An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine

By John Henry Newman | Go to book overview

PREFACE TO THE EDITION OF 1878.

THE following pages were not in the first instance written to prove the divinity of the Catholic Religion, though ultimately they furnish a positive argument in its behalf, but to explain certain difficulties in its history, felt before now by the author himself, and commonly Insisted on by Protestants in controversy, as serving to blunt the force of its primâ facie and general claims on our recognition.

However beautiful and promising that Religion is in theory, its history, we are told, is its best refutation ; the inconsistencies, found age after age in its teaching, being as patent as the simultaneous contrarieties of religious opinion manifest in the High, Low, and Broad branches of the Church of England.

In reply to this specious objection, it is maintained in this Essay that, granting that some large variations of teaching do in its long course of 1800 years exist, nevertheless, these, on examination, will be found to arise from the nature of the case, and to proceed on a law, and with a harmony and a definite drift, and with

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