Essays, Critical and Historical - Vol. 2

By John Henry Cardinal Newman | Go to book overview

XIII.

REFORMATION OF THE ELEVENTH
CENTURY.

PERHAPS the greatest of the wants under which our religious literature labours at this day is that of an ecclesiastical history. It is inconvenient enough to have no good commentary on Scripture, and so little of systematic theology ; but the Creed tells us the principal points of doctrine, and Scripture is to the pious mind, in some sense, its own interpreter. But the providences of God towards His Church during eighteen centuries, though contained in outline in prophecy, are consigned to no formula or document, clear enough to convey its own meaning, and minute enough to impress its peculiarities upon the private Christian. Not even the wildest advocate for the right of Private Judgment ever professed to apprehend past facts, as he might think he discovered revealed doctrines, without the assistance of books or teachers. Rather such an one will commonly be found to depreciate, instead of pretending to, historical knowledge : he will apply the Caliph Omar's argument to the events of 1800 years, and say that except for the first and three last centuries they are not to be studied at all, as being little or nothing better than the times of predicted evil. He shuts up God's dealings with His

-249-

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Essays, Critical and Historical - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Cardinal Newman's Works. *
  • Essays Critical and Historical *
  • Contents of Volume II *
  • X - Catholicity of the Anglican Church. 1
  • Note on Essay X. 74
  • XI - The Protestant Idea of Antichrist. 112
  • XII - Milman's View of Christianity. 186
  • XIII - Reformation of the Eleventh Century. 249
  • Note on Essay Xiii. 318
  • XIV - Private Judgment. 336
  • XV - John Davison. 375
  • XVI - John Keble. 421
  • Postscript. 454
  • Index 457
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