An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine

By John Henry Newman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV.

INSTANCES IN ILLUSTRATION.

IT follows now to inquire how much evidence is actually producible for those large portions of the present Creed of Christendom, which have not a recognized place in the primordial idea and the historical outline of the Religion, yet which come to us with certain antecedent considerations strong enough in reason to raise the effectiveness of that evidence to a point disproportionate, as I have allowed, to its intrinsic value. In urging these considerations here, of course I exclude for the time the force of the Church's claim of infallibility in her acts, for which so much can be said, but I do not exclude the logical cogency of those acts, considered as testimonies to the faith of the times before them.

My argument then is this :—that, from the first age of Christianity, its teaching looked towards those ecclesiastical dogmas, afterwards recognized and defined, with (as time went on) more or less determinate advance in their direction; till at length that advance became so pronounced, as to justify their definition and to bring it about, and to place them in the position of rightful interpretations and keys of the remains and the records in history of the teaching which had so terminated.


2.

This line of argument is not unlike that which is considered to constitute a sufficient proof of truths in

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