CELEBRATING JOHN HENRY NEWMAN
Lead kindly light...
We must not indulge our imagination, we must not dream: we must look at things as they are... we must not indulge our imagination in the view we take of the National Establishment.
If, indeed, we dress it up in an idea form, as if it were something real ... a if it were in deed and not only in name a Church, then indeed we may feel interest in it, and reverence towards it, and affection for it, as men have fallen in love with pictures, or knights in romance do battle for high dames whom they have never seen.
Thus it is that students of the Fathers, antiquaries, and poets, begin by assuming that the body to which they belong is that of which they read in times past, and then proceed to decorate it with that majesty and beauty of which history tells, or which their genius creates. But at length, either the force of circumstances or some unexpected accident dissipates it; and, as in fairy tales, the magic castle vanishes when the spell is broken, and nothing is seen but the wild heath, the barren rock, and the forlorn sheep-walk, so is it with us as regards the Church of England, when we look in amazement on that we thought so unearthly and find so commonplace or worthless.
Felt by Anglicans
in Catholic Teaching,
vol. 1, 1–6]