Newlin, Thomas, Bd
Newlin, Thomas, B.D.
an eminent English divine, was born at Winchester in 1689. In 1706 he was elected demy of Magdalen College, Oxford; became M.A. in 1713, and actual fellow in 1718. He was presented to the living of Beeding, Sussex, in 1720, and died in 1743. He was a divine of great worth and remarkable abilities, and was especially esteemed for his simplicity of manners and integrity of life. His sermons have always been greatly admired. "There is a zeal and pathos in them which rank them among the most useful sermons and elegant compositions in the language" (Clapham). Many of them are inserted in Dr. Vicesimus Knox's Family Lectures, and in Clapham's Collection. Newlin published five separate Sermons (1718-1736): — Eighteen Sermons on Several Occasions (Oxf. 1720, 8vo): — One and twenty Sermons on Several Occasions (Oxf. 1726, 8vo): — and translated from the Latin bishop Thomas Parker's History of his Own Times (1727, 8vo). See Darling, Cyclop. Bibliographica, 2:2174. Newman, Francis William, an eminent English speculative writer, perhaps the ablest and most noted of modern theists, was born in London in 1805. He received his preparatory training in his own home and at the school of Ealimng, and thence passed to Worcester College, Oxford, where he obtained first-class honors in classics and mathematics in 1826, and in the same year a fellowship in Baliol College. This fellowship, however, he resigned; and he withdrew from the university in 1830, at the approach of the time for taking the degree of M.A., declining the subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles, which was then required from candidates for the degree. He set out on a lengthened tour in the East, and spent nearly three years (1830- 1833) in various parts of Turkey, starting, as some will have it, to engage in missionary work in the East, but finally relinquishing this work for philological and social studies of the Turks. As the result of his observations in that country we have from his pen letters sent at the time but not made common public property until 1856, when they were sent forth, entitled Personal Narrative in Letters, principall from Turkey, in the years 1830-1833. Shortly after his return home he was appointed classical tutor in Bristol College (1834). In 1840 he accepted a similar professorship in Manchester New College; and finally, in 1846, his great reputation for scholarship, and his general accomplishments, led to his appointment to the chair of the Latin language and literature in the London University, which position he held until 1863, when his numerous literary engagements made it necessary for him to quit the school-room. Yet even while in the professorial chair Mr. Newman was engrossed by numerous and varied engagements; thus he not only became an active contributor to several literary and scientific periodicals, and to various branches of ancient and modern literature, but took also a leading part in the controversies on religion, in which he chose the line directly opposite to that taken by his elder brother, proving no less ardent as a disciple of the extreme rationalistic school than John Henry Newman of the dogmatical. Indeed, Francis William Newman is chiefly known to-day on account of the peculiar opinions he held on religious questions. These opinions, and the system founded upon them, form the subject of his well-known work, Phases of Faith, or Passages from the History of My Creed (1850, and often; replied to from the orthodox standpoint in Rogers's Eclipse of Faith, which Mr. Newman answered in his second edition , which in turn elicited a response from Rogers, entitled A Defence of the Eclipse of Faith [2d ed. 1854]), and of many essays in the Westminster, Eclectic, and other reviews; but he is also the author of very many separate publications. Of these, several relate to the fundamental questions of the controversy to which we have referred, as Catholic Union: — Essays towards a Church of the Future (1844): — A State Church not Defensible (1846): — A History of the Hebrew Monarchy (1847): — The Soul, its Sorrows and Aspirations (1849): — Solomon's Song of Songs, a new translation (1857): — Theism, Doctrinal and Practical, or Didactic Religious Utterances (1858). Few men have labored as successfully as F. W. Newman in speculative theological fields. A scholar and a thinker of first-class order, his utterances and publications have commanded the respect of his contemporaries. In England especially he has exerted a widespread and powerful, though it must be confessed, sad as it may seem, a baneful influence. Rather mystical in his religious notions, his life spoke most decidedly in favor of the highest types of Christian manhood, and a personal forgetfulness for Christ's sake. His declarations, however, would, if successful, take from us the foundations of the Christian religion; thus strongly and strangely contrasting, by his tenacious clinging to its highest as well as humblest associations, with his strong but inconsistent love for the very letter of Scripture, and his profound conviction of the essential truth of Christianity. With him religion is wholly subjective and innate, and thus incapable of deriving its ideas of divine truth from any revelation or external source whatever. Not only does he distinguish between religion and theology, as he should do, but, like our own theist, Theodore Parker (q.v.), he separates the one from the other, and flings the former with contempt away altogether. His logical consistency we cannot call in question. Indeed, his power of reasoning has been commended alike by friend and foe, but there is the more fault to be found with his premises, which are chiefly some palpable and isolated sophisms. He denies the doctrine of the Trinity, rejects that of eternal punishment, and assails the canon of Scripture; but he more wisely espouses the Arminian view on the doctrine of the will. Indeed, it is generally and reasonably asserted that his estrangement from orthodox Christianity was caused by the radical Calvinistic training which he received in his youth. While his early religious views are laid down in Phases of Faith, his work on the Soul is the most complete and the latest exposed of the views in his maturer years. That work treats first of the "Sense of the Infinite without us." It shows how this sense is the joint fruit of awe and wonder and admiration, as these emotions are begotten by the soul's consciousness of the mysterious and sublime and lovely in the facts of its environment. These are the preparation of the heart for love; for they are antagonistic to our selfishness. Even the domestic affections tend to multiply self, rather than to kill out selfishness. Enthusiasm is wanted. Enthusiasm is the life-blood of morality. The sense of order marks the next stage of human aspiration; and this, in turn, is followed by the sense that the eternal order is both good and wise. The sense of personality, which glimmers in the first sentiment of awe, now floods the spirit with its beams, and culminates in the soul's sense of sin and longing for enfranchisement, evolving under natural and regular conditions a sense of personal relationship with God. Out of this sense of personal relation comes "the prayer of faith," addressed to God in perfect confidence that he will hear and answer it, and from this sense is born the sweet assurance of immortal life. Such is the scheme, and it is carried out with a great deal of force and earnestness. This work was superseded by Theism, which did not prove so satisfactory to his own school of thought as the former work (see Christian Examiner, May, 1866, art. 4). Newman's proof of God is presented as follows: His first axiom is that the omnipresent law, which we discern as animating the universe, is not blind, but intelligent; the second, that God must have all the human spirit's faculties, and more besides; the third, that God observes our moral actions, approves the right and disapproves the wrong; the fourth, that if he approves our rectitude, his must be perfect; the fifth, that adoration of God is intrinsically suitable to man; therefore such adoration is pleasing to God. These axioms are intuitive, but they are capable of being verified; and, before stating them as axioms, Mr. Newman seeks to verify them. His first test is that of congruity; Are they self- consistent, and consistent with known facts? His second test is that of universal reason; the common consciousness of mankind. His third is that of practical experience. A postulate from these axioms is that God gives spiritual strength to them that ask for it in prayer. He does not claim this for an intuition. But we pray instinctively, and experience tells us that we never pray in vain.
"Who, then — having faith that God is the fountain of holiness, and approves of our virtue, and enjoins its advancement — can doubt that when we pray and surrender our worse, not only thereby do we welcome the better that was within, but the living Source of that better swells the flood of his presence: so that the conscience itself becomes sounder and purer and stronger, broadening, deepening, enlivening the inward moral forces." — Theism. P. 195.
It will be seen from this synopsis that there is much that authorizes our likening him to the American theist Parker. In many respects, however, Newman was the superior of Parker. The latter's method of reasoning was less formal and exact, and the life. too, not quite so Christ-like as that of the English theist. Newman died in 1875. Aside from Mill, no other English writer should claim so much of the attention of the theological student as F.W.Newman. He was possessed of that unusual breadth of intellectual tastes and accomplishments which gave such eminence to Mill; and, unlike the latter, he did service to Christian theology by his valuable contributions to the evidences for a deistic faith. Like Mill, Newman shone conspicuously as a political writer. He also figured prominently by his philological attainments, and was especially noted for his mastery of the Oriental tongues, particularly the Arabic. For a list of his publications in these departments we must refer to secular cyclopaedias. See London Quarterly Review, 1854, July, p. 234 sq.; Oct. art. i; Westminster Review, Oct. 1858; Oct. 1870, p. 220; Eclectic Review, 4th ser., 28:257 sq.; Fraser's Magazine, 33:253 sq.