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with the torch of science and arts, without letting fall sparks that would kindle into a conflagration? What other sages
could have taught at the same time knowledge and virtue, glory and piety? What philosophers could have laboured as they have done for centuries to extirpate superstition, without endangering the faith; censure kings, and diminish not the respect which their people owe to them? Further, the Pontifical Court, which presents these disorders to your notice is only a point of Christendom; but the benefits of the Church, preserved in unity by the influence of the Holy See, extends from that centre to the extremities of the earth. It is not in the galleries of the palace of Avignon that you should contemplate the miraculous and sublime effects of the religion of Jesus Christ. It is in the cloister, where prayer and solitude assist the erring soul to advance towards its true country. It is at the hearth of the father of a family, where this religion dispenses peace and happiness : it is in hospitals, where it teaches men to bear adversity; it is in rich domains, where it inculcates a harder lesson, to enjoy the good of fortune :—the sun, which is to enlighten and warm the world, imparts its blessings from a distance; if you would behold the benefits resulting from the Holy See, you must visit the various nations of Christendom, where you will find religion preserved in unity.” But the centre and metropolis of the Christian world excited in general no such anxiety for farther search. spirit of the Apostles yet resides there,” said St. Chrysostom ; “ from their tombs and inanimate ashes sparkles of fire yet proceed, to inflame the world.” “I entered St. Peter's,” says the poet Gray, “and was struck dumb with wonder.” “Suppose,” says Petrarch, “that I, an Italian, am not to be moved by the aspect of ancient Rome; still how sweet must it be to a Christian mind to behold that city, like heaven upon earth, filled with the holy sinews and bones of the martyrs, and sprinkled with the precious blood of the witnesses of truth; to walk amid the tombs of the saints, to visit the threshold of the apostles !!! These thoughts render him disdainful of all the monuments of heathen antiquity, and the Scipios and Cæsars are forgotten. It is with the same feelings that the gentle knight Camoens beheld Rome and Italy, if · Epist. ii. 9.
? Varior. Epist. 33.
Now no more her hostile spirit bums :
And all the triumphs of the victor's car. It did not, however, follow that the civil governments of every state were to be moulded after the model of that which was deemed necessary for the church. Montesquieu concluded that the ancient religion agreed better with a monarchy, and that the modern was more adapted to a republic; but M. de Haller, in the sixth volume of his work on the Restoration of Political Science, has shewn the fallacy of this sophistical decision. “The principle of the moderns," he argues, “is absolutely destructive of a republic; and if fully developed,- for it is often counteracted by the ancient spirit,—would prove so in every instance. The spirit of the moderns is manifestly not a spirit of union, but much rather of dividing asunder and of separation ; by virtue of this spirit, every individual knows all things, understands all things, even what he does not know, and places no faith in the authority of older or wiser men. With such a disposition no union is possible, or it could be established only by unjust compulsion : it can have neither strength nor continuance, and a republic in which every man may create' and explain separate constitutions, laws, and usages, after his own judgment, could no more stand than a church in which every member would be authorised to define, according to his own private views, the faith, morals, and the ceremonial of worship. On the other hand, the relationship of a republic or civil community, which binds men together through common principles and wants, requires much more than a monarchy, stant sacrifice of the individual, a resignation to the community, reverence for antiquity and custom and ancestral tradition. No where would the private interpretation and the selfish will be more frequently humbled; no where must it be more submissive to the common faith and the common will; and it cannot be denied that the ancient religion, inasmuch as it is founded on the same principle, more than the modern, is peculiarly adapted to develope and inspire that virtue. Experience also shews that the ancient religion unites itself with all common relations, and particularly with a republic. Venice endured with the
same 1400 years, and the other Italian states have not ascribed the loss of their freedom to their religion. The Swiss republics were founded and strengthened when all hearts were still united through the old and general faith. No one has thought of writing their history since the divisions of the church, as if from a melancholy conviction that they had nothing more great and renowned, which was worthy to be handed down to posterity. In the free democratic mountain-valleys of Switzerland was internal peace preserved almost without interruption, and only by means of the Catholic religion, under many various and complicated relations. It is still the only rein, the only garrison, and it preserves real freedom, while the republics of Geneva and Holland, and many others, were so often torn by internal divisions."
XVII. Passing from this view of ecclesiastical government, the preceding examples will suggest a reflection on the profound wisdom and spirituality which belonged to religion in our heroic age. And, first, it is wonderful to contemplate the exaltation of the cross, and the simplicity with which its doctrine was received by chivalry. Hear what Cicero says, “ Nomen ipsum Crucis absit non modo à corpore civium Romanorum, sed etiam a cogitatione, oculis, auribus.” • Of this,” he continues, “ not only the event, the suffering, but even the expectation, the very mention, of the cross is unworthy of a Roman and a free man.”] What more admirable than to see this most infamous sign become the most glorious? “Kings and emperors," as Lewis of Granada says, “place the cross upon their purple, on their armour, on their crowns: the cross is at the entrance of temples, it is on the altars ; it is used in the consecration of priests; we behold it on the sterns of ships, in public squares, in the most deep solitudes, on the roads, on the mountains; it appears in battle on standards ; it is on every thing: and no one is ashamed to bear the mark of this cursed punishment: the great and the low have recourse to it in all their necessities. Before the cross, the prince of the apostles trembled at the threat of a simple girl, and all his companions fled and abandoned their Master; after the cross, they defied the world.” But it was not alone
1 Pro C. Rabirio.
Catechism, ii. 29.
- All grace
the image and the sign of the cross which became exalted : it was the doctrine of the cross which inspired chivalry. “Spes prima et ultima Christus est," was the expression of Petrarch.
“ He can only pray with hope,” said Lewis of Granada, “who takes refuge in the merits of his Saviour, who, by his testament, confirmed by his death, has made us heirs of all his merits and of all his pains, so that all his sufferings have been for us. It is on this that depends the faith and confidence which are requisite in prayer.” “All the prayers of the church are offered up in the name of our Saviour; for the everlasting Father has never vouchsafed, neither ever will vouchsafe, a single grace to man, unless for the merit of the passion of his only Son.” and salvation are through Him.”4 St. Bernard says, “Si scribas, non sapit mihi nisi legero ibi Jesum. Si disputes aut conferas, non sapit mihi nisi sonuerit ibi Jesus.” He maintained this great doctrine even in his dreams.“
- Hæc est autem vita æterna, ut cognoscant te solum Deum verum, et quem misisti Jesum Christum.'
“ This sentence, says Lewis of Granada, “is a summary of the whole Christian philosophy And thus Gilles de Rome ends the fourth part of his Miroir, saying that the just Judge will give “ceste coronne de vie perpetuelle, coronne de beaulte passant mesure, coronne de glorie, de haultesse, et d’honeur à nous que sommes indignes suppliants.
Et ce non mye par le merite des œuvres de justice que nous avons faictes, mais par l'immensite de la bonte et misericorde benigne il nous vueille estre loyer et merite, le Dieu misericors qui en la trinite parfaicte vit et regne par les infinits siecles des siecles. Amen." We read in the Chronicles of the Minorites, that a novice of the order of St. Francis, being now almost out of himself, struggling with death, cried out with a terrible voice, saying, “Woe is me! Oh, that I had never been born !'' A little after he said, “ I am heartily sorry ;” and not long after he added, but the merits of the passion of our Lord
Famil. Epist. x. 12.
? Catech. part iii. c. 22. 3 Catechism, ii. 9, 11.
Rodriguez, Christian Perfection, 11, vii. 1. 5 In Cantica Serm. 15.
6 In Vita St. Bernardi. 7 St. John xvii. 8 Catechism, ii. 1: vide etiam Holden Divinæ Fidei Analys. ii. 5.
and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Then he said, “ Now'tis well,” and gave up the ghost. Certainly that invisible and strict inquisition was fearful and horrible to those who were present. So then an eloquent modern has well expressed the sentiments of men in these ages, when he says, - This miraculous name of Jesus, which God hath exalted above every name, is above all the powers of magical enchantments, the nightly rites of sorcerers, the secrets of Memphis, the drugs of Thessaly, the silent and mysterious murmurs of the wise Chaldees, and the spells of Zoroastres. This is the name at which the devils did tremble, and pay their enforced and involuntary adoration, by confessing the divinity, and quitting their possessions and usurped habitations. If our prayers be made in this name, God opens the windows of heaven, and rains down benediction : at the mention of this name, the blessed apostles, and Hermione the daughter of St. Philip, and Philotheus the son of Theophila, and St. Hilarion, and St. Paul the Eremite, and innumerable other lights who followed hard after the Sun of righteousness, wrought great and prodigious miracles,
signs and wonders and healings were done by the name of the holy child Jesus. This is the name which we should engrave on our hearts, and write upon our foreheads, and pronounce with our most harmonious accents, and rest our faith upon, and place our hopes in, and love with the overflowings of charity, and joy, and adoration."
But then, on the other hand, as Lewis of Granada says, and as indeed the preceding examples will serve to shew, men did not think they could be saved continuing in their vices, remaining, as it were, with arms crossed, solely by confidence in the Passion of Christ. This horrible error, so contrary to the Scriptures, to the goodness of God, to the light of reason, to the common consent of all nations, to all the examples of the saints, to all divine and human laws, had been formally condemned by the church. Let us pause, then, and contemplate this humanised mind, which accompanied so much elevation, and such spirituality in divine things; preventing the rise of that crafty and insidious enemy of fanaticism, who attacks the noblest as well as the most vulgar minds, and whose final triumph is in