Sunday, May 09, 2004

On May 9, 1850...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., delivered the first of a series of lectures which were eventually published as Certain Difficulties Felt by Anglicans in Catholic Teaching, Volume 1
Here is a little sample:

"And my confidence that you will do so at last, and that the sophistries of this world will not hold you for ever, is what has caused the hesitation to which I have referred, whether I have done wisely in deciding on addressing you at all. I have in truth had anxious misgivings whether I should not do better to let you alone, my own experience teaching me, that even the most charitable attempts are apt to fail, when their end is the conviction of the intellect. It is no work of a day to convince the intellect of an Englishman that Catholicism is true. And even when the intellect is convinced, a thousand subtle influences interpose in arrest of what should follow, carrying, as it were, an appeal into a higher court, and claiming to have the matter settled before some tribunal more sacred, and by pleadings more recondite, than the operations and the decision of the reason. The Eternal God deals with us one by one, each in his own way; and bystanders may pity and compassionate the long throes of our travail, but they cannot aid us except by their prayers. If, then, I have erred in entering upon the subjects I have brought before you, pardon me; pardon me if I have rudely taken on myself to thrust you forward, and to anticipate by artificial means a divine growth. If it be so, I will only hope that, though I may have done you no good, yet my attempt may be blessed in some other way; that I may have thrown light on the general subject which I have discussed, have contributed to map out the field of thought on which I have been engaged, and to ascertain its lie and its characteristics, and have furnished materials for what, in time to come, may be the science and received principles of the whole controversy, though I have failed in that which was my immediate object.

At all events, my dear brethren, I hope I may be at least considered to be showing my goodwill and kindness towards you, if nothing else, and my desire to be of use to you. All is vanity but what is done to the glory of God. It glitters and it fades away; it makes a noise and is gone. If I shall not do you or others good, I have done nothing. Yet a little while and the end will come, and all will be made manifest, and error will fail, and truth will prevail. Yet a little while, and 'the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.' May you and I live in this prospect; and may the Eternal God, Father, Son, and Spirit, Three in One, may His Ever-blessed Mother, may St. Philip, my dear father and master, the great Saints Athanasius and Ambrose, and St. Leo, pope and confessor, who have brought me thus far, be the hope, and help, and reward of you and me, all through this weary life, and in the day of account, and in glory everlasting! "


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