Note 1. On Hooker and Chillingworth, vid. supr. 226.

{493} 1. ON the first publication of this volume, a Correspondent did me the favour of marking for me a list of passages in Chillingworth's celebrated work, besides that which I had myself quoted, in which the argument was more or less brought forward, on which I have animadverted in ch. vii. 2, p. 226. He did this with the purpose of showing, that Chillingworth's meaning, when carefully inquired into, would be found to be in substantial agreement with the distinction I had myself made between infallibility and certitude; those inaccuracies of language into which he fell, being necessarily involved in the argumentum ad hominem, which he was urging upon his opponent, or being the accidental result of the peculiar character of his intellect, which, while full of ideas, was wanting in the calmness and caution which are conspicuous in Bishop Butler. Others more familiar with Chillingworth than I am must decide on this point; but I can have no indisposition to accept an explanation, which deprives controversialists of this day of the authority of a vigorous and acute mind in their use of an argument, which is certainly founded on a great confusion of thought.

I subjoin the references with which my Correspondent has supplied me:—

(1.) Passages tending to show an agreement of Chillingworth's opinion on the distinction between certitude and infallibility with that laid down in the foregoing essay:—

1. "Religion of Protestants," ch. ii. 121 (vol. i. p. 243, Oxf. ed. 1838), "For may not a private man," &c.

2. Ibid. 152 (p. 265). The last sentence, however, after "when they thought they dreamt," is a fall into the error which he had been exposing.

3. Ibid. 160 (p. 275).

4. Ch. iii. 26 (p. 332), "Neither is your argument," &c.

5. Ibid. 36 (p. 346).

6. Ibid. 50 (p. 363), "That Abraham," &c. {494}

7. Ch. v. 63 (vol. ii. p. 215).

8. Ibid. 107 (p. 265).

9. Ch. vii. 13 (p. 452).

Vide. also vol. i. pp. 115, 121, 196, 236, 242, 411.

(2.) Passages inconsistent with the above:—

1. Ch. ii. 25 (vol. i. p. 177) An argumentum ad hominem.

2. Ibid. 28 (p. 180).

3. Ibid. 45 (p. 189). An argumentum ad hominem.

4. Ibid. 149 (p. 263). An argumentum ad hominem.

5. Ibid. 154 (p. 267). Quoted in the text, p. 226.

6. Ch. v. 45 (vol. ii. p. 391). He is arguing on his opponent's principles.

2. Also, I have to express my obligation to another Correspondent, who called my attention to a passage of Hooker ("Eccles. Pol." ii. 7) beginning "An earnest desire," &c., which seemed to anticipate the doctrine of Locke about certitude. It is so difficult to be sure of the meaning of a writer whose style is so foreign to that of our own times, that I am shy of attempting to turn this passage into categorical statements. Else, I should ask, does not Hooker here assume the absolute certainty of the inspiration and divine authority of Scripture, and believe its teaching as the very truth unconditionally and without any admixture of doubt? Yet what had he but probable evidence as a warrant for such a view of it? Again, did he receive the Athanasian Creed on any logical demonstration that its articles were in Scripture? Yet he felt himself able without any misgiving to say aloud in the congregation, "Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly." In truth it is the happy inconsistency of his school to be more orthodox in their conclusions than in their premisses; to be sceptics in their paper theories, and believers in their own persons.

3. Also, a friend sends me word, as regards the controversy on the various readings of Shakespeare to which I have referred (supra. ch. viii. 1, p. 271) in illustration of the shortcomings of Formal Inference, that, since the date of the article in the magazine, of which I have there availed myself, the verdict of critics has been unfavourable to the authority and value of the Annotated Copy, discovered twenty years ago. I may add, that, since my first edition, {495} I have had the pleasure of reading Dr. Ingleby's interesting dissertation on the "Traces of the Authorship of the Works attributed to Shakespeare."

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Note 2. On the alternative intellectually between Atheism and Catholicity, vid. supr. p. 141, &c.

December, 1880
As I am sending the last pages of the New Edition of this Essay to the press, I avail myself of an opportunity which its subject makes apposite, to explain a misunderstanding, as appearing in a London daily print, of a statement of mine used in controversy, which has elicited within the last few days a prompt and effective defence from the kind zeal of Mr. Lilly. I should not think it necessary to make any addition to what he has said so well, except that it may be expected that what is a great mistake concerning me should be set right under my own hand and in my own words.

It has been said of me that "Cardinal Newman has confined his defence of his own creed to the proposition that it is the only possible alternative to Atheism." I understand this to mean, that I have given up, both in my religious convictions and my controversial efforts, any thought of bringing arguments from reason to bear upon the question of the truth of the Catholic faith, and that I do but rely upon the threat and the consequent scare, that, unless a man be a Catholic he ought to be an Atheist. And I consider it to be said, not only that I use no argument in controversy in behalf of my creed besides the threat of atheism as its alternative; but also that I have not even attempted to prove by argument the reasonableness of that threat.

Now, what do I hold, and what do I not hold? The present volume supplies an answer to this question. From beginning to end it is full of arguments, of which the scope is the truth of the Catholic religion, yet no one of them introduces or depends upon the alternative of Catholicity or Atheism; how, then, can it be said that that alternative is the only defence that I have proposed for my creed? The Essay begins with refuting the fallacies of those who say that we cannot believe what we cannot understand. No appeal to the argument from Atheism here. Incidentally and obiter reasons {496} are given for saying that causation and law, as we find them in the universe, bespeak an infinite Creator; still no argumentum ab atheismo. This portion of the work finished, I proceed to justify certitude as exercised upon a cumulation of proofs, short of demonstration separately; nothing about atheism. Then I go to a direct proof of theism (which, indeed, has been in a great measure anticipated in a former chapter) as a conclusion drawn from three departments of phenomena; still the threat of atheism is away. I pass on to the proof of Christianity; and where does the threat of atheism come in here? I begin it with prophecy; then I proceed to the coincident testimony of the two covenants, and thence to the overpowering argument from the testimony borne to the divinity of Catholicism by the bravery and endurance of the primitive martyrs. And there I end.

Nor is this my only argumentative work in defence of my "creed" which I have given to the public. I have published an "Essay on Development of Doctrine," "Theological Tracts," "A Letter to Dr. Pusey," "A Letter to the Duke of Norfolk," works all more or less controversial, all defences of the Catholic creed; does the very word "atheism" occur in any one of them?

So much, then, on what I do not hold and have not said:—now as to what I have avowed and do adhere to. This brings me at once to the saying to which I have committed myself in "Apologia," page 198, viz., "that there is no medium, in true philosophy, between Atheism and Catholicity, and that a perfectly consistent mind, under those circumstances in which it finds itself here below must embrace either the one or the other;"—a saying which doubtless my critic has in mind, and which, I am aware, has been before now a difficulty with readers whom I should be sorry to perplex.

Now, if we found it asserted in Butler's Analogy that there is no consistent standing or logical medium between the acceptance of the Gospel and the denial of a Moral Governor, for the same difficulties can be brought against both beliefs, and if they are fatal as against Christianity, they are fatal against natural religion, should we not have understood what was meant? It might be taken, indeed, as a threat against denying Christianity, but would it not have an argumentative basis and meaning, and would such an interpretation be fair? It would be quite fair indeed to say, as some have said, "It drives me the wrong way," and its advocates could {497} only reply, "What is one man's meat is another man's poison," but would it be fair to accuse Butler of putting aside all scientific reasoning for a threat? No one would say, "Butler confines the defence of his own creed to the proposition that it is the only possible alternative of the denial of the Moral Law," putting aside as nothing to the purpose his Sermons at the Rolls' Chapel. Yet what have I said more dangerous or more obscure than Butler's argument? Could he be said to destroy all logical proof of a God, because he paralleled the difficulties of grace to the difficulties of nature? Nay, even should he go on to say with me, "if on account of difficulties we give up the gospel, then on account of parallel difficulties we must give up nature; for there is no standing-ground between putting up with the one trial of faith, and putting up with the other?"

Nor is this all. It seems, insistence on this analogy between the mysteries of nature and those of grace is my sole argument for the truth of my creed. How can this be, from the very nature of the case? The argument from Analogy is mainly negative, but argument which tends to prove must be positive. Butler does not prove Christianity to be true by his famous argument, but he removes a great obstacle of a prim facie character to listening to the proofs of Christianity. It is like the trenches soldiers dig to shield them when they propose to storm a fort. No one would say that such trenches dispense with soldiers. So far, then, from "confining" myself to the argument from Analogy in behalf of my creed, I absolutely imply the presence and the use of independent arguments, positive arguments, by the fact of using what is mainly a negative one. And that I was quite aware of this, and acted upon it, the following passage from my Sermon on Mysteries shows beyond mistake:—

"If I must submit my reason to mysteries, it is not much matter whether it is a mystery more or a mystery less; the main difficulty is to believe at all; the main difficulty for an inquirer is firmly to hold that there is a living God, in spite of the darkness which surrounds Him, the Creator, Witness, and Judge of men. When once the mind is broken in, as it must be, to the belief of a Power above it, when once it understands that it is not itself the measure of all things in heaven and earth, it will have little difficulty in going forward. I do not say it will, or can, go on to other truths {498} without conviction; I do not say it ought to believe the Catholic Faith without grounds and motives; but I say that, when once it believes in God, the great obstacle to faith has been taken away, a proud, self-sufficient spirit, &c."—(Discourses.)

I must somewhat enlarge what I have last been saying, but it is in order to increase the force and fulness of this explanation. There is a certain sense in which Analogy may be said to supply a positive argument, though it is not its primary and direct purpose. The coincidence of two witnesses independently giving the same account of a transaction is an argument for its truth; the likeness of two effects argues one cause for both. The fact of Mediation so prominent in Scripture and in the world, as Butler illustrates it, is a positive argument that the God of Scripture is the God of the world. This is the immediate sense in which I speak in the "Apologia" of the objective matter of Religion, Natural and Revealed, of the character of the evidence, and of the legitimate position and exercise of the intellect relatively towards it. Religion has, as such, certain definite belongings and surroundings, and it calls for what Aristotle would call a [pepaideumenos] investigator, and a process of investigation sui similis. This peculiarity I first found in the history of doctrinal development; in the first instance it had presented itself to me as a mode of accounting for a difficulty, viz. for what are called "the Variations of Popery," but next I found it a law, which was instanced in the successive developments through which revealed truth has passed. And then I reflected that a law implied a law-giver, and that so orderly and majestic a growth of doctrine in the Catholic Church, contrasted with the deadness and helplessness, or the vague changes and contradictions in the teaching of other religious bodies, argued a spiritual Presence in Rome, which was nowhere else, and which constituted a presumption that Rome was right; if the doctrine of the Eucharist was not from heaven, why should the doctrine of Original Sin be? If the Athanasian Creed was from heaven, why not the Creed of Pope Pius? This was a use of Analogy beside and beyond Butler's use of it; and then, when I had recognized its force in the development of doctrine, I was led to apply it to the Evidences of Religion, and in this sense I came to say what I have said in the "Apologia." "There is no medium in true philosophy," "to a perfectly consistent mind," "between Atheism and Catholicity." {499}

The multitude of men indeed are not consistent, logical, or thorough; they obey no law in the course of their religious views; and while they cannot reason without premisses, and premisses demand first principles, and first principles must ultimately be (in one shape or other) assumptions, they do not recognize what this involves, and are set down at this or that point in the ascending or descending scale of thought, according as their knowledge of facts, prejudices, education, domestic ties, social position, and opportunities for inquiry determine; but nevertheless there is a certain ethical character, one and the same, a system of first principles, sentiments and tastes, a mode of viewing the question and of arguing, which is formally and normally, naturally and divinely, the organum investigandi given us for gaining religious truth, and which would lead the mind by an infallible succession from the rejection of atheism to theism, and from theism to Christianity, and from Christianity to Evangelical Religion, and from these to Catholicity. And again when a Catholic is seriously wanting in this system of thought, we cannot be surprised if he leaves the Catholic Church, and then in due time gives up religion altogether. I will add, that a main reason for my writing this Essay on Assent, to which I am adding these last words, was, as far as I could, to describe the organum investigandi which I thought the true one, and thereby to illustrate and explain the saying in the "Apologia" which has been the subject of this Note.

I have only one remark more before concluding. I have said of course there was a descending as well as an ascending course of inquiry and of faith. However, speaking in my "Apologia" of Evidences, and, following the lead of what I have said there about doctrinal development, I have mainly in view the ascending scale, not the descending. I have meant to say, "I am a Catholic, for the reason that I am not an Atheist." This makes the misinterpretation of my words which I am exposing the more striking, for it paraphrases me into a threat and nothing else, viz. "If you are not a Catholic, you must be an Atheist, and will go to hell." Mr. Lilly, in his letter in my defence, sees this, and most happily adopts the positive interpretation which is the true one.

This explanation, also, is an answer to some good, but easily frightened men, who have fancied that I was denying that the Being of a God was a natural truth, because I said that to deny {500} revelation was the way to deny natural religion. I have but argued that the same sophistry which denies the one may deny the other.

That the ascending scale of my abstract alternative has been the prominent idea in my mind, may be argued from the following passage of a Lecture delivered many years before the "Apologia:"—

"A Protestant is already reaching forward to the whole truth, from the very circumstance of his really grasping any part of it. So strongly do I feel this, that I account it no paradox to say that, let a man but master the one doctrine of the Being of a God, let him really and truly, and not in words only, or by inherited profession, or in the conclusions of reason, but by a direct apprehension be a Monotheist," (that is, with what in the foregoing Essay I have called a "real assent" as following upon "Inference," and acting as a fresh start) "and he is already three-fourths of the way towards Catholicism."

I end by placing before the reader Mr. Lilly's apposite Letter, dated Nov. 18.

"Sir,—I observe in your issue of this evening a statement against which I must beg your permission to protest in the strongest manner as a most serious, although, I am quite sure, an unintentional, misrepresentation of my deeply venerated friend Cardinal Newman. The statement is that 'he has confined his defence of his own creed to the proposition that it is the only possible alternative to atheism.' It certainly is true that Cardinal Newman has said, 'There is no medium, in true philosophy, between Atheism and Catholicism' ('Apologia,' p. 198, Third Edition); and it as certainly is not true that he confines his defence of his creed to this proposition. He expressly recognizes 'the formal proofs on which the being of a God rests' (they may be seen in any text-book of Catholic theology) as affording 'irrefragable demonstration' ('Discourses to Mixed Congregations,' p. 262, Fourth Edition); but the great argument which comes home to him personally with supreme force is that derived from the witness of Conscience—'the aboriginal Vicar of Christ, a prophet in its informations, a monarch in its peremptoriness, a priest in its blessings and anathemas.' The existence of God, 'borne in upon him irresistibly' by the voice within, is 'the great truth of which his whole being is full' ('Apologia,' p. 241)."

After quoting the words of M. Renan, Mr. Lilly proceeds, "This {501} is the point from which he (Cardinal Newman) starts. Conscience, the 'great internal teacher,' 'nearer to us than any other means of knowledge,' informs us (as he judges) that God is; 'the special Attribute under which it brings Him before us, to which it subordinates all other Attributes, being that of justice—retributive justice' ('Grammar of Assent,' p. 385, Third Edition). 'The sense of right and wrong' he considers to be 'the first element' in natural religion ('Letter to the Duke of Norfolk,' p. 67, Fourth Edition). And Catholicism, which he regards as the sole form of Christianity historically or philosophically tenable, is for him the only possible complement of natural religion. I cannot venture to ask you to allow me space to do more than thus indicate the nature of the argument by which he ascends from his first to his final religious idea. I would refer those who would follow it step by step to his 'Grammar of Assent,' 'Apologia,' and 'Discourses to Mixed Congregations;' or, if a mere summary will suffice, to an article of my own in the Fortnightly Review of July, 1879. Cardinal Newman's main defence—not his sole defence—of his creed amounts, then, to this: that religion is an integral part of our nature, and that Catholicism alone adequately fulfils the expectation of a revelation which natural religion raises. This may be a good or a bad defence; but, whether good or bad, it is very different from the nude proposition 'that Catholicism is the only possible alternative to atheism.'" He ends with a few kind words about myself personally.

Vid. my answer to Principal Fairbairn in the Contemporary Review of October, 1885.

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Note 3. On the punishment of the wicked having no termination, vid. supr. 422.

December, 1882
A serious misrepresentation of a passage in this volume, which appeared last year in a Review of great name, calls for some notice here. {502}

Petavius says, that, according to Fathers of high authority, a refrigerium or refrigeria may be conceived as granted to the lost, amid their endless penal suffering; that is, that their punishment, though without end, is not without cessation. I have quoted his words in the footnote on p. 422; and in the text I have ventured on a suggestion of my own, but short of his, to the effect that a refrigerium was conceivable, which was not strictly a cessation of punishment, though it acted as such; I mean, the temporary absence in the lost soul of the consciousness of its continuity or duration.

The story is well known of the monk who, going out into the wood to meditate, was detained there by the song of a bird for three hundred years, which to his consciousness passed as only one hour. Now pain as well as joy, may be an ecstasy, and destroy for the time the sense of succession; even in this life, and when not great, it sometimes has this effect; and, supposing such an insensibility to time to last for three hundred years, for three hundred years pain might be gathered up into a point; and there would be for that interval a refrigerium. And, if for three hundred years, so it might be for three million, or million million, according to the degrees of guilt with which individual souls were severally laden.

It may be objected, that such a view of future punishment explains away its severity, and blunts its moral force as a threat and restraint upon crime. Not so; on this view the fact of suffering and of its eternity remains intact; and of suffering, it may be, "as by fire." Also, the eternity of punishment remains in its negative aspect, viz., that there never will be change of state, annihilation or restoration. Mere eternity, though without suffering, if realized in the soul's consciousness, is formidable enough; it would be insupportable even to the good, except for, and as involved in, the Beatific Vision; it would be a perpetual solitary confinement. It is this which makes the prospect of a future life so dismal to our present agnostics, who have no God to give them "mansions" in the unseen world.

On the other hand, it may be objected, that the longest possible series of refrigeria, to whatever extent, added together, they may run, is as nothing after all compared with an eternity of punishment. But this is to misconceive what I have been advancing. As belonging to an eternity, the refrigeria which I contemplate match in their recurrence, and reach as far as, that eternity, and {503} are themselves in number infinite, as being exceptions in a course which is infinite.

Further, it may be objected that this view of future punishment is at first sight inconsistent with the teaching of St. Thomas, 2. 2, qu. xviii. 3, where he says that, if the lost are condemned to eternal punishment, they must know that it is eternal, because such knowledge is necessarily a part of their punishment.

I understand him to argue thus:—

1. It is de ratione pœn that it should voluntati repugnare.

2. But there cannot be this repugnantia, unless there is present to the party punished a consciousness of the fact of that pœna.

3. Therefore pœna implies a consciousness of the fact of the pœna.

4. And, if the pœna is perpetual, so is its consciousness.

Certainly: but I do not predicate anything of the pœna, nor of the consciousness of the pœna, nor of its perpetuity, nor of the consciousness of its perpetuity; I do but speak of the consciousness (perpetuity apart,) of the lapse of time or successiveness of moments, through which that pœna and consciousness of pœna passes. The lost may be conscious of their lost state and of its irreversibility, yet it may be a further question, whether, however conscious that it is irreversible, they are always or ever conscious of the fact of its long course, in memory and in prospect, through periods and ons.

The song of the bird, which the monk heard without taking note of the passage of time, might have been, "And they shall reign for ever and ever;" though of the many thousand times of the bird's repeating the words, there sounded in the monk's ear but one song once sung. And if this may be in the case of holy souls, why not, if it should so please God, in the instance of the unholy?

In what I have been saying, I have considered eternity as infinite time, because this is the received assumption.

And I have been speaking all along under correction, as submitting absolutely all I have said to the judgment of the Church and its head.

Vid. my article in the Contemporary above referred to.


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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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