Monday, September 22, 2003

On this day, 164 years ago...
Venerable John Henry Newman wrote a letter to a friend, in which he admitted that a blow had been given to his Anglican foundations....


Oriel College: September 22, 1839.

"Since I wrote to you, I have had the first real hit from Romanism which has happened to me. R. W., who has been passing through, directed my attention to Dr. Wiseman's article in the new 'Dublin.' (ed. This was an article on the Donatist schism, in which Wiseman quoted St. Augustine of Hippo's famous line Securus judicat orbis terrarum, which roughly translates to 'in the secure judgement of the whole world') I must confess it has given me a stomach-ache. You see the whole history of the Monophysites has been a sort of alterative. And now comes this dose at the end of it. It does certainly come upon one that we are not at the bottom of things. At this moment we have sprung a leak; and the worst of it is that those sharp fellows, Ward, Stanley, and Co., will not let one go to sleep upon it. Curavimus Babylonem et non est curata was an awkward omen. I have not said so much to anyone.

I seriously think this a most uncomfortable article on every account, though of course it is ex parte ... I think I shall get Keble to answer it. As to Pusey, I am curious to see how it works with him.

And now, carissime, good-bye. It is no laughing matter. I will not blink the question, so be it; but you don't suppose I am a madcap to take up notions suddenly—only there is an uncomfortable vista opened which was closed before. I am writing upon my first feelings. "

That "uncomfortable vista" was to open out even more for him, and Keble and Pusey were not able to give him the answers he needed .....


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