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need felt by both the hearts and intellects of the nation for a deeper philosophy.” And he goes on to describe the reaction :
It is not so much a movement as a spirit aflout, rising up in hearts where it was least suspected, and working itself, though not in secret, yet so subtly and impalpably as hardly to admit of precaution and encounter on any ordinary human rules of opposition. It is the spiritual awakening of spiritual wants.
What Newman here speaks of was part of the whole reaction which was led by Coleridge and Wordsworth, which was helped by Scott, and which was to be carried on by Carlyle against a revival of deistic thought in his own day. If we were dealing with the general development of English thought at the time, it would be necessary to dwell on all these writers in turn; but we only need to observe the outcome of the religious and theological side of the reaction. It is usual to regard J. H. Newman and Frederick Maurice as representative of the two great movements in this awakening spirit, — the two which afterwards in England were called the High Church and the Broad Church move
1 Apologia, p. 96.
ments. But for our purpose it will be more instructive to contrast with Newman the teaching of one whose system stands at the opposite pole : the eminent Unitarian thinker, James Martineau. This will prepare the way for the study of another pair of thinkers who also — though both are thorough Agnostics — stand facing in opposite ways: Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer. Of what we may learn from these four leaders of thought, we shall endeavour to make, as it were, an arch. Then we shall turn to Robert Browning; and what we may learn from him will form the keystone.
JOHN HENRY NEWMAN.
NOTICING briefly Newman's relation to the Oxford “Tractarian ” movement, we observe the following personal characteristics which go to explain the development of his opinions : (1) His reverence for Antiquity. Renan suggests an explanation of this feeling. (2) His insistence on dogma as of essential importance in religion; it is necessary to have a dogmatic system which must be absolutely true. This may be contrasted with the opposite extreme view, of which we may give examples. The conclusion is, that the work of thought in producing doctrine is a necessary part of religion, especially at the present day, when thoroughness in religious doctrine is required above all else; but it is not the essential part of religion.
His theory of belief in the University Sermons rests on a distinction between the implicit but real belief and its explicit intellectual interpretation: the latter must always be partly inadequate. We may examine the contrast between the use which Newman makes of this psychological fact or law and the use which we have made of it.
In the Essay on Development of Doctrine he contends that Roman Catholic Christianity is a true development from, and therefore at bottom identical with, primitive Christianity. This rests on a wrong view of what development means. On the other hand, his objections to the popular Protestant principle of “the Bible and the Bible only” are sound, and suggest points which modern Biblical Criticism has developed. We may examine the error in his view of development, and the impossibility of finding an “infallible" authority. On the other hand, the opposite extreme must be avoided. The history of doctrine is not a gradual corruption of primitive purity and simplicity; and we cannot doctrinally “return to Christ” in any real sense of the words.
Our purpose here will not require us to think over in detail the history of the Oxford “Tractarian " movement, which Newman led for the first eight years of its existence (1833 to 1841). It was originated with a design which was in the main political—to restore the authority of the Anglican episcopacy; but its leaders well knew the unspiritual character of the actual Episcopate of the time, and its dull resistance to moral reforms. The Church was in danger of becoming like the dry bones in the valley of Ezekiel's vision. Newman in his Apologia speaks several times almost with contempt of the “ traditional Church
of-Englandism” and “high Toryism” which prevailed in the first quarter of the century. The “Oxford movement” was a reawakening of religious thought — not merely of thought about religion. It was part of that general spiritual awakening to which we referred at the end of the last chapter; but owing to the religious temper of its leaders it became reactionary. The spirit of reaction in the Church of England always begins — if it is strong and vigorous — by disavowing the Reformation, and is prepared to go much further in the same direction; this was Newman's spirit. If the spirit of reaction is feeble, it merely appeals to taste, elaborates high ritual, and employs ecclesiastical symbolism of every kind. This was the spirit of the Oxford movement after Newman left it. The strong reaction works with more or less clear consciousness “towards Rome”; the other is only a feeble imitation of Roman ceremonial. Love of Truth has led many through despair of “private judgment” to the Church of Rome, as it led Newman ; I question whether love of ritual has done so.