John Henry Newman, Cardinal (1801-1890)

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Anglican priest, then Roman Catholic cardinal
Hymn #Appendix 29.
This well known writer was born in London, England on February 21, 1801, son of John Newman, a banker of deep religious traits. “I was brought up from a child,” says Dr. Newman, “to take great delight in reading the Bible.” After a good preliminary education the lad was sent to Oxford, where he was graduated from Trinity College in 1820. He from the start had a “ritualistic” mind. Even though ordained in the Church of England his inclination was towards Romanism. He and others became involved in the “Oxford Movement” which sought to revitalize the Established Church by more ritualism. It all tended towards Rome and in October 1842, sad to say, he entered the Roman Catholic system. He wrote a. book too in 1864 to justify his position, called “Apologia Pro Vita Sua,” which many considered a brilliant work. But God gave to Mr. J.N. Darby to answer this book, which answer is found in the Collected Writings of J.N.Darby, Vol. 18, pp. 145-248. Mr. Darby says of J. H. Newman:
“The secret of the course of Dr. Newman’s mind is thisit is sensuous (not to be confounded with sensual), and so is Romanism. He never possessed the truth, nor in the process he describes, sought it. He had never found rest or peace in his own soul, nor sought it where it is to be found, according to the holiness of God. He sunk into that system where the mind often finds quiet from restless search after repose, when wearied in judging for itself, but never peace with God.”
His own brother, Francis William Newman, at one time professed faith in the Lord Jesus and was even with the gathered saints; but his mind was more bent on rationalism while with his brother it was ritualism, both being the products of the unbelieving human mind. Mr. Darby also answered Francis Newman in the Collected Writings, Vol. 6, “The Irrationalism of Infidelity.”
Cardinal Newman’s hymn (Appendix #29) was revised and incorporated by Mr. Darby in the Little Flock because of its spiritual desires as expressed. As first written it was, “Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom, Lead thou me on.” But how sad that the author did not follow the “kindly Light,” but rather the traditions of men. May this humble our hearts and make us to see more and more the need of dependence on God and the word of His grace (Acts 20:3232And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. (Acts 20:32)).
He died suddenly in Birmingham on August 11, 1890.