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Nicholas Wiseman: a great influence on John Henry Newman

Also known as author of Fabiola, a novel

Nicholas Wiseman
Nicholas Wiseman

Nicholas Wiseman

It would of course be impossible to bring every branch of the natural sciences so completely into contact with sacred studies as these whereof we have treated nor can it be necessary to do so. For there is one way in which they all can be made subservient to the interests of religion by viewing them as the appointed channels by which a true perception and estimate of the Divine perfections are meant to pass into the understanding as the glass wherein the embodied forms of every great and beautiful attribute of the Supreme Being may best be contemplated and as the impression upon the mind of the great seal of creation whereon have been engraven by an Almighty hand mystical characters of deepest wisdom, omnipotent spells of productive power and emblems most expressive of an all embracing all preserving love. …For if the works of God are the true though faint image of himself, they must in some way partake of his immensity and as the contemplation of his own unshadowed beauty will be the unsating everlasting food of unembodied spirits so may we say that a similar proportion hath been observed between the examination of his image reflected on his works and the faculties of our present condition inasmuch as therein is matter for meditation ever deeper for discovery ever ampler for admiration ever holier And so God, not being able to give to the beauties of his work that infinity which is reserved to the attributes they exhibit, has bestowed upon them that quality which best supplies and represents it for, by making our knowledge of them progressive, he has made them inexhaustible.

– from Twelve Lectures on the Connexion Between Science and Religion.

Nicholas Wiseman (1802-1865) was a Cardinal of the Catholic Church and first Archbishop of Westminster after the Catholic hierarchy was re-established in England and Wales in 1850. Born of Irish Catholic parents, Wiseman grew up in Catholic schools and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1825. Rising through the ranks within the Catholic hierarchy, because of his wisdom and scholarly acumen, Wiseman wrote extensively about the Catholic faith. His writings, an important influence on John Henry Newman’s conversion to Catholicism, contributed some part in hardening Newman’s opinions into certain truth in the matter. Wiseman is also known for having written a novel, Fabiola (1854), which tells a tale about the early Church in the catacombs. There have been three film versions of the book.

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Nicholas Wiseman
Nicholas Wiseman

Nicholas Wiseman

It would of course be impossible to bring every branch of the natural sciences so completely into contact with sacred studies as these whereof we have treated nor can it be necessary to do so. For there is one way in which they all can be made subservient to the interests of religion by viewing them as the appointed channels by which a true perception and estimate of the Divine perfections are meant to pass into the understanding as the glass wherein the embodied forms of every great and beautiful attribute of the Supreme Being may best be contemplated and as the impression upon the mind of the great seal of creation whereon have been engraven by an Almighty hand mystical characters of deepest wisdom, omnipotent spells of productive power and emblems most expressive of an all embracing all preserving love. …For if the works of God are the true though faint image of himself, they must in some way partake of his immensity and as the contemplation of his own unshadowed beauty will be the unsating everlasting food of unembodied spirits so may we say that a similar proportion hath been observed between the examination of his image reflected on his works and the faculties of our present condition inasmuch as therein is matter for meditation ever deeper for discovery ever ampler for admiration ever holier And so God, not being able to give to the beauties of his work that infinity which is reserved to the attributes they exhibit, has bestowed upon them that quality which best supplies and represents it for, by making our knowledge of them progressive, he has made them inexhaustible.

– from Twelve Lectures on the Connexion Between Science and Religion.

Nicholas Wiseman (1802-1865) was a Cardinal of the Catholic Church and first Archbishop of Westminster after the Catholic hierarchy was re-established in England and Wales in 1850. Born of Irish Catholic parents, Wiseman grew up in Catholic schools and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1825. Rising through the ranks within the Catholic hierarchy, because of his wisdom and scholarly acumen, Wiseman wrote extensively about the Catholic faith. His writings, an important influence on John Henry Newman’s conversion to Catholicism, contributed some part in hardening Newman’s opinions into certain truth in the matter. Wiseman is also known for having written a novel, Fabiola (1854), which tells a tale about the early Church in the catacombs. There have been three film versions of the book.

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