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of heart, forty of the best years of his life, in journeyings from place to place, lodging in miserable shanties, sometimes on the bare ground, teaching the ignorant, consoling the afflicted, recalling the erring, rebuking the sinner, visiting the sick and dying, and burying the dead; often in hunger and thirst, in watchings and fastings, and ready to faint from weariness and exhaustion, and yet never counting his labor and want, his privations and fatigue, holding himself repaid, and more than repaid, if so be he could win souls to Christ, and save his own soul at last. When I saw this, and reflected that he had done only what thousands had done before him, and were still doing, in all parts of the world, I could not but say to myself there must be something deeper and diviner in this old church than we Protestants have believed possible.

The priest resolutely maintained, in some conversations I had with him after the editor had left us, that, except in the material order, due in great measure to the previous discovery by Catholics of this western hemisphere, and in the further extension and practical application of certain great principles always insisted on by the church, there had been no real progress of civilization since the epoch of the reformation. There was a great political and social change in Europe in the fifteenth century, he said, when monarchical centralism triumphed over feudalism which had reigned for four centuries; but whether the change was a progress or not, many students of history and society think is quite doubtful. The change, as far as he had been able to understand it, consisted, he said, in principle at least, in a return to what may be called the Græco-Roman order of civilization, which had been weakened but not destroyed by the barbarian invasion of the einpire. The change has certainly been in favor of monarchy, and, in the more advanced nations of Europe, has resulted in the reëstablishment of cæsarism.

The struggle now going on in Europe, the echo of which affects the American system most disastrously, he said, is the attempt to substitute democratic absolutism for monarchical absolutism, as it was in England during what is called the English rebellion in the seventeenth century, and in the French revolution in the eighteenth, not yet ended. The party of democratic absolutism is regarded, just now,

thie party of progress, the party of the future, the party of humanity, and because it represents the spirit of the age and proinises the race unbounded liberty and an earthly paradise. What favors it is approved; what opposes it is condemned. Would you oppose the people, pit yourself against your age, and repress its aspirations? Yet both absolutisms are founded on falsehood, for they are founded on man, and man, either individually or collectively, is not absolute, but dependent and relative.

« But liberalism is the great word of the day. No human institution is strong enough to resist it, and it would, if it were possible, sweep away the divine. Its force is the force of passion, not reason. You began your movement by rejecting the authority of the pope and councils, and asserting that of the Bible interpreted by private illumination or by private judgment, and have gone on and denied the authority of the Bible, and asserted, first, that of the interior spirit, and then, that of reason alone. You have been forced, by the light of your liberal movement, to go further, and reject the interior spirit, to reason and to restrict yourselves to the senses, and finally to the passions and instincts of the people. You have lost faith, lost hope in another world, resolved God into man, and man into a mere animal -probably the tadpole or monkey developed. To this you have been forced, step after step, and you call it progress ! You have got rid of the spiritual order, emancipated what you regard as the advanced portion of mankind-the only portion in your estimation worth counting—from the restraints of all law except the physical laws of your constitution and those of the universe ; have discarded all moral ideas as vain illusions, and are reduced, naked and alone, to your own passions and lusts. You have proclaimed peopleking, people-priest, people-God, and made popular opinion, tickle as the wind, your law, your criterion of right and wrong. Under your progress in losing, poverty increases in greater ratio than wealth, the poor become more and more abject and servile, and are treated as unfortunates or criminals. Intelligence is lowered, minds lose their vigor, characters are enfeebled and abased, and man loses his dignity, his personal freedom and independence.

"Yet you applaud yourselves for the wonderful progress you have made, and for your immeasurable superiority over the generations that went before you. The evils to which we call your attention, and which you were told beforeland would inevitably follow your course, you excuse as the necessary incidents of the transition state through which you


are passing, and trust they will disappear when you have left the old completely behind, and have fully established the new. Alas! you are always in a transition state. You started from passion, not reason ; from falsehood, not truth; from a false, not a true principle; and how can you expect to arrive at any thing fixed, solid, and permanent? You are following an illusion, a will-o'-the-wisp, and can hardly escape being caught in the bogs or sunk in the quagmire at last.

“You were warned in the beginning of the danger you run, of the inevitable consequences of the false principleyou adopted, and you called those who told you the truth, and begged you to heed their words, ‘fools' and asses. Even to-day you mock at us who try to rend the veil from your eyes, dispel your illusions, and enable you to see things as they are; you get angry at us, abuse us, call us moral cowards, dwellers among the tombs, worshippers of the dead past, with our eyes on the back side of our heads, lovers of darkness and haters of light, deniers of God and enemies of

We are your enemies, forsooth, because we tell you the truth, and insist that it is truth, not error, that gives freedom to the mind, strength and energy to reason, elevation and dignity to character.

" The church has always and everywhere,” he continued, “had to struggle with the world, and always and everywhere will

you find much, even in Catholic countries, to deplore ;: for never yet, even in professedly Catholic states, have the evil passions and ignorance of statesmen, and the blindness and ambition of rulers left her an open field and fair play. The Philistines, moreover, have always continued to dwell in the land. Yet you must have been struck in with the moral elevation and personal dignity of the Catholic peasantry, and their freedom from the debasing servility to rank and wealth, from which the poor are not by any means free even in democratic America. The


in Catholic countries are never abject as a class, and retain, even when beggars, a certain self-respect, personal dignity, and independence of feeling. They feel that

'A man's a man for a'that.' Compare a Spanish or an Irish peasant with an English peasant, and my meaning is at once apparent. Did it ever occur to you that this superior moral elevation and personal dignity and independence of the Catholic poor are due to

your travels

their religion, which attaches merit to voluntary poverty, regards the poor as blest and a blessing, and never treats them as an unfortunate class, or poverty as an evil, far less as a crime? These modern bastiles, called poor-houses, in which the poor are shut up as criminals, are not Catholic constructions, and I think you have never seen in Catholic countries, as I have in this country, the poor set up at auction in town-meeting, and knocked down to the lowest bidder, or person who would take and keep them at the least expense to the town. In Catholic states public charities and corrections are seldom classed together and placed in charge of one and the same board of commissioners. - There was

no little barbarism in the temper and manners of what are called the dark ages,' inherited from pagan Rome even more than from the German barbarian; but you will look in vain among your non-Catholic contemporaries for that clearness and vigor of intellect, and that inoral elevation, force, and independence of individual character, which you meet everywhere in mediæval society. If there were great crimes in those ages, they were followed, as the historian of the Monks of the West justly remarks, by grand expiations. If there was great pride, there was deeper humility, and always will the period from the sixth to the end of the fifteenth century stand out as the most glorious in the annals of the race.

“The movement party curses those ages, and for a century and a half has been engaged in a huge levelling process, which, while it has done really nothing to elevate the depressed, and has really injured the poor by multiplying their wants, and aggravating their discontent, has brought down all elevations to the low level of commonplace. The progress you boast consists chiefly in losing the rich faith, the high principle, the elevated character, and the sublime ideal cherished by the church, and in reducing all moral, intellectual, individual, and social eminences to a general average, where the race stagnates and rots."

I will not say the priest was right, that he did not exaggerate, or even adopt a false rule of judgment; but I felt that he had thought longer and far more deeply on the subject than I had. He had evidently mastered the subject to a degree, and studied it in a light that I had not done, and I had no right to regard him as less honest and truthful, or more

one-sided” than myself. He made me feel I knew very little of the real history of my race—that I had frittered away my time, and that there were depths and analogies even in commou things that I had not dreamed of exploring. He showed me at least that I had many things as to the principles and influence of religion and the church to learn, and stimulated me to do all in my power at any age to redeem the time I had lost.

I do not think I shall ever be convinced of the priest's doctrine, and seek admission into the communion of the Catholic Church; but I am thoroughly resolved to investigate, if my life is prolonged, her claims, which I am certain are not as unreasonable or as unfounded as I had hitherto supposed.


[From the Catholic World for October, 1866.]


Our age is more sentimental than intellectual, more philanthropic than Christian, more material than spiritual. It may and no doubt does cherish and seek to realize, with such wisdom as it has, many humane and just sentiments, but it retains less Christian thought than it pretendy, and has hardly any conception of catholic principles. It studies chiefly phenomena, plıysical or psychical, and as these are all individnal, particular, manifold, variable, and transitory, it fails to recognize any reality that is universal, invariable, and permanent, superior to the vicissitudes of time and place, always every ywhere one and the same. It is so intent on the sensible that it denies or forgets the spiritual, and 80 engrossed with the creature that it loses sight of the creator.

Indeed, there are not wanting men in this nineteenth century who deny that there is any creator at all, or that any thing has been made, and maintain that all has been produced by self-developinent or growth. These men, who pass for the great scientific lights of the age, tell us that all things are in a continual process of self-formation, which they call by the general name of progress; and so taken up are they with their doctrine of progress, that they gravely assert that God himself, if God there be, is progressive, per

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