An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine

By John Henry Newman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI.
APPLICATION OF THE SEVEN NOTES TO THE EXISTING
DEVELOPMENTS OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.

APPLICATION OF THE FIRST NOTE OF A TRUE DEVELOPMENT.
PRESERVATION OF TYPE.

Now let me attempt to apply the foregoing seven Notes of fidelity in intellectual developments to the instance of Christian Doctrine. And first as to the Note of identity of type

I have said above, that, whereas all great ideas are found, as time goes on, to involve much which was not seen at first to belong to them, and have developments, that is enlargements, applications, uses and fortunes, very various, one security against error and perversionin the process is the maintenance of the original type, which the idea presented to the world at its origin, amid and through all its apparent changes and vicissitudes from first to last.

How does this apply to Christianity? What is its original type ? and has that type been preserved in the developments commonly called Catholic, which have followed, and in the Church which embodies and teaches them? Let us take it as the world now views it in its age ; and let us take it as the world once viewed it in its youth ; and let us see whether there be any great difference between the early and the later description of it. The following statement will show my meaning :—

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