Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Sacred Impression And Reason

“…I observe, that though the Christian mind reasons out a series of dogmatic statements, one from another, this it has ever done, and always must do, not from those statements taken in themselves, as logical propositions, but as being itself enlightened as (as if) inhabited by that sacred impression which is prior to them, which acts as a regulating principle, ever present, upon the reasoning, and without which no one has any warrant to reason at all. Such sentences as ‘the Word was God,’ or ‘the Only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father,’ or ‘the Word was made flesh,’ or ‘the Holy Ghost which proceedeth from the Father,’ are not a mere letter which we may handle by the rules of art at our own will, but august tokens of most simple, ineffable, adorable facts, embraced, enshrined according to its measure in the believing mind. For though the development of an idea is a deduction of proposition from proposition, these propositions are ever formed in and round the idea itself (so to speak), and are in fact one and all only aspects of it.”

-John Henry Newman in The Theory of Developments in Religious Doctrine: Sermon XV preached before the University of Oxford on the Purification, 1843.

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