Occasional Papers eBook

Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 447 pages of information about Occasional Papers.
respond quickly and warmly.  And the strange thing was that the professed, the persistent denouncer of Liberalism, was welcomed back to his rightful place among Englishmen by none more warmly than by many Liberals.  Still, though his name was growing more familiar year by year, the world did not see much more of him.  The head of a religious company, of an educational institution at Birmingham, he lived in unpretending and quiet simplicity, occupied with the daily business of his house, with his books, with his correspondence, with finishing off his many literary and theological undertakings.  Except in some chance reference in a book or newspaper which implied how considerable a person the world thought him, he was not heard of.  People asked about him, but there was nothing to tell.  Then at last, neglected by Pius IX., he was remembered by Leo XIII.  The Pope offered him the Cardinalship, he said, because he thought it would be “grateful to the Catholics of England, and to England itself.”  And he was not mistaken.  Probably there is not a single thing that the Pope could do which would be so heartily welcomed.

After breaking with England and all things English in wrath and sorrow, nearly thirty-five years ago, after a long life of modest retirement, unmarked by any public honours, at length before he dies Dr. Newman is recognised by Protestant England as one of its greatest men.  It watches with interest his journey to Rome, his proceedings at Rome.  In a crowd of new Cardinals—­men of eminence in their own communion—­he is the only one about whom Englishmen know or care anything.  His words, when he speaks, pass verbatim along the telegraph wires, like the words of the men who sway the world.  We read of the quiet Oxford scholar’s arms emblazoned on vestment and furniture as those of a Prince of the Church, and of his motto—­Cor ad cor loquitur.  In that motto is the secret of all that he is to his countrymen.  For that skill of which he is such a master, in the use of his and their “sweet mother tongue,” is something much more than literary accomplishment and power.  It means that he has the key to what is deepest in their nature and most characteristic in them of feeling and conviction—­to what is deeper than opinions and theories and party divisions; to what in their most solemn moments they most value and most believe in.

His profound sympathy with the religiousness which still, with all the variations and all the immense shortcomings of English religion, marks England above all cultivated Christian nations, is really the bond between him and his countrymen, who yet for the most part think so differently from him, both about the speculative grounds and many of the practical details of religion.  But it was natural for him, on an occasion like this, reviewing the past and connecting it with the present, to dwell on these differences.  He repeated once more, and made it the keynote of his address, his old protest against “Liberalism

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Occasional Papers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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