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and form one and the same ecclesiastical body; Presbyterians and Methodists work together in harmony; Orthodox Congregationalists show signs of fraternizing with Unitarians, and Unitarians fraternize with radicals who reject the very name of Christian, and can hardly be said to believe even in God. One need not any longer believe any thing, except that Catholicity is a gross superstition, and the church a spiritual despotism, the grand enemy of the human race, in order to be a good and acceptable Protestant. A certain inward sentiment, emotion, or affection, which even a pantheist or an atheist may experience, snffices. The dread presence of the church, hatred of Catholicity, the zeal in-spired by party attachment, and the hope of finally arriving at some solid footing, may keep up appearances for some: time to come; the eloquence, the polished manners, the
personal influence, and the demagogic arts and address of the preacher may continue for a while to fill a few fashionable meeting-houses; but when success depends on the personal character and address of the minister, as is rapidly becoin-ing the fact in all Protestant sects, we may take it for granted that Protestantism has seen its best days, is going the way of all the earth, and soon the place that has known it shall know it no more for ever.
Protestantism, with all deference to our author, who pro-nounces it imperishable, we venture to say, has well-nigh run its course. It began by divorcing the church from the papacy and subjecting religion to the national authority, subordinating the spiritual to the temporal, the priest to the magistrate, the representative of heaven to the representative of earth. It constituted the national sovereign the su-preme head and governor, the pontifex maximus, after the manner of the gentiles, of the national religion, or the national church, and punished dissent as treason against the prince. It was at first, and for over two centuries, bitterly intolerant, especially against Catholics, whom it persecuted with a refined cruelty which recalled, if it did not surpass, that practised by paganism on Christians in the martyr ages.
Tired of persecution, or finding it impotent to prevent dissent, Protestantism tried after a while its hand at civil toleration. The state tolerated, to a greater or less extent, at first only Protestant dissenters from the established church; but at last, though with many restrictions, and with the sword ever suspended over their heads, even. Catholics themselves. From civil toleration, from ceasing to cut the throats and confiscate the goods of Catholics, and of Protestant recusants, it is passing now to theological tolerance, or what it calls complete religious liberty, though as yet only its advanced-guard have reached it.
The state, unless in the American republic, does not, indeed, disclaim its supremacy over the church; but it leaves religion to take care of itself, as a thing beneath the notice of the civil magistrate, so long as it abstains from interfering with state policy or meddling with politics. To-day Protestantism divorces, or seeks to divorce, the church from the state, as it began by divorcing both her and the state from the papacy; it divorces religion from the church and from morality, Christianity from Christ, faith from dogma, piety from reason, and it resolves into an affection of man's emotional or sentimental nature. We find persons calling themselves Christians who do not believe in Christ, or regard him as a myth, and godly, who do not even believe in God. We have men, and women, too, who demand the disruption of the marriage tie in the name of morality, and free love in the name of purity. Words lose their meaning. The churl is called liberal, things bitter are called sweet, and things profane are called holy. Not many years since, there was published in England, and republished here, an earnest and ingenious poem, desigued to rehabilitate Satan, and chanting his merits as man's noblest, best and truest friend. In the mean time, every thing regarded as religion loses its hold on the new generations ; moral corruption of all sorts in public, domestic, and private life is making fearful progress throughout the Anglo-Saxon world, the mainstay of Protestantism; and society seems tottering on the verge of dissolution. Such is the career Protestantism has rum, is running, or by the merciless logic to which it is subjected, will be forced to run. What hope, then, can Protestants have for its future ?
As to the future of Catholicity, we are under no apprehensions. We know that never can the church be in this world the church triumphant, and that she and the world will always be in a state of mutual hostility ; but the hostility can never harm her, though it may cause the spiritual ruin of the individuals and nations that war against her. The Protestant world have for over three hundred years been trying to get on without her, and have succeeded but indifferently. Sensible and earnest-minded men among Protestants themselves boldly pronounce that the experiment has failed, which most Protestants inwardly feel, and sadly deplore; but like the poor man in Balzac's novel, who has spent his own patrimony, his wife's dower, the portion of his daughter, with all he could borrow, beg, or steal, and reduced his wife, his children and himself to utter destitution, in the recherche de l'absolu, they are buoyed up by the feeling that they are just a-going to succeed. "But even this feeling cannot last always. Hope too long “deferred maketh the heart sick.” It may be long yet, and many souls for whom Christ has died be lost, before the nations that have apostatized learn wisdom enough to abandon the delusive hope and turn again to Him whom they have rejected, or look again, weeping, on the face of Him whom they have crucified. But the church will stand, whether they return or not; for she is founded on a rock that cannot be shaken, on the eternal truth of God, that cannot fail.
The Protestant experiment has demonstrated, beyond question that the very things in the Catholic Church which are most offensive to this age, and for which it wages unrelenting war against her, are precisely those things it most needs for its own protection and safety. It needs, first of all, the Catholic Church—nay, the papacy itself—to declare and apply the law of God to states and empires, to sovereigns and subjects, kings and peoples, that politics may no longer be divorced from religion, but be rendered subsidiary to the spiritual, the eternal end of man, for which both individuals and society exist and civil governments are instituted. It needs the church to declare and enforce the law, by such means as she judges proper, that should govern the relation of the sexes; to hallow and protect marriage, the basis of the family, as the family is of society, that great sacrament or mysterious union, typical of the union of Christ with the church, which is indissoluble ; to take charge of education, and to train up, or cause to be trained up, the young in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, or in the way they shonld go, that when old they shall not depart from it; to teach maidens modesty and reserve, and wives and mothers due submission to their husbands and proper care of their children; to assert and protect the rights of women; to train them to be contented to be women, and not to aspire to be men, or to usurp the functions of men, and to bid them stay at home and not be gadding abroad, running over the country and spouting nonsense, free love, infidelity, impiety, and blasphemy, at suffrage conventions, and other gatherings, at which it is a shame for a woman to open her mouth, or even to be present; and, most of all, to exercise a vigilant censorship over ideas, whether vented in books, journals, or lectures, and to keep from the public those which tend to mislead the mind or corrupt the heart as a prudent father strives to keep them from his children.
The age needs for this the Catholic Church. A national church cannot do it; far less can the sects do it. These all depend on the public opinion of the age, the nation, or the sect, and have no power to withstand that opinion. This is perhaps better understood here than elsewhere. The sects, being creatures of opinion, have no power to control it, and their tendency is invariably to seize upon every opinion, excitement, or movement that is, or is likely to be, popular, and help it on as the means of swelling, when it is at foodtide, their own respective numbers. A national church has undoubtedly more stability, and is not so easily wrested from its moorings. But it has only the stability of the government that ordains it, and the most absolute government must sooner or later yield to the force of opinion. Opinion has disestablished and disendowed the state church in Ireland, and will, as is most likely, do it ere long in both England and Scotland. The Protestant sects have no alternative; they must either yield to the dominant opinion, tendency, or passion of the times and move on with it, or be swept away by it.
It is only a church truly catholic, that depends on no nation, that extends to all, and is over all, that derives not its being or strength from the opinion of courts or of peoples, but rests on God for her being, her law, and her support, that can maintain her integrity, or have the courage to stand before an age or a nation, denounce its errors, and condemn its dominant passion or tendency, or that would be heeded, if she did. It was only the visible head of the Catholic Church, the vicar of Christ, that could perform the heroic act of publishing in this century the syllabus ; and if, as we are contident they have, the prelates assembled in the Council of the Vatican have some share of the courage
of their chief, their decrees will not only draw the attention of the world anew to the church, but go far to prove to apostate nations and truculent governments that she takes coun-sel of God, not of the weakness and timidity of men.
A few more such acts as the publication of the syllabus and the convocation of the council now sitting at Rome, joined to the manifest failure of Protestantism, will serve to open the eyes of the people, disabuse non-Catholics of the delusions under which they are led away to their own destruction. The very freedom, though 'false in principle, which is suffered in Protestant nations, while it removes all restraints from infidelity, immorality, and blasphemy, aids the victory of the church over her enemies. It ruins them by suffering them to run into all manner of excesses ; but she can use it without danger and with advantage where there are minds to be convinced or hearts to be won; for she can abide the freest examination, the most rigid investigation and scrutiny, while the indwelling Holy Ghost cannot fail to protect her from all error on either side.
The present delusions of the loud-boasting nineteenth century must give way before her as she once more stands forth in her true light, and her present enemies be vanquished.
THE SCHOOL QUESTION.
[From the Catholic World for April, 1870.]
The number of The Christian World, the organ of the American and Foreign Christian Union, for February last is entirely taken up with the school question, and professes to give « a carefully digested summary of the views and reasonings of all parties to the controversy." The views and reasonings of the Catholic party are not misstated, but are very inadequately presented; those of the other parties are given more fully, and, we presume, as correctly and as authoritatively as possible. The number does not dispose of the subject'; but furnishes us a fitting occasion to make some observations which will at least set forth correctly our views of the school question as Catholics and American citizens.
It is to the credit of the American people that they have, at least the Calvinistic portion of them, from the earliest colonial times, taken a deep interest in the education of the young, and made considerable sacrifices to secure it. The