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1. But when we have said all that can be justly, or even generously, said in praise of the ecclesiastico-religious effects of this movement, have we said enough ? England had some claim on the men who led it, and so had the Christian Religion. England had done something for the men, had borne, nursed, reared, educated them, had endowed them with her best learning, the wealth of her choicest teachers, the noble inheritance of her traditions and aspirations ; the Christian Religion had quickened and cultivated them, had inspired them with high faith and lofty ideals, had given them a splendid opportunity for service and equal ability to serve. The land and the faith that had so entreated, had a right to expect a correspondent measure of help. They stood at the breaking of a day that dawned with abundant promise of new life, yet with the certainty of all the difficulties new life ever encounters, and must overcome or die. The century of hard rationalism was ended ; its Deism, Free Thought, Encyclopædism, Materialized Religion, and Secularized Church, had perished in revolution ; in it, and through it, the spirit of the new age had been born. In philosophy a constructive, though critical, Transcendentalism replaced the subtle and barren Empiricism that in the hands of sceptic Hume had confessed it knew no whence and could find no whither. In literature the genius of Goethe bad created an ideal of culture that seemed higher and completer than the ideal of religion. Byron had assailed the old moral and social conventionalisms, magnifying independence of them into, if not the chief virtue, yet the best note of the nobler manhood. Shelley had given clear and musical voice to the passion for freedom and hatred of the hoary despotisms that had hindered the progress and marred the happiness of man. Wordsworth had made nature radiant with the light of indwelling spirit; Scott had evolved from the past visions of chivalry and nobleness to rebuke, to cheer and to inspire the present ; Coleridge had made the speculative reason and the creative imagination become assisters ministrant to faith; everywhere a brighter, more genial, and reasonable spirit possessed man. In politics the old dynastic and despotic ambitions had fallen before the uprisen peoples; they were possessed by a new sense of brotherhood, a passion for ordered freedom, for justice, for the reign of the law that would spoil oppression, secure to each his rights, and require from all their duties. In such an hour of regeneration and the activity of the regenerated, Religion could not be allowed to escape change; the day of humdrum respectability was over, it was not enough that the Church should stand by the throne, indifferent to the character of him who filled it; it must feel the new spirit, and either open its heart to it or by shutting the door against it seal its own doom. And when the new spirit knocked at the door of the English Church her then most potent and active sons knew
English Choli, And when it or by shutti,
not what better thing to do than to evoke an ancient ecclesiastical ideal to answer and withstand it. And it was out of this appeal to a tried and vanquished past against a living present, that the AngloCatholic movement was born. It was less the child of a great love than of a great hate, hatred of what its spokesman and founder called “Liberalism.” What he so called he never understood; his hatred was too absolute to allow him to get near enough to see it as it was. He was a poet, and had the poet's genius and passion; where he did not love he could not understand; what he hated he held in his imagination, and took a sort of Dantesque pleasure in making it hideous enough to justify his hate. This abhorred “Liberalism” might have had a threatening front to mole-eyed prerogative and privilege, but the eye of the spiritual ought to have read its heart, seen the probabilities of danger, but the infinite possibilities of good—its hatred of wrong, its love of justice, its desire for sweeter manners, purer laws, its purpose to create a wealthier, happier and freer state. And the spirit that so discerned would have helped by bringing Religion into “Liberalism” to make “Liberalism "religious. But John Henry Newman saw nothing of the enthusiasm of righteousness and humanity that was in its heart; saw only its superficial antagonisms, to political injustice, to ecclesiastical privilege, to the venerable but mischievous, because richly endowed, inutilities of Church and State, and so he faced it as if it were the very demon of revolution, the fraudulent disguise of Atheism and impiety. To counteract it he did not fall back on the Christianity of Christ—that was too closely allied to the thing he hated; but he tried to recall the lost ideal of an authoritative Church, the teacher, interpreter and embodiment of Religion. His bulwark against “Liberalism” was authority; the organized illiberalism of a body ecclesiastic. The ghost of a mediaeval Church was evoked to exorcise the resurgent spirit of Christ in man. That was a most calamitous choice, the loss of a golden opportunity for the highest service. Newman, though not the most gifted religious teacher of the century, had in him most of the quickening spirit, the power to search the conscience, to rouse the heart, to fire the imagination, to move the will. He was without the speculative genius of Coleridge, the swift insight that could read the heart of a mystery, the mental heroism that could explore every part of an opposed system, the chivalry that could entreat it nobly, the synthetic mind that could resist the fascination of false antitheses and antagomisms, the constructive intellect that could bring into order and unity elements that seemed to hasty and shallow thinkers chaotic and hostile; but he had, in a far more eminent degree, the qualities that teach and persuade men, a concentration of purpose, an intensity, even as it were a singleness, of conviction, a moral passion, a prophetic fervour, which yet clothed itself in the most graceful speech, a strength and skill of spiritual inquisition or analysis, enabling him to reach the inmost recesses of the heart aud probe the sensitive secrets of the conscience; a humour now grim and fierce, now playful and tender; an imagination that often dominated, yet always served his intellect, and was most restrained when most indulged, its pictures but making his meaning more clear and distinct. He had not the large charity of Maurice, the power to read the system through the man and make the man illustrate the system, finding the good in both; indeed, especially in his early days, he could not differ without disliking, dissent from opinions rose almost into personal contempt or even hate ; nor had he the massive and human-hearted manhood of Arnold, who ever loved persons and humanity more than systems and things, while of Newman it may be said, he valued persons only as they were the representatives of systems and typical of things; nor had he Whately's sober integrity of mind, the English sagacity that liked to look things straight in the face and see them as they were ; but he had as none of these had, as no man in this century has had, command over the English people through his command over the English tongue, the enthusiasm of a reformer who believed in the absolute sufficiency of the reform he was conducting; who lived, thought, spoke like a man who had a mission, and whose mission it was to reclaim the people of England for their Church and their God. And the gift he had he could not exercise without moving men ; they rallied to him or recoiled from him; his speech made disciples, agitated his Church, filled it with strong hopes and strange fears, raised high expectations at Rome, and made England resound with the noise and confusion of long silent controversies. When we look into those disturbed times, the thing that most strikes and abides with us is, the presence and personality of the man that moved them.
2. We may represent the matter then thus :—the formative period of Newman's Life, 1826–1833, and the decade that followed, may be described as a period during which men were waiting for a relevant constructive interpretation of the Religion of Christ. The revolutionary forces were spent, constructive forces were at work in every region of thought and life, and they needed but the electric touch of a great religious ideal to be unified and made ministrant to Religion. The old monarchical and oligarchical theories having perished, the Philosophical Radicals were seeking, with but poor success, a new basis for, and new methods in, politics, that they might determine what was the chief good, and how it could, to the happiness of the greatest number, be best promoted and secured. John Stuart Mill had just escaped from the dogmatic Empiricism of his father, had been spiritually awakened by the poetry of Wordsworth and the philosophy of Coleridge, and was looking about for a faith by which to order his life. Charles Darwin was just beginning to watch the methods of nature and to learn how to interpret her, and while Newman was making verses and gathering impulses in the Mediterranean, he was away in the Beagle exploring many seas and lands. In the “loneliest nook in Britain,” under the shadow of hills and within sight of moorlands consecrated by the heroism and martyrdoms of his covenanting forefathers, Thomas Carlyle was doing his strenuous best to wed the thoughts that had come to him from German literature and philosophy, with the substance and spirit of his ancestral faith, the effort taking visible shape in the egoistic idealism of his Sartor Resartus, and leading him to look into man and his recent history with the eyes that were to see in the French Revolution the tragedy of retribution and righteousness. Transcendental Idealism was in full career in Germany; Hegel and Schleiermacher were lecturing in Berlin, the one applying his philosophy to the explication of Religion and history, the other his criticism to the documents, facts, and doctrines of the Christian faith; while in Tübingen, Strauss was combining and developing the two, with results that were to break upon the alarmed world in a certain Leben Jesu. In France, Saint Simon had developed his Nouveau Christianisme, pleading that Religion might be more an energy directing all “social forces towards the moral and physical amelioration of the class which is at once the most numerous and the most poor,” and Comte had begun the Cours de Philosophie Positive, explaining how the theological and metaphysical states had been passed, and the final and positive state had come, and what were the new ideas of Society, of God, and of Religion on which it was to rest. Everywhere the struggle was towards positive ideas, constructive ideals, such an interpretation of man’s nature, history, and universe, as would tend to a more perfect organization of society, and a better ordering of life. It was indeed a splendid moment for an Apologist, built after the manner of Augustine, with his insight into the present and the possibilities of the future, with his belief in God and truth, the infinite adaptability and comprehensiveness, imperial authority and pervasive spirit of Religion. He would have seized the new ideas, translated them into their Christian equivalents, realizing, elevating, vivifying, organizing them by the act of translation. He would have found that every attempt to find law and order in Nature, to discover method and progress in creation, without leap or gap, violence or interference, whether with Hegel by the evolution of the transcendental idea, or, what was indeed only the empirical side of the other, with Darwin, by the gradation and blending of genera and species, was no attempt to expel God from Nature, but only to make Nature more perfectly express Him, and be more wholly His. He would have welcomed every endeavour to read anew the past of man, to find law in it, the affinities of thought and custom and belief, as evidence that men were at last awakening to the truth that the race was a vast whole, a mighty organism, whose parts lived in and through each other, and were bound to live each for the other and all for the whole; and an organism which lived and grew not simply by intercourse and conflict with its environment, but under the reign and for the ends of a universal Reason, an omnipresent Providence. He would have seen in the ambition for freedom, for more and better distributed wealth, for a more perfect state, a society where the hated inequalities of the past had ceased, and a true human brotherhood was realized, an ambition inspired by Christ, the direct fruit of His humane and beneficent spirit; and he would have hailed the love, which was even becoming a worship of humanity, as proof that the first principles of “the kingdom of God” were at last beginning to be understood. And this relation to the new thought would have determined his apology. It would not have evoked the authority of a Church that, whatever its claims, had proved its impotence by the inexorable process of history in the indubitable language of fact, but it would have said :“This awakening is of God, and must be accepted as His, not dealt with as the devil's. These new ideas of order in Nature and history, of social justice and human rights, those ambitionsLiberalism' so ill-expresses, and Socialism so badly embodies and fails to realize
-are all of Christ; they mean that men are getting ready to understand the idea of His Kingdom. It comprehends, for it created these new ideas; into its language they must be translated, that they may find their most perfect forms, live in the organism and possess the energy that will enable them to do their work. The progress of man and the Church of God are two kindred things; all true knowledge is knowledge of truth, and truth is holy; to kuow it is to be made better, more like what God meant man to be. Let knowledge grow—whatever truth science discovers religion blesses and appropriates; let research, whether as physical investigation or historical criticism, pursue her quest; for love of truth is love of God, and the more we find of it the more we know of Him."
3. What has just been said is meant to indicate what would have been the attitude of a really constructive Christian thinker in face of the new and nascent thought. He would have recognized as Christian, and claimed for Christianity, the new. spirit, with all its nobler truths, ideals, aims. What belongs of right to the Christian Religion ought to be incorporated with it ; what is so incorporated can never become a facile and deadly weapon in the hands of the enemy. But Dr. Newman's attitude was precisely the opposite. Change was in the air ; he felt it, feared it, hated it. He idealized the past, he disliked the present, and he trembled for the future. His only hope was in a return to the past, and to a past which had never been save in the imagination of the romancer. What he hated and resisted he did not take the trouble to understand. He was in this respect a conspicuous contrast to his friends, Hugh James Rose and Dr. Pusey,