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you choose to allow or disallow alters nothing of what God has established. You can deny Christianity if you choose, but that does not make it false, or you wise in denying it ; you can say there shall be no Church authority, but if God has established the Catholic Church with the authority she claims, what you say will not alter the fact, and though that authority may crush you, you will not be able to crush it. It is idle for men to talk as you do, as if they had the sovereign disposal of all things. Remember the world is not of your making, and that its government is not committed to your hands. God reigns and will reign, whether it suits you or not.
As to the difficulty you raise, it only demonstrates the folly of my very clever young friends. Never make impossible suppositions, or suppositions which are intrinsically absurd. The Church, if a human institution, may abuse her powers, and you can have no guaranty against her doing so ; but no Catholic concedes that she is a human institution, or attempts to defend her as such, unless he is a fool. The very supposition of the Church is the supposition that she is an institution specially created and protected by Almighty God to teach us what he commands us to believe and do, and his whole Divine nature is pledged that she shall do this infallibly. This pledge is guaranty enough, and there is no room to reserve to ourselves the right to resist her in case she should abuse her trust or get out of her place. She cannot abuse her trust, because God will not suffer her to do it. You deny the Catholicity you profess, if you maintain the contrary, or allow it to be supposable.
F. But this is no answer to those not Catholics.
B. I have, at present, nothing to do with them, and I have no disposition to go out of my way to attempt to satisfy those who are incapable of being satisfied. I have no means of satisfying those who believe my Church a mere human institution, except by convincing them that she is not a human institution, but the very Church of God. I cannot expect, and I shall not try, to make her acceptable to those who it is assumed are to continue to be her enemies. I cannot make the same thing be and not be at the same time.
Your whole difficulty, however, grows out of the fact, that you mistake the division line between the spiritual order and the temporal. You include in the temporal order the whole moral law, or law of God, in so far as it is the measure of our secular life. Here is your fundamental error.
No man, no body of men, no community, no state, no nation, has the right
to do wrong, and every one is bound to do right. The measure of right in all orders, and the sole measure of right, is the law of God, and to teach and judge of that law is a purely spiritual function, not a function of the temporal order, and therefore it belongs universally to the spiritual authority, and not at all to the temporal. I do not claim temporal jurisdiction for the Church, and she leaves the temporal order free in all that is purely temporal; but she does not recognize in it any spiritual competency, and therefore does not acknowledge its right to teach and judge of the law of God, that is, the moral law, in any sphere. Within the limits of that law the temporal order may do what it pleases, and the faithful are bound by their duty to God to obey it; but the acts of the temporal order which transgress those limits trench upon the spiritual order, and are therefore illegal ; and if they require us to act in violation of the moral law, that is, the law of God, we are not only not bound, but even forbidden, to obey them ; for we must obey God rather than men. The Church, as the keeper and expounder of that law, does not administer temporal affairs, but she does claim and possess the right to define the moral law which must govern them and the authorities administering them. She is, under God, and by his special appointment, the teacher and supreme judge of all morality, and therefore of the morality of seculars, and of their morality in secular affairs as well as in any others. Whatever pertains to morals comes, by its nature, within the jurisdiction of the spiritual order.
What you are to remember is, that you are to be moral, that is, to obey the law of God in all your acts, to wbatever department they belong, and that the state, the civil or temporal order, has no competency as a moral teacher, has no authority at all to decide what the law of God does or does not command, even in regard to secular matters. It has no spiritual function whatever, and is bound to receive the law of God from the spiritual authority, and to take care and transgress no one
Your error is in supposing that the temporal order is itself the teacher and judge of the law of God, in so far as that law extends to secular life. This is a monstrous error ; for it completely sunders religion and morality, confines religion to the service of the temple, and subjects the whole moral order to the temporal authority, — the very thing the enemies of religion are always attempting to do, and which I am sorry to find one who calls himself a Catholic ready to aid them to do.
VOL. IV. NO. III.
of its precepts.
LITERARY NOTICES AND CRITICISMS.
1.- Speech of Hon. Daniel Webster on Mr. Clay's Resolutions
in the Senate of the United States, March 7, 1850. Wash
ington : Gideon & Co. 1850. 8vo. pp. 64. 2. — Slavery and the Union. A Lecture delivered in the Taber.
nacle, New York. By the Rev. J. W. CUMMINGS, D. D. New
York Freeman's Journal, May 25, 1850. 3. Review of Mr. Webster's Speech on Slavery. By WENDELL
Phillips. Boston : American A. S. Society. 1850. 4. - Letter of Hon. Horace Mann, M. C., to his Constituents.
Boston Atlas, May 6, 1850.
MR. WENDELL Phillips's Review of Mr. Webster's Speech we have not done ourselves the honor to read. Mr. Phillips is himself a man of very respectable talents and attainments, - a man abundantly able to distinguish himself without resorting to eccentricity of movement, or wild and savage fanaticism of conduct, — and is therefore utterly inexcusable for taking the course he does. We have introduced his pamphlet, published by the American Antislavery Society, solely as an occasion to assure that Society and its friends, that we make it a point of conscience never to read any of its publications, and to request it and them to spare themselves the trouble of sending us any Abolition publication whatever. We know already all we wish to know of the Abolitionists, and we should be sorry to be compelled to think more unfavorably of them than we now do. They are a class of persons who do not improve upon acquaintance, and we learned enough of them in former years to be certain that the less we know of them, the higher shall we esteem them. Of the Hon. Horace Mann's Letter to his Constituents we have
Mr. Mann is a member of Congress from the Eighth Congressional District of this Commonwealth; he bears at home the character of a philanthropist, and is said to have won some withered laurels in a controversy with the Boston schoolmas. ters a few years since, when he was Secretary of our Board of Education. He has some skill in the construction of sentences, is able to give passable lessons in orthography, and perhaps in the rudiments of English Grammar; but we have never understood that he was remarkable as a logician, a lawyer, or a statesman. He had some reputation as a Lyceum-lecturer, but we do not find that he has added to it by his speeches in Congress. He is a man we would not treat unkindly, nay, whom we would treat with great tenderness, and therefore we shall offer no comments on his Letter to his Constituents.
little to say.
Dr. Cummings's Lecture is a bold, frank, manly production, marked by practical good sense, ready wit, good-natured ridicule, Christian feeling, and true wisdom and prudence. It is upon the whole, from the point of view of religion and morals, the best word we have heard spoken on the subject of slavery and the Union. The lecturer had no novelties to advance, no speculations of his own to bring out; he had nothing to do but to apply the great principles of his holy religion to a pressing moral, social, and political question, and he has done it with a success that leaves little to be desired. He is no advocate of slavery ; he is no apologist of the slaveholder; he holds that slavery is an evil, and that we should labor to get rid of it; but in such way only as will not lead to a greater evil. Yet he does not concede that it is malum in se, or contend that a man by owning slaves necessarily forfeits his Christian character. The Church does not sanction slavery, nor does she command its abolition as an act of justice. She commands the slave to be obedient for God's sake, and the master to treat his slave with kindness and humanity, and then remits the whole matier to the operation of Christian charity on the hearts of both the slave and his master. Great as the evil of slavery may be, the evil of disunion, or the disruption of the Union of the States, would be incalculably greater, and consequently, however much we may be opposed to slavery, and however desirous we may be to remove it, we are forbidden to attempt its abolition by any measures incompatible with our constitutional duties, or with the peace and prosperity of the Union.
This is the true ground, and the only ground which we can take either as Christians or as American citizens. It is the ground we ourselves took in an essay on the subject in The Boston Quarterly Review for April, 1838, and which we have uniformly maintained ever since. Even in the days of our wildest radicalism, we never suffered ourselves to maintain that it is lawful to do evil that good may come ; that it is ever permitted to break up a social or political order for the sake of getting rid of an evil which is found to exist under it. Our doctrine was even then, as it is now, that evils existing under a social or political order are to be removed by and in consonance with that order, never by its destruction, and, when not so removable, are to be patiently submitted to as the less evil of the two. We doubtless uttered in those days a great many false, a great many foolish, a great many dangerous opinions, but we were never of the no-government sect; we were never, strictly speaking, a revolutionist; we never held that it can be lawful to resist legitimate authority, or that we are permitted, for the sake of social or political amelioration, to break up an established order of things. We never dreamed of the possibility of effecting reforms in contravention of law, or held the false notion that liberty and
order are antagonistic. We were never so blinded as not to see that order is the only possible condition of freedom, or that order is impossible without government. N doubt we emitted from time to time opinions that imply the contrary, but never any which, when putting them forth, we saw or believed to imply the contrary.
We have always conceded slavery to be an evil, and an evil of which it is highly desirable to get rid ; but we have always maintained that it is one of those social evils that it is lawful to remove only in accordance with fidelity to the Constitution and the Federal Union, and that in so far as it cannot be so removed we are not in any respect to meddle with it. The law which binds us to support the Union, to preserve our political order inviolate, is paramount to any law that can bind us to labor for the emancipation of the slave. This is the view we have always taken, and when we had far more influence in political matters than we now have, or are likely ever to have again, we so fully developed it that we have no occasion to add any thing in support of it now. If there are any who wish to see it developed and supported in a triumphant manner, we refer them to the Lecture of Dr. Cummings.
Mr. Webster, in his masterly Speech on Mr. Clay's Resolutions, takes up the subject as a senator, and considers it from the point of view of his constitutional duty. His speech itself, in our judg. ment, does the distinguished senator more credit as a man and as a statesman than any other he has ever made. It was worthy of his station and of the occasion, and, in the circumstances in which it was delivered, rises above mere intellectual greatness, and approaches the morally sublime. The orator rises to the full dignity of the American senator, above all sectional prejudices, and all party interests and personal ambition, to those high moral and constitutional principles which so many lose sight of, but which should ever animate and guide the American statesman. We have never been associated with the political party with which Mr. Webster usually acts, but we have read his speech with joy to find that public virtue has yet one champion in our country, and that the principles on which the stability of our republic rests have still one eloquent voice that fears not to proclaim them.
Mr. Webster is far more strongly opposed to domestic slavery than we are, and he has never, during his whole public life, failed to do all in his power to prevent its further extension. We know no man in the country more strongly opposed to slavery, or who would go farther, within the limits of the Constitution, to repress and even abolish it. But he is no fanatic, no revolutionist, no mad philanthropist, who, in pursuit of a particular good, is ready to trample down by the way a thousandfold more good than he can possibly gain in gaining the particular end he seeks. He is a