« AnteriorContinuar »
ors, found that way best; Schollars know whom J meane: Five of the ancient Fathers perswaded to it, of whom Augustine was one, who for a time argued hard for indulgency but upon conference with other prudent Bishops, altered his judgment, as appears in three of his Epistles, to Marcellinus, Donatus, and Boniface. J would be understood, not onely an Allower, but an humble Petitioner, that ignorant and tender conscienced Anabaptists may have due time and means of conviction.
"Sixthly, That Authority ought to see their Subjects children baptized, though their Parents judgements be against it, if there be no other Evangelicall barre in the way.
"Seventhly, That prudent men, especially young, should doe well not to ingage themselves in conference with Errorists, without a good calling and great caution; their breath is contagious, their leprey spreading: receive not him that is weak, saith the Apostle, to doubtfull disputations; much lesse may they run them. selves into dangerous Sophistications. He usually hears best in their meetings, that stops his eares closest; he opens his mouth to best purpose, that keeps it shut, and he doeth best of all, that declines their company as wisely as he may.
"Brethren, have an extraordinary care also of the late Theosophers, that teach men to climbe to Heaven upon a ladder of lying figments. Rather than the Devil will lose his game, he will outshoot Christ in his owne bow; he will out-law the Law, quite out of the word and world over-Gospell the Gospell, and quidanye Christ, with Sugar and Rats-bane. Hee was Professour not long since at Schelstat in Alsatia, where he learned that no poyson is so deadly as the poyson of Grace.". pp. 12-18.
We commend this to our New England Puritans, who are just now such wonderful sticklers for religious liberty. It may remind them of old times, and serve the purpose John Rogers had in his Address to his Children :
"I leave you here a little book,
For you to look upon,
That you may see your father's face,
But our Cobler is also a poet, and now and then sets his doctrine to music. We take our leave of him by quoting the following, which proves that he is a genuine Protestant, and no "Romaniste."
"1. There, lives cannot be good,
"2. No King can King it right,
Who truly loves not Christ, And truly fears not God. "3. He cannot rule a Land,
As Lands should ruled been,
True Subject to this State;
If these extracts do not satisfy our Puritan readers that our Puritan fathers were the inveterate enemies of religious liberty, we will treat them hereafter to additional extracts from the writings of other New England worthies, together with certain scraps of Protestant history we have picked up in the course of our reading. We have no fondness for raking among the tombs, no disposition to say a word that shall diminish respect for the dead; but if we Catholics are to be denounced as the enemies of liberty, whether civil or religious, if we are to be branded as traitors to our country, because we have seen proper to embrace the Catholic faith, if the country is to be inflamed against us and our brethren, because we choose to exercise our natural and legal rights, we will retort the argument, and read our Protestant traducers certain passages from their own history, which may possibly teach them, according to the old proverb, that they who live in glass houses must not throw stones. It is not with us as with them. We desire the truth to be told, and nothing but the truth; but, alas for them! truth is the very thing they would not have told, cannot bear to have told.
We wish to see the great question between the sects fairly and honestly discussed; for we have no fondness for the Protestant method of discussion, for the appeal to ignorance, to vulgar prejudice, the resort to falsehood and misrepresentation. We wish the debate to be conducted without acrimony, without passion; for we want no converts not converts through the free action of their own minds, aided by divine grace. But if Protestants choose to conduct the debate as they have hitherto done, if they seek to maintain themselves by circulating the grossest and most ridiculous falsehoods about Catholicity, we assure them we will avenge ourselves by telling the truth about them.
We shall not stop to reply to the charges of hostility to liberty which are ringing against the Church. We know they are false, and we know for what purpose they are made. The blasphemous Jews accused our blessed Saviour of having a
devil, and of casting out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils. These charges do not move us. We are free citizens, and we know that we love liberty. We may not love all that passes under the name of liberty, but we know there is no true son of the Church not at any moment prepared to die for the defence of freedom, whether civil or religious. The Church wars against all tyranny and oppression, by seeking to crucify, in the human heart, the passions that would tyrannize and oppress; and hence tyrants, and all who hate true liberty, and crave the license to wrong their fellow-men, and to go unwhipt of justice," war against her. There is war between her and the proud, corrupt, and rebellious heart, we admit ; and the liberty the proud, the corrupt, and rebellious seek she does oppose, we own; but no other liberty. For ourselves, we love our country. For its honor, its freedom, its real prosperity, we are ready to struggle, side by side with true patriots, whatever their name, and to know no other rivalry, but that of who shall be first to rush in where blows fall thickest and fall heaviest; and we know no Catholic not prepared to say as much.
ART. III. —A Joint Letter to O. A. Brownson, and the Editor of the North American Review. By R. HILDRETH, Author of "Theory of Morals."
THIS pamphlet seems to us to be improperly termed a joint Letter; for a joint letter, we believe, is not a letter addressed by one person to several others in common, but a letter addressed in the joint names of two or more authors, whether addressed to one or to many. As it is not probable that Mr. Hildreth wishes to deny his own unity, or to intimate that he is, as the respectable Mrs. Malaprop says, "two gentlemen at once," he would express himself more correctly, in our judgment, if he should say, A Letter addressed conjointly, &c. A philosopher should never disdain to use language correctly.
The Letter is addressed conjointly to us and to the North American Review. In what way our brother Reviewer will receive or dispose of the portion intended specially for him, we have no means of knowing; but as he is still vigorous, and blest
with a strong constitution and firm nerves, we trust he will survive it. As for ourselves, being naturally kind-hearted, although the world may think differently, and feeling that Mr. Hildreth has received rather rough handling from all quarters, we are disposed to congratulate him on his happy delivery, and to gratify him, as much as we may, by a brief reply. It is churlish, when a man sends out a pamphlet, or but the third of a pamphlet, against you, not to acknowledge the favor. We all have our little vanities, and, as we none of us like to have our own little vanities wounded, we should be careful not to wound those of others.
Mr. Hildreth is somewhat known in this immediate neighbourhood by several publications, which we have been assured are not without merit. He was formerly one of the writers for the Boston Atlas, and, under the supervision of its senior editor, the late Mr. Haughton, contributed not a little to the reputation and influence that paper for a time enjoyed with its party. Some time since he appears to have persuaded himself that he was a philosopher, and he conceived a series of works, which were to embrace the whole circle of the science of man. The first work of the contemplated series he completed and published over a year ago, under the title of Theory of Morals. This work was sent to us, and reviewed, as we thought proper, in our Journal for July last. A copy was also sent, we presume, to the North American, in which respectable periodical, for April last, it received as severe treatment as it had previously received from us. Meanwhile the book does not sell, but lies on the bookseller's shelves or in the binder's garret. To remain unsold, and at the same time to be cut up by hostile reviews, is too much for flesh and blood. The author can contain himself no longer. Hence, the Joint Letter before us, the hint of which may possibly have been taken from Byron's famous satire, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, and the author's ambition may have been to do in plain prose what the poet effected in polished verse. The Letter wants, it must be admitted, something of the keen wit of the satire, but this we do not think is the author's fault; it is heavily written, in a loose, declamatory style, as we cannot deny; but what it wants in liveliness, terseness, and logic, it abundantly supplies in vulgarity, vituperation, and abuse. The author appears to have thrown his whole heart and soul into his work, and to have executed it as well as he was able; and therefore should not be blamed for not doing it as well as his
friends may have wished. We can rightfully ask of no man more than the best he can do; for the best can do no better than they can.
We have read the Letter with sufficient care, but we do not find that the author has vindicated his theory from the very grave objections we urged against it; nor do we find that he has successfully controverted any of the positions we assumed in our Review against him. His restatement of his theory proves that we rightly apprehended him, and were far from misrepresenting his views. Our strictures, then, remain, so far as we can see, in their full force. Whether our venerable contemporary can say as much, we are not so certain. Mr. Hildreth makes some strong points against him, which, from his point of view, we think he will find it difficult to meet. But this is no affair of ours. A few of the points Mr. Hildreth has attempted to make against us, although they hardly touch the great ethical questions involved, we will briefly notice, because by so doing we may offer some remarks which will not be wholly valueless to our readers.
The fine names, as Gnostic, Sophist, Thwackum, &c., which Mr. Hildreth has so liberally bestowed on us, we must, however reluctantly, pass over. Some men will be ridiculous, though you call them by their baptismal names; others cannot be made ridiculous, call them by what ludicrous names you will. Moreover, admitting the appropriateness of these names, we cannot perceive how from them Mr. Hildreth can logically conclude to the soundness of his Theory of Morals.
Mr. Brownson objects to my Theory of Morals;
But Mr. Brownson is a Gnostic, a Sophist, a Thwackum; Therefore, my Theory of Morals is sound.
The man who could reason in this way would make an admirable professor of logic!!
We are a Gnostic, a Sophist, &c., it seems, because we profess to have attained to truth in relation to the fundamental principles of morals. For this profession Mr. Hildreth sneers at us in his most approved style, and commends himself for his own modesty in not pretending to so much,-in contenting himself with the simple claim to be a philosopher, or one who loves and seeks the truth. Very well. If he seeks the truth, it must be because he feels that he has not yet found it. If he have not yet found the truth, what confidence can he have or expect us to have in his Theory of Morals? If he feels that he has found the truth, with what justice does he term himself a