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An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine

AN ESSAY

ON THE

DEVELOPMENT OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.

BY

JOHN HENRY CARDINAL NEWMAN.

_SIXTH EDITION_

UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME PRESS NOTRE DAME, INDIANA

TO THE

REV. SAMUEL WILLIAM WAYTE, B.D.

PRESIDENT OF TRINITY COLLEGE, OXFORD.

MY DEAR PRESIDENT,

Not from any special interest which I anticipate you will take in this Volume, or any sympathy you will feel in its argument, or intrinsic fitness of any kind in my associating you and your Fellows with it,--

But, because I have nothing besides it to offer you, in token of my sense of the gracious compliment which you and they have paid me in making me once more a Member of a College dear to me from Undergraduate memories;--

Also, because of the happy coincidence, that whereas its first publication was contemporaneous with my leaving Oxford, its second becomes, by virtue of your act, contemporaneous with a recovery of my position there:--

Therefore it is that, without your leave or your responsibility, I take the bold step of placing your name in the first pages of what, at my age, I must consider the last print or reprint on which I shall ever be engaged.

I am, my dear President, Most sincerely yours, JOHN H. NEWMAN.

_February 23, 1878._

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 _prima 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 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 an analogy to Scripture revelations, which, instead of telling to their disadvantage, actually constitute an argument in their favour, as witnessing to a superintending Providence and a great Design in the mode and in the circumstances of their occurrence.

Perhaps his confidence in the truth and availableness of this view has sometimes led the author to be careless and over-liberal in his concessions to Protestants of historical fact.


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