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virtnes and their generous contributions to an oppressed and famishing nation, they can receive no higher reward than the discovery of the gold mines of California. Let us not look upon their conversion even as difficult. They, too, are famishing, and for the bread of life. We have only to remember that this land is under the protection of the immaculate Virgin, and to live as true children of Mary, in order to behold this noble country—whose destiny, if we are faithful, promises to surpass what the boldest imagination can conceive-won to the Cross, and standing foremost among the Catholic nations of the earth.
But to return from this apparent digression, we will simply add, in conclusion, that, while we have asserted, as we were bound by reason and faith, the most rigid intolerance and exclusiveness in the religious order, and have justified the constitution and laws of Catholic states, during the middle ages, in declaring infidel, heretical, and schismatical sects social crimes, and punishing them as such, we have shown that, in a normal or civilized state of society, Catholicity is perfectly compatible with political toleration, and concedes at least as extensive toleration as is professed, and for the most part honorably maintained, by our American government. Our religion contains nothing, in case we should become the majority, and the political power should pass in this country into our hands, which would require any external changes in our existing political institntions, in onr domestic and social economies, or in the present mutual relations of the civil and the ecclesiastical powers. In taking possession of a barbarous country, Catholicity must labor to change the institutions, the laws, the manners and customs, as well as the religion and interior sentiments, of the people. It has to do the same in taking possession even of a falsely civilized country, like India, China, or Japan. Catholicity can never tolerate the social institutions which are cherished by these oriental nations, as the decisions of Rome, in the controversies between the Jesuits and Dominicans, fully prove. It can tolerate
form of government; but it can, wherever it becomes resident, tolerate no despotism, no government that is not a government of law. The prince, whether monarch, aristocracy, or democracy, must govern according to law, and, as far as possible, according to just law; for she recognizes no security for the worship of God where there is no protection for the rights of our neighbour, any more than she recognizes love to God where there is none to our brother. She can never tolerate the oriental doctrine of castes, for she teaches that all men are of one blood, are brethren, equals before God, and should be equals before the law. The great reason why Christianity penetrates so slowly into these oriental nations is, no doubt, the fact, that not their religion only, but their whole order of society, their whole political, social, and domestic life, is unchristian, and must be changed in order to make them Christian nations. A Chinese or a Hindoo might object, with truth, to the introduction of Christianity, that it would change his political and social institutions, as well as his religious beliefs and usages.
But when Catholicity took possession of the Roman empire, it changed nothing except the spiritual order, and what held from it. It stepped into the Roman civilization as if it had been expressly prepared for it, -as it no doubt, in a great measure, had been,-abolished the false gods, purged the temples of their idolatry, cleansed them with holy water, converted them into churches, and consecrated them to the true God,-changed the manners and customs of the people as far as they depended on the false religions which had been professed, but retained the social institutions, the schools, the academies, the laws, the whole exterior domestic and social economy as she found it, only infusing her own spirit into it, and animating it with a purer, a higher, and a more vigorous life. The same will be the case here. Our civilization is founded on a right basis,-is Roman and Christian in its groundwork; and there never has been a state constituted throughout more in harmony with Catholic principles than the American. Its founders were not Catholics; far from it; but they wonld have been startled to have seen how much they were indebted to Catholicity for every important improvement they adopted. Their innovations were, for the most part, borrowed from Catholic teachers. Our American fathers had, unhappily for them, turned their backs upon the church; but they had been nursed in the bosom of her civilization. That civilization they brought with them to this New World, purged of the barbaric leaven which was still, in some measure, retained in the mother country, and against which the popes and the whole spiritual society had protested for ten centuries. Whoever will examine the respective civil institutions of England and this country will hardly fail to perceive, that what of England we have rejected is what she owes to her barbarous ancestors, and what we have added which she has not has been borrowed from Roman and Catholic civilization. Indeed, just in proportion, under a civil and political point of view, as we have receded from England, we have approached Rome and Catholicity. They be tray no little simplicity, and ignorance of inodern civilization, who suppose that the triumph of Catholicity here would be the subversion of our political and civil constitu. tion. Our institutions throughout are based upon the great principles of reason and common sense, which our church presupposes and sanctions, inspired by Catholic tradition, and sustained by that portion of Catholic life which the Protestant populations were able to carry with them when they broke away from its source, and which, we would fain hope, is not yet wholly extinct. Indeed, the body for Cath olicity seems to us to be here already prepared. It is moulded from fine, rich, red earth, in a form of majestic proportions, and of surpassing beauty, wanting nothing but the divine breath to be breathed into its nostrils in order to become a living soul. The conversion of the country would destroy, would change, nothing in this admirable body, but it would quicken it with the breath of the Almighty, and secure its continuance, and its beneficent and successful operation.
We have not, we grant, defended the political toleration of different religions on infidel or even Protestant principles. It would have been idle to have done so; for everybody knows that those principles are not ours, and cannot be, unless we give up our religion. We cannot place the sects on a footing of perfect equality with the church, and defend their freedom on the same ground that we do hers; because error can never exist by the same right that truth exists. The popular ground of defending the toleration of all religions by the state is the assumption of their equal right before God. This ground cannot be held by a Catholic; and if we had assumed it, and on the strength of it asserted that Catholic states are bound to maintain universal toleration, who would have had any confidence in our sincerity, or not have supposed that our assertion was made merely for the purpose of escaping the odium of appearing to oppose the toleration by Catholic states of heretical or schismatical religions now, when toleration is popular, and we stand in need of it for ourselves? Every intelligent Protestant or unbeliever, with the history of the middle ages before his eyes, would have said, "Yes, these Catholics here in this. country, where they are weak, are exceedingly liberal, and preach universal toleration ; but let them become strong, let them once get the political power, and we shall quickly see that they are as intolerant in the political order as they are confessedly in the spiritual order.” We Catholics must never forget that Protestants and unbelievers have a theory, to which they are wedded, that we are all ready to lie and swear to any thing for the sake of Catholicity, and that we can go so far as to profess indifferentism, infidelity, or even Puritanism, if we think we can thereby promote the interests of our church. Our assertions count for nothing with them. We are, in their estimation, fools when honest, and knaves when intelligent. Externally considered, it is evidently for our interest, here in this country, and, indeed, in many other countries at the present time, to preach toleration; and they suppose interest governs us, as it does them, and therefore they place no confidence in our preaching, unless we show clearly and undeniably that it is in harmony with the principles of our church, where she is strong as well as where she is apparently weak.
We have therefore defended the political toleration of the sects as a Catholic statesman, on strictly Catholic principles, without the least compromise,—without descending for a moment from the high ground of the infallibility and immutability of our church,—without blinking, or hesitating to justify in its fullest extent, the political intolerance manifested by Catholic states to infidelity, heresy, and schism in past times. We have shown that not mere policy, but the very principles of our holy religion, require us now-on the supposition that modern unbelievers, heretics, and schismatics are civilized, and no longer barbarians, or addicted to barbarous practices—to assert and maintain as broad a toleration as our American constitution guaranties; that they forbid the punishment by the civil authority of sins against God, however great, when not incompatible with the peace and welfare of society; and that the church can of herself inflict only spiritual punishments, and no greater spiritual punishment than excommunication. If this does not satisfy, it is not our fault, nor that of our church.
THE CHURCH IN THE DARK AGES.*
[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for July, 1849.)
OUR attention has been specially called to “The Dark Ages" by The Christian Examiner, the literary and theological organ of the American Unitarians, for May last, in an article entitled The Artistic and Romantic View of the Church of the Middle Ages, written, as we learn from the initials appended to it, by one of the ablest and most respectable of our New England Unitarian ministers. Aside from its theology, with which, of course, we have no sympathy, The Christian Examiner is second to no periodical in the country; and it was in its pages that Channing, Norton, Ware, the Peabodys, Lamson, Walker, Frothingham, Dewey, Ripley, and others, first became generally known to the reading public, and acquired their literary reputation. We have many pleasant, as well as painful recollections connected with it, for we were ourselves for several years counted among its contributors ; and the men who gave it a character, and
made it a leading organ of New England literature as well as of Unitarian theology, were for the most part, our personal acquaintances and friends, whose many amiable qualities, generous sentiments, private and social virtues, we always delight to remember. The writer of the article we have designated is a young man of more than ordinary natural endowments, of respectable attainments, and a cultivated taste. He is earnest, and seems really to have some principle, and to be disposed to treat those from whom he differs with fairness and candor. He shows, in the article before us, better temper, more liberal feeling,
*1. Mores Catholici: or Ages of Faith. By KENELM H. DIGBY, Esq.
Cincinnati: 1841. 2. The Dark Ages : a series of Essays intended to illustrate the State of
Religion and Literature in the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Cen. turies, reprinted from the “British Magazine," with Corrections and some Additions. By the Rev. 8. R. MAITLAND, F. R. S. and F. S. A., Librarian to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, &c. London:
1844. 3. The Christian Kwaminer and Religious Miscellany. Boston: May,