Sunday, August 31, 2003

On August 31, 1843....
Venerable Newman wrote this letter to his sister, after she had written to him, protesting his decision to leave his position as a Anglican clergyman.

"I am sorry to put you to such pain. Your letter and ——'s to you, would have brought me to many tears unless I had so hard a heart. You must take what I do in faith at least; if not, I fear I cannot find a better way of consoling you.

I wonder my late letters have not prepared you for this. Have you realised that three years since I wished to do it; and that I have said so in print, and that then only a friend prevented me?

It has been determined on since Lent. All through Lent I and another kept it in mind; and then, for safety, I said I would not act till October, though we both came to one view. October is coming! (ed. He had resolved that his final days as Vicar of St. Mary's would be in October.)

No time is 'the' time. You may have thought as you read, 'three years ago it would not have mattered.' Will three years hence be easier? The question is, Ought it to be done?

I mention a great secret, because I do not wish others to share in the responsibility; but I will say this, that I have always said, 'I cannot go wrong when A [Keble] and B [Rogers] agree that I should do a thing.' These two men agree in this. I have not persuaded them.

I wrote to one of them the other day, whether I should assign some reasons. He answered to this effect: 'No one who knows the history of No. 90 can be surprised at it. Anyone but you would have taken the step before.'

My dearest Jemima, my circumstances are not of my making. One's duty is to act under circumstances. Is it a light thing to give up Littlemore? Am I not providing dreariness for myself? If others, whom I am pierced to think about, because I cannot help them, suffer, shall not I suffer in my own way?

Everything that one does honestly, sincerely, with prayer, with advice, must turn to good. In what am I not likely to be as good a judge as another? In the consequences? True, but is not this what I have been ever protesting against? the going by expedience, not by principle? My sweetest Jemima, of whom I am quite unworthy, rather pray that I may be directed aright, rather pray that something may occur to hinder me if I am wrong, than take the matter into your own hands. "


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