‘mysteries ’ brought forward by Dr. Newman? How, in particular, can it possibly have affected creatures which lived and died and underwent all manner of suffering millions of years before man came upon the earth? How do they account for the ignorance and weakness which, though not sinful themselves, are the causes of far the greater part of our sins? How, again, is the fact—and no doubt it is a fact—that the innocent son suffers from the vices of the guilty parent in any way explained or illustrated by the assertion that mankind is ‘implicated in an aboriginal calamity?’ The fact itself—the possibility that men should be ‘implicated’ in that with which they have no concern—is what requires explanation. It explains and can explain nothing. It is, as far as it goes, evidence (though not conclusive evidence) against the goodness and justice, nay, against the very existence of God. The only inference which it really suggests is that God is not good. It is a mere juggle of words to say that it raises a probability that God would take any special measures in man’s behalf. A person whose character is otherwise kind, does an act which to all appearance is unkind and cruel. I may still, on the whole, think that he nevertheless is kind; but I am certainly less disposed to expect extraordinary benefits from him than I was before. Such a state of things destroys the value of à priori speculations as to what God will or will not do. It prevents me from saying that any course is antecedently probable, and compels me to look exclusively to the facts of the case.

This introduces the consideration of the third and last article of Dr. Newman’s creed, viz., belief in the Church as the infallible organ and agent of God. ‘The one belief,’ he tells us, ‘is the result of the other.’ If, notwithstanding the condition of the world, there is a God, and if the human race is absolutely estranged from him, then it becomes likely that there will be an infallible Church; for ‘a power possessed of infallibility in religious teaching is happily adapted to be a working instrument in the course of human affairs for smiting hard and throwing back the immense power of the aggressive intellect.’ The Roman Catholic Church claims this character; and as I know of no other claimant, taking probability as the guide of my life, I assume that the Roman Catholic Church is infallible. Is this an honest argument, or is it mere advocacy, fitted for nothing but the justification of an existing institution which happens to strike the advocate’s fancy? The remarks already made upon Dr. Newman’s reasons for believing in God apply with redoubled force to his belief in the Church.

When the matter is candidly examined, the antecedent probability on which the whole theory is built will be found to vanish altogether. What course is such a being as the God in whom Dr. Newman believes likely to take with respect to a world altogether estranged from him? The question answers itself. It is utterly impossible to say, à priori, that any course whatever is probable. To look at the facts, and see what, in point of fact, he actually has done, is the only course that can lead to anything that can be called even a moderately satisfactory result. We may, indeed, have recourse, to some extent, to analogy, and so far as that is any guide, it leads to a conclusion opposed to Dr. Newman’s. God is the author of all the relations of life—family relations, political relations, moral relations, physical relations, and it is in reference to these very relations that man's estrangement from God becomes evident. Yet in none of them is there any infallible guide for man; though each deeply affects his value, so to speak, in his Maker’s eyes. What is more important than the family relations? what more fallible than a parent? Every action of our lives is more or less affected by the laws and institutions of our country; yet there is no such thing as an infallible government. Morality is matter of daily application. For once that a man has occasion to think of a theological principle, he has to refer to morals a thousand times; yet, in Dr. Newman’s account of the infallibility of the Church, he does not include the power of setting forth a code of morals. His account of Liguori’s writings seems to imply that a negative approbation at most is given to_ works of casuistry approved by the Church: Lignori is pronounced ‘free from any soever theological censure,’ but it is not said that all his opinions are true. If in morals, in politics, in law, in the family relations, in matters of physical science, it has not pleased God to give men any infallible guide; if in theology no such guidance was given to any of them for several thousand years; if it is given at present only to a minority even of the Christian world; and if it is given to them with such insufficient evidence that large numbers of perfectly honest inquirers‘ deny that it ever was given at all, how can it be said that, given the existence of God and the world, there is an à priori probability that God will give men an infallible guide to religious truth?

That God might do that, as he might do anything else, is no doubt conceivable, and it is possible to imagine an amount of evidence which would compel us to believe that in point of fact he had done it; but to say that the antecedent probability that he would do it is such that slight evidence would be enough to show that he had done it, is to talk at random. It may, perhaps, be said that if the divine mission of Christ is admitted, the probability in question is increased; but this is not so. We can as little Judge beforehand of the course which God incarnate would take in reference to the world, as of the course which God would take apart from such an event.  Whether he would establish such a society as Dr. Newman contents for; whether he would confer upon men great benefits, the exact nature and extent of which time and experience would unfold; whether he would cause books to be written containing an explanation of his message; whether these books would be infallible or not, and, if not, what would be the degree of their infallibility; whether they would be ambiguous and incomplete ; and what would be the limits of their ambiguity and incompleteness, are questions on which no man’s antecedent opinion is worth anything at all. There is but one true course, and that is to look at the facts, and see what in point of fact God actually did. Look at history, and see whether there is such a body as an infallible church; look at criticism, and say whether there is such a thing as an infallible book. If history and criticism say no, there is not, it is idle to spin arguments to show that there must be. If these matters are not questions of fact to be tried by the reason like any others, they are questions which cannot be decided by any assignable process whatever.

Even the earliest facts in Christian history are altogether unfavourable to Dr. Newman’s view. We know as a fact that the apostles constantly misunderstood Christ when he was on earth, that they disputed with each other after his crucifixion, that they were for a length of time under a mistaken notion that the world was about to come to an end almost immediately. Two of them at least —St. James and St. Paul-held opinions which, if not irreconcilable, are to all appearance contradictory, upon a most important theological question. That they were closely united in affection, in sentiment, and in the practice of devotion; that they set the heathen world a wonderful example, there is no doubt. That they had any complete or definite system of theology at all appears highly improbable.

So much for the antecedent probability of an infallible guide to religious truth. Let us look for a moment at the object for which the infallible guide, according to Dr. Newman, is to exist, and at the degree in which, also according to Dr. Newman, that end has been attained. The object is to set to rights that awful calamity by which men are estranged from their Maker. The Church, we are told, teaches that ‘human nature is to be extricated, pacified, and restored.’ ‘She has it in charge to rescue human nature from its misery.’ This is the object of its existence, and especially of that gift of infallibility with which it has been endowed, and as a mere incident to which the Pope enjoys the right of absolute sovereignty over every effort of the human mind. What then, in fact, has infallibility done‘? Has it curbed and thrown back the reason? Dr. Newman himself asks and answers the question. ‘What have been its great works? All of them in the distinct province of theology, to put down Arianism, Eutychianism, Pelagianism, Manichaeism, Lutheranism, Jansenism: such is the broad result of its action in the past.’ In other words, God Almighty being utterly estranged from mankind, became incarnate in order to rescue them from their misery, by establishing an infallible authority for the purpose of developing and maintaining the Athanasian Creed. This is gravely set forth by a man who is guided in life by probability. The doctrine of the Trinity, and some doctrine or other about grace, are after all the salt of the earth. The Church has not saved the world. The greater part of mankind, probably even the greater part of Catholic mankind, will be eternally damned. Eighteen hundred and fifty years after the establishment of the religion, one of its priests has to admit that the best thing that can be done with the world is to destroy it. He cries in agony to Christ for pity’s sake to put an end to this frightful slaughter-pen of souls, and to ‘shut up the devil in his own hell,’ in company with the greater part of mankind. Indirectly, the Church has helped in this result, for it helped to civilize the world. Civilization brought money and knowledge and heresy, and they brought constantly increasing damnation. The Church tried to put down heresy with fire and sword. After awful fighting and bloodshed, the Church was defeated in its desperate struggle to maintain orthodoxy by force. Heretics grew up and multiplied in all directions, and the power of the clergy diminished. The ages of faith passed away; an age of money and sensuality, worshipping force and power, ensued. Infallibility got rudely hustled, refuted, pushed on one side, and the devil reaped and still reaps larger and larger harvests of souls: still infallibility has triumphed, for it has established the Athanasian Creed within its own borders. The world at large may have left it on one side, but its formal official creed is neither Arian nor Eutychian.

There is no relation between the means employed and the end contemplated, nor has that end been in fact produced. Suppose it is established on infallible authority that all the doctrines sanctioned by the Church of Rome are absolutely true, how will this reconcile man to his maker? What divides them is sin, not ignorance of theological propositions; what must reconcile them is the removal of sin, not the removal of theological ignorance. The evils of life arise from the fact that men are weak and wicked, that they know what is right, but will not do it; the passions and not the intellect are the real causes of sin. The Roman Catholic Church may be absolutely infallible, and its doctrines perfectly true, but it would be absurd to assert that, on the whole, Roman Catholics are better than Protestants. If a larger proportion go to heaven (which no one can affirm) they get there by an arbitrary miracle, not by moral superiority. Dr. Newman himself admits that he prefers the English to the Italian character, and, with all the scandals of its vast population, London is, probably, in proportion, less immoral than Paris and Vienna. France in the eighteenth century was hideously wicked and licentious. Yet the Church had then greater power in France than at present it has in Rome.

But Dr. Newman would say no Christian is entitled to use this argument, for it is an argument not only against the Church, but against Christ. If the Church has failed, so has Christ. The argument, no doubt, does go this length as against those who suppose that the object of Christ’s life and death was to announce to men any one definite set of dogmas, and to subject them to the law of some definite spiritual society; for it is certain that no one definite set of dogmas does prevail which has regenerated human society, and that no one society does exist within which all is holiness and virtue, whilst without it all is sin. But it is altogether untrue that Christianity has failed, if it is believed to be a beneficent influence, which, under different circumstances, takes different forms, and animates different opinions and a variety of institutions. In point of fact, this is what Jesus Christ has done for the world, whatever Dr. Newman may think he ought to have done. The effects of his life and of the institutions which do, as a fact, represent and maintain his doctrines, as they conceive them, are indefinite and unsystematic. If there had been no Christ there would have been no Luther and no Calvin. The Protestants, the Greeks, the Armenians, are, as a fact, results of what happened in Judaea eighteen hundred years ago. Moreover, all the Christian bodies collectively have conferred immense benefits on the whole human race—benefits so great that it is far more likely that God should have become incarnate for the sake of originating the whole of them than that he should have become incarnate for the sake of establishing a stiff machine which has not carried out the only purpose which could make its existence conceivable. Allow that Christianity is indefinite, that it is a wide influence, indistinctly understood, for the glory of God and the good of men, and it has, to a considerable extent, redeemed its promise, though no doubt it has been subdued to what it worked in, and has been stained by human passion and crime. Chain it to any one set of dogmas, to any single institution, and it has failed ignominiously.

In this view of the matter, every doctrine will have its share of truth, every institution its own particular merits; and that the Roman Catholic view of things, considered as one of many imperfect conceptions of truth and virtue, and the Roman Catholic Church, considered as one of many imperfect institutions for its protection and diffusion, have had immense merits, and have done great services, and that even now they have good points peculiar to themselves, no rational man can deny.

The following passage from Dr. Milman’s History of Christianity puts the contrast between the Protestant and the Papist view of Christianity as forcibly as it can be put:—
‘What distinctness of conception, what precision of language, may be indispensable to true faith; what part of the ancient dogmatic system may be allowed silently to fall into disuse, as at least superfluous, and as beyond the proper range of human thought and human language; how far the sacred records may, without real peril to their truth, be subjected to closer investigation; to what wider interpretation, especially of the Semitic portion, those records may submit, and wisely submit, inorder to harmonize them with the irrefutable conclusions of science; how far the Eastern veil of allegory which hangs over their truth may be lifted or torn away to show their unshadowed essence; how far the poetic vehicle through which truth is conveyed may be gently severed from the truth;—all this must be left to the future historian of our religion. As it is my own confident belief that the words of Christ, and his words alone (the primal, indefeasible truths of Christianity), shall not pass away; so I cannot presume to say that men may not attain to a clearer, at the same time more full and comprehensive and balanced sense of those words, than has as yet been generally received in the Christian world. As all else is transient and mutable, these only eternal and universal, assuredly, whatever light may be thrown on the mental constitution of man, even on the constitution of nature, and the laws which govern the world, will be concentred so as to give a more penetrating vision of those undying truths. Teutonic Christianity (and this seems to be its mission and privilege), however nearly in its more perfect form it may already have approximated, may approximate still more closely to the absolute and perfect faith of Christ; it may discover and establish the sublime unison of religion and reason; keep in tone the triple-chorded harmony of faith, holiness, and charity; assert its own full freedom, know the bounds of that freedom, respect the freedom of others. Christianity may yet have to exercise a far wider, even if more silent and untraceable influence, through its primary, all-penetrating, all-pervading principles, on the civilization of mankind.’
The specific peculiarities of Dr. Newman’s mind are nowhere so clearly displayed as in the use which he makes of his à priori probabilities, when he has got them. He thinks it likely that there will be an infallible Church, finds a body claiming, with some sort of plausibility, to be one, admits the claim, and when he has once admitted it, never falters again. No evidence that can be given induces him to reconsider the question. He immediately turns his mind to the consideration of some way of getting out of his difficulty. He views the adverse evidence, not as a possible guide to an unwelcome truth, but as an objection which, by some means or other, is to be answered; and he certainly does show inexhaustible ingenuity in finding answers. He is like a thoroughgoing advocate, who never will abandon his cause. If the eye-witnesses of his client’s guilt agree, it is a proof that they are in a conspiracy to destroy him. If they differ, who can believe these contradictions? If he has a good character, can it be supposed that such a man should steal or forge. If he has a notoriously bad one, his previous misfortunes are the reason why this false charge is trumped up against him. Did he act like an innocent man? his innocence is the natural inference. Did he act like a guilty one?  no real criminal would have been so silly as to expose himself to suspicion. In short, till the jury have found their verdict, and the court has passed its sentence, the thorough-bred advocate sticks immoveably to his text. His client’s innocence is the one fixed point in a world of doubt and supplies the key to every part of the evidence. The ‘pull devil pull baker’ system on which English justice is administered, may justify this at the bar; but Dr. Newman’s voluntary advocacy goes beyond that of a professional advocate—he justifies it on principle. In a sermon called ‘Faith and Doubt,’ [Discourses to Mixed Congregations.—Discourse Xl. Mr. Kingsley would have found something much more like a justification for his charges in this sermon than in the one which he actually quoted. It is never fair to sum up an elaborate discourse in a sentence, but it is hardly an unfair summary of the passages referred to in the text to say that they teach that truth as truth is not always and under all circumstances to be preferred to falsehood.] he maintains at length that when the reason is once satisfied that the Catholic Church is a teacher sent from God, it can never doubt again. It must abjure for ever the possibility of doubt even if further information is obtained. The reason may be satisfied by any process or none at all. Dr. Newman mentions in his Apologia one case where the decisive reason was a love for architecture; but no matter what the reason may be, the assent once given is irrevocable. ‘A man must simply believe that the Church is the work of God. . . . Faith implies a confidence in a man’s mind that the thing believed is really true; but if it is true, it never can be false.’ That the believer’s confidence may be misplaced, is a contingency which he does not contemplate. On the contrary, he describes, as so extravagant a position that it refutes itself, the opinion that it is a fault ever to make up our mind once for all on any religious subject whatever, and that however sacred a doctrine may be, and however evident to us (i.e., at a given point of time), we ought always to reserve to ourselves the liberty of doubting about it. He supports this by saying that faith leads to love; and he asks, ‘How, does it stand with a loving trust better than with faith to anticipate the possibility of doubting or denying the great mercies in which one is rejoicing? Take an instance: what would you think of a friend whom you loved who could bargain that in spite of his present trust in you he might be allowed some day to doubt you‘? What would you think of a friend who when a thought came into his mind that you were a knave, did not drive it away from him, but considered that he had an evident right to indulge it? Would you think that your friend trifled with truth if he shrank from it, or would you call him cruel or miserable if he did not?’ Clinging in this way, with a passionate embrace, to the Church, Dr. Newman gives to every fact whatever a turn favourable to its pretensions. If he is unable to do so, he can always take refuge in the reflection that a thousand difficulties do not make one doubt, that there are insoluble objections to everything, and that a mystery more or less does not much matter. We fully believe that in this there is no conscious dishonesty, but there is infatuation, and the proceeding itself is dishonest in principle, though an honest but infatuated man may be seduced by it.

Let us consider Dr. Newman’s principle a little before giving illustrations of the way in which he applies it. It is certainly true that to anticipate the possibility of future doubt at the moment of prayer, for instance, would be injurious to piety; and at the moment of marriage to anticipate and dwell upon the possibility that one’s wife might subsequently commit adultery, would be extremely wrong. No one should allow his mind to dwell upon such thoughts without a grave cause; but if there is any truth in religion, if there is any solidity in married love, no man who deserves the name will turn away from such thoughts when they are pressed upon him by evidence of a certain degree of weight. If it were not so, religion and love would be mere brute instincts like a dog’s subjection to its master. Who would wish that his wife should give herself up to him in such a way that rather than doubt his fidelity she would disbelieve her own eyesight. She in such a case would be a slave and an idiot, and he would be fitter for the society of slaves and idiots than for that of a free woman. Dr. Newman no doubt has high notions of friendship; but would he wish his friends of the Oratory to be so devoted to him that if he were really to commit some disgraceful act, they would absolutely refuse even to listen to the clearest evidence in proof of it, and continue to trust him just as they do now? Surely they would rightly be the objects of his contempt. He would view them as credulous dupes.

That which he thinks an extravagant position confuting itself, is the very A B C of reasonable men. It is a fault, and as great a fault as any intellectual fault can be, ever to make up one’s mind once for all upon any subject whatever, religious or otherwise. It is the first of intellectual duties always to reserve for ourselves a liberty of doubting on every question whatever, however firm may be our present belief, however sacred the matter to which it applies; and Dr. Newman’s denial of this proves to demonstration that whatever may be his views on veracity, he has yet to learn what Protestants mean by the virtue of truthfulness.

Of course no one asserts that it is every one’s duty at all times to keep his mind in a perpetual state of doubt upon all subjects. For every practical purpose, religious or other, it is necessary to have convictions upon which we are prepared to act; and a man may well say, ‘I have examined such and such a subject as well as I can, and I think I should do no good and should not improve my chance of attaining the truth by reopening the question. I will therefore act upon my opinion, and for practical purposes, assume its truth.’ But to go beyond this, and say, ‘Heaven and earth may pass away, but my opinion shall not pass away. I may see that the grounds on which I embraced it were utterly wrong—I may discover facts of which I never heard—I may find that the religion which I chose utterly disappoints me—I may find that its priests are hypocrites, its miracles frauds, its assertions contradictory to reason and fact. But never mind, I have once believed that the Church, is from God, and I will believe it to the end of the chapter, though an angel from heaven should assert the contrary.’—To say this is to say what is intelligible in the mouth of a man who does not believe in truth at all, for to the utter sceptic all propositions are equally absurd; -but in the mouth of any one else, such language is a mere outburst of frantic gallantry—the hurrah of the sailor who nails his colours to the mast while the ship is sinking under his feet—the yell of defiance with which the soldier receives the thrust which pierces his heart.

It is by avowing the very principle which Dr. Newman thinks absurd, that the firmest certainty which we know of is gained. The conclusions of physical science are undoubtedly true; that the force of gravity varies inversely as the square root of the distance, is a proposition which every one who understands it believes with absolute and unhesitating faith. Those who put the certainty of God’s existence at the highest point cannot say that it is more certain than a scientific conclusion. Dr. Newman certainly does not; for speaking of probabilities, he says that their combinations may create a certitude which ‘might equal in measure and strength the certitude which was created by the strictest scientific demonstration.’ Now the great security and fortification of such certitudes is that men reserve the right of doubting them, should further evidence arise, and believe in them only as at present advised, and subject to further information. Those who wish to combine peace of mind with a proper regard for the truth, must be content to hold their religious belief by the same tenure; and those who, as Dr. Newman does, found it upon probabilities, cannot, without glaring inconsistency, refuse to do so. Probabilities may no doubt create a certitude at a given time, but they can never by any legitimate process create a further certitude that the first certitude shall never be disturbed.

Having thus described Dr. Newman’s principle on this matter, let us examine a few of its applications. Space compels us to limit ourselves to a very few. Their general effect is always the same. They are all cases in which he draws from given facts an unnatural, though perhaps not an impossible, conclusion, because he starts with believing the infallibility and supremacy of Rome. We have selected three illustrations. The number might be indefinitely increased.

1. Dr. Newman’s Theory of the Greek Church.—In his eleventh Lecture on Anglican Difficulties, Dr. Newman addresses himself to persons of his own way of thinking, and tries to bring them over to the Church of Rome. He assumes that they have come to believe, in the main, that the Church of Rome is God’s agent; but that they feel special difficulties which he seeks to remove. His Apologia shows what are the grounds on which his own general belief in the Church of Rome rests, and we have tried to show their value. This lecture, therefore, will enable us to see how, in the light of his antecedent conviction, he looks upon the Greek Church. It is difficult to state his view shortly, as it falls into many ramifications; but this is the substance of it:—People ask how the Church of Rome can be Catholic, when more than half of Christendom refuse to subject themselves to it. These bodies are not merely recently formed Protestant communities, which may plausibly be called heretics; but there is the Greek Church, ‘whose apostolical descent is unquestionable, and whose faith almost unquestioned.’ This community had, thirty years ago, perhaps a third, perhaps a fourth, of the number of disciples of the Roman communion; at any rate, forty or fifty millions of souls living under various governments, and belonging to different races. He might have added that they strenuously deny that they ever were subject to Rome at all. How are you to get over this? Dr. Newman says:—‘ There are ways of accounting for it sufficient to quiet the imagination, and to lead us to acquiesce in the difficulty, whatever it is, on the assumption which I claim to make, that the Church of Rome and Catholicism are synonymous terms.’ He then shows what these means are. ‘ It is but one instance of a great phenomenon which has ever been on earth, that truth should be opposed by some pretence, which is of a character to deceive men at first sight, and to confuse the evidence of what alone is divine and trustworthy.’ Satan deceived Adam and Eve, Jannes and Jambres worked miracles against Moses; Mount Gerizim was set up in opposition to the Temple. Then Mahometanism ‘perplexes the evidence of Christianity,’—and so for that matter does Judaism. If all this means anything at all, it means that the fact that there is evidence against a given proposition raises a sort of presumption in its favour. This is an excellent specimen of the ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ mode of arguing. All the evidence is for me. Can you deny my claim? 'There is strong evidence against me. There always is strong evidence against the truth. Dr. Newman goes on as to the Church itself: ‘From the first the Church was but one communion among many, which bore the name of Christian; some of them more learned, and others affecting a greater strictness than herself, till at length her note of Catholicity was for a while gathered up, and fulfilled simply in the name of Catholic, rather than was a property visibly peculiar to herself, and none but her.’ These obscure expressions seem to mean that at one time the name Catholic was merely the appellation of one sect amongst many, as Roman Catholic is now, and not the appropriate distinction of any specific property. Then there are the Nestorians: ‘The tenet on which these religionists separated from the see of Rome is traceable to Antioch, the very birthplace of the Christian name, and taken up and maintained by Churches which are
amongst the oldest in Christendom.’ In the fifth century this communion propagated itself ‘from Cyprus to China. It was the Christianity of Bactrians, Huns, Medes, and Indians of the coast of Malabar and Ceylon on the south, and of Tartary on the north. This ecclesiastical dominion lasted for eight centuries or more.’ If the Greek Church is an objection to the Catholicity of Rome, why not the Nestorians? yet the Nestorians were heretics; and that shows that ‘large, organized, flourishing, imposing communions, which strike the imagination as necessary portions of the heritage of Christ, may nevertheless, in fact, be implicated in some heresy which, in the judgment of reason, invalidates their claim’—an observation which is of great importance to every one who is disposed to attach importance to the claims of the Church of Rome. ‘Why,’ he adds, ‘do you not bring against us the vast unreclaimed populations of paganism, or the political power of the British Colonial Empire, in proof that we are not a Catholic Church?’ (Perhaps because they thought that after his own admissions it would be carrying coals to Newcastle.) All these facts are but illustrations of the awful wickedness of private judgment. They prove nothing against a fact. ‘If God has made it a duty to submit to the supreme authority of Rome, and of this I assume there is fair proof,’—then we might expect phenomena of this sort. ‘All depends on the fact of the supremacy of Rome; I assume this fact; I admit the contrary fact of the Arian, Nestorian, and the Greek communions; and strong in the one, I feel no difficulty in the other.’ A Protestant would be inclined to say that Rome is Catholic and supreme is a theory. The existence of the Arian, Nestorian, and Greek communions is a fact; and as the fact and the theory are inconsistent, the theory must be wrong. Dr. Newman seems to think that a theory can be made into a fact by calling it one. He then observes, at great length, upon the considerations by which {the imagination may be reconciled to the apparent cruelty of refusing Church membership to such vast multitudes; he actually puts it on the ground that after all there is not so much difference between Catholic and heretic, so that it does a man no great harm to call him a heretic. First, he says, ‘the faith of large populations is apt to be that sort of habitual belief which persons possess in consequence of having heard things said in this or that way from their childhood, being thoroughly familiar with them, and never having had difficulty suggested to them from without or within.’ This he calls material, as opposed to formal faith. Such a state of things in the Greek Church would account for its existence without admitting its divine origin; whether it might prove the same as to the Church of Rome, he does not stop to ask. Besides, such bodies have their providential uses. Both Greek and Protestant Churches possess, in a mutilated scattered shape, a certain amount of divine grace and faith. ‘The blessing is inestimable to England so far as among us the sacrament of baptism is validly administered to any portion of the population. In Greece, where a far greater attention is paid to ritual exactness, the whole population may be considered regenerate. Half the children born into the world pass from a schismatical Church to heaven,’ &c. Then there is a great deal of invincible ignorance amongst heretics and schismatics, whereby they may be saved; on the whole, open sinners apart, ‘there is but one set of persons who inspire the Catholic with special anxiety ’—the unlucky Anglicans who turned back.

It is perhaps possible to take this view, but it is surely far easier to infer from it all, first, that Rome has no intelligible pretence to Catholicily, and that there neither is nor ever was any such thing as Dr. Newman understands by the word; and secondly, that it matters very little whether there is such a thing or not, inasmuch as we have as good—or rather as bad a chance of getting to heaven without it as with it. The remarkable point of the sermon is that it illustrates its author’s method of proceeding. After hearing a certain amount of evidence he feels a certitude, takes his resolution, and never changes his opinion though twenty witnesses may contradict him. ‘I admit the contrary fact; and strong in the one, I feel no difficulty in the other.’ One great advantage of this system is that it enables anybody to believe anything. The Arian, the Nestorian, the Greek, and the unhappy Anglican himself, as far as we can see, might each say the same: ‘I am the true Church, and perhaps you are too. I admit the contrary fact; but strong in the one, I do not care for the other.’ Imagine this principle applied to a court of justice. A man is accused of robbery. The person robbed swears with confidence that the prisoner robbed him, and there is some other evidence to confirm his opinion. Dr. Newman feels a certitude. He has fair evidence of the man's guilt. Probability is the guide of life, and he settles in his own mind that the accused is guilty. Afterwards, ten unimpeachable witnesses swear that at the time the prisoner was a hundred miles off. Dr. Newman does not care: why should not a man be in two places at once? What do we know of time and space? as much as the greatest philosophers, which is just nothing at all. All depends on the prisoner’s guilt. Of that there is fair evidence. To doubt it would be to embark on a sea of scepticism. Disbelieve an eye-witness, and why should you ever believe anything? Believing that the man is guilty, why object to the evidence of his innocence? A thousand difficulties do not make one doubt. Ingenious ways may be suggested of quieting the imagination. You may think it cruel to punish an innocent man; but oh, why not? Is it not the course of nature that the innocent should suffer for the guilty. If he did not do it some one else did, and he no doubt has done or will do other things. After all, is there so much difference between guilt and innocence? Are we not all sinners, and may not fruitful lessons of loving patience be drawn from occasional iniquities perpetrated by the harsh laws of this wicked world? My fellow-jurors, does it stand with a loving trust to disbelieve this respectable witness? Let us do our duty by convicting, and perhaps the Home Office after all may find out that he was innocent or in a state of invincible ignorance; and then how pleased he will be to be pardoned, and what glory will be reflected on the uncovenanted mercies of the Crown! On the whole, I assume his guilt, which I have a right to do, for it is sworn to, and strong in that, I feel no difficulty in admitting the contrary fact as well. Where serious immediate consequences depend on men’s decisions, they do not talk this sort of nonsense. It is only where people cannot be brought to book that they can afford to do so. A man who cannot be refuted by experience on this side of the grave, can talk what nonsense he pleases; but nonsense is nonsense whether religion or anything else is the subject.

2. Dr. Newman’s view of the Roman Catholic manners—Dr. Newman describes as follows an objection [Lecture IX. Anglican Difficulties] taken by Protestants to the type of character which Popery produces:
‘The reproach of Catholicism is, not what it does not do, so much as what it does; that its teaching and its training do produce a certain very definite character on a nation and on individuals; and that its character, so far from being too religious or too spiritual, is just the reverse, very like the world’s; that religion is a sacred, awful, mysterious, solemn matter; that it should be approached, with fear, and named, as it were, sotto voce; whereas Catholics, whether in the north or in the south, in the middle ages or in modern times, exhibit the combined and contrary faults of profaneness and superstition. There is a bold, shallow, hard, indelicate way among them of speaking of even points of faith, which is, to use studiously mild language, utterly out of taste, and indescribably offensive to any person of ordinary refinement. They are rude when they should be reverent, jocose when they should be grave, and loquacious when they should be silent. The most sacred feelings, the most august doctrines, are glibly enunciated, in the shape of some short and smart theological formula; purgatory, hell, and the evil spirit, are a sort of household words upon their tongue; the most solemn duties, such as confession, or saying office, whether as spoken or as performed, have a businesslike air and a mechanical action about them, quite inconsistent with their real nature. Religion is made both free and easy, and yet formal. Superstition and false miracles are at once preached, assented to, and laughed at, till one really does not know what is believed and what is not, or whether anything is believed at all. The saints are lauded yet affronted. Take medieval England or France, or modern Belgium or Italy, it is all the same; you have your boy-bishop at Salisbury, your lord of misrule at Rheims, and at Sens your feast of asses. Whether in the south now, or in the north formerly, you have the excesses of your carnival. Legends, such as that of St. Dunstan’s fight with the author of evil at Glastonbury, are popular in Germany, in Spain, in Scotland, and in Italy; while in Naples or in Seville your populations rise in periodical fury against the celestial patrons whom they ordinarily worship. These are but single instances of a wide-spread and momentous phenomenon, to which you ought not to shut your eyes, and to which we can never be reconciled.
. . . . .
‘Now I grant to you, that to no national differences can be attributed a character of religion so specific and peculiar; it is too uniform, too universal, to be ascribed to anything short of the genius of Catholicism itself; that is, its principles and influence acting upon human nature, such as it is everywhere found. Such must be the fact, and I accept it; I repeat in general terms what you have said; but I would add to it, and turn a fact into a general, a philosophical truth. I say then, that such is the very phenomenon which must necessarily result from a revelation of divine truth falling upon the human mind in its existing state of ignorance and moral feebleness.’
He then proceeds, with great ingenuity and fertility of illustration, to describe the contrasts between a Protestant and Catholic population. The difference is that the Catholics have faith and the Protestants none. The Catholic’s faith, which is a mysterious supernatural gift, follows him everywhere, and sometimes overcomes him. It leads to pious frauds, like the imitation of Christ’s wounds by the Ecstatica, or the sale of false relics. The very bandits pray to the Virgin for success. The woman who steals the pix bows to the host. Their ‘strange oaths—God’s heart and God’s eyes and God’s wounds and God’s blood,’ show how faith in the unseen world has filtered into the coarsest minds (if Dr. Newman heard a Protestant cabman say to his neighbour—‘God damn your eyes, or damn your soul to hell’ would he infer that a belief in future damnation and miraculous interpositions had filtered into the very dregs of Protestant society?) and their ‘boisterous merriment runs upon the great invisible subjects which possess their imagination.’ ‘If they sing and jest, the Madonna, the Bambino, or St. Peter, or some other saint is introduced, not from irreverence, but because these are the ideas which absorb them.’

This it must be confessed is highly ingenious advocacy. If a man is perfectly certain on other grounds that the Church of Rome is what Dr. Newman says it is, he may perhaps believe it, though in that case one does not see why he should trouble himself about the matter; but to a Protestant objector it is no argument at all, as the slightest reflection will show. The argument is that this mass of levity, superstition, and profanity ‘is the very phenomenon which must necessarily result from a revelation of divine truth falling upon the human mind in its existing state of ignorance and moral feebleness.’ Some readers may be so attracted by the novelty and ingenuity of the paradox that they may not at once apprehend its transparent flimsiness. The fallacy lies in the words, ‘divine truth.’ The effect is produced not by the truth of the creed, but by the means adopted to propagate it. There can be no sort of doubt that the establishment of systems of human fraud and nonsense have produced the very same effects again and again. That Popery has contrived—by the worship of saints and angels, by establishing striking ceremonies, by appealing in every conceivable way to the imagination of the masses of the population—t0 make a deep impression on their imaginations, is no doubt true. But paganism did just the same, and Dr. Newman’s description of the spirit of Roman Catholic countries might stand for a description of the temper of pagan Rome. What can be more emphatically pagan than the ‘bold, shallow, hard, indelicate way of speaking even of points of faith?’ or than the ‘superstition and false miracles at once preached, assented to, and laughed at, till one really does not know what is believed and what is not, or whether anything is believed at all?’ This might stand for a description of the religious tone of Horace and Ovid. How far did the one believe in the Fasti, and the other in Jupiter? They hardly knew themselves. They scoffed at the gods and trembled at thunder in a clear sky.
Parcus deorum cultor et infrequens
Insanientis dum sapientiae
Consultus erro, mox retrorsum
Vela dare atque iterare cursus
Cogor relictos. Namque Diespiter
Igni corusco nubila dividens
Plerumque, per purum tonantes
Egit equos, &c.
The atheistical Lucretius opens his poem with an invocation to Venus, and Catullus ends the celebrated poem on Atys with the lines—
Dea magma Dea Cybele dea domina Dindymi,
Procul a mea tuus sit furor omnis hera demo,
Alios age incitatos, alios age rabidos.
Did Catullus really believe in Cybele? Was Horace certain that Canidia could not charm the moon out of the sky? The ordinary oaths of Greece and Rome were all religious: ‘νη Δια’ and ‘mehercle,’ occur in every page of classical dialogues. Nay, instead of cold appeals to decency or to local acts of parliament, the awful imprecation, ‘Duodecim Deos in se iratos habeat ’ protected the cleanliness of the streets of Rome from nuisances. The analogy between popular Romanism and paganism is one of the clearest arguments against the whole system. The brigand who prays to his little particular Virgin for a good prey, and whips her if he does not get one, is just as gross an idolator as his forefather, who thought that his own little lar was bound in honour to bless his vineyard; and there is just as much and just as little evidence of supernatural faith in the one case as in the other. Would Dr. Newman himself say that the passionate fury of the Athenians at the mutilation of the Hermes, or the holy horror of the Sepoys at the greased cartridges, were proofs of a supernatural faith which our cold Protestant minds are utterly unable to appreciate? He ought in consistency to do so.

We must, however, go a little further. The admission made by Dr. Newman is important to Protestants. Is not the temper of mind, which he describes exactly that which must be produced by the process of shuffling off individual responsibility on to a guide supposed to be infallible? Is it not the temper rather of wayward children half-satisfied with their nurses and half-rebellious against them, than that of serious men and women? Is it not, in a word, just the kind of bad moral effect which Protestants have always charged Popery with producing? Lastly, can any temper of mind be less like that of the primitive Christians? Which most resembles them, the gay, coarse, half-cynical, half-credulous superstition of a Catholic population, or the austerity of the severer sects of Protestants? The accusation against the early Christians was that they were unsocial atheists, that they withdrew from the common usages of life, and acknowledged no visible or outward representations of the Deity. This is just what Dr. Newman says in other words of the Protestants.

3. Dr. Newman’s view of the relation of Romanism to the intellect. In the later part of his Apologia, Dr. Newman more than once insists upon the different excuses which may be made for infallibility, and shows that it is not opposed to the intellect. Indeed he goes so far as to say that reason could not get on without it. Infallibility is called into action by reason, which, on the other hand, ‘thrives and is joyous, with a tough elastic strength, under the terrible blows of the divinely fashioned weapon.’ The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, the result of eight hundred years of searchings of heart, has just given the human intellect a crushing blow. Did it ever occur to Dr. Newman to inquire in good faith whether any human creature, who can be accepted as in any sense a representative of the ‘aggressive intellect’ of the present century, cares one straw for this terrible blow of the divinely-fashioned weapon. In the days of Hildebrand, Innocent, and Boniface, infallibility meant something. The Council of Constance might fairly claim to be a sort of Christian parliament; and even in the sixteenth century the view which the Popes took of theological dogmas was of great importance; but in the present day, whatever hysterical excitement may be got up amongst women, there are probably not five hundred men of sense in the whole world to whom the decision of this momentous question either way would be a matter of appreciable importance. The points at which the intellect is impinging on Romanism are perfectly plain. History explains its growth, physical science flatly contradicts much of its teaching, moral and political speculation refute much of its morality. Let the divinely-fashioned weapon ‘smite hard and throw back’ attacks like these, and something may be said for it. Let it treat men of science and philosophy as it treated their predecessors from the days of Abelard downwards. With all the will in the world, the Pope, nowadays, could as soon fly as persecute. But in the face of such an attack, to make little remarks about the Immaculate Conception, for which the aggressive intellect does not care one straw, is as if a man whose house was on fire should send for the glazier to mend a cracked pane in the garret window. This, however, is rather an example of the narrow way in which Dr. Newman looks at these matters than an illustration of the peculiar kind of sophistry which distinguishes him. His speculations on the subject in question give, however, a good illustration of this. He is considering the question whether the belief in an infallible authority destroys the independence of the mind; and he says it does not, because Rome once acted the part of a sort of moderator in the schools. ‘There never was a time when the intellect of the educated class was more active, or rather more restless, than in the middle ages.’ Questions arose in schools, passed to universities, and after they had been discussed in all directions, ‘authority is called upon to pronounce a decision which has already been arrived at by reason.’ And he further says that he ‘embraces as a truth the objection’ that Rome ‘has originated nothing and has only served as a sort of remora, or break, in the development of doctrine.’

In this way of treating the question there is a double obliquity of mental view. In the first place, Dr. Newman overlooks the fact that he had ascribed to Rome absolute sovereignty over the human mind in all its departments, and that according to this account of the matter, the very highest of all its functions—the function of infallibly declaring the truth of doctrines—is reduced to the undignified occupation of kicking people whom the human mind has already knocked down. Augustine or Bonaventura or Salmeron discovers the truth and overthrows the enemy, upon which infallibility comes and stamps upon him. ‘Joab sent messengers to David, and said I have fought against Rabbah and taken the city of waters; now, therefore,-gather the rest of the people together and encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city, and it be called by my name.’ The fly which sits upon the pole is the real cause of the motion of the coach, and it is monstrous to say that such an arrangement encourages idleness; for look how the horses strain at the traces, and how the guard and the passengers put their shoulders to the wheel.

In the next place, Dr. Newman altogether fails to deal with what he must know to be the real point of the attack upon the system which he defends. No one asserts that the belief in the infallibility of Rome never could, under any circumstances whatever, be reconciled with independence of mind. What is asserted is, that it is inconsistent with independence of mind to believe in it now. Berenger may not have forfeited the independence of his mind by,’ submitting to Gregory VII.; but I should forfeit the independence of mine if I submitted to Pius IX. One reason is, that in the face of all modern improvements in philosophy, the Church of Rome will and must persist in taking a purely scholastic view of theology, after the scholastic philosophy has broken down and been exploded in all other departments of thought. No one doubts that there was great activity of thought in the schools of the middle ages, and at that time Rome might with some plausibility act as a supreme moderator. Romish theology is full of scholastic ingenuity: indeed, great parts of it, like the doctrine of transubstantiation, are nothing else than clumsy and old fashioned rationalism; but the scholastic method, which certainly was neither revealed nor inspired, has by common consent been given up on all other subjects as radically wrong. Nobody now-a-days attempts to teach physical science, or law, or logic, scholastically; and if theology is a real science—that is, if it is the description of real facts external to us, and not dependent on our phraseology, why not teach it according to the methods which have proved so useful and fruitful in other things? The reason why is plain enough. The doctrine of infallibility prevents it. It prevents the Church of Rome from recasting its creed, and translating it into reasonable and coherent language. Having adopted and patronized a radically false philosophy, and having incorporated it with what it calls an infallible theology, Rome cannot recede. The result is, that the Roman Catholic creed has utterly lost its hold over the educated minds of Europe. Put aside a few passionate reactionists like Dr. Newman himself, and, whatever may have been the case in the middle ages, it is impossible to deny that the whole set of the human intellect in modern times has been opposed to Rome. For nearly two hundred years hardly one [Bossuet is a sort of exception; but let any one compare the Discours sur I’Histoire Universelle with the Essai sur les Moeurs and with the later discoveries of modern research, and he will see the utter impossibility of conciliating reason and Romanism in these days] man of first-rate intellect has been a Roman Catholic in the sense in which the great schoolmen were Roman Catholics—easily, naturally, from sincere conviction, and because the Roman Catholic creed really did appear to them to be the highest embodiment of truth. Dr. Newman, at all events, cannot deny this, for his case is, that the tendency of reason in the present day is to Atheism. He says:—‘How sorrowful, in the view of religion, even taken in its most elementary, most attenuated form, is the spectacle presented to us by the educated intellect of England, France, and Germany.’ This anti-Romish, or as he calls it, Atheistic tendency of the intellect, maybe traced back for centuries. It would be no difficult matter to show how, from the days of Wycliffe, to go no further, the human intellect cracked the moulds in which the mediaeval Church had cast it, and at last fairly stepped out of its shackles and trampled on them. To say, in answer to all this, Rome ruled the schools in the middle ages, is like vindicating the beauty of a decrepid old woman, on the ground that she was once a pretty girl.

Our space forbids us to give further illustrations of the strange sophistry into which his passionate enthusiasm for Rome, and his passionate horror for liberalism, have driven Dr. Newman. One or two isolated remarks may be added on the topics which his curious book suggests, and which we may perhaps discuss more fully hereafter.

First, as to the charge of moral dishonesty which Dr. Newman supposed to be brought against him, it ought to be observed, that though there is no foundation whatever for it, there is a foundation for a criticism which bears a resemblance to it, which would be borne out by some of the passages which Mr. Kingsley quotes, and which Dr. Newman himself would probably not deny. This criticism is, that Dr. Newman's general conception of morality makes less of lying than the Protestant view of the subject, inasmuch as it attaches far less importance to all the masculine and active virtues, and the special infamy of lying is that it is unmanly and cowardly. Dr. Newman’s favourite distinction between nature and grace, and the virtues which come by nature and by grace, is the true source of his different estimate of this and other sins. In the volumes of sermons to which we have referred, he delights to contrast the good Protestant with the good Catholic; the eminently respectable Englishman, utterly material and fundamentally selfish, and the eminently unrespectable Irishman, whose rags cover a heart warmed by divine faith and love. As a typical illustration, we may take a few lines from his Apologia. ‘Mr. Kingsley has said that I was demented if I believed, and unprincipled if I did not believe, in my statement, that a lazy, ragged, filthy, story-telling beggar-woman, if chaste, sober, cheerful, and religious, had a prospect of heaven which was absolutely closed to an accomplished statesman, or lawyer, or noble, be he ever so just, upright, generous, honourable, and conscientious, unless he had also some portion of the divine Christian grace; yet I should have thought myself defended from criticism by the words which our Lord said to the chief priests—“the publicans and harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.”’ This certainly favours the notion that truth, honour, justice, conscience, and the like, are mere worldly virtues, the whitewash of the sepulchre; and that chastity and religious faith are spiritual virtues of altogether a different sort of importance. It is the fundamental tenet of Protestantism, though it is not to be found in creeds or text-books, that the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof; that all virtues stand on the same footing; that courage, justice, honour, uprightness, and generosity are as good evidence of Christian grace as chastity or a taste for the practices of religion; and that Dr. Newman’s contrast involves an impossible case, as the statesman could no more be just and upright without the grace of God than the beggar-woman could be chaste. Protestants, moreover, would say that as a fact, honourable, upright, and conscientious statesmen, nobles, and lawyers, were usually more chaste and more religious than lazy, ragged, lying, beggars. As to the scriptural quotation, it is singularly unlucky. Dr. Newman’s beggar-woman is preferred to the statesman because she is chaste. Were the harlots, who were preferred to the chief-priests, remarkable for chastity? And as to the chief - priests themselves, where did Dr. Newman learn that they were ‘just, upright, generous, honourable, and conscientious?’ We know what was said of the class to which they belonged. ‘Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers.’ Were these men of honour‘? ‘ Ye pay tithe of mint, annise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.’  Were these men just and upright? ‘Ye make clean the outside of the cup and the platter, but within are full of extortion and excess.’  Were these men generous and conscientious?  Look, on the other hand, at the summary of human duty in the 15th Psalm, which says not a word of the practices of religion or, as it happens, of chastity: ‘Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle ? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.’ The man after God’s own heart did not altogether share in Dr. Newman’s estimate of men who were just, honourable, generous, upright, and conscientious.

The constant glorification of the ascetic life as the highest form of human goodness, the preference of virginity over marriage, the admiration of voluntary mortifications, and the like, do unquestionably tend to depreciate the domestic and civic virtues, to place them on a lower level, and to attach a less degree of criminality to offences against them than the Protestant theories on those subjects. The same causes appear to us to make Dr. Newman very unjust to his fellow-countrymen at large. His notion of English society appears to be that it is selfish, worldly, and godless. It never seems to occur to him that men can honestly believe that God sent them into the world expressly for the purpose of doing the business of the world; that the objects of the statesman, the lawyer, the publican serves his customers, he is discharging a divinely-imposed duty, and playing his part — and an essential part, too in a divine scheme, as much as a priest administering the sacrament to a dying man. More or less consciously this sort of theory has a deep influence on English society. Much of that gravity and pertinacious energy, which to Dr. Newman seems to be mere systematic greediness, springs from it; and one of the strongest moral objections which Englishmen feel to popery arises from their conviction that it does not do due honour to the common occupations, the common duties, the common objects of life. They think that a system which draws so harsh a line between the Church and the world, and which practically subordinates the Church to the clergy, must and does give the world a low notion of itself and its duties; that it prevents the lazy, ragged, filthy, lying beggar from seeing and feeling that God Almighty meant the world in which she lives to be busy, well dressed, clean, truthful, independent; and that unless she can show her faith by works of that kind, there must be something altogether wrong and rotten about her state of mind, even if she should be chaste, which she is very likely not to be — something as wrong and rotten as there would be in the mind of the accomplished statesman, who, though just and upright, was, unchaste. They think, also, that the manners of Roman Catholic countries, as described by Dr. Newman, supplies a most significant illustration of the practical effect of a system which treats people like children, whilst its doctors invent elaborate excuses for their deficiency in the virtues of men.

Another point, on which a few words must be said, bears upon a strange indication which the Apologia contains of a sort of turn towards Liberalism on the part of its author. The progress of physical science and its wonderful discoveries have of course attracted Dr. Newman’s attention. He seems, on the whole, to take a liberal view on the subject. ‘It would ill become me, as it‘ I were afraid of truth of any kind, to blame those who pursue secular facts, by means of the reason which God has given them, to their logical conclusions.’ He has been asked by various persons, Catholic and Protestant, to undertake the task of reconciling science and revelation; but ‘the highest Catholic authority was against the attempt, . . . and I interpret recent acts of that authority. . .as tying the hands of a controversialist suchas I should be.’ The‘ divinely-fashioned weapon is not to be brought to bear upon history and geology just yet. The Pope prefers hitting people of his own size, like the impugners of the Immaculate Conception; and for the present thinks it best that nothing should be said about science. Indeed the Church at present rules the reason much as Dogberry and Verges wished the watch to ‘comprehend all vagrom men. You are to bid any man stand, in the princes name. But how if he will not stand? Why then take no note of him, but let him go; and, presently call the rest of the watch together and thank God you are rid of a knave. If he will not stand when he is bidden he is none of the prince’s subjects.’ Dr. Newman is glad to be spared the conflict. It seems, from what he says, as if he would have taken the side of the liberal party amongst the Roman Catholics if he had written on the subject—as if he would have been found on the side of the Home and Foreign Review, and against Cardinal Wiseman’s manifesto.

We should like if possible to part on friendly terms with Dr. Newman.  It is impossible to read his books without liking him.  Much as we dislike some of his doctrines, there is nothing cruel, nothing bitter, nothing unmanly in what he writes.  His mind seems to dart at its opinions in a strange fantastic way, which sets at defiance all common notions of reasoning; but its operations suggest rather a desperate honesty run away with by a strange, sophisticated ingenuity, than anything discreditable.  Where he supposes that truth leads, there he will go; but his notions of truth are positively bewildering.  His opinions appear to us to be dangerous sophistry; but the man himself is better than his opinions, and his writings wring even from a hostile critic a degree of regard and respect, which are not the less sincere because he is not likely (if indeed he ever reads these pages) to care for them, or perhaps to believe that they exist.  Perhaps the best thing about him is his inconsistency.  He ought by all rules to be a persecutor; but he says, not doubt with perfect truth, that a Spanish auto da  would have been the death of him, and that he could never have borne even to cut off a Puritan’s ears.  So his wonderful sermon on the Greek Church ends mercifully.  The mercy stultifies the theory to which it is appended; but it is mercy, and that is better than any quantity of logical subtlety.

Fraser’s Magazine, September 1864.

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