Imágenes de páginas

slavery, you unquestionably become slaves in submitting to the Church. But do you help the matter by rejecting the Church? You must assume absolute infallible authority somewhere, take what hypothesis you will. If you take the skeptical doctrine, and plunge into universal doubt, you still assume your right to doubt, and your absolute, infallible right to doubt. But there is no absolute, infallible right, where there is no absolute, infallible authority; for authority is the basis of right. But where there is no absolute, infallible right, there is no absolute, infallible freedom. Therefore, you must assume absolute, infallible authority somewhere, as the condition sine qua non of absolute, infallible freedom. This absolute, infallible authority you must place in the individual, in the state, in public opinion, or in the Church; for in any other alternative it will be, for us, only ideal, and, for all practical purposes, as if it were not.

Is the individual absolute, infallible? Dare any man assert it, since all are acknowledged to be fallible? Is the state absolute and infallible? Who will pretend it? Certainly no friend of civil freedom. Is public opinion absolute and infallible? Does it never err, and may it never be rightfully resisted? What is public opinion, but the opinion of those individuals, more or less numerous, who give the tone to the public? These are confessedly fallible; how, then, can they originate an infallible public opinion? Say not, blasphemously, Vox populi, vox Dei; but say, rather, if you will say any thing, Vox populi, vox Diaboli. Who condemned our blessed Saviour to the cross, Socrates to drink the hemlock ? who has, in every age, persecuted the brave, the true-hearted, and the saintly? who burnt our convent at Mount Benedict, burnt our churches and seminaries in Philadelphia, shot down our brethren in the street, and screened the criminals, but your wise vox populi, who, we will maintain against all challengers, is as arrant a knave, as vain, fickle, conceited, malicious, and murderous a rascal, as ever walked the earth? If you attribute absolute and infallible authority to these, you know you attribute it to what possesses it not, and has no right to claim it. Yet to one or another of these you must attribute it, if you reject the Church; and be it to which you will, you yield yourself up to a master who has no right to your service, and make yourselves slaves in very deed. What do you gain, then, even on the score of freedom, by rejecting the Church? Nothing at all. Be the Church precisely what you falsely allege, you, in rejecting her, to use a homely proverb, do but "jump out of the frying-pan into the fire."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

If you reject the Church, you are slaves, without the possibility of becoming free; this you cannot deny. But if you accept the Church, there is a possibility, to say the least, of freedom. It may be, the Church is what she professes to be. If so, submission to her is not slavery, but freedom; because what she teaches and commands is absolute truth, and the truth makes free,et veritas liberabit vos. 1 St. John, viii. 32. True freedom is in entire submission to the will of God, and nowhere else. In abjuring yourselves, to submit to God, you do but abjure the tyrant, the usurper, in order to come under the dominion of the legitimate sovereign, an abjuration, to say the least, more to one's honor than to his dishonor. There is no occasion, then, to seek out new and human methods of reforming the world. The world cannot be reformed, unless by the ministry of just such an institution as the Church declares herself to be, or, at least, one exactly equivalent to it. If she be not what she professes, you have nothing to do, for there is nothing you can do; and your efforts will result only in your own disgrace, and the aggravation of the evils you seek to remove. If she be what she professes to be, it is your duty to submit to her, believe what she teaches, do what she commands, and then the evils of which you complain, so far as they are evils, will be removed.

We speak on a subject of this sort with some degree of personal confidence; for we have devoted more than twenty of the best years of our life to its investigation. We have abated nothing of our young zeal for reform, nor are we conscious of having lost the ability or the disposition to make as painful sacrifices for the amelioration of our brethren even in this life, as our contemporaries are prepared to make; but we cannot make brick without straw; and we have learned too much from our past experience to be willing to erect a mill where we can have neither wind nor water, nor even steam, to drive its machinery. No permanent or solid good is obtainable for man, either for this world or that which is to come, but through the ministry of the Holy Catholic Church, the Holy Roman Catholic Apostolic Church, we mean. She alone has authority to teach; she alone has charge from God of the culture of individuals and nations; and she alone has received the authority and force necessary to educate and direct all man's faculties and sentiments so as to bring order out of the confusion ignorance and sin have generated, and to fill the earth with love, peace, and joy. Reluct who will; but he who seeks to

[ocr errors]

gainsay this statement, or by other means to work out man's redemption, shall find himself realizing the old myth of the Titan doomed ever to roll his huge stone up the steep hill, and ever to have it, ere it reach the top, roll back with thundering rebound.

In these somewhat desultory and disconnected remarks, we have, of course, had no intention of confining ourselves to a critical examination of Schiller's work. We have made his volume of æsthetic prose the occasion of some suggestions which we have felt were not uncalled for by the spirit of our age and country. In the dominant tendency of the age and country we see only unmixed evil, and we are obliged to place ourselves in direct opposition to what the great mass of the active and, if you will, philanthropic portion of our countrymen are pursuing as the supreme good. We cannot cooperate or sympathize with even our own former friends, and are obliged to wage war against the thousands of ardent minds and generous hearts who are but following the very tendency they at first received from ourselves. This painful position we must assume as the penalty of our own former heresies and errors. The tendency of the age is humanitarian, and the avowed object of those who stand, in their own judgment, at the head of the "Movement Party" is to instaurate the "religion of humanity." Humanity is put in the place of God, and it, instead of God, are we profanely called upon to worship, trust, and obey. It is the most dangerous species of IDOLATRY ever invented; for it is the most seductive, the least flagrant. Our modern philosophy, poetry, literature in general, politics, and institutions are rapidly conforming themselves to it, and preparing to embellish, and sanctify, and sustain it. The appeal through all is to the "mighty heart of humanity"; the orator and the poet gather their inspirations from "the upheavings of universal humanity," and command us to bow down and adore before the onward movements of the masses." Alas! how little do they who are burning incense to "the masses," singing the praises of "humanity," and exulting in what they call "the triumphs of man," know of what horrible idolatry they are guilty, into what unknown depths of sin and misery they are plunging this poor human race they profess, and many of them, no doubt, honestly profess, to serve! God forgive us for having been once one of their number !

The Devil disguises himself as an angel of light, and would, if it were possible, deceive the very elect. Under the mad

dening cry of "humanity," "liberty," and "social reform," words so magical to every generous spirit, he seeks to entice the faithful from their allegiance, and to place himself in the seat of God, and to make himself worshipped as God." All who really love our Lord Jesus Christ, all who would really serve their race, and work out for man a greater measure of good even for this life, must "watch and pray lest they enter into temptation." The enemy with whom we have to contend is as subtle, as artful, as he is wicked. He can appear in any shape and under any disguise he pleases. At present, his favorite disguise is that of LIBERAL, PHILANTHROPIST, and REFORMER, and in this disguise he is more successful than he ever was in any former disguise he has ever adopted. We have not yet seen the end of his career under this disguise. He is yet to convulse nations, and, in many countries, to break up society to its very foundations. He seduces thousands upon thousands from their allegiance, and with his lying promises ruins them here, and effects their damnation hereafter. Brethren, be on your guard. Remember the admonition of the Apostle, "We are of God. He that knoweth God heareth He that is not of God heareth not us. By this we know the spirit of truth from the spirit of error." 1 St. John, iv. 6. Know that every spirit that separateth from the Church, that abideth not in her doctrine and communion, whatever highsounding names it may adopt, whatever seducing forms it may bear, whatever kindling speech it may use, is not of God, is the spirit of error, is Antichrist, is of the Devil. Believe it not. Go not after it. Listen not one moment to its flattering promises. Nothing will come of them but disaster and ruin here, and eternal death hereafter.


Yet be not alarmed. More are they that are for us than they that are against us. We know in whom we trust, and that he is able to thwart all the wiles of the adversary, and to keep what we have confided to him unto eternal life. Be constant, be vigilant, be watchful unto prayer. Be content to worship the God of your fathers in the way they worshipped him, the way of Jesus Christ and the Apostles, the way of the saints and martyrs, who, with white robes and palms in their hands, now celebrate their victories, and offer up their prayers as sweet incense for your final perseverance and ultimate triumph. With holy faith, and unwavering hope, and charity that believeth, hopeth, dareth, endureth all things, hide yourselves in the temple of your God, in his holy tabernacle, in the secret of his pavilion, till the danger be past.


ART. VI. 1. The History of Ireland, Ancient and Modern. By the Abbé MAC GHEOGHEGAN. Translated from the French, by PATRICK O'KELLY, Esq. New York: D. & J. Sadlier. 1845. 8vo. Parts I. and II. 2. Catechism of the History of Ireland, Ancient and Modern. By W. J. O'NEILL DAUNT, Esq. Boston: Donahoe. 1845. 16mo. pp. 160.

THE first named of these works, originally written in French, and dedicated to the Irish Brigade, to which the author was chaplain, not long since translated at Dublin for the first time into English, is now in the course of republication in this country, and is to be completed in eight parts of about eighty pages each. It is sent out in a style very creditable to the publishers, and furnished at the low price of twenty-five cents a part. Of its merits as a history of Ireland we are not personally qualified to speak; but its success in Dublin has been very great, and we are assured by competent judges, that it is a work of very considerable merit, and perhaps the best popular history of Ireland to be obtained. We trust it will find a ready and extensive sale among our countrymen generally.

The second work mentioned is strictly what its name imports, written by an ardent Repealer and confidential friend of O'Connell. It embodies a large number of facts, and, though evidently intended as a tract to aid the cause of Repeal, it appears to be written with a good degree of fairness and impartiality. A few of its statements seem to us to require modification, and its earnest desire to enlist the Protestant Irish in the national cause leads, now and then, to some admissions and professions which disturb our Catholic sensibilities a little; but, upon the whole, we commend it to our readers as an admirable compend of Irish history.

We intend before long to offer some thoughts on Irish history and Irish affairs in general; but, at present, we have room only for a few remarks suggested by passing events more or less remotely connected with the Repeal movement, and Mr. O'Connell, its distinguished chief.

We have nothing to say on the simple question of Repeal, for we do not feel ourselves competent to say what is or is not best for the real interests of the Irish people. Ireland is unquestionably one of the worst governed countries in the world, and we need nothing more than ordinary humanity

« AnteriorContinuar »