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hand, between Christian doctrine, that is, divine revelation, and Christian theology and discipline ; and, on the other, between what the Church teaches as of divine revelation, and the speculations of individual fathers and doctors. Take the whole history of the Christian world, so called, from the time of our blessed Lord down to the present moment, including the sects as well as the Church, and considering all that bas been going on with all who have borne the Christian name, and in every department of life, there is no doubt but such developments
and processes as Mr. Newman describes have to some extent taken place. But he seems to have studied his theory chiefly in the history of the sects, where it is unquestionably applicable, and to have concluded that the Church in its life in the world must be governed by a law analogous to the one by which they are governed, and that his theory may apply to her as well as to them. He forgets that she sprung into existence full grown, and armed at all points, as Minerva from the brain of Jupiter ; and that she is withdrawn from the ordinary law of human systems and institutions by her supernatural origin, nature, character, and protection. If he had left out the Church, and entitled his book, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, when withdrawn from the Authority and Supervision of the Church, he would have written, with slight modifications, a great and valuable book. It would then have been a sort of natural history of sectarism, and been substantially true. But applying his theory to the Church, and thus subjecting her to the law which presides over all human systems and institutions, he has, unintentionally, struck at her divine and supernatural character. The Church has no natural history, for she is not in the order of nature, but of grace. Or, if he had simply distinguished between Christian doctrine, in which there is no development, which is always and everywhere the same, and in which not the least shadow of a variation can be admitted, and confined his remarks to theology as a human science deduced from supernatural principles, to the variations of external discipline and worship, and to the greater or less predominance of this or that Christian principle in the practice of individual Christians in different ages of the Church, much that he has said might be accepted, and no very grave error-would be taught.
From what we have said it is easy to infer that we do not think Mr. Newman judged wisely in sending this book forth to the public. He did well, on his conversion, to offer it to the
proper authorities for revision ; but he must pardon us for saying that we think he would also have done well, if, when they declined to revise, he had declined to publish. Until we know enough of Catholicity to know when and where to doubt the accuracy of our knowledge, it is a great hardship to be obliged to go to press on our own responsibility. For our own sakes, as well as for the sake of others, we should take every precaution in our power against error. There is error enough in the world, without our being in haste to augment the quantity,
The Church is not of yesterday, nor are we who live now the first enlightened defenders she has had. The best method of defence has hardly been reserved for us to discover; and perhaps it is a sufficient reason for distrusting any method, that it is new, that it is a discovery of our own.
The Church is not here to follow the spirit of the age, but to control and direct it, often to struggle against it. They do her the greatest disservice who seek to disown her glorious past, and to modify her as far as possible, so as to adapt her to prevailing modes of thought and feeling. It is her zealous but mistaken friends, who, guided by a shortsighted policy, and taking counsel of the world around them, seek, as they express it, to liberalize her, to bring her more into harmony with the spirit of the age, from whom we, as good Catholics, should always pray, Libera nos, Domine! The best service we can render the Church, in our age and country, is to surrender ourselves to her, all that we have and are, and pray Almighty God that we may always have the grace to do her bidding. She is the representative of God on earth; and we can never do wrong, if we do what, and only what, she bids us. O, it is blessed to feel that we have not to take care of the Church, but that she is able and willing to take care of us !
Most of us who have been brought up Protestants, and have had some literary reputation, when we become converts, in the fervor of the moment, have an almost irresistible impulse to relate our experience, and detail the process by which we have been translated from death unto life. Nothing seems easier to us than to bridge over the gulf which divides the Protestant world from the Catholic, and open an easy passageway for those whom we have reluctantly left behind. But, alas ! few of us can detail the process of our conversion, if we try. We are led by a way we know not, by a hand we see not. “ Spiritus ubi vult spirat; et vocem ejus audis, sed nescis unde veniat, aut quo vadat : sic est omnis, qui natus est ex Spiritu.” St. John üi. 8. The most we can say is, “ This one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, I now see.” We believe before we reason, and are often carried onward not only without reasoning, but even in spite of it. The reasoning we should subsequently give would be as likely to mislead others as to aid them. The grounds of our faith are catholic, not individual; and the less use we make of what is individual or peculiar to ourselves in defending it, the better. We did not convert ourselves ; God did it, and his be the praise and the glory.
But we say not this for Mr. Newman's sake. He is no longer outside of the Church, seeking to find reasons to justify him in asking admission into her communion. His doubts and misgivings, his advances and his retreats, have given way to firm faith and filial confidence. He does not now, as in his book, believe the Church because by private reason he has convinced himself of the truth of her teachings ; but he believes what she teaches because he believes her, and he believes her because she has received the formal commission from Almighty God to teach all nations to observe whatsoever Christ commanded his A postles, and because he has received, through divine grace, the virtue of faith. He has broken with the past, and sees that his present is not a continuation of his former life ; for he now understands that Catholicity is not Protestantism developed. His present and his past are separated by a gulf which grace alone can bridge over; and he needs not that we tell him he can more effectually serve those he has left behind by his prayers than by his hypotheses, however ingenious or elaborate. We take our leave of him with the assurance, that, if we have criticized his book somewhat severely, it has been with no improper feeling towards him ; and that, when he shall be disposed to address the public again, and from his new position, he will find us among the most willing, the most eager, and the most respectful of his listeners. This elaborate Essay belongs to his past life ; let it go with all that Protestantism he abjured before he was permitted to put on the livery of Christ. It belongs not to his Catholic life, and is only accidentally connected with it, either in his own mind, or in that of others. The Essay be will write hereafter, out of the fulness of his Catholic heart, will breathe a different tone, and fetch another echo. It will refresh the Catholic soul, strengthen his faith, confirm his hope, and warm his charity. A noble career opens before him. May God give him grace to run it with success!
Art. IV. - Margaret, a Tale of the Real and Ideal, Blight
and Bloom, including Sketches of a Place not before described, called Mons Christi. Boston: Jordan & Wiley. 1845. 12mo. pp. 460.
We have no intention of reviewing at length the book the title of which we have just quoted. Indeed, we have read it only by proxy. We have heard it spoken of in certain literary circles as a remarkable production, almost as one of the wonders of the age.
The Protestant lady who read it for us tells us that it is a weak and silly book, unnatural in its scenes and characters, coarse and vulgar in its language and details, wild and visionary in its speculations; and, judging from the portions here and there which we actually have read, and from the source whence it emanates, we can hardly run any risk in indorsing our Protestant friend's criticism.' The author is a man not deficient in natural gifts; he has respectable attainments; and makes, we believe, a tolerably successful minister of the latest form of Protestantism with which we chance to be acquainted; though, since we have not been introduced to any new form for several months, it must not be inferred from the fact that we are acquainted with no later form, that none later exists.
So far as we have ascertained the character of this book, it is intended to be the vehicle of certain crude speculations on religion, theology, philosophy, morals, society, education, and matters and things in general. The Mons Christi stands for the human heart, and Christ himself is our higher or instinctive nature, and if we but listen to our own natures, we shall at once learn, love, and obey all that our Blessed Redeemer teaches. Hence, Margaret, a poor, neglected child, who has received no instruction, who knows not even the name of her Maker, nor that of her Saviour, who, in fact, has grown up in the most brutish ignorance, is represented as possessing in herself all the elements of the most perfect Christian character, and as knowing by heart all the essential principles of Christian faith and morals. The author seems also to have written his work, in part at least, for the purpose of instructing our instructers as to the true method of education. He appears to adopt a very simple and a very pleasant theory on the subject, - one which cannot fail to commend itself to our young folks. Love is the great teacher; and the true method of education is for the pupil VOL. III. NO. III.
to fall in love with the tutor, or the tutor with the pupil, and it is perfected when the falling in love is mutual. Whence it follows, that it is a great mistake to suppose it desirable or even proper
that tutor and pupil should both be of the same sex. This would be to reverse the natural order, since the sexes were evidently intended for each other. This method, we suppose, should be called “LEARNING MADE EASY, OR NATURE DISPLAYED,” since it would enable us to dispense with school-rooms, prefects, text-books, study, and the birch, and to fall back on our natural instincts. These two points of doctrine indicate the genus, if not the species, of the book, and show that it must be classed under the general head of Transcendentalism. If we could allow ourselves to go deeper into the work and to dwell longer on its licentiousness and blasphemy, we probably might determine its species as well as its genus. But this must suffice; and when we add that the author seems to comprise in himself several species at once, besides the whole genus humbuggery, we may dismiss the book, with sincere pity for him who wrote it, and a real prayer for his speedy restoration to the simple genus humanity, and for his conversion, through grace, to that Christianity which was given to man from above, and not, spider-like, spun out of his own bowels.
Yet, bad and disgusting, false and blasphemous, as this book really is, bating a few of its details, it is a book which no Protestant, as a Protestant, has a right to censure. Many Protestants affect great contempt of Transcendentalism, and horror at its extravagance and blasphemy; but they have no right to
Transcendentalism is a much more serious affair than they would have us believe. It is not a simple
- Yankee notion,” confined to a few isolated individuals in a little corner of New England, as some of our Southern friends imagine, but is in fact the dominant error of our times, is as rise in one section of our common country as in another; and, in principle, at least, is to be met with in every popular Anti-Catholic writer of the day, whether German, French, English, or American. It is, and has been from the first, the fundamental heresy of the whole Protestant world; for, at bottom, it is nothing but the fundamental principle of the Protestant Reformation itself, and without assuming it, there is no conceivable principle on which it is possible to justify the Reformers in their separation from the Catholic Church. The Protestant who refuses to accept it, with all its legitimate consequences, however frightful or absurd they may be, condemns himself and his whole party.