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John Henry Newman:
Apologia Pro Vita Sua: Appendix 1864

[This document is an appendix to Apologia Pro Vita Sua]

In proceeding now, according to the engagement with which I entered upon my undertaking, to examine in detail the Pamphlet which has been written against me, I am very sorry to be obliged to say, that it is as slovenly and random and futile in its definite charges, as it is iniquitous in its method of disputation. And now I proceed to show this without any delay; and shall consider in order,
  1. My Sermon on the Apostolical Christian
  2. My Sermon on Wisdom and Innocence
  3. The Anglican Church
  4. Ecclesiastical Miracles
  5. Popular Religion
  6. The Economy
  7. Lying and Equivocation

This writer says, "What Dr. Newman means by Christians... he has not left in doubt"; and then, quoting a passage from this Sermon which speaks of " the humble monk and the holy nun " being "Christians after the very pattern given us in Scripture," he observes, " This is his definition of Christians."-p. 34.
This is not the case. I have neither given a definition, nor implied one, nor intended one; nor could I, either now or in 1843-4, or at any time, allow of the particular definition he ascribes to me. As if all Christians must be monks or nuns! What I have said is, that monks and nuns are patterns of Christian perfection ; and that Scripture itself supplies us with this pattern. Who can deny this? Who is bold enough to say that St. John Baptist, who, I suppose, is a Scripture Character, is not a pattern-monk; and that Mary, who " sat at our Lord's feet," was not a pattern-nun? and " Anna too, :who served God with fastings and prayers night and day?" Again, what is meant but this by St. Paul's saying, " It is good for a man not to touch a woman?" and, when speaking of the father or guardian of a young girl, "He that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better?" And what does St. John mean but to praise virginity, when he says of the hundred forty and four thousand on Mount Sion, " These are they which were not defiled with women, for they are virgins?" And what else did our Lord mean, when He said, " There be eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it?"
He ought to know his logic better: I have said that monks and nuns find their pattern in Scripture ": he adds, Therefore I hold all Christians are monks and nuns.
This is Blot one.
Now then for Blot two.
"Monks and nuns the only perfect Christians what more?-p. 34.
A second fault in logic. I said no more than that monks and nuns were perfect Christians: he adds, Therefore monks and nuns are the only perfect Christians." Monks and nuns are not the only perfect Christians ; I never thought so or said so, now or at any other time.
P. 61. "In the Sermon . . . monks and nuns are spoken of as the only true Bible Christians." This, again, is not the case. What I said is, that " monks and nuns are Bible Christians ": it does not follow, nor did I mean, that " all Bible Christians are monks and nuns." Bad logic again. Blot three.
This writer says, p. 34, about my Sermon 20, " By the world appears to be signified, especially, the Protestant public of these realms."
He also asks, p. 38, " Why was it preached? ... to insinuate, that the admiring young gentlemen, who listened to him, stood to their fellow-countrymen in the relation of the early Christians to the heathen Romans? or that Queen Victoria's Government was to the Church of England, what Nero's or Diocletian's was to the Church of Rome? It may have been so.
May or may not, it wasn't. He insinuates, what not even with his little finger does he attempt to prove. Blot four.
He asserts, p. 34, that I said in the Sermon in question, that "Sacramental Confession and the celibacy of the clergy are 'notes' of the Church." And, just before, he puts the word " notes " in inverted commas, as if it was mine. That is, he garbles. It is not mine. Blot five.
He says that I "define what I mean by the Church in two 'notes ' of her character." I do not define, or dream of defining.
1 .He says that I teach that the celibacy of the clergy enters into the definition of the Church. I do no such thing; that is the blunt truth. Define the Church by the celibacy of the clergy! why, let him read I Tim. iii; there he will find that bishops and deacons are spoken of as married. How, then, could I be the dolt to say or imply that the celibacy of the clergy was a part of the definition of the Church? Blot six.
And again in p. 61, AIn the Sermon a celibate clergy is made a note of the Church." Thus the untruth is repeated. Blot seven.
2. And now for Blot eight. Neither did I say that " Sacramental confession " was " a note of the Church." Nor is it. Nor could I with any cogency have brought this as an argument against the Church of England, for the Church of England has retained Confession, nay, Sacramental Confession. No fair man can read the form of Absolution in the Anglican Prayer in the Visitation of the Sick, without seeing that that church does sanction and provide for Confession and Absolution. If that form does not contain the profession of a grave Sacramental act, words have no meaning. The form is almost in the words of the Roman form; and, by the time that this Clergyman has succeeded in explaining it away, he will have also got skill enough to explain away the Roman form; and if he did but handle my words with that latitude with which he interprets his own formularies, he would prove that, instead of my being superstitious and frantic, I was the most Protestant of preachers and the most latitudinarian of thinkers. It would be charity in him, in his reading of my words, to use some of that power of evasion, of which he shows himself such a master in his dealing with his own Prayer Book. Yet he has the assurance at p. 38 to ask, " Why was the Sermon preached? to insinuate that a Church which had sacramental confession and a celibate clergy was the only true Church?"
"Why?" I will tell the reader, why; and with this view will speak, first of the contents of the Sermon, then of its subject, then of its circumstances.
1. It was one of the last six Sermons which I wrote when I was an Anglican. It was one of the five Sermons I preached in St. Mary's between Christmas and Easter, 1843, the year when I gave up my Living. The MS. of the Sermon is destroyed; but I believe, and my memory too bears me out, as far as it goes, that the sentence in question about Celibacy and Confession was not preached at all. The Volume, in which this Sermon is found, was published after that I had given up St. Mary's, when I had no call on me to restrain the expression of anything which I might hold: and I state an important fact about it in the Advertisement, which this truth-loving writer suppresses. Blot nine.
My words, which stared him in the face, are as follows: In preparing [these Sermons] for publication, a few words and sentences have in several places been added, which will be found to express more of private or personal opinion, than it was expedient to introduce into the instruction delivered in Church to a parochial Congregation. Such introduction, however, seems unobjectionable in the case of compositions, which are detached from the sacred place and service to which they once belonged, and submitted to the reason and judgment of the general reader."
This Volume of Sermons then cannot be criticised at all as preachments; they are essays; essays of a man who, at the time of publishing them, was not a preacher. Such passages, as that in question, are just the very ones which I added upon my publishing them. I always was on my guard in the pulpit of saying anything which looked towards Rome; and therefore all his rhetoric about my " disciples," " admiring young gentlemen who listened to me," " fanatic and hot-headed young men, who hung upon my every word," ,becomes simple rubbish.
I have more to say on this point. The writer says, p. 38, I know that men used to suspect Dr. Newman,-I have been inclined to do so myself,-of writing a whole Sermon, not for the sake of the text or of the matter, but for the sake of one simple passing hint,-one phrase, one epithet." Can there be a plainer testimony borne to the practical character of my Sermons at St. Mary's than this gratuitous insinuation? Many a preacher of Tractarian doctrine has been accused of not letting his parishioners alone, and of teasing them with his private theological notions. You would gather from the general tone of this Writer that that was my way. Every one who was in the habit of hearing me, knows that it wasn't. This Writer either knows nothing about it, and then he ought to be silent; or he does know, and then he ought to speak the truth. Others spread the same report twenty years ago as he does now, and the world believed that my Sermons at St. Mary's were full of red-hot Tractarianism. Then strangers came to hear me preach, and were astonished at their own disappointment. I recollect the wife of a great prelate from a distance coming to hear me, and then expressing her surprise to find that I preached nothing but a plain humdrum Sermon. I recollect how, when on the Sunday before Commemoration one year, a number of strangers came to hear me, and I preached in my usual way, residents in Oxford, of high position, were loud in their satisfaction that on a great occasion, I had made a simple failure, for after all there was nothing in the Sermon to hear. Well, but they were not going to let me off, for all my common-sense view of duty. Accordingly, they got up the charitable theory which this Writer revives. They said that there was a double purpose in those plain addresses of mine, and that my Sermons were never so artful as when they seemed common-place; that there were sentences which redeemed their apparent simplicity and quietness. So they watched during the delivery of a Sermon, which to them was too practical to be useful, for the concealed point of it, which they could at least imagine, if they could not discover. " Men used to suspect Dr. Newman," he says, " of writing a whole Sermon, not for the sake of the text or of the matter, but for the sake of . . . one phrase, one epithet, one little barbed arrow, which, as he swept magnificently past on the stream of his calm eloquence, seemingly unconscious of all presences, save those unseen, he delivered unheeded," &C. p. 38. To all appearance, he says, I was "unconscious of all presences"; so this kind Writer supplies the true interpretation of this unconsciousness. He is not able to deny that " the whole Sermon " had the appearance of being " for the sake of the text and matter " ; therefore he suggests that perhaps it wasn't. And then he emptily talks of the " magnificent sweep of my eloquence," and my " oratoric power." Did he forget that the Sermon of which he thus speaks can be read by others as well as him? Now, the sentences are as short as Aristotle's, and as grave as Bishop Butler's. It is written almost in the condensed style of Tract 90. Eloquence there is none. I put this down as Blot ten.
2. And now as to the subject of the Sermon. The series of which the Volume consists are such Sermons as are, more or less, exceptions to the rule which I ordinarily observed, as to the subjects which I introduced into the pulpit of St. Mary's. They are not purely ethical or doctrinal. They were for the most part caused by circumstances of the day or of the time, and they belong to various years. One was written in 1832, two in 1836, two in 1838, five in 1840, five in 1841, four in 1842, seven in 1843. Many of them are engaged on one subject, viz. in viewing the Church in its relation to the world. By the world was meant, not simply those multitudes which were not in the Church, but the existing body of human society, whether in the Church or not, whether Catholics, Protestants, Greeks, or Mahometans, theists or idolaters, as being ruled by principles, maxims, and instincts of their own, that is, of an unregenerate nature, whatever their supernatural privileges might be, greater or less, according to their form of religion. This view of the relation of the Church to the world as taken apart from questions of ecclesiastical politics, as they may be called, is often brought out in my Sermons. Two occur to me at once; No. 3 of my Plain Sermons, which was written in 1829, and No. 15 of my Third Volume, written in 1835. Then, on the other hand, by Church I meant,-in common with all writers connected with the Tract Movement, whatever their shades of opinion, and with the whole body of English divines, except those of the Puritan or Evangelical School,-the whole of Christendom, from the Apostles' time till now, whatever their later divisions into Latin, Greek, and Anglican. I have explained this view of the subject above at pp. 148-150 of this Volume. When then I speak, in the particular Sermon before us, of the members, or the rulers, or the action of "the Church," I mean neither the Latin, nor the Greek, nor the English, taken by itself, but of the whole Church as one body: of Italy as one with England, of the Saxon or Norman as one with the Caroline Church. This was specially the one Church, and the points in which one branch or one period differed from another were not and could not be Notes of the Church, because Notes necessarily belonged to the whole of the Church everywhere and always.
This being my doctrine as to the relation of the Church to the world, I laid down in the Sermon three principles concerning it, and there left the matter. The first is, that Divine Wisdom had framed for its action, laws which man, if left to himself, would have antecedently pronounced to be the worst possible for its success, and which in all ages have been called by the world, as they were in the Apostles' days, " foolishness " ; that man ever relies on physical and material force, and on camel inducements,-as Mahomet with his sword and his houris, or indeed almost as that theory of religion, called, since the Sermon was written, Amuscular Christianity;" but that our Lord, on the contrary, has substituted meekness for haughtiness, passiveness for violence, and innocence for craft: and that the event has shown the high wisdom of such an economy, for it has brought to light a set of natural laws, unknown before, by which the seeming paradox that weakness should be stronger than might, and simplicity than worldly policy, is readily explained.
Secondly, I said that men of the world, judging by the event, and not recognising the secret causes of the success, viz. a higher order of natural laws,-natural, though their source and action were supernatural, (for " the meek inherit the earth," by means of a meekness which comes from above,)-these men, I say, concluded, that the success which they witnessed must arise from some evil secret which the world had not mastered-by means of magic, as they said in the first ages, by cunning as they say now. And accordingly they thought that the humility and inoffensiveness of Christians, or of Churchmen, was a mere pretence and blind to cover the real causes of that success, which Christians could explain and would not; and that they were simply hypocrites. Thirdly, I suggested that shrewd ecclesiastics, who knew very well that there was neither magic nor craft in the matter, and, from their intimate acquaintance with what actually went on within the Church, discerned what were the real causes of its success, were of course under the temptation of substituting reason for conscience, and, instead of simply obeying the command, were led to do good that good might come, that is, to act in order to their success, and not from a motive of faith. Some, I said, did yield to the temptation more or less, and their motives became mixed; and in this way the world in a more subtle shape has got into the Church ; and hence it has come to pass, that, looking at its history from first to last, we cannot possibly draw the line between good and evil there, and say either that every thing is to be defended, or some things to be condemned. I expressed the difficulty, which I supposed to be inherent in the Church, in the following words. I said, "Priestcraft has ever been considered the badge, and its imputation is a kind of Note of the Church; and in part indeed truly, because the presence of powerful enemies, and the sense of their own weakness, has sometimes tempted Christians to the abuse, instead of the use of Christian wisdom, to be wise without being harmless; but partly, nay, for the most part, not truly, but slanderously, and merely because the world called this wisdom craft, when it was found to be a match for its own numbers and power." This passage he has partly garbled, partly omitted. Blot eleven.
Such is the substance of the Sermon: and as to the main drift of it, it was this; that I was, there and elsewhere, scrutinising the course of the Church as a whole, as if philosophically, as an historical phenomenon, and observing the laws on which it was conducted. Hence the Sermon, or Essay as it more truly is, is written in a dry and unimpassioned way: it shows as little of human warmth of feeling, I repeat, as a Sermon of Bishop Butler's. Yet, under that calm exterior there was a deep and keen sensitiveness, as I shall now proceed to show.
3. If I mistake not, it was written with a secret thought about myself. Every one preaches according to his frame of mind, at the time of preaching. One heaviness especially oppressed me at that season, which this Writer, twenty years afterwards, has set himself with a good will to renew: it arose from the sense of the base calumnies which were thrown upon me on all sides. In this trouble of mind I gained, while I reviewed the history of the Church, at once an argument and a consolation. My argument was this: if I, who knew my own innocence, was so blackened by party prejudice, perhaps those high rulers and those servants of the Church, in the many ages which intervened between the early Nicene times and the present, who were laden with such grievous accusations, were innocent also; and this reflection served to make me tender towards those great names of the past, to whom weaknesses or crimes were imputed, and reconciled me to difficulties in ecclesiastical proceedings, which there were no means now of properly explaining. And the sympathy thus excited for them, re-acted on myself, and I found comfort in being able to put myself under the shadow of those who had suffered as I was suffering, and who seemed to promise me their recompense, since I had a fellowship in their trial. In a letter to my Bishop at the time of Tract 90, part of which I have quoted, I said that I had ever tried to "keep innocency " ; and now two years had passed since then, and men were louder and louder in heaping on me the very charges, which this Writer repeats out of my Sermon, of " fraud and cunning," " craftiness and deceitfulness," " double-dealing," " priestcraft," of being " mysterious, dark, subtle, designing," when I was all the time conscious to myself, in my degree, and after my measure, of " sobriety, self-restraint, and control of word and feeling." I had had experience how my past success had been imputed to "secret management"; and how, when I had shown surprise at that success, that surprise again was imputed to " deceit " ; and how my honest heartfelt submission to authority had been called, as it was called in a colonial Bishop's charge, "mystic humility"; and how my silence was called an " hypocrisy"; and my faithfulness to my clerical engagements a secret correspondence with the enemy. And I found a way of destroying my sensitiveness about these things which jarred upon my sense of justice, and otherwise would have been too much for me, by the contemplation of a large law of the Divine Dispensation, and found myself more and more able to bear in my own person a present trial, of which in my past writings I had expressed an anticipation.
For thus feeling and thus speaking this Writer has the charitableness and the decency to call me " Mawworm." '. I found him telling Christians," he says, " that they will always seem I artificial,' and 'wanting in openness and manliness'; that they will always be 'a mystery' to the world; and that the world will always think them rogues; and bidding them glory in what the world (that is, the rest of their fellow countrymen) disown, and say with Mawworm, 'I like to be despised.' ...How was I to know that the preacher . . . was utterly blind to the broad meaning and the plain practical result of a Sermon like this delivered before fanatic and hot-headed young men, who hung upon his every word?"-p.39. Hot-headed young men! why, man, you are writing a Romance. You think the scene is Alexandria or the Spanish main, where you may let your imagination play revel to the extent of inveracity. It is good luck for me that the scene of my labours was not at Moscow or Damascus. Then I might be one of your ecclesiastical Saints, of which I sometimes hear in conversation, but with whom, I am glad to say, I have no personal acquaintance. Then you might ascribe to me a more deadly craft than mere quibbling and lying; in Spain I should have been an Inquisitor, with my rack in the background; I should have had a concealed dagger in Sicily; at Venice I should have brewed poison; in Turkey I should have been the Sheik-el-Islam with my bowstring; in Khorassan I should have been a veiled Prophet. " Fanatic young men I " Why he is writing out the list of a Dramatic Persona; .. guards, conspirators, populace," and the like. He thinks I was ever moving about with a train of Capulets at my heels. " Hot-headed fanatics, who hung on my every word!" If he had taken to write a history, and not a play, he would have easily found out, as I have said, that from 1841 I had severed myself from the younger generation of Oxford, that Dr. Pusey and I had then closed our theological meetings at his house, that I had brought my own weekly evening parties to an end, that I preached only by fits and starts at St. Mary's, so that the attendance of young men was broken up, that in those very weeks from Christmas till over Easter, during which this Sermon was preached, I was but five times in the pulpit there. He would have known, that it was written at a time when I was shunned rather than sought, when I had great sacrifices in anticipation, when I was thinking much of myself; that I was ruthlessly tearing myself away from my own followers, and that, in the musings of that Sermon, I was at the very utmost only delivering a testimony in my behalf for time to come, not sowing my rhetoric broadcast for the chance of present sympathy. Blot twelve.
I proceed: he says at p. 39, "I found him actually using of such [prelates], (and, as I thought, of himself and his party likewise,) the words ' They yield outwardly; to assent, inwardly were to betray the faith. Yet they are called deceitful and double-dealing, because they do as much as they can, not more than they may."' This too is a proof of my duplicity! Let this writer go with some one else, just a little further than he has gone with me; and let him get into a court of law for libel; and let him be convicted; and let him still fancy that his libel, though a libel, was true, and let us then see whether he will not in such a case "yield outwardly," without assenting internally; and then again whether we should please him, if we called him "deceitful and double-dealing," because " he did as much as he could, not more than he ought to do." But Tract 90 will supply a real illustration of what I meant. I yielded to the Bishops in outward act, viz. in not defending the Tract, and in closing. the Series; but, not only did I not assent inwardly to any condemnation of it, but I opposed myself to the proposition of a condemnation on the part of authority. Yet I was then by the public called " deceitful and double-dealing," as this Writer calls me now, " because I did as much as I felt I could do, and not more than I felt I could honestly do." Many were the publications of the day and the private letters which accused me of shuffling, because I closed the Series of Tracts, yet kept the Tracts on sale, as if I ought to comply not only with what my Bishop asked, but with what he did not ask, and perhaps did not wish. However, such teaching, according to this Writer, was likely to make young men suspect, that truth was not a virtue for its own sake, but only for the sake of " the spread of Catholic opinions," and the ,salvation of their own souls"; and that "cunning was the weapon which heaven had allowed to them to defend themselves against the persecuting Protestant public.'-p. 40. Blot thirteen.
And now I draw attention to another point. He says at p. 39. " How was I to know that the preacher ... did not foresee, that [fanatic and hot-headed young men] would think that they obeyed him, by becoming affected, artificial, sly, shifty, ready for concealments and equivocations?" " How should he know! " What! I suppose that we are to think every man a knave till he is proved not to be such. Know I had he no friend to tell him whether I was " affected " or Aartificial " myself? Could he not have done better than impute equivocations to me, at a time when I was in no sense answerable for the amphibologia of the Roman casuists? Has he a single fact which belongs to me personally or by profession to couple my name with equivocation in 1843? "How should he know" that I was not sly, smooth, artificial, non-natural! he should know by that common manly frankness, if he had it, by which we put confidence in others, till they are proved to have forfeited it; he should know it by my own words in that very Sermon, in which I say it is best to be natural, and that reserve is at best but an unpleasant necessity. I say, " I do not deny that there is something very engaging in a frank and unpretending manner; some persons have it more than others; in some persons it is a great grace. But it must be recollected that I am speaking of times of persecution and oppression to Christians, such as the text foretells; and then surely frankness will become nothing else than indignation at the oppressor, and vehement speech, if it is permitted. Accordingly, as persons have deep feelings, so they will find the necessity of self-control, lest they -should say what they ought not." He omits these words. I call, then, this base insinuation that I taught equivocation, Blot the fourteenth.
Lastly, he sums up thus: "If [Dr. Newman would . . . persist (as in this Sermon) in dealing with matters dark, I offensive, doubtful, sometimes actually forbidden, at least according to the notions of the great majority of English Churchmen; if he would always do so in a tentative, paltering way, seldom or never letting the world know how much he believed, how far he intended to go ; if, in a word, his method of teaching was a suspicious one, what wonder if the minds of men were filled with suspicions of him? ".-p. 40.
Now first he is speaking of my Sermons; where, then, is his proof that in my Sermons I dealt in matters dark, offensive, doubtful, actually forbidden? he has said nothing in proof that I have not been able flatly to deny.
Forbidden according to the notions of the great majority of English Churchmen." I should like to know what opinions, beyond those which relate to the Creed, are held by the " majority of English Churchmen: '!-are his own? is it not perfectly well known, that "the great majority" think of him and his views with a feeling which I will not describe, because it is not necessary for my argument? So far is certain, that he has not the majority with him.
" In a tentative, paltering way." The word " paltering " I reject, as vague; as to " tentative," he must show that I was tentative in my Sermons; and he has eight volumes to look through. As to the ninth, my University Sermons, of course I was " tentative " ; but not because " I would seldom or never let the world know how much I believed, or how far I intended to go "; but because in deep subjects, which had not been fully investigated, I said as much as I believed, and about as far as I saw I could go; and a man cannot do more; and I account no man to be a philosopher who attempts to do more. How long am I to have the office of merely negative assertions which are but supported by former assertions, in which John is ever helping Tom, and the elephant stands upon the tortoise? This is Blot fifteen.
This Writer says:-" If there is, as there is, a strong distrust of certain Catholics, it is restricted to the proselytizing priests among them; and especially to those, who, like Dr. Newman, have turned round upon their mother Church, (I had almost said their mother country,) with contumely and slander. p. 41.
No one has a right to make a charge, without at least an attempt to prove what he says; but this Writer is consistent with himself. From the time that he first spoke of me in the Magazine, when has he ever even professed to give evidence of any sort for any one of his charges, from his own sense of propriety, and without being challenged on the point? After the sentence which I have been quoting, and another like it, he coolly passes on to Tract 901 Blot sixteen; but I shall dwell on it awhile' for its own sake.
Now I have been bringing out my mind in this Volume on every subject which has come before me; and therefore I am bound to state plainly what I feel and have felt, since I was a Catholic, about the Anglican Church. I said, in a former page, that, on my conversion, I was not conscious of any change in me of thought or feeling, as regards matters of doctrine; this, however, was not the case as regards some matters of fact, and, unwilling as I am to give offence to religious Anglicans, I am bound to confess that I felt a great change in my view of the Church of England. I cannot tell how soon there came on me,-but very soon,-an extreme astonishment that I had ever imagined it to be a portion of the Catholic Church. For the first time, I looked at it from without, and (as I should myself say) saw it as it was. Forthwith I could not get myself to see in it anything else. than what I had so long fearfully suspected, from as far back as 1836,-a mere national institution. As if my eyes were suddenly opened, so I saw it-spontaneously, apart from any definite act of reason or any argument; and so I have seen it ever since. I suppose, the main cause of this lay in the contrast which was presented to me by the Catholic Church. I then recognised at once a reality which was quite a new thing with me. Then I was sensible that I was not making for myself a Church by an effort of thought; I needed not to make an act of faith in her; I had not painfully to force myself into a position, but my mind fell back upon itself in relaxation and in peace, and I gazed at her almost passively as a great objective fact. I looked at her; -at her rites, her ceremonial, and her precepts ; and I said, "This is a religion and then, when I looked back upon the poor Anglican Church, for which I had laboured so hard, and upon all that appertained to it, and thought of our various attempts to dress it up doctrinally and esthetically, it seemed to me to be the veriest of nonentities. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity! How can I make a record of what passed within me, without seeming to be satirical? But I speak plain, serious words. As people call me credulous for acknowledging Catholic claims, so they call me satirical for disowning Anglican pretensions; to them it is credulity, to them it is satire; but it is not so in me. What they think exaggeration, I think. truth. I am not speaking of the Anglican Church in any disdain, though to them I seem contemptuous. To them of course it is "Aut Caesar aut, nullus," but not to me. It may be a great creation, though it be not divine, and this is how I judge of it. Men, who abjure the divine right of kings, would be very indignant, if on that account they were considered disloyal. And so I recognise in the Anglican Church a time-honoured institution, of noble historical memories, a monument of ancient wisdom, a momentous arm of political strength, a great national organ, a source of vast popular advantage, and, to a certain point, a witness and teacher of religious truth. I do not think that, if what I have written about it since I have been a Catholic, be equitably considered as a whole, I shall be found to have taken any other view than this; but that it is something sacred, that it is an oracle of revealed doctrine, that it can claim a share in St. Ignatius or St. Cyprian, that it can take the rank, contest the teaching, and stop the path of the Church of St. Peter, that it can call itself " the Bride of the Lamb," this is the view of it which simply disappeared from my mind on my conversion, and which it would be almost a miracle to reproduce. " I went by, and lo I it was gone; I sought it, but its place could nowhere be found;" and nothing can bring it back to me. And, as to its obsession of an episcopal succession from the time of the Apostles, well, it may have it, and, if the Holy See ever so decided, I will believe it, as being the decision of a higher judgment than my own; but, for myself, I must have St. Philip's gift, who saw the sacerdotal character on the forehead of a gaily attired youngster, before I can by my own wit acquiesce in it, for antiquarian arguments are altogether unequal to the urgency of visible facts. Why is it that I, must pain dear friends by saying so, and kindle a sort of resentment against me in the kindest of hearts? but I must, though to do it be not only a grief to me, but most impolitic at the moment. Anyhow, this is my mind; and, if to have it, if to have betrayed it, before now, involuntarily by my words or my deeds, if on a fitting occasion, as now, to have avowed it, if all this be a proof of the justice of the charge brought against me of having "turned round upon my Mother Church with contumely and slander," in this sense, but in no other sense, do I plead guilty to it without a word in extenuation.
In no other sense surely; the Church of England has been the instrument of Providence in conferring great benefits on have been baptized; had I been born an, English Presbyterian, me; had I been born in Dissent, perhaps I should never perhaps I should never have known our Lord's divinity; had I not come to Oxford, perhaps I never should have heard of the visible Church, or of Tradition, or other Catholic doctrines. And as I have received so much good from the Anglican Establishment itself, can I have the heart, or rather the want of charity, considering that it does for so many others, what it has done for me, to wish to see it overthrown? I have no such wish while it is what it is, and while we are so small a body. Nor for its own sake, but for the sake of the many congregations to which it ministers, I will do nothing against it. While Catholics are so weak in England, it is doing our work; and, though it does us harm in a measure, at present the balance is in our favour. What our duty would be at another time and in other circumstances, supposing, for instance, the Establishment lost its@ dogmatic faith, or at least did not preach it, is another matter altogether. In secular history we read of hostile nations having long truces, and renewing them from time to time, and that seems to be the position the Catholic Church may fairly take up at present in relation to the Anglican Establishment.
Doubtless the National Church has hitherto been a serviceable breakwater against doctrinal errors, more fundamental than its own. How long this will last in the years now before us, it is impossible to say, for the Nation drags down its Church to its own level; but still the National Church has the same sort of influence over the Nation that a periodical has upon the party which it represents, and my own idea of a Catholic's fitting attitude towards the National Church in this its supreme hour, is that of assisting and sustaining it, if it be in our power, in the interest of dogmatic truth. I should wish to avoid every thing, except under the direct call of duty, which went to weaken its hold upon the public mind, or to unsettle its establishment, or to embarrass, and lessen its maintenance of those great Christian and Catholic principles and doctrines which it has up to this tune successfully preached.
I say, " except under the call of duty and this exception. I am obliged to admit, is not a slight one; it is one which necessarily places a bar to any closer relation between it and ourselves, than that of an armed truce. For, in the first place, it stands to reason that even a volume, such as this has been, exerts an influence adverse to the Establishment at least in the case of many minds; and this I cannot avoid, though I have sincerely attempted to keep as wide of controversy in the course of it, as ever I could. And next I cannot deny, what must be ever a very sore point with Anglicans, that, if any Anglican comes to me after careful thought and prayer, and with deliberate purpose, and says, " I believe in the Holy Catholic Church, and that your Church and yours alone is it, and I demand admittance into it," it would be the greatest of sins in me to reject such a man, as being a distinct contravention of our Lord's maxim, " Freely ye have received, freely give."
I have written three volumes which may be considered controversial; Loss and Gain in 1847; Lectures on Difficulties felt by Anglicans in submitting to the Catholic Church in 1850; and Lectures on the present Position of Catholics in England in 1851. And though I have neither time nor need to go into the matter minutely, a few words will suffice for some general account of what has been my object and my tone in these works severally.
Of these three, the Lectures on the " Position of Catholics " have nothing to do with the Church of England, as such; they are directed against the Protestant or Ultra-Protestant Tradition on the subject of Catholicism since the time of Queen Elizabeth, in which parties indeed in the Church of England have largely participated, but which cannot be confused with Anglican teaching itself. Much less can that Tradition be confused with the doctrine of the Laudian or of the Tractarian School. I owe nothing to Protestantism ; and I spoke against it even when I was an Anglican, as well as in these Catholic Lectures. If I spoke in them against the Church Established, it was because, and so far as, at the time when they were delivered, the Establishment took a violent part against the Catholic Church, on the basis of the Protestant Tradition. Moreover, I had never as an Anglican been a lover of the actual Establishment; Hurrell Froude's Remains, in which it is called an "incubus" and " Upas Tree," will stand in evidence, as for him, so for me; for I was one of the Editors. What I said even as an Anglican, it,
Is not strange that I said when I was not. Indeed I have been milder in my thoughts of the Establishment ever since I have been a Catholic than before, and for an obvious reason; when I was an Anglican, I viewed it as repressing a higher doctrine than its own; and now I view it as keeping out a lower and more dangerous.
Then as to my Lectures on Anglican Difficulties. Neither were these formally directed against the National Church. They were addressed to the "Children of the Movement of 1833," to impress upon them, that, whatever was the case with others, their duty at least was to become Catholics, since Catholicism was the real scope and issue of that Movement. " There is but one thing," I say, " that forces me to speak.... It will be a miserable thing for you and for me, if I have been instrumental in bringing you but half-way, if I have co-operated in removing your invincible ignorance, but am able to do no more ,-p. 5. Such being the drift of the Volume, the reasoning directed against the Church of England goes no further than this, that it had no claims whatever on such of its members as were proceeding onwards with the Movement into the Catholic Church.
Lastly, as to Loss and Gain: it is the story, simply ideal, of the conversion of an Oxford man. Its drift is to show how little there is in Anglicanism to satisfy and retain a young and earnest heart. In this Tale, all the best characters are sober Church-of-England people. No Tractarians proper are introduced: and this is noted in the Advertisement: 11 No proper representative is intended in this Tale, of the religious opinions, which had lately so much influence in the University of Oxford." There could not be such in the Tale, without the introduction of friends, which was impossible in its very notion. But, since the scene was to be laid during the very years, and at the head-quarters, of Tractarianism, some expedient was necessary in order to meet what was a great difficulty. My expedient was the introduction of what may be called Tractarians improper; and I took them the more readily, because, though I knew that such there were, I knew none of them personally. I mean such men as I used to consider of " the gilt-gingerbread school," from whom I expected little good, persons whose religion lay in ritualism or architecture, and who "played at Popery" or at Anglicanism. I repeat I knew no such men, because it is one thing to desire fine churches and ceremonies, (which of course I did myself,) and quite another thing to desire these and nothing else; but at that day there was in some quarters, though not in those where I had influence, a strong movement in the esthetic direction. Doubtless I went too far in my apprehension of such a movement: for one of the best, and most devoted and hard-working Priests I ever knew was the late Father Hutchison, of the London Oratory, and I believe it was architecture that directed. his thoughts towards the Catholic Church. However, I had in my mind an external religion which was inordinate; and, as the men who were considered instances of it, were personally unknown to me, even by name, I introduced them, under imaginary representatives, in Loss and Gain, and that, in order to get clear of Tractarians proper; and of the three men, whom I have introduced, the Anglican is the best. In like manner I introduced two " gilt-gingerbread " young ladies, who were ideal, absolutely, utterly, without a shred of concrete existence about them; and I introduced them with the remark that they were " really kind charitable persons," and " by no means put forth as a type of a class," that "among such persons were to be found the gentlest spirits and the tenderest hearts," and that " these sisters had open hands, if they had not wise heads," but that " they did not know much of matters ecclesiastical, and they knew less of themselves."
It has been said, indeed, I know not to what extent, that I introduced my friends or partisans into the Tale; this is utterly untrue. Only two cases of this misconception have come to my knowledge, and I at once denied each of them outright; and I take this opportunity of denying generally the truth of all other similar changes. No friend of mine, no one connected in any way with the Movement, entered into the composition of any one of the characters. Indeed, putting aside the two instances which have been distinctly brought before me, I have not even any sort of suspicion who the persons are, whom I am thus accused of introducing.
Next, this writer goes on to speak of Tract 90; a subject of which I have treated at great length in a former passage of this narrative, and, in consequence, need not take up again now.
What Is the use of going on with this Writer's criticisms upon me, when I am confined to the dull monotony of exposing and oversetting him again and again, with a persistence, which many will think merciless, and few will have the interest to read? Yet I am obliged to do so, lest I should seem to be evading difficulties.
Now as to Miracles. Catholics believe that they happen in any age-of the Church, though not for the same purpose, in the same number, or with the same evidence, as in Apostolic ,times. The Apostles wrought them in evidence of their divine mission; and with this object they have been sometimes wrought by Evangelists of countries since, as even Protestants allow. Hence we hear of them in the history of St. Gregory in Pontus, and St. Martin in Gaul; and in their case, as in that of the Apostles, they were both numerous and clear. As they are granted to Evangelists, so are they granted, though in less measure and evidence, to other holy men; and as holy men are not found equally at all times and in all places, therefore miracles are in some places and times more than in others. And since, generally, they are granted to faith and prayer, therefore in a country in which faith and prayer abound, they will be more likely to occur, than where and when faith and prayer are not; so that their occurrence is irregular. And further, as faith and prayer obtain miracles, so still more commonly do they gain from above the ordinary interventions of Providence; and, as it is often very difficult to distinguish between a providence and a miracle, and there will be more providences than miracles, hence it will happen that many occurrences will be called miraculous, which, strictly speaking, are not such, and not more than providential mercies, or what are sometimes called " graces or " favours.'
Persons, who believe all this, in accordance with Catholic teaching, as I did and do, they, on the report of a miracle, will of necessity, the necessity of good logic, be led to say, first, "It may be," and secondly, "But I must have good evidence in order to believe it." It may be, because miracles take place in all ages; it must be clearly proved, because perhaps after all it may be only a providential mercy, or an exaggeration, or a mistake, or an imposture. Well, this is precisely what I have said, which this Writer considers so irrational. I have said, as he quotes me, p. 46, "In this day, and under our present circumstances, we can only reply, that there is no reason why they should not be." Surely this is good logic, provided that miracles do occur in all ages; and so again is it logical to say, " There is nothing, prima facie, in the miraculous accounts in question, to repel a properly taught or religiously disposed mind." What is the matter with this statement? My assailant does not pretend to say what the matter is, and he cannot; but he expresses a rude, unmeaning astonishment. Next, I stated what evidence there is for the miracles of which I was speaking; what is the harm of that? He observes, " What evidence Dr. Newman requires, he makes evident at once. He at least will fear for himself, and swallow the whole as it comes.'@p. 46. What random abuse is this, or to use his own words of me just before, what "stuff and nonsense!" What is it I am swallowing?" "the whole" what? the evidence? or the miracles? I have swallowed neither, nor implied any such thing. Blot twenty-six.I
But to return: I have just said that a Catholic's state of mind, of logical necessity, will be, " It may be a miracle, but it has to be proved." What has to be proved? I. That the event occurred as stated, and is not a false report or an exaggeration 2. That it is clearly miraculous, and not a mere providence or answer to prayer within the order of nature. What is the fault of saying this? The inquiry is parallel to that which is made about some extraordinary fact in secular history. Supposing I hear that King Charles II died a Catholic, I should say, 1. It may be. 2. What is your proof? Accordingly, in the passage which this writer quotes, I observe, " Miracles are the kind of facts proper to ecclesiastical history, just as instances of sagacity or daring, personal prowess, or crime, are the facts proper to secular history."
1 Blots Seventeen to Twenty-five are listed in an Appendix, Lives of the English Saints, which is omitted from this edition.
What is the harm of this? But this writer says, " Verily his [Dr. Newman's] idea of secular history is almost as degraded as his idea of ecclesiastical," p. 46, and he ends with this muddle of an ipse dirt! Blot twenty-seven.
In like manner, about the Holy Coat at Treves, he says of me, " Dr. Newman ... seems hardly sure of the authenticity of the holy coat." Why need I be, more than I am sure that Richard III murdered the little princes? If I have not means of making up my mind one way or the other, surely my most logical course is " not to be sure." He continues, " Dr. Newman 'does not see why it may not have been what it professes to be."' Well, is not that just what this Writer would, say of a great number of the facts recorded in secular history? is it not what he would be obliged to say of much that is told us about the armour and other antiquities in the Tower of London? To this I alluded in the passage from which he quotes; but he has garbled that passage, and I must show it. He quotes me to this effect:
Is the Tower of London shut against sightseers because the coats of mail or pikes there may have half-legendary tales connected with them? why then may not the country people come up in joyous companies, singing and piping, to see the holy coat at Treves?" On this he remarks, "To see, forsooth! to worship, Dr. Newman would have said, had he known (as I take for granted he does not) the facts of that imposture." Here, if I understand him, he implies that the people came up, not only to see, but to worship, and that I have slurred over the fact that their coming was an act of religious homage, that is, what he would call " worship." I Now, will it be believed that, so far from concealing this, I had carefully stated it in the sentence immediately preceding, and he suppresses it? I say, "The world pays civil honour to it [a jewel said to be Alfred's] on the probability; we pay religious honour to relics, if so be, on the probability. Is the Tower of London," I proceed, "shut," &c. Blot twenty-eight.
These words of mine, however, are but one sentence in a long argument, conveying the Catholic view on the subject of ecclesiastical miracles; and, as it is carefully worked out, and very much to the present point, and will save me doing over again what I could not do better or more fully now, if I set about it, I shall make a very long extract from the Lecture in which it occurs, and so bring this Head to an end.
The argument, I should first observe, which is worked out, is this, that Catholics set out with a definite religious tenet as a first principle, and Protestants with a contrary one, and that on this account it comes to pass that miracles are credible to Catholics and incredible to Protestants.
" We affirm that the Supreme Being has wrought miracle,.; on earth ever since the time of the Apostles ; Protestants deny it. Why do we affirm, why do they deny? We affirm it on a first principle, they deny it on a first principle; and on either side the first principle is made to be decisive of the question. . . . Both they and we start with the miracles of the Apostles; and then their first principle or presumption against our miracles is this, 'What God did once, He is not likely to do again;' while our first principle or presumption for our miracles is this; 'What God did once, He is likely to do again.' They say, It cannot be supposed He will work many miracles; we, It cannot be supposed He will work few.
"The Protestant, I say, laughs at the very idea of miracles or supernatural powers as occurring at this day; his first principle is rooted in him; he repels from him the idea of miracles; he laughs at the notion of evidence; one is just as likely as another; they are all false. Why? because of his first principle, There are no miracles since the Apostles. Here, indeed, is a short and easy way of getting rid of the whole subject, not by reason, but by a first principle which he calls reason. Yes, it is reason, granting his first principle is true; it is not reason, supposing his first principle is false.
"There is in the Church a vast tradition and testimony about miracles; how is it to be accounted for? If miracles can take place, then the fact of the miracle will be a natural explanation of the report, just as the fact of a man dying accounts satisfactorily for the news that he is dead; but the Protestant cannot so explain it, because he thinks miracles cannot take place; so he is necessarily driven, by way of accounting for the report of them, to impute that report to fraud. He cannot help himself. I repeat it; the whole mass of accusations which Protestants bring against us under this head, Catholic credulity, imposture, pious frauds, hypocrisy, priestcraft, this vast and varied superstructure of imputation, you see, all rests on an assumption, on an opinion of theirs, for which they offer no kind of proof. What then, in fact, do they say more than this, If Protestantism be true, you Catholics are a most awful set of knaves? Here, at least, is a most sensible and undeniable position.
Now, on the other hand, let me take our own side of the question, and consider how we ourselves stand relatively to the charge made against us. Catholics, then, hold the mystery of the Incarnation; and the Incarnation is the most stupendous event which ever can take place on earth; and after it and henceforth, I do not see how we can scruple at any miracle on the mere ground of its being unlikely to happen.... When we start with assuming that miracles are not unlikely, we are putting forth a position which lies embedded, as it were, and involved in the great revealed fact of the Incarnation. So much is plain on starting; but more is plain too. Miracles are not only not unlikely, but they are positively likely; and for this simple reason, because for the most part, when God begins, He goes on. We conceive, that when He first did a miracle, He began a series; what He commenced, He continued: what has been, will be. Surely this is good and clear reasoning. To my own mind, certainly, it is incomparably more difficult to believe that the Divine Being should do one miracle and no more, than that He should do a thousand; that he should do one great miracle only, than that He should do a multitude of lesser besides. . . . If the Divine Being does a thing once, He is, judging by human reason, likely to do it again. This surely is common sense. If a beggar gets food at a gentleman's house once, does he not send others thither after him? If you are attacked by thieves once, do you forthwith leave your windows open at night? . . . Nay, suppose you yourselves were once to see a miracle, would you not feel the occurrence to be like passing a line? would you, in consequence of it, declare, 'I never will believe another if I hear of one?' would it not, on the contrary, predispose you to listen to a new report? . . .
"When I hear the report of a miracle, my first feeling would be of the same kind as if it were a report of any natural exploit or event. Supposing, for instance, I heard a report of the death of some public man; it would not startle me, even if I did not at once credit it, for all men must die. Did I read of any great feat of valour, I should believe it, if Imputed to Alexander or Coeur-de-Lion. Did I hear of any act of baseness, I should disbelieve it, if imputed to a friend whom I knew and loved. And so in like manner were a miracle reported to me as wrought by a Member of Parliament, or a Bishop of the Establishment, or a Wesleyan preacher, I should repudiate the notion: were it referred to a saint, or the relic of a saint, or the intercession of a saint, I should not be startled at it, though I might not at once believe it. And I certainly should be right in this conduct, supposing my First Principle be true. Miracles to the Catholic are historical facts, and nothing short of this;,and they are to be regarded and dealt with as other facts; and as natural facts, under circumstances, do not startle Protestants, so supernatural, under circumstances, do not startle the Catholic. They may or may not have taken place in particular cases; he may be unable to determine which; he may have no distinct evidence; he may suspend his judgment, but he will say 'It is very possible he never will say ' I cannot believe it.'
"Take the history of Alfred; you know his wise, mild, beneficent, yet daring character, and his romantic vicissitudes of fortune. This great king has a number of stories, or, as you may call them, legends told of him. Do you believe them all? no. Do you, on the other hand, think them incredible? no. Do you call a man a dupe or a blockhead for believing them? no. Do you call an author a knave or a cheat who records them? no. You go into neither extreme, whether of implicit faith or of violent reprobation. You are not so extravagant ; you see that they suit his character, they may have happened: yet this is so romantic, that has so little evidence, a third is so confused in dates or in geography, that you are in matter of fact indisposed towards them. Others are probably true, others certainly. Nor do you force everyone to take your view of particular stories; you and your neighbour think differently about this or that in detail, and agree to differ. There is in the museum at Oxford, a jewel or trinket said to be Alfred's; it is shown to all corners; I never heard the keeper of the museum accused of hypocrisy or fraud for showing, with Alfred's name appended, what he might or might not himself believe to have belonged to that great king; nor did I ever see any party of strangers who were looking at it with awe, regarded by any self-complacent bystander with scornful compassion. Yet the curiosity is not to a certainty Alfred's. The world pays civil honour to it on the probability; we pay religious honour to relics, if so be, on the probability. Is the Tower of London shut against sightseers, because the coats of mail and pikes there may have half-legendary tales connected with them? why then may not the country people come up, in joyous companies, singing and piping, to see the Holy Coat at Treves? There is our Queen again, who is so truly and justly popular; she roves about in the midst of tradition and romance; she scatters myths and legends from her as she goes along; she is a being of poetry, and you might fairly be sceptical whether she had any personal existence. She is always at some beautiful, noble, bounteous work or other, if you trust the papers. She is doing alms-deeds in the Highlands; . she meets beggars in her rides at Windsor; she writes verses in albums, or draws sketches, or is mistaken for the housekeeper by some blind old woman, or she runs up a hill as if she were a child. Who finds fault with these things? he would be a cynic, he would be white-livered, and would have gall for blood, who was not struck with this graceful, touching evidence of the love her subjects bear her. Who could have the head, even if he had the heart, who could be I so cross and peevish, who could be so solemn and perverse, as to say that some of these stories may be simple lies, and all of them might have stronger evidence than they carry with them? Do you think she is displeased at them? Why then should He, the Great Father, who once walked the earth, look sternly on the unavoidable mistakes of His own subjects and children in their devotion to Him and His? Even granting they mistake some cases in particular, from the infirmity of human nature and the contingencies of evidence, and fancy there is or has been a miracle here and there when there is not, though a tradition, attached to a picture, or to a shrine, or a well, be very doubtful, though one relic be sometimes mistaken for another, and St. Theodore stands for St. Eugenius or St. Agathocles, still, once take into account our First Principle, that He is likely to continue miracles among us, which is as good as the Protestant's, and I do not see why He should feel much displeasure with us on account of this, or should cease to work wonders in our behalf. In the Protestant's view, indeed, who, assumes that miracles never are, our thaumatology is one great falsehood; but this is his. First Principle, as I have said so often, which he does not prove but assume. If he, indeed, upheld our system, or we held his principle, in either case he or we should be impostors; but though we should be partners to a fraud if we thought like Protestants, we surely are not if we think like Catholics.
" Such then is the answer I make to those who would urge against us the multitude of miracles recorded in our Saints Lives and devotional works, for many of which there is little evidence, and for some next to none. We think them true in the same sense in which Protestants think the history of England true. When they say that, they do not mean to say that there are no mistakes, but no mistakes of consequence, none which alter the general course of history. Nor do they mean they are equally sure of every part; for evidence is fuller and better for some things than for others. They do not stake their credit on the truth of Froissart or Sully, they do not pledge themselves for the accuracy of Doddington or Walpole, they do not embrace as an Evangelist Hume, Sharon Turner, or Macaulay. And yet they do not think it necessary, on the other hand, to commence a religious war against all our historical catechisms, and abstracts, and dictionaries, and tales, and biographies, through the country; they have no call on them to amend and expurgate books of archeology, antiquities, heraldry, architecture, geography, are statistics, to re-write our inscriptions, and to establish a censorship on all new publications for the time to come. And so as regards the miracles of the Catholic Church; if, indeed, miracles never can occur, then, indeed, impute the narratives to fraud; but till you prove they are not likely, we shall consider the histories which have come down to us true on the whole, though in particular cases they may be exaggerated or unfounded. Where, indeed, they can certainly be proved to be false, there we shall be bound to do our best to get rid of them; but till that is clear, we shall be liberal enough to allow others to use their private judgment in their favour, as we use ours in their disparagement. For myself, lest I appear in any way to be shrinking from a determinate judgment on the claims of some of those miracles and relics. which Protestants are so startled at, and to be hiding particular questions in what is vague and general, I will avow distinctly, that, putting out of the question the hypothesis of unknown laws of nature (which is an evasion from the force of any proof), I think it impossible to withstand the evidence which is brought for the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius at Naples, and for the motion of the eyes of the pictures of the Madonna in the Roman States. I see no reason to doubt the material of the Lombard crown at Monza; and I do not see why the Holy Coat of Treves may not have been what it professes to be. I firmly believe that portions of the True Cross are at Rome and elsewhere, that the Crib of Bethlehem is at Rome, and the bodies of St. Peter and St. Paul also. . . . Many men when they hear an educated man so speak, will at once impute the avowal to insanity, or to an idiosyncrasy, or to imbecility of mind, or to decrepitude of powers, or to fanaticism, or to hypocrisy. They have a right to say so, if they will; and we have a right to ask them why they do not say it of those who bow down before the Mystery of mysteries, the Divine Incarnation?
In my Essay on Miracles of the year 1826, I proposed three questions about a professed miraculous occurrence, I, is it antecedently probable? 2, is it in its nature certainly miraculous? 3, has it sufficient evidence? These are the three beads under which I still wish to conduct the inquiry into the miracles of Ecclesiastical History.
This Writer uses much rhetoric against a Lecture of mine, in which I bring out, as honestly as I can, the state of countries which have long received the Catholic Faith, and hold it by the force of tradition, universal custom, and legal establishment; a Lecture in which I give pictures, drawn principally from the middle ages, of what, considering the corruption of the human race generally, that state is sure to be pictures of its special sins and offences, sui generis, which are the result of that Faith when it is separated from Love or Charity, or of what Scripture calls a " dead faith," of the Light shining in darkness, and the truth held in unrighteousness. The nearest approach which this Writer is able to make towards stating what I have said in this Lecture, is to state the very reverse. Observe: we have already had some instances of the haziness of his ideas concerning the " Notes of the Church." These Notes are, as any one knows who has looked into, the subject, certain great and simple characteristics, which He who founded the Church has stamped upon her in order to draw both the reason and the imagination of men to her, as being really a divine work, and a religion distinct from all other religious communities ; the principal of these Notes being that she is Holy, One, Catholic, and Apostolic, as the Creed says. Now, to use his own word, he has the incredible "audacity" to say, that I have declared, not the divine characteristics of the Church, but the sins and scandals in her, to be her Notes,-as if I made God the Author of evil. He says distinctly. " Dr. Newman, with a kind of desperate audacity, will dig forth such scandals as Notes of the Catholic Church." This is what I get at his hands for my honesty. Blot twenty-nine.
Again, he says, " [Dr. Newman uses] the blasphemy and profanity which he confesses to he so common in Catholic countries, as an argument for, and not against the 'Catholic Faith.' A-p. 54. That is, because I admit that profaneness exists in the Church, therefore I consider it a token of the Church. Yes, certainly, just as our national form of cursing is an evidence of the being of a God, and as a gallows is the glorious sign of a civilised country,-but in no other way. Blot thirty.
What is it that I really say? I say as follows: Protestants object that the communion of Rome does not fulfil satisfactorily the expectations which we may justly form concerning the True Church, as it is delineated in the four Notes, enumerated in the Creed; and among others, e.g. in the Note of sanctity; and they point, in proof of what they assert, to the state of Catholic countries. Now, in answer to this objection, it is plain what I might have done, if I had not had a conscience. I might have denied the fact. I might have said, for instance, that the middle ages were as virtuous, as they were believing. I might have denied that there was any violence, any superstition, any immorality, any blasphemy during them. And so as to the state of countries which have long had the light of Catholic truth, and have degenerated. I might have admitted nothing against them, and explained away everything which plausibly told to their disadvantage. I did nothing of the kind; and what effect has this had upon this estimable critic? "Dr. Newman takes a seeming pleasure," he says, "in detailing instances of dishonesty on the part of Catholics.'!-p. 54. Blot thirty-one. Any one who knows me well, would testify that my " seeming pleasure," as he calls it, at such things, is just the impatient sensitiveness, which relieves itself by means of a definite delineation of what is so hateful to it.
However, to pass on. All the miserable scandals of Catholic countries, taken at the worst, are, as I view the matter, no argument against the Church itself ; and the reason which I give in the Lecture is, that, according to the proverb, Corruptio optimi est pessima. The Jews could sin in a way no other contemporary race could sin, for theirs was a sin against light; and Catholics can sin with a depth and intensity with which Protestants cannot sin. There will be more blasphemy, more hatred of God, more of diabolical rebellion, more of awful sacrilege, more of vile hypocrisy in a Catholic country than anywhere else, because there is in it more of sin against light. Surely, this is just what Scripture says, " Woe unto thee, Chorazin I woe unto thee Bethsaida! " And, again, surely what is told us by religious men, say by Father Bresciani, about the present unbelieving party in Italy, fully bears out the divine text: " If, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world . . . they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandments delivered unto them."
And what is true of those who thus openly oppose themselves to the truth, as it was true of the Evil One in the beginning, will in an analogous way be true in the case of all sin, be it of a heavier or lighter character, which is found in a Catholic country: -sin will be strangely tinged or dyed by religious associations or beliefs, and will exhibit the tragical inconsistencies of the excess of knowledge over love, or, of much faith with little obedience. The mysterious battle between good and evil will assume in a Catholic country its most frightful shape, when it is not the collision of two distinct and far-separated hosts, but when it is carried on in hearts and souls, taken one by one, and when the eternal foes are so intermingled and interfused that to human eyes they seem to coalesce into a multitude of individualities. This is in course of years, the real, the hidden condition of a nation, which has been bathed in Christian ideas, whether it be a young vigorous race, or an old and degenerate; and it will manifest itself socially and historically in those characteristics, sometimes grotesque, sometimes hideous, sometimes despicable, of which we have so many instances, medieval and modern, both in this hemisphere and in the, western. It is, I say, the necessary result of the intercommunion of divine faith and human corruption.
But it has a light side as well as a dark. First, much which seems profane, is not in itself profane, but in the subjective view of the Protestant beholder. Scenic representations of our Lord's Passion are not profane to a Catholic population; in like manner, there are usages, customs, institutions, actions, often of an indifferent nature, which will be necessarily mixed up with religion in a Catholic country, because all things whatever are so mixed up. Protestants have been sometimes shocked, most absurdly as a Catholic rightly decides, at hearing that Mass is sometimes said for a good haul of fish. There is no sin here, but only a difference from Protestant customs. Other phenomena of a Catholic nation are at most mere extravagances. And then as to what is really sinful, if there be in it fearful instances of blasphemy or superstition, there are also special and singular fruits and exhibitions of sanctity. and, if the many do not seem to lead better lives for all their religious knowledge, at least they learn, as they can learn nowhere else, how to repent thoroughly and to die well.
The visible state of a country, which professes Catholicism, need not be the measure of the spiritual result of that Catholicism, at the Eternal Judgment Scat; but no one could say that that visible state was a Note that Catholicism was divine.
All this I attempted to bring out in the Lecture of which I am speaking; and that I had some success, I am glad to infer from the message of congratulation upon it, which I' received at the time, from a foreign Catholic layman, of high! English reputation, with whom I had not the honour of a personal acquaintance. And having given the key to the Lecture, which the Writer so wonderfully misrepresents, I pass on to another head.
For the subject of the Economy, I shall refer to my discussion upon it in my History of the Arians, after one word about this Writer. He puts into his title-page these words from a Sermon of mine: " It is not more than an hyperbole to say, that, in certain cases, a lie is the nearest approach to truth." This Sermon he attacks; but I do not think it necessary to defend it here, because any one who reads it, will see that he is simply incapable of forming a notion of what it is about. It treats of subjects which are entirely out of his depth; and, as I have already shown in other instances, and observed in the beginning of this Volume, he illustrates in his own person the very thing that shocks him, viz. that the nearest approach to truth, in given cases, is a lie. He does his best to make something of it, I believe; but he gets simply perplexed. He finds that it annihilates space, robs him of locomotion, almost scoffs at the existence of the earth, and he is simply frightened and cowed. He can but say " the man who wrote that sermon was already past the possibility of conscious dishonesty," p. 59. Perhaps it is hardly fair, after such a confession on his part of being fairly beat, to mark down a blot; however, let it be Blot thirty-two.
Then again, he quotes from me thus: ",Many a theory or view of things, on which an institution is founded, or a party held together, is of the same kind (economical). Many an argument, used by zealous and earnest men, has this economical character, being not the very ground on which they act, (for they continue in the same course, though it be refuted,) yet In a certain sense, a representation of it, a proximate description of their feelings, in the shape of argument, on which they can rest, to which they can recur when perplexed, and appeal when they are questioned." He calls these startling words," p. 58. Yet here again he illustrates their truth; for in his own case, he has acted on them in this very controversy with the most happy exactness. Surely he referred to my Sermon on Wisdom and Innocence, when called on to prove me a liar, as "a proximate description of his feelings about me, in the shape of argument," and he has Acontinued in the same course, though it has been refuted."Blot thirty-three.
Then, as to " a party being held together by a mythical representation," or economy. Surely " Church and King,"
Reform," " Non-intervention," are such symbols; or let 'this Writer answer Mr. Kinglake's question in his "Crimean War," " Is it true that . . . great armies were gathering, and that for the sake of the Key and the Star the peace of the nations was brought into danger?" Blot thirty-four.
In the beginning of this work, pp. 84-90, I refuted his gratuitous accusation against me at pp. 60-61, founded on my calling one of my Anglican Sermons a Protestant one: so I have nothing to do but to register it here as Blot thirty-five.
Then he says that I committed an economy in placing In my original title-page, that the question between him and me, was whether " Dr. Newman teaches that Truth is no virtue." It was a "wisdom of the serpentine type," since I did not add, " for its own sake." Now observe: First, as to the matter of fact, in the course of my Letters, which bore that title-page, I printed the words " for its own sake," five times over. Next, pray, what kind of a virtue is that, which is not done for its own sake? So that, after all, is this Writer's idea of virtue, a something that is done for the sake of something else; a sort of expedience He is honest, it seems, simply because honesty is " the best policy," and on that score it is that he thinks himself virtuous. Why, " for its own sake" enters into the very idea or definition of a virtue. Defend me from such virtuous men, as this Writer would inflict upon us I Blot thirty-six.
These Blots are enough just now; so I proceed to a brief sketch of what I held in 1833 upon the Economy, as a rule of practice. I wrote this two months ago; perhaps the composition is not quite in keeping with the run of this Appendix; and it is short; but I think it will be sufficient for my purpose: -
The doctrine of the Economia, had, as I have shown, pp. 116-118, a large signification when applied to the divine ordinances; it also had a definite application to the duties of Christians, whether clergy or laity, in preaching, in instructing or catechising, or in ordinary intercourse with the world around them.
As Almighty God did not all at once introduce the Gospel to the world, and thereby gradually prepared men for its profitable reception, so, according to the doctrine of the early Church, it was a duty, for the sake of the heathen among whom they lived, to observe a great reserve and caution in communicating to them the knowledge of " the whole counsel of God." This cautious dispensation of the truth, after the manner of a discreet and vigilant steward, is denoted by the word " economy." It is a mode of acting which comes under the head of Prudence, one of the four Cardinal Virtues.
The principle of the Economy is this; that out of various courses, in religious conduct or statement, all and each allowable antecedently and in themselves, that ought to be taken which is most expedient and most suitable at the time for the object in hand.
Instances of its application and exercise in Scripture are such as the following:-I. Divine Providence did but gradually impart to the world in general, and to the Jews in particular, the knowledge of His will:-He is said to have Awinked at the times of ignorance among the heathen;" and He suffered in the Jews divorce " because of the hardness of their hearts." 2. He has allowed Himself to be represented as having eyes, ears, and hands, as having wrath, jealousy, grief, and repentance. 3. In like manner, our Lord spoke harshly to the Syro-Phoenician woman, whose daughter He was about to heal, and made as if He would go further, when the two disciples had come to their journey's end. 4. Thus too Joseph "made himself strange to his brethren," and Elisha kept silence on request of Naaman to bow in the house of Rimmon. 5. Thus St. Paul circumcised Timothy, while he cried out "Circumcision availeth not."
It may be said that this principle, true in itself, yet is dangerous, because it admits of an easy abuse, and carries men away into what becomes insincerity and cunning. This is undeniable; to do evil that good may come, to consider that the means, whatever they are, justify the end, to sacrifice truth to expedience, unscrupulousness, recklessness, are grave offences. These are abuses of the Economy. But to call them economical is to give a fine name to what occurs every day, independent of any knowledge of the doctrine of the Economy. It is the abuse of a rule which nature suggests to every one. Every one looks out for the " mollia tempora fandi," and " mollia verba " too.
Having thus explained what is meant by the Economy as a rule of social intercourse between men of different religious, or. again, political, or social views, next I go on to state what I said in the Arians.
I say in that Volume first, that our Lord has given us the principle in His own words,-" Cast not your pearls before swine "; and that He exemplified it in His teaching by parables; that St. Paul expressly distinguishes between the milk which is necessary to one set of men, and the strong meat which is allowed to others, and that, in two Epistles. I say, that the Apostles in the Acts observe the same rule in their speeches, for it is a fact, that they do not preach the high doctrines of Christianity, but only " Jesus and the resurrection" or " repentance and faith." I also say, that this is the very reason that the Fathers assign for the silence of various writers in the first centuries on the subject of our Lord's divinity. I also speak of the catechetical system practised in the early Church, and the discipline arcani as regards the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, to which Bingham bears witness; also of the defence of this rule by Basil, Cyril of Jerusalem, Chrysostom, and Theodoret.
And next the question may be asked, whether I have said any thing in my Volume to guard the doctrine, thus laid down, from the abuse to which it is obviously exposed: and my answer is easy. Of course, had I had any idea that I should have been exposed to such hostile misrepresentations, as it has been my lot to undergo on the subject, I should have made more direct avowals than I have done of my sense of the gravity and the danger of that abuse. Since I could not foresee when I wrote, that I should have been wantonly slandered, I only wonder that I have anticipated the charge as fully as will be seen in the following extracts.
For instance, speaking of the Disciplina Arcani, I say: -(I) "The elementary information given to the heathen or catechumen was in no sense undone by the subsequent secret teaching, which was in fact but the filling up of a bare but correct outline," P. 58, and I contrast this with the conduct of the Manichxans " who represented the initiatory discipline as founded on a fiction or hypothesis, which was to be forgotten by the learner as he made progress in the rea doctrine of the Gospel." (2) As to allegorising, I say that the Alexandrians erred, whenever and as far as they proceeded "to, obscure the primary meaning of Scripture, and to weaken the force of historical facts and express declarations," p. 69. (3) And that they were "more open to censure," when, on being " urged by objections to various passages in the history of the Old Testament, as derogatory to the divine perfections or to the Jewish Saints, they had recourse to an allegorical explanation by way of answer," p. 71. (4) I add, "It is impossible to defend such a procedure, which seems to imply a want of faith in those who had recourse to it;" for " God has given us rules of right and wrong," Ibid. (5) Again, I says-" The abuse of the Economy in the hands of unscrupulous reasoners, is obvious. Even the honest controversialist or teacher will find it very difficult to represent, without misrepresenting, what it is yet his duty to present to his hearers with caution or reserve. Here the obvious rule to guide our practice is, to be careful ever to maintain substantial truth in our use of the economical method,'- pp. 79,, 80. (6) And so far from concurring at all hazards with Justin, Gregory, or Athanasius, I say, "It is plain [they] were justified or not in their Economy, according as they did or did not practically mislead their opponents," p. 80. (7) I proceed, " It is so difficult to hit the mark in these perplexing cases, that it is not wonderful, should these or other Fathers have failed at times, and said more or less than was proper," ibid.
The Principle of the Economy is familiarly acted on among us every day. When we would persuade others, we do not begin by treading on their toes. Men would be thought rude 'who Introduced their own religious notions into mixed society, and were devotional in a drawing-room. Have we never thought lawyers tiresome who came down for the assizes and talked law all through dinner? Does the same argument tell in the House of Commons, on the hustings, and at Exeter Hall? Is an educated gentleman never worsted at an election by the tone and arguments of some clever fellow, who, whatever his shortcomings in other respects, understands the common people?
As to the Catholic Religion in England at the present day, this only will I observe,-that the truest expedience is to answer right out, when you are asked; that the wisest economy is to have no management; that the best prudence is not to be a coward; that the most damaging folly is to be found out shuffling; and that the first of virtues is to tell truth, and shame the devil."
This writer says, " Though [a lie] be a sin, the fact of its being a venial one seems to have gained for it as yet a very slight penance.'-p. 63. Yet he says also that Dr. Newman takes " a perverse pleasure in eccentricities," because I say that " it is better for sun and moon to drop from heaven than that one soul should tell one wilful untruth.'-p. 50.
That is, he first accuses us without foundation of making light of a lie; and, when he finds that we don't, then he calls us inconsistent. I have noticed these words of mine, and two passages besides, which he quotes, above at pp. 282-284. Here I will but observe on the subject of venial sin generally, that he altogether forgets our doctrine of Purgatory. This punishment may last till the day of judgment; so much for duration; then as to intensity, let the image of fire, by which we denote it, show what we think of it. Here is the expiation of venial sins. Yet Protestants, after the manner of this Writer, are too apt to play fast and loose; to blame us because we hold that sin may be venial, and to blame us again when we tell them what we think will be its punishment. Blot thirty-seven.
At the end of his Pamphlet he makes a distinction between the Catholic clergy and gentry in England, which I know the latter consider to be very impertinent; and he makes it apropos of a passage in one of my original letters in January. He quotes me as saying that "Catholics differ from Protestants, as to whether this or that act in particular is conformable to the rule of truth,", p. 65; and then he goes on to observe, that I have " calumniated the Catholic gentry," because " there is no difference whatever, of detail or other, between their truthfulness and honour, and the truthfulness and honour of the Protestant gentry among whom they live." But again he has garbled my words; they run thus:
" Truth is the same in itself and in substance, to Catholic and Protestant; so is purity; both virtues are to be referred to that moral sense which is the natural possession of us all. But, when we come to the question in detail, whether this or that act in particular is conformable to the rule of truth, or again to the rule of purity, then sometimes there is a difference of opinion between individuals, sometimes between schools, and sometimes between religious communions." I knew indeed perfectly well, and I confessed that "Protestants think that the Catholic system, as such, leads to a lax observance of the rule of truth"; but I added, " I am very sorry that they should think so," and I never meant myself to grant that all Protestants were on the strict side, and all Catholics on the lax. Far from it; there is a stricter party as well as a laxer party among Catholics, there is a laxer party as well as a stricter party among Protestants. I have already spoken of Protestant writers who in certain cases allow of lying, I have also spoken of Catholic writers who do not allow of equivocation; when I wrote " a difference of opinion between individuals," and " between schools," I meant between Protestant and Protestant, and particular instances were in my mind. I did not say then, or dream of saying, that Catholics, priests and laity, were lax on the point of lying, and that Protestants were strict, any more than I meant to say that all Catholics were pure, and all Protestants impure; but I meant to say that, whereas the rule of Truth is one and the same both to Catholic and Protestant, nevertheless some Catholics were lax, some strict, and again some Protestants were strict, some lax; and I have already had opportunities of recording my own judgment on which side the Writer is himself, and therefore he may keep his forward vindication of " honest gentlemen and noble ladies," who, in spite of their priests, are still so truthful, till such time as he can find a worse assailant of them than I am, and they no better champion of them than himself. And as to the Priests of England, those who know them, as he does not, will pronounce them no whit inferior in this great virtue to the gentry, whom he says that he does; and I cannot say more. Blot thirty-eight.
Lastly, this Writer uses the following words, which I have more than once quoted, and with a reference to them I shall end my remarks upon him. " I am henceforth," he says, " in doubt and fear, as much as an honest man can be, concerning every word Dr. Newman may write. How can I tell that I shall not be the dupe of some cunning equivocation, of one of the three kinds, laid down as permissible by the blessed St. Alfonso da Liguori and his pupils, even when confirmed with an oath . . . ?"
I will tell him why he need not fear; because he has left out one very important condition in the statement of St. Alfonso,-and very applicable to my own case, even if I followed St. Alfonso's view of the subject. St. Alfonso says ex justa cause but our " honest man." as he styles himself, has omitted these words; which are a key to the whole question. Blot thirty-nine. Here endeth our " honest man." Now for the subject of Lying.
Almost all authors, Catholic and Protestant, admit, that when a just cause is present, there is some kind or other of verbal misleading, which is not sin. Even silence is in certain cases virtually such a misleading, according to the Proverb, " Silence gives consent." Again, silence is absolutely forbidden to a Catholic, as a mortal sin, under certain circumstances, e.g. to keep silence, instead of making a profession of faith.
Another mode of verbal misleading, and the most direct, is actually saying the thing that is not; and it is defended on the principle that such words are not a lie, when there is a " justa causa," as killing is not murder in the case of an executioner.
Another ground of certain authors for saying that an untruth is not a lie where there is a just cause, is, that veracity is a kind of justice, and therefore, when we have no duty of justice to tell truth to another, it is no sin not to do so. Hence we may say the thing that is not, to children, to madmen, to men who ask impertinent questions, to those whom we hope to benefit by misleading.
Another ground, taken in defending certain untruths, ex justa causa, as if not lies, is that veracity is for the sake of society, and, if in no case we might lawfully mislead others, we should actually be doing society great harm.
Another mode of verbal misleading is equivocation or a play upon words; and it is defended on the view that to lie is to use words in a sense which they will not bear. But an equivocator uses them in a received sense, though there is another received sense, and therefore, according to this definition, he does not lie.
Others say that all equivocations are, after all, a kind of lying, faint lies or awkward lies, but still lies; and some of these disputants infer, that therefore we must not equivocate, and others that equivocation is but a half-measure, and that it is better to say at once that in certain cases untruths are not lies.
Others will try to distinguish between evasions and equivocations; but they will be answered, that, though there are evasions which are clearly not equivocations, yet that it is difficult scientifically to draw the line between them.
To these must be added the unscientific way of dealing with lies, viz. that on a great or cruel occasion a man cannot help telling a lie, and he would not be a man, did he not tell it, but still it is wrong and he ought not to do it, and he must trust that the sin will be forgiven him, though he goes about to commit it. It is a frailty, and had better not be anticipated, and not thought of again, after it is once over. This view cannot for a moment be defended, but, I suppose, it is very common.
And now I think the historical course of thought upon the matter has been this: the Greek Fathers thought that, when there was a justa cause, an untruth need not be a lie. St. Augustine took another view, though with great misgiving; and, whether he is rightly interpreted or not, is the doctor of the great and common view that all untruths are lies, and that there can be no just cause of untruth. In these later times, this doctrine has been found difficult to work, and it has been largely taught that, though all untruths are lies, yet that certain equivocations, when there is a just cause, are not untruths.
Further, there have been and all along through these later ages, other schools, running parallel with the above mentioned, one of which says that equivocations, &c. after all are lies, and another which says that there are untruths which are not lies.
And now as to the "just cause," which is the condition, sine qud non. The Greek Fathers make them such as these, self-defence, charity, zeal for God's honour, and the like.
St. Augustine seems to deal with the same "just causes as the Greek Fathers, even though he does not allow of their availableness as depriving untruths, spoken with such objects, of their sinfulness. I-Ie mentions defence of life and of honour, and the safe custody of a secret. Also the Anglican writers, who have followed the Greek Fathers, in defending untruths when there is the " just cause," consider that just cause to be such as the preservation of life and property, defence of law, the good of others. Moreover, their moral rights, e. g. defence against the inquisitive, &c.
St. Alfonso, I consider, would take the same view of the justa causa " as the Anglican divines; he speaks of it as quicuhque finis honestus, ad servanda bona spiritui vel corlrori utilia ;" which is very much the view which they take of it, judging by the instances which they give.
In all cases, however, and as contemplated by all authors, Clement of Alexandria, or Milton, or St. Alfonso, such a causa is, in fact, extreme, rare, great, or at least special. Thus the writer in the Melanges Theologiques (Liege, 1852-3, p. 453) quotes Lessius: " Si absque justa causa fiat, est abusio crationis contra virtutem veritatis, et eivilem consuctudinem, etsi proprie non sit mendacium." That is, the virtue of truth, and the civil custom, are the measure of the just cause. And so Voit, "If a man has used a reservation (restrictions non pure mentali) without a grave cause, he has sinned gravely." And so the author himself, from whom I quote, and who defends the Patristic and Anglican doctrine that there are untruths which are not lies, says, " Under the name of mental reservation theologians authorise many lies, when there is for them a grave reason and proportionate@ I. e. to their character.-p. 459. And so St. Alfonso, in an other Treatise, quotes St. Thomas to the effect, that, if from one cause two immediate effects follow, and, if the good effect of that cause is equal in value to the bad effect (bonus ,equivalet malo), then nothing hinders that the good may be intended and the evil permitted. From which it will follow that, since the evil to society from lying is very great, the just cause which is to make it allowable, must be very great also. And so Kenrick: " It is confessed by all Catholics that, in the common intercourse of life, all ambiguity of language is to be avoided; but it is debated whether such ambiguity is ever lawful. Most theologians answer in the affirmative, supposing a grave cause urges, and the [true] mind of the speaker can be collected from the adjuncts, though in fact it can not be collected.@
However, there are cases, I have already said, of another kind, in which Anglican authors would think a lie allowable; such as when a question is impertinent. Accordingly, I think the best word for embracing all the cases which would come under the " justa causa,@ is, not " extreme," but " special," and I say the same as regards St. Alfonso ; and therefore, above in pp. 302 and 303, whether I speak of St. Alfonso or Paley, I should have used the word " special," o r " extra ordinary," not " extreme." What I have been saying shows what different schools of opinion there are in the Church in the treatment of this difficult doctrine; and, by consequence, that a given individual, such as I am, cannot agree with all, and has a full right to follow which he will. The freedom of the Schools, indeed, is one of those rights of reason, which the Church is too wise really to interfere with. And this applies not to moral questions only, but to dogmatic also.
It is supposed by Protestants that, because St. Alfonso's writings have had such high commendation bestowed upon them by authority, therefore they have been invested with a quasi-infallibility. This has arisen in good measure from Protestants not knowing the force of theological terms . The words to which they refer are the authoritative decision that nothing in his works has been found worthy of censure, Acensura dignum@ but this does not lead to the conclusions which have been drawn from it. Those words occur in a legal document, and cannot be interpreted except in a legal sense. In the first place, the sentence is negative ; nothing in St. Alfonso's writings is positively approved; and secondly it is not said that there are no faults in what he has written, but nothing which comes under the ecclesiastical censura, which is something very definite. To take and interpret them, in the way commonly adopted in England, is the same mis. take, as if one were to take the word " Apologia " in the English sense of apology, or "Infant" in law to mean a little child.
I. Now first as to the meaning of the form of words viewed as a proposition. When they were brought before the fitting authorities at Rome by the Archbishop of Besancon, the answer returned to him contained the condition that those words were to be interpreted, " with due regard to the mind of the Holy See concerning the approbation of writings of the servants of God, ad effectum Canonizationis." This is intended to prevent any Catholic taking the words about St. Alfonso's works in too large a sense. Before a Saint is canonized, his works are examined and a judgment pronounced upon them. Pope Benedict XIV says, " The end or scope of this judgment is, that it may appear, whether the doctrine of the servant of God, which he has brought out in his writings, is free from any soever theological censure." And he remarks in addition, " It never can be said that the doctrine of a servant of God is approved by the Holy See, but at most it can [only] be said that it is not disapproved (non reprobatam) in case that the Revisers had reported that there is nothing found by them in his works, which is adverse to the decrees of Urban VIII, and that the judgment of the Revisers has been approved by the sacred Congregation, and confirmed by the Supreme Pontiff." The Decree of Urban VIII here referred to is, " Let works be examined, whether they contain errors against faith or good morals (bonos mores), or any new doctrine, or a doctrine foreign and alien to the common sense and custom of the Church." The author from whom I quote this (M. Vandenbroeck, of the diocese of Malines) observes, " It is therefore clear, that the approbation of the works of the Holy Bishop touches not the truth of every proposition, adds nothing to them, nor even gives them by consequence a degree of intrinsic probability." He adds that it gives St. Alfonso's theology an extrinsic probability, from the fact that, in the judgment of the Holy See, no proposition deserves to receive a censure; but that " that probability will cease nevertheless in a particular case, for any one who should be convinced, whether by evident arguments, or by a decree of the Holy See, or otherwise, that the doctrine of the Saint deviates from the truth." He adds, "From the fact that the approbation of the works of St. Alfonso does not decide the truth of each proposition, it follows, as Benedict XIV has remarked, that we may combat the doctrine which they contain; only, since, a canonised saint is in question, who is honoured by a solemn culte in the Church, we ought not to speak except with respect, nor to attack his opinions except with temper and modesty."
2. Then, as to the meaning of the word censura: Benedict XIV enumerates a number of " Notes " which come under that name; he says, "Out of propositions which are to be noted with theological censure, some are heretical, some erroneous, some close upon error, some savouring of heres@,' and so on; and each of these terms has its own definite meaning. Thus by " erroneous " is meant, according to Viva, a proposition which is not immediately opposed to a revealed proposition, but only to a theological conclusion drawn from premisses which are de fide; " savouring of heresy," when a proposition is opposed to a theological conclusion not evidently drawn from premisses which are de fide, but most probably and according to the common mode of theologising, and so with the rest. Therefore when it was said by the Revisers of St. Alfonso's works that they were not worthy of censure," it was only meant that they did not fall under these particular Notes.
But the answer from Rome to the Archbishop of Besancon went further than this ; it actually took pains to declare that any one who pleased might follow other theologians instead of St. Alfonso. After saying that no Priest was to be interfered with who followed St. Alfonso in the Confessional, it added, " This is said, however, without on that account judging that they are reprehended who follow opinions handed down by other approved authors."
And this too, 1 will observe, that St. Alfonso made many changes of opinion himself in the course of his writings; and it could not for an instant be supposed that we were bound to every one of his opinions, when he did not feel himself bound to them in his own person. And, what is more to the purpose still, there are opinions, or some opinion, of his which actually has been proscribed by the Church since, and cannot now be put forward or used. I do not pretend to be a well-read theologian myself, but I say this on the authority of a theological professor of Breda, quoted in the Melanges Theol. for 1850-1. He says: "It may happen, that, in the course of time, errors may be found in the works of St. Alfonso and be proscribed by the Church, a thing which in fact has already occurred."
In not ranging myself then with those who consider that it is justifiable to use words in a double sense, that is, to equivocate, I put myself, first, under the protection of Cardinal Gerdil, who, in a work lately published at Rome, has the following passage, which I owe to the kindness of a friend:
In an oath one ought to have respect to the intention of the party swearing, and the intention of the party to whom the oath is taken. Whoso swears binds himself in virtue of the words, not according to the sense he retains in his own mind, but in the sense according to which he perceives that they are understood by him to whom the oath is made. When the mind of the one is discordant with the mind of the other, if this happens by deceit or cheat of the party swearing, he is bound to observe the oath according to the right sense (sana mente) of the party receiving it; but, when the discrepancy in the sense comes of misunderstanding, without deceit of the party swearing, in that case he is not bound, except to that to which he had in mind to wish to be bound. It follows hence, that whose uses mentai reservation or equivocation in the oath, in order to deceive the party to whom he offers it, sins most grievously, and is always bound to observe the oath in the sense in which he knew that his words were taken by the other party, according to the decision of St. Augustine, 'They are perjured, who, having kept the words, have deceived the expectations of those to whom the oath was taken.'
He who swears externally, without the inward intention of swearing, commits a most grave sin, and remains all the same under the obligation to fulfil it. . . . In a word, all that is contrary to good faith, is iniquitous, and by introducing the name of God the iniquity is aggravated by the guilt of sacrilege."
Natalis Alexander
'They certainly lie, who utter the words of an oath, and. without the will to swear or bind themselves; or who make use of mental reservations and equivocations in swearing, since they signify by words what they have not in mind, contrary to the end for which language was instituted, viz.something else than the as signs of ideas. Or they mean words signify in themselves, and the common custom of speech, and the circumstances of persons and business matters; and thus they abuse words which were instituted for the cherishing of society."
"Hence is apparent how worthy of condemnation is the temerity of those half-taught men, who give a colour to lies and equivocations by the words and instances of Christ. Than whose doctrine, which is an art of deceiving, nothing can be more pestilent. And that, both because what you do not wish done to yourself, you should not do to another; now the patrons of equivocations and mental reservations would not like to be themselves deceived by others, &c. . . . and also because St. Augustine. &c. . . . In truth, as there is no pleasant living with those whose language we do not understand, and, as St. Augustine teaches, a man would more readily live with his dog than with a foreigner. less pleasant certainly is our converse with those who make use of frauds artificially covered, overreach their hearers by deceits, address them insidiously, observe the right moment, and catch at words to their purpose, by which truth is hidden under a covering; and so on the other hand nothing is sweeter than the society of those, who both love and speak the naked truth, without their mouth professing one thing and their mind hiding another, or spreading before it the cover of double words. Nor does it matter that they colour their lies with the name of equivocations or mental reservations. For Hilary says, 'The sense, not the speech, makes the crime.'
Concina allows of what I shall presently call evasions, but nothing beyond, if I understand him; but he is most vehement against mental reservation of every kind, so I quote him.
"'That mode of speech, which some theologians call pure mental reservation, others call reservation not simply mental that language which to me is lying, to the greater part of recent authors is only amphibological.... I have discovered that nothing is adduced by more recent theologians for the lawful use of amphibologies which has not been made use of already by the ancients, whether philosophers or some Fathers, in defence of lies. Nor does there seem to me other difference when I consider their respective grounds, except that the ancients frankly called those modes of speech lies, and the more recent writers, not a few of them, call them amphibological, equivocal, and material."
In another place he quotes Caramuel, so I suppose I may do so too, for the very reason that his theological reputation does not place him on the side of strictness. Concina says, " Caramuel himself, who bore away the palm from all others in relaxing the evangelical and natural law, says,
I have an innate aversion to mental reservations. If they are contained within the bounds of piety and sincerity, then they are not necessary; . . . but if [otherwise] they are the destruction of human society and sincerity, and are to be condemned as pestilent. Once admitted, they open the way to all lying, all perjury. And the whole difference in the matter is, that what yesterday was called a lie, changing, not its nature and malice, but its name, is to-day entitled 'mental reservation;' and this is to sweeten poison with sugar, and to colour guilt with the appearance of virtue."
St. Thomas
"When the sense of the party swearing, and of the party to whom he swears, is not the same, if this proceeds from the deceit of the former, the oath ought to be kept according to the right sense of the party to whom it is made. But if the party swearing does not make use of deceit, then he is bound according to his own sense."
St. Isidore
With whatever artifice of words a man swears, nevertheless God who is the witness of his conscience, so takes the oath as he understands it, to whom it is sworn. And he becomes twice guilty, who both takes the name of God in vain, and deceives his neighbour."
St. Augustine
I do not question that this is most justly laid down, that the promise of an oath must be fulfilled, not according to the words of the party taking it, but according to the expectation of the party to whom it is taken, of which he who takes it is aware."
And now, under the protection of these authorities, I say as follows:
Casuistry is a noble science, but it Is one to which I am led, neither by my abilities nor my turn of mind. Independently, then, of the difficulties of the subject, and the necessity, before forming an opinion. of knowing more of the arguments of theologians upon it than 1 do, 1 am very unwilling to say a word here on the subject of Lying and Equivocation. But I consider myself bound to speak; and therefore, in this strait, I can do nothing better, even for my own relief, than submit myself and what I shall say to the judgment of the Church, and to the consent, so far as in this matter there be a consent, of the Schola Theologorum.
Now, in the case of one of those special and rare exigencies or emergencies, which constitute the justa causa of dissembling or misleading, whether it be extreme as the defence of life, or a duty as the custody of a secret, or of a personal nature as to repel an impertinent inquirer, or a matter too trivial to provoke question, as in dealing with children or madmen, there seem to be four courses:-
1. To say the thing that is not. Here I draw the reader's attention to the words material and formal. " Thou shalt not kill"; murder is the formal transgression of this commandment, but accidental homicide is the material transgression. The matter of the act is the same in both cases; but in the homicide, there is nothing more than the act, whereas in murder there must be the intention, &c. which constitutes the formal sin. So, again, an executioner commits the material act, but not that formal killing which is a breach of the commandment. So a man, who, simply to save himself from starving, takes a loaf which is not his own, commits only the material, not the formal act of stealing, that is, he does not commit a sin. And so a baptised Christian, external to the Church, who is in invincible Ignorance, is a material heretic, and not a formal. And in like manner, if to say the thing which is not be in special cases lawful, it may be called a material lie.
The first mode then which has been suggested of meeting those special cases, in which to mislead by words has a sufficient object, or has a just cause, is by a material lie.
The second mode is by an tequivocatio, which is not equivalent to the English word " equivocation," but means sometimes a play upon words, sometimes an evasion.
2. A play upon words. St. Alfonso certainly says that a play upon words is allowable; and, speaking under correction, I should say that he does so on the ground that lying is "not a sin against justice, that is, against our neighbour, but a sin against God; because words are the signs of ideas, and therefore if a word denotes two ideas, we are at liberty to use it in either of Its senses; but I think I must be incorrect here in some respect, because the Catechism of the Council, as I have quoted it at p. 309, says, " Vanitate et mendacio fides ac veritas tolluntur, arctissima vincula societatis human6e; quibus sublatis, sequitur summa vitx conjusio, ut homines nihil a dwmonibus differre videantur."
3. Evasion ;-when, for instance, the speaker diverts the attention of the bearer to another subject; suggests an irrelevant fact or makes a remark, which confuses him and ,gives him something to think about; throws dust into his eyes; states some truth, from which he is quite sure hi S hearer will draw an illogical and untrue conclusion, and the like. Bishop Butler seems distinctly to sanction such a proceeding, in a passage which I shall extract below.
The greatest school of evasion, I speak seriously, is the House of Commons; and necessarily so, from the nature of the case. And the hustings is another.
An instance is supplied in the history of St. Athanasius: he was in a boat on the Nile, flying persecution; and he found himself pursued. On this he ordered his men to turn his boat round, and ran right to meet the satellites of Julian. They asked him, " Have you seen Athanasius? and he told his followers to answer, " Yes he is close to You." They went on their course, and he ran into Alexandria, and there lay hid till the end of the persecution.
I gave another instance above, in reference to a doctrine of religion. The early Christians did their best to conceal their Creed on account of the misconceptions of the heathen about it. Were the question asked of them, "Do you worship a Trinity?" and did they answer, "We worship one God, and none else"; the inquirer might, or would, infer that they did not acknowledge the Trinity of Divine Persons.
It is very difficult to draw the line between these evasions, and what are commonly called in English equivocations; and of this difficulty, again, I think, the scenes in the House of Commons supply us with illustrations.
4. The fourth method ,- silence. For instance, not giving the whole truth in a court of law. If St. Alban, after dressing himself in the Priest's clothes, and being taken before the persecutor, had been able to pass off for his friend, and so gone to martyrdom without being discovered; and had he in the course of examination answered all questions truly, but not given the whole truth, the most important truth, that he was the wrong person, he would have come very near to telling a lie, for a half-truth is often a falsehood. And his defence must have been the justa causa, viz. either that he might in charity or for religion's sake save a priest, or again that the judge had no right to interrogate him on the subject.
Now, of these four modes of misleading others by the tongue, when there is a justa causa (supposing there can be such),-a material lie, that is an untruth which is not a lie, an equivocation, an evasion, and silence,-First, I have no difficulty whatever in recognising as allowable the method of silence.
Secondly, but, if I allow of silence, why not of the method of material lying, since half of a truth is often a lie? And, again, if all killing be not murder, nor all taking from another stealing, why must all untruths be lies? Now I will say freely that I think it difficult to answer this question, whether it be urged by St. Clement or by Milton; at the same time, I never have acted, and I think, when it came to the point, I never should act upon such a theory myself, except in one case, stated below. This I say for the benefit of those who speak hardly of Catholic theologians, on the ground that they admit text-books which allow of equivocation. They are asked, how can we trust you, when such are your views? but such views, as I already have said, need not have any thing to do with their own practice, merely from the circumstance that they are contained in their text-books. A theologian draws out a system; he does it partly as a scientific speculation; but much more for the sake of others. Re is lax for the sake of others, not of himself. His own standard of action is much higher than that which he imposes upon men in general. One special reason why religious men, after drawing out a theory, are unwilling to act upon it themselves, is this: that they practically acknowledge a broad distinction between their reason and their conscience; and that they feel the latter to be the safer guide, though the former may be the clearer, nay even though it be the truer. They would rather be wrong with their conscience, than right with their reason. And again here is this more tangible difficulty in the case of exceptions to the rule of Veracity, that so very little external help is given us in drawing the line, as to when untruths are allowable and when not: whereas that sort of killing which is not murder, is most definitely marked off by legal enactments, so that it cannot possibly be mistaken for such killing as is murder. On the other hand the cases of exemption from the rule of veracity are left to the private judgment of the individual, and he may easily be led on from acts which are allowable to acts which are not. Now this remark does not apply to such acts as are related in Scripture, as being done by a particular inspiration, for in such cases there is a command. If I had my own way, I would oblige society, that is, its great men, its lawyers, its divines, its literature, publicly to acknowledge, as such, those instances of untruth which are not lies, as for instance, untruths in war; and then there could be no danger in them to the individual Catholic, for he would be acting under a rule.
Thirdly, as to playing upon words, or equivocation, I suppose it is from the English habit, but, without meaning any disrespect to a great Saint, or wishing to set myself up, or taking my conscience for more than it is worth, I can only say as a fact, that I admit it as little as the rest of my countrymen: and, without any reference to the right and the wrong of the matter, of this I am sure, that, if there Is one thing more than another which prejudices Englishmen against the Catholic Church, it is the doctrine of great authorities on the subject of equivocation. For myself, I can fancy myself thinking it was allowable in extreme cases for me to lie, but never to equivocate. Luther said, " Pecca fortiter." I anathematise the formal sentiment, but there is a truth in it, when spoken of material acts.
Fourthly, I think evasion, as I have described it, to be perfectly allowable; indeed, I do not know who does not use it, under circumstances; but that a good deal of moral anger is attached to its use ; and that, the cleverer a man is, the more likely he is to pass the line of Christian duty. But it may be said, that such decisions do not meet the particular difficulties for which provision is required; let us then take some instances.
I. I do not think it right to tell lies to children even on I this account, that they are sharper than we think them, and will soon find out what we are doing; and our example will be a very bad training for them. And so of equivocation: it is easy of imitation, and we ourselves shall be sure to get the worst of it in the end.
2. If an early Father defends the patriarch Jacob in his mode of gaining his father's blessing, on the ground that the blessing was divinely pledged to him already, that it was his. and that his father and brother were acting at once against his own rights and the divine will, it does not follow from this that such conduct is a pattern to us, who have no supernatural means of determining when an untruth becomes a material, and not a formal lie. It seems to me very dangerous, be it allowable or not, to lie or equivocate in order to preserve some great temporal or spiritual benefit, nor does St. Alfonso here say anything to the contrary, for he is not discussing the question of danger or expedience.
3. As to Johnson's case of a murderer asking you which way a man had gone, I should have anticipated that, had such a difficulty happened to him, his first act would have been to knock the man down, and to call out for the police; and next, if he was worsted in the conflict, he would not have given the ruffian the information he asked, at whatever risk to himself. I think he would have let himself he killed first. I do not think that he would have told a lie.
4. A secret is a more difficult case. Supposing something has been confided to me in the strictest, secrecy, which could not be revealed without great disadvantage to another, what am I to do? If I am a lawyer, I am protected by my profession. I have a right to treat with extreme indignation any question which trenches on the inviolability of my position; but, supposing I was driven up into a corner, I think I should have a right to say an untruth, or that, under such circumstances, a lie would be material, but it is almost an impossible case, for the law would defend me. In like manner, as a priest, I should think it lawful to speak as if I knew nothing of what passed in confession. And I think in these cases, I do in fact possess that guarantee, that I am not going by private judgment, which just now I demanded; for society would bear me out, whether as a lawyer or as a priest, that I had a duty to my client or penitent, such, that an untruth in the matter was not a lie. A common type of this permissible denial, be it material lie or evasion, is at the moment supplied to me: an artist asked a Prime Minister, who was sitting to him, AWhat news, my Lord, from France?" He answered, "I do not know; I have not read the Papers."
5. A more difficult question is, when to accept confidence has not been a duty. Supposing a man wishes to keep the secret that he is the author of a book, and he is plainly asked on the subject. Here I should ask the previous question, whether any one has a right to publish what he dare not avow. it requires to have traced the bearings and results of such a principle, before being sure of it; but certainly for myself, I am no friend of strictly anonymous writing.
Next, supposing another has confided to you the secret of his authorship: there are persons who would have no scruple at all in giving a denial to impertinent questions asked them on the subject. I have heard a great man in his not enter day at Oxford, warmly contend, as if he could into any other view of the matter, that, if he had been trusted by a friend with the secret of his being author of a certain book, and he were asked by a third person, if his friend was not (as he really was) the author of it, he ought without any scruple and distinctly to answer that he did not know. He had an existing duty towards the author; he had none towards his inquirer. The author had a claim on him; an impertinent questioner had none at all., But here again I desiderata some leave, recognised by society, as in the case of the formulas " Not at home," and " Not guilty," in order to give me the right of saying what is a material untruth. And moreover, I should here also ask the previous question, Have I any right to accept such a confidence? have I any right to make such a promise? and, if it be an unlawful promise, is it binding at the expense of a lie? I am not attempting to solve these difficult questions, but they have to be carefully examined.
As I put into print some weeks ago various extracts from authors relating to the subject which I have been considering, I conclude by inserting them here, though they will not have a very methodical appearance.
For instance, St. Dorotheus: "Sometimes the necessity of some matter urges (incumbit), which, unless you somewhat conceal and dissemble it, will turn into a greater trouble." And he goes on to mention the case of saving a man who has committed homicide from his pursuers: and he adds that it is not a thing that can be done often, but once in a long time.
St. Clement in like manner speaks of it only as a necessity, and as a necessary medicine.
Origen, after saying that God's commandment makes it a plain duty to speak the truth, adds, that a man, when necessity urges," may avail himself of a lie, as medicine, that is, to the extent of Judith's conduct towards Holofernes and he adds that that necessity may be the obtaining of a great good, as Jacob hindered his father from giving the blessing to Esau against the will of God.
Cassian says, that the use of a lie, in order to be allowable, must be like the use of hellebore, which is itself poison, unless a man has a fatal disease on him. He adds, " Without the condition of an extreme necessity, it is a present ruin."
St. John Chrysostom defends Jacob on the ground that his deceiving his father was not done for the sake of temporal gain, but in order to fulfil the providential purpose of God; and he says, that, as Abraham was not a murderer, though he was minded to kill his son, so an untruth need not be a lie. And he adds, that often such a deceit is the greatest possible benefit to the man who is deceived, and therefore allowable. Also St. Hilary, St. John Climacus, &c., in Thomassin, Concina, the Melanges, &c.
Various modern Catholic divines hold this doctrine of the material lie " also. I will quote three passages in point,
Cattaneo:" Be it then well understood, that the obligation to veracity, that is, of conforming our words to the sentiments of our mind, is founded principally upon the necessity of human intercourse. for which reason they (I. c. worcis) ought not and cannot be lawfully opposed to this end, so just, so necessary, and so important, without which, the world would become a Babylon of confusion. And this would in a great measure be really the result, as often as a man should be unable to defend secrets of high importance, and other evils would follow, even worse than confusion, in their nature destructive of this very intercourse between man and man for which speech was instituted. Everybody must see the advantage a hired assassin would have, if supposing he did not know by sight the person he was commissioned to kill, I being asked by the rascal at the moment he was standing in doubt with his gun cocked, were obliged to approve of his deed by keeping silence, or to hesitate, or 'lastly to answer 'Yes, that is the man.' [Then follow other similar cases.] In such and similar cases, in which your sincerity is unjustly assailed, when no other way more prompt or more efficacious presents itself, and when it is not enough to say, 'I do not know,' let such persons be met openly with a downright resolute 'No ' without thinking upon anything else. For such a 'No' is conformable to the universal opinion of men, who are the judges of words, and who certainly have not placed upon them obligations to the injury of the Human Republic, nor ever entered into a compact to use them in behalf of rascals, spies, incendiaries, and thieves. I repeat that such a 'No ' is conformable to the universal mind of man, and with this mind your own ought to be in union and alliance. Who does not see the manifest advantage which highway robbers would derive, were travellers when asked if they had gold, jewels, &c, obliged either to invent tergiversations or to answer 'Yes, we have?' Accordingly in such circumstances that 'No which you utter [see Card. Pallav. lib. iii c. xi n. 23, de Fide, Spe, &c.] remains deprived of its proper meaning, and is like a piece of coin, from which by the command of the government the current value has been withdrawn, so that by using it you become in no sense guilty of lying."
Bolgeni says, " We have therefore proved satisfactorily, and with more than moral certainty, that an exception occurs to the general law of not speaking untruly, viz. when it is impossible to observe a certain other precept, more important, without telling a lie. Some persons indeed say, that in the cases of impossibility which are above drawn out, what is said is not a lie. But a man who thus speaks confuses ideas and denies the essential characters of things. What is a lie? It is 'locutio contra mentem;' this is its common definition. But in the cases of impossibility, a man speaks contra nientem; that is clear and evident. Therefore he tells a lie. Let us distinguish between the lie and the sin. In the above cases, the man really tells a lie, but this lie is not a sin, by reason of the existing impossibility. To say that in those cases no one has a right to ask, that the words have a meaning according to the common consent of men, and the like, as is said by certain authors in order in those cases to exempt the lie from sin, this is to commit oneself to frivolous excuses, and to subject oneself to a number of retorts, when there is the plain reason of the above-mentioned fact of impossibility."
And the author in the Melanges Theologiques: " We have then gained this truth, and it is a conclusion of which we have not the smallest doubt, that if the intention of deceiving our neighbour is essential to a lie, it is allowable in certain cases to say what we know to be false, as, e. g. to escape from a great danger. . .
But, let no one be alarmed, it is never allowable to lie in this we are in perfect agreement with the whole body of theologians. The only point in which we differ from them is in what we mean by a lie. They call that a lie which is not such in our view, or rather, if you will, what in our view is only a material lie they account to be both formal and material."
Now to come to Anglican authorities.
Taylor: " Whether it can in any case be lawful to tell a lie? To this I answer, that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament do indefinitely and severely forbid lying. Prov. xiii 5 ; xxx 8. Ps. v 6. John viii 44. Col. iii 9. Rev. xxi 8. 27. Beyond these things, nothing can be said in condemnation of lying.
But then lying is to be understood to be something said or written to the hurt of our neighbour, which cannot be understood otherwise than to differ from the mind of him that speaks. 'A lie is petulantly or from a desire of hurting, to say one thing, or to signify it by gesture, and to think another thing';I so Melancthon, 'To lie is to deceive our neighbour to his hurt.' For in this sense a lie is naturally or intrinsically evil; that is, to speak a lie to our neighbour is naturally evil . . . not because it is different from an eternal truth.... A lie is an injury to our neighbour.... There is in mankind a universal contract implied in all their intercourses ... In justice we are bound to speak, so as that our neighbour do not lose his right, which by our speaking we give him to the truth, that is, in our heart. And of a lie, thus defined, which is injurious to our neighbour, so long as his right to truth remains, it is that St. Austin affirms it to be simply unlawful, and that it can in no case be permitted, nisi forte regulas quasdam daturus es. . . . If a lie be unjust, it can never become lawful; but, if it can be separate from injustice, then it may be innocent. Here then I consider "This right, though it be regularly and commonly belonging to all men, yet it may be taken away by a superior right intervening; or it may be lost, or it may be hindered, or it may cease, upon a greater reason.
I"Mendacium est petulanter, aut cupiditate nocendi, aliud loqui, seu gestu significare, et aliud sentire.@
"Therefore upon this account it was lawful for the children of Israel to borrow jewels of the Egyptians, which supposes a promise of restitution, though they intended not to pay them back again. God gave commandment so to spoil them, and the Egyptians were divested of their rights, and were to be used like enemies.
" It is lawful to tell a lie to children or to madmen ; because they, having no powers of judging, have no right to truth ; but then, the lie must be charitable and useful.... 11 a lie be told, it must be such as is for their good . . . and so do physicians to their patients.... This and the like were so usual, so permitted to physicians, that it grew to a proverb, 'You he like a doctor';I which yet was always to be understood in the way of charity and with honour to the profession. . . . To tell a he for charity, to save a man's life, the life of a friend, of a husband, of a prince, of a useful and a public person, hath not only been done at all times, but commanded by great and wise and good men. . . . Who would not save his father's life . . . at the charge of a harmless lie, from the rage of persecutors or tyrants? . . . When the telling of a truth will certainly be the cause of evil to a man, though he have right to truth, yet it must not be given to him to his harm.... Every truth is no more justice, than every restitution of a straw to the right owner is a duty. 'Be not over-righteous,' says Solomon.... If it be objected, that we must not tell a lie for God, therefore much less for our brother, I answer, that it does not follow; for God needs not a lie, but our brother does. . . . Deceiving the enemy by the stratagem of actions or words, is not properly lying; for this supposes a conversation, of law or peace, trust or promise explicit or implicit. A lie is a deceiving of a trust or confidence."-Taylor, vol. xiii pp. 351-371, ed. Heber.
1Mentiris ut medicus
It is clear that Taylor thought that veracity was one branch of justice; a social virtue; under the second table of the law, not under the first; only binding, when those to whom we speak have a claim of justice upon us, which ordinarily all men have. Accordingly, in cases where a neighbour has no claim of justice upon us, there is no opportunity of exercising veracity, as, for instance, when he is mad, or is deceived by us for his own advantage. And hence, in such cases, a lie is not really a lie, as he says in one place, " Deceiving the enemy is not properly lying." Here he seems to make that distinction common to Catholics, viz. between what they call a material act and a formal act. Thus Taylor would maintain, that to say the thing that is not to a madman, has the matter of a lie, but the man who says it as little tells a formal lie, as the judge, sheriff, or executioner murders the man whom he certainly kills by forms of law.
Other English authors take precisely the same view, viz. that veracity is a kind of justice,-that our neighbour generally has a right to have the truth told him; but that he may forfeit that right, or lose it for the time, and then to say the thing that is not to him is no sin against veracity, that is, no lie. Thus Milton says, "Veracity is a virtue, by which we speak true things to him to whom it is equitable, and concerning what things it is suitable for the good of our neighbour. . . . All dissimulation is not wrong, for it is not necessary for us always openly to bring out the truth ; that only is blamed which is malicious.... I do not see why that cannot be said of lying which can be said of homicide and other matters, which are not weighed so much by the deed as by the object and end of acting. What man in his senses will deny that there are those whom we have the best of grounds for considering that we ought to deceive,-as boys, madmen, the sick, the intoxicated, enemies, men in error, thieves? ... Is it a point of conscience not to deceive them?
I would ask, by which of the commandments is a lie forbidden'? You will say, by the ninth. Come, read it out, and you will agree with me. For whatever is here forbidden comes under the head of injuring one's neighbour. If then any lie does not injure one's neighbour, certainly it is not forbidden by this commandment. It is on this ground that, by the judgment of theologians, we shall acquit so many holy men of lying. Abraham, who said to his servants that he would return with his son; . . . the wise man understood that it did not matter to his servants to know [that his son would not return], and that it was at the moment expedient for himself that they should not know ... Joseph would be a man of many lies if the common definition of lying held; [also] Moses, Rahab, Ehud, Jael, Jonathan." Here again veracity is due only on the score of justice towards the person whom we speak with; and, if he has no claim upon us to speak the truth, we need not speak the truth to him.
And so, again, Paley: "A lie is a breach of promise; for whoever seriously addresses his discourse to another tacitly promises to speak the truth, because he knows that the truth is expected. Or the obligation of veracity may be made cut from the direct ill consequences of lying to social happiness . . . There are falsehoods which are not lies,. that is, which are not criminal." (Here, let it be observed, is the same distinction as in Taylor between material and formal untruths.) " I. When no one is deceived . . . 2. When the person to whom you speak has no right to know the truth, or, more properly, when little or no inconveniency results from the want of confidence in such cases, as where you tell a falsehood to a madman for his own advantage; to a robber, to conceal your property; to an assassin, to defeat or divert him from his purpose ... It is upon this principle that, by the laws of war, it is allowable to deceive an enemy by feints, false colours, spies, false intelligence . . . Many people indulge, in serious discourse, a habit of fiction or exaggeration . . . So long as . . . their narratives, though false, are inoffensive, it may seem a superstitious regard to truth to censure them merely for truth's sake." Then he goes on to mention reasons against such a practice, adding, " I have seldom known any one who deserted truth in trifles that could be trusted in matters of importance.'!-Works, vol. iv, p. 123.
Dr. Johnson, who, if any one, has the reputation of being a sturdy moralist, thus speaks:-
" We talked," says Boswell, " of the casuistical question, whether it was allowable at any time to depart from truth." Johnson. " The general rule is, that truth should never be violated; because it is of the utmost importance to the comfort of life, that we should have a full security by mutual faith; and occasional inconveniences should be willingly suffered, that we may preserve it. There Must, however, be some exceptions. If, for instance, a murderer should ask you which way a man is gone, you may tell him what is not true because you are under a previous obligation not to betray a man to a murderer." Boswell. " Supposing the person who wrote Junius were asked whether he was the author, might he deny it?" Johnson. " I don't know what to say to this. If you were sure that he wrote Junius, would you, if he denied it, think as well of him afterwards? Yet it may be urged, that what a man has no right to ask, you may refuse to communicate; and there is no other effectual mode of preserving a secret, and an important secret, the discovery of which may be very hurtful to you, but a flat denial; for if you are silent, or hesitate, or evade, It will be held equivalent to a confession. But stay, sir ; here is another case. Supposing the author had told me confidentially that he had written Julius, and I were asked if he had, I should hold myself at liberty to deny it, as being under a previous promise, express or implied, to conceal it. Now what I ought to do for the author, may I not do for myself? But I deny the lawfulness of telling a lie to a sick man for fear of alarming him. You have no business with consequences; you are to tell the truth. Besides, you are not sure what effect your telling him that he is in danger may have; it may bring his distemper to a crisis, and that may cure him. Of all lying I have the greatest abhorrence of this, because I believe it has been frequently practised on myself."-Boswell's Life, vol. iv p. 277.
There are English authors who allow of mental reservation and equivocation; such is Jeremy Taylor.
He says, " In the same cases in which it is lawful to tell a lie, in the same cases it Is lawful to use a mental reservation." -Ibid. p. 374.
He says, too, " When the things are true in several senses the not explicating in what sense I m.-an the words is not a criminal reservation ... But I, this liberty is not to be used by Inferiors, but by superiors only; 2, not by those that are interrogated, but by them which speak voluntarily; 3, not by those which speak of duty, but which speak of grace and kindness."-Ibid. p. 378.
Bishop Butler, the first of Anglican authorities, writing In his grave and abstract way, seems to assert a similar doctrine in the following passage:-
Though veracity, as well as justice, is to be our rule of life, it must be added, otherwise a snare will be laid in the way of some plain men, that the use of common forms of speech generally understood, cannot be falsehood; and, in general, that there can be no designed falsehood without designing to deceive. It must likewise be observed, that, in numberless cases, a man may be under the strictest obligations to what he foresees will deceive, without his intending it. For it is impossible not to foresee, that the words and actions of men in different ranks and employments, and of different educations, will perpetually be mistaken by each other; and it cannot but be so, whilst they will judge with the utmost carelessness, as they daily do, of what they are not perhaps enough informed to be competent judges of, even though they considered it with great attentions Nature of Virtue, fm. These last words seem in a measure to answer to the words in Scavini, that an equivocation is permissible, because "then we do not deceive our neighbour, but allow him to deceive himself." In thus speaking, I have not the slightest intention of saying any thing disrespectful to Bishop Butler; and still less of course to St. Alfonso.
And a third author, for whom I have a great respect as different from the above two as they are from each other, bears testimony to the same effect in his "Comment on Scripture," Thomas Scott. He maintains indeed that Ehud and Jael were divinely directed in what they did; but they could have no divine direction for what was in itself wrong.
Thus on Judges iii 15-21:
" 'And Ehud said, I have a secret errand unto thee, 0 king; I have a message from God unto thee, and Ehud thrust the dagger into his belly.' Ehud, indeed," says Scott, " had a secret errand, a message from God unto him; but it was of a far different nature than Egion expected."
And again on Judges iv 18-21:
And Jael said, Turn in, my lord, fear not. And he said to her, When any man doth inquire, Is there any man there thou shalt say, No. Then Jael took a nail, and smote the nail into his temple.' Jael," says Scott, "is not said to have promised Sisera that she would deny his being there; she would give him shelter and refreshment, but not utter a falsehood to oblige him."


Charles Kingsley: What then, Does Dr. Newman Mean?, usually printed as a forenote to John Henry Newman: Apologia Pro Vita Sua, 1864
Scanned in by Fiona Marsden,
HTML, Paul Halsall

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