Oculi Mei Defecerunt in Salutare Tuum
"My eyes have fainted after thy salvation" (Psalm 119:123; Vulgate 118:123).
One hundred and sixty years ago today, Ven. John Henry Newman finished the writing associated with his composition of An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. Here is the "advertisement" to the first edition (brackets in original):
OCULI MEI DEFECERUNT IN SALUTARE TUUM
IT is now above eleven years since the writer of the following pages, in one of the early Numbers of the Tracts for the Times, expressed himself thus:—
"Considering the high gifts, and the strong claims of the Church of Rome and her dependencies on our admiration, reverence, love, and gratitude, how could we withstand her, as we do; how could we refrain from being melted into tenderness, and rushing into communion with her, but for the words of Truth, which bid us prefer Itself to the whole world? 'He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me.' How could we learn to be severe, and execute judgment, but for the warning of Moses against even a divinely-gifted teacher who should preach new gods, and the anathema of St. Paul even against Angels and Apostles who should bring in a new doctrine?"
[Records of the Church, xxiv. p. 7.]
He little thought, when he so wrote, that the time would ever come when he should feel the obstacle, which he spoke of as lying in the way of communion with the Church of Rome, to be destitute of solid foundation.
The following work is directed towards its removal.
Having, in former publications, called attention to the supposed difficulty, he considers himself bound to avow his present belief that it is imaginary.
He has neither the ability to put out of hand a finished composition, nor the wish to make a powerful and moving representation, on the great subject of which he treats. His aim will be answered, if he succeeds in suggesting thoughts, which in God's good time may quietly bear fruit, in the minds of those to whom that subject is new; and which may carry forward inquirers, who have already put themselves on the course.
If at times his tone appears positive or peremptory, he hopes this will be imputed to the scientific character of the Work, which requires a distinct statement of principles, and of the arguments which recommend them.
He hopes too he shall be excused for his frequent quotations from himself; which are necessary in order to show how he stands at present in relation to various of his former Publications. * * *
October 6, 1845
I have excerpted here a few passages.
See also his Retractation of Anti-Catholic Statements, dated the same day though it had already been published anonymously.
Lane Core Jr. CIW P Thu. 10/06/05 06:01:10 PM
Categorized as Literary & Religious.