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Again, religious investigation sometimes is conducted on the principle, that it is a duty to follow and speak the truth;' which really means that it is no duty to fear error, or to consider what is safest, or to shrink from scattering doubts, or to regard the responsibility of misleading; and thus it terminates in heresy or infidelity, without any blame to religious investigation in itself.—P. 71.
We turn the leaf, and find these words :
Hence, too, men may pass from infidelity to Rome, and from Rome to infidelity, from a conviction in both courses that there is no tangible intellectual position between the two.
There is no intermediate position, then, for a man of understanding, between the whole uncompromising inflexible theology of the Council of Trent and utter Infidelity; the full creed of Pius IV. and the stern rejection of that of the Apostles; we must deify' the Virgin Mary or renounce Christ. Here are the Catechisms of Trent—there the Système de la Nature of Holbach—and the Leben Jesu of Strauss—or the works of those who accuse Strauss of some weak and lingering orthodoxy. Take your choice-cast in your lot!! This is the stern alternative to the intellect of an intellectual age. But on what principle does Mr. Newman proclaim this appalling declaration in the ears of the intellectual Protestants of England-of the descendants and religious heirs of Hooker, and Barrow, and Taylor ?—in the ears of all Europe, where we will be bold to say that among acquiescing Roman Catholics
-among the philosophical writers who passively receive the general doctrines of their Church-there is anything but an absolute unreasoning faith in Rome. On what principle but that it is a duty to follow and speak the truth?' And on this principle—which at one moment he espouses and at the next indignantly rejects—by his own showing what must be the issue with the great mass of European intellect? What does history say? That where there has not been an intervening Protestantism, or, if that word be so obnoxious, some intermediate system of less unreasoning belief, a wide-spread and utter unbelief has been the sure result. What was the case in France ?—what among the upper orders in Spain ?—what in young Italy? We speak plainly: if there be no Christianity but that of the fourteenth century-if there be no intellectual position but on the shifting quicksand of this Theory of Developments—Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.' If this be or become the creed of millions, where rests the appalling responsibility ?
We turn to the application of the Second Test. We read at
Judaism did but develop, while it bore in mind its imperfection, and its subordination to a coming Messiah; and it became corrupt as soon and in proportion as it found itself self-sufficient, and rejected the Gospel
We would suggest that Judaism had developed itself to some considerable extent before the publication of the Gospel. There was a certain system of opinions, called, as we may deem more proper, Pharisaism or Rabbinism-a development of Judaism which, we are inclined to think, with the help of Mr. Newman's ingenuity, would bear every one of Mr. Newman's tests. It was of slow but continuous growth. It maintained within it the great idea of Judaism, the unity of God. It had an extraordinary power of assimilation, for it had moulded into itself perhaps early Palestinian, certainly Babylonian · tenets—probably early Egyptian, certainly Alexandrian notions. It boasted of its early anticipation—it traced itself up to the Seventy Elders in the time of Moses—it rested on strange mutilated or mysticised quotations from the Law and the Prophets. The regular affiliation of its doctrines shows its logical sequence. It called itself the hedge of the law-a definition we recommend for Preservative Additions. As to its chronic continuance, it is the Rabbinism of the present day. Do we want further illustrations ? It had built up, out of a few suggestive hints in the books of the Scripture, an
hierarchy, and something approaching to a worship, of angels. It furnishes singularly enough in the later Apocryphal Books the text usually alleged in defence of Purgatory. It had its • Fathers, who were dignified by the name, and held the authority of Masters, and if they did not absolutely claim, were invested with something like, infallibility. Its temporal sovereignty had at least been at times superseded by a sacerdotal supremacy, a papal high priest. It had a most prolific and systematic theology, afterwards embodied in the Mischna; somewhat later it had something of a Golden Legend in its Talmud. It had finally its mystic interpretation of Scripture, so rich as to form two schools. And yet we know who it was that commanded his disciples to beware of those who taught the traditions of men for the commandments of God; who warned them to call no man master; who, in the most awful tones which His benignant voice ever assumed, repeatedly denounced woe against the Lawyers and Pharisees, the teachers of developed Judaism: whose whole system of instruction might seem a most appalling admonition against binding unnecessary burthens upon the minds and the consciences of
This second test is illustrated by what we presume that we are to consider the continuous use of the Mystical Interpretation ;' of this we have said as much as our space will allow. But the third illustration of this, as well as of the third test, the Supremacy of Faith, absolutely demands some, we fear too brief, examination. This, according to Mr. Newman, is the exclusive distinction of the Roman Catholic Church-on the other hand it has ever been the heretical principle to prefer Reason to Faith. This is a strange assertion against a form of Christianity, of which the vital principle (whether right or wrong) is Justification by Faith; a principle carried to the very height of fanaticism in many of the Protestant bodies. Moreover, this objection is advanced in a book more essentially and intrinsically rationalising than any which we have read, excepting only the extreme of Germanism. It is strange,
indeed, how extremes may meet! We would willingly refrain from the parallel, which forces itself upon us, of this Theory of Developments and the · Entwickelungs-theorie' (literally, Development-theory) of the famous Leben Jesu.' The · Leben Jesu’evolves or develops from the subjective Idea in the mind of man, with equal subtlety, with a sort of kindred calmness of style, and erudition as laborious, Christianity itself, the life of the Saviour, the whole of the New Testament. Strauss may thus appear to begin higher up than Mr. Newman. But Mr. Newman, by annulling the authority-as he inevitably does by impugning the early and universal acceptance-of the written word—by resting the divine origin of Christianity on tradition alone, or on something more dubious than tradition-abandons the whole field to the mythic expositor. Still further : admit, with Mr. Newman, so much which is clearly and almost avowedly mythic into Christianity—and ingenuity like his own will claim free scope to resolve the whole into a myth. Be this as it may, Mr. Newman's is unquestionably a book full of abstruse and subtle metaphysics, addressed exclusively to the Reason; a book avowedly written to justify a departure from one form of faith (once held in the sternest and most uncompromising severity) to another form of the faith ; from faith in the doctrines of the Church of England to faith in the doctrines of the Church of Rome.
The question necessarily arises, What is the test of the Supremacy of Faith? Is it the number of articles in the Creed, or the more intense and unquestioning conviction of the more important of these articles? Is it the quantity, not the quality, of the things believed ? Is it the blind passivity or the strenuous activity of the believing mind? Is the rude Southern peasant, who fancies that the eyes in the image of his favourite saint move in their sockets, or that the Virgin extends her arms and smiles upon him; whose belief keeps pace with the legendary invention of his priest or of his neighbourhood; or the controversialist who writes himself up into a belief that he believes the most palpable fictions; is either of
these, therefore, a more faithful Christian than he who believes a narrower creed, that which he derives from the Scripture alone, with as intense fervour? We are constantly urged to look back with despairing envy to what have been called the
ages of faith. Now we venture to assert that the principle of faith was as strong in Luther (we take him merely as an example) as in any Pope that ever sat in the Vatican. His creed may have been true or false, perfect or imperfect, but in its defence he was as vehement, passionate, and even fanatical as Dominic or Loyola. Luther was as contemptuous of human reason as the most imperious dogmatist, or the most impassioned mystic. Mr. Carlyle shall be heard in favour of the depth and reality of Cromwell's faith. What test will the enthusiasm, the fiery zeal, the undaunted and unwearied energy of one of these believers endure, which will not be borne by the other? “I will fight for my faith, so said the Crusaderand so said the soldier of Gustavus Adolphus. “I will suffer for my faith,' so said the Franciscan missionary in the desert, and so said the Primitive Quaker in the stocks, and the Cameronian on the hills. "I will die for my faith,' so said Campian on the rack, and Ridley and Latimer at the stake. Nay, 'I will persecute for the faith,' said the Grand Inquisitor on his tribunal, and Laud in the Star Chamber. I will burn the heretic, so said the Inquisitor of Thoulouse as he heaped hundreds into one furnace; and so, if he be but an Arian, must I, said the more timid Cranmer; and who will not, if he dare to deny the Lord's divinity ?' spake Calvin, and looked in stern satisfaction on the pile of Servetus.
Let us turn from the crimes to the follies of faith. Is there no line between faith and credulity? Is the faith which embraces the Golden Legend as well as the Gospel, therefore, superior to simple faith in the Gospel ? Look at that strange, eloquent, learned, rhapsodical book, the Christliche Mystik’ of Görres, where the most subtle Rationalism is wedded by the imagination to the most inconceivable credulity; where we defy the reader to tell us where physical causes end, and where