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"WHAT, THEN, DOES DR. NEWMAN MEAN?"
DR. NEWMAN has made a great mistake. He has published a correspondence between himself and me, with certain "Reflexions" and a title-page, which cannot be allowed to pass without a rejoinder.
Before commenting on either, I must give a plain account of the circumstances of the controversy, which seem to have been misunderstood in several quarters. In the January number of Macmillan's Magazine, I deliberately and advisedly made use of these words:
'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 the wicked world which "marries and is given in marriage." This accusation I based upon a considerable number of passages in Dr. Newman's writings, and especially on a sermon entitled "Wisdom and Innocence," and preached by Dr. Newman as Vicar of St. Mary's, and published as No. XX. of his "Sermons on Subjects of the Day."
Dr. Newman wrote, in strong but courteous terms, to Messrs. Macmillan and Co. complaining of this language as a slander. I at once took the responsibility on myself, and wrote to Dr. Newman.
I had been informed (by a Protestant) that he was in weak health, that he wished for peace and quiet, and was averse to controversy; I therefore felt some regret at having disturbed him and this regret was increased by the moderate and courteous tone of his letters, though they contained, of course, much from which I differed. I addressed to him the following letter, of which, as I trust every English gentleman will feel, I have no reason to be ashamed:
I have seen a letter of yours to Mr. Macmillan, in which you complain of some expressions of mine in an article in the January number of Macmillan's Magazine.
That my words were just, I believed from many passages of your writings; but the document to which I expressly referred was one of your sermons on "Subjects of the Day," No. XX. in the volume published in 1844, and entitled "Wisdom and Innocence."
It was in consequence of that sermon that I finally shook off the strong influence which your writings exerted on me, and for much of which I still owe you a deep debt of gratitude.
I am most happy to hear from you that I mistook (as I understand from your letter) your meaning; and I shall be most happy, on your showing me that I have wronged you, to retract my accusation as publicly as I have made it.
I am, Rev. Sir,
Your faithful servant,
I received a very moderate answer from Dr. Newman, and a short correspondence ensued, which ended in my inserting in the February number of Macmillan's Magazine the following apology:-
To the Editor of "MACMILLAN'S MAGAZINE."
In your last number I made certain allegations against the teaching of Dr. John Henry Newman, which I thought were justified by a sermon of his, entitled "Wisdom and Innocence" (Sermon XX. of "Sermons bearing on Subjects of the Day"). Dr. Newman has, by letter, expressed in the strongest terms his denial of the meaning which I have put upon his words. It only remains, therefore, for me to express my hearty regret at having so seriously mistaken him.
My object had been throughout to avoid war, because I thought Dr. Newman wished for peace. I therefore dropped the question of the meaning of "many passages of his writings," and confined myself to the sermon entitled "Wisdom and Innocence," simply to give him an opportunity of settling the dispute on that one ground.
But whether Dr. Newman lost his temper, or whether he thought that he had gained an advantage over me, or whether he wanted a more complete apology than I chose to give, whatever, I say, may have been his reasons, he suddenly changed his tone of courtesy and dignity for one of which I shall only say that it shows sadly how the atmosphere of the Romish priesthood has degraded his notions of what is due to himself; and when he published (as I am much obliged to him for doing) the whole correspondence, he appended to it certain reflexions, in which he attempted to convict me of not having believed the accusation which I had made.
There remains for me, then, nothing but to justify my mistake, as far as I can.
I am, of course, precluded from using the sermon entitled
"Wisdom and Innocence" to prove my words. I have accepted Dr. Newman's denial that it means what I thought it did; and Heaven forbid that I should withdraw my word once given, at whatever disadvantage to myself. But more. I am informed by those from whose judgment on such points there is no appeal, that, "en hault courage" and strict honour, I am also precluded, by the terms of my explanation, from using any other of Dr. Newman's past writings to prove my assertion. I have declared Dr. Newman to have been an honest man up to the 1st of February, 1864. It was, as I shall show, only Dr. Newman's fault that I ever thought him to be anything else. It depends entirely on Dr. Newman whether he shall sustain the reputation which he has so recently acquired. If I give him thereby a fresh advantage in this argument, he is most welcome to it. He needs, it seems to me, as many advantages as possible. But I have a right, in self-justification, to put before the public so much of that sermon, and of the rest of Dr. Newman's writings, as will show why I formed so harsh an opinion of them and him, and why I still consider that sermon (whatever may be its meaning) as most dangerous and misleading. And I have a full right to do the same by those "many passages of Dr. Newman's writings" which I left alone at first, simply because I thought that Dr. Newman wished for peace.
First, as to the sermon entitled "Wisdom and Innocence." It must be remembered always that it is not a Protestant, but a Romish sermon. It is occupied entirely with the attitude of "the world" to "Christians" and "the Church." By the world appears to be signified, especially, the Protestant public of these realms. What Dr. Newman means by Christians, and the Church, he has not left in doubt; for in the preceding sermon (XIX. p. 328) he says: "But, if the truth must
be spoken, what are the humble monk, and the holy nun, "and other regulars, as they are called, but Christians after