« PoprzedniaDalej »
lumes could do: Yes, in this great book he reads in fiaming and indelible letters the excess of divine love towards men, the infinite sanctity and justice of God, which cannot be satisfied but by a victim of infinite dignity, the grievousness of mortal sin, the infinite importance of salvation, since the former could not be effaced, nor the latter be procured but by the death of a God-man on the cross. Here the poor is consoled, in beholding his God fastened naked to the cross ; the sufferer is comforted, by beholding in his God,“ the man of sorrows,” expiring in torments; the proud is confounded in viewing the God of Majesty satisfied with reproaches. Here, a sublime and heavenly philosophy is delivered, supported by the greatest examples that were ever exhibitedhere the Apostles, the Martyrs, and other Saints of God assiduously studied, and learned those exalted lessons which none but a God-man could teach, and which, reduced to practice, struck the world with so much astonishment.
What shall I say of that most amiable of all mysteries, which, by way of excellence, may be justly styled the mystery of love, and in which the eternal Son of God, not satisfied with communicating his divine nature to one inividual humanity, as he did in the mystery of the Incarnation, gives himself, his sacred flesh and blood with all his Divinity, in the most lovely manner to every one of his faithful children, and thus makes them partakers of his divine nature? O, it is here the divine love truly triumphs in all its lustre! It is here the divine power with a profusion truly divine, pours out infinite treasures to enrich man. What exalted, what generous thoughts, what transports of admiration, of gratitude, of love, of heavenly gladness, must not be exalted in a Christian soul, at the contemplation of so high an esteem, of so tender a kindness of God towards men? What powerful incitements to purity, to sanctity, to a noble-minded generosity, and to a kind of divine life must not the Christian feel, in that most intimate union, in that divine alliance, which he contracts with his God, the sole fountain of all sweetness and of all good, by the participation of his adorable Body and Blood ?
In the mystery of the Resurrection, the faith of the Christian is confirmed by one of the most astonishing miracles, and his hope strengthened by a most illustrious pledge of his own future resurrection, whilst, in the mystery of his glorious ascension, his charity is inflamed, and his heart drawn to the regions of eternal bliss, whither his Saviour has ascended to prepare him a place. · Mysteries, therefore, are not what the Unitarian imagines them to be, viz: mere metaphysical speculations, or empty notions, but they are the very foundations of the whole fabrick of Religion, the most powerful, practical lessons on the infinite perfections of God, the duties of men, and on the most heroic virtues : They are inexhaustible sources of heavenly knowledge, delight, and comfort. It was, therefore, most worthy of God to reveal them ; and, to reject them, is to deprive men of what is most august and sublime in religion, and what is most instructive to men either learned or unlearned.
I cannot better conclude this whole dissertation, than by subjoining the following beautiful passage of a learned and pious Prelate of France. “Religious dogmas when abandoned to reason, or, to speak with more truth, to the depravity of men, as was the case amongst the Pagans, were, what they must have been expected to be, the corruption of morality. But let us turn to another side. Let us consider that revealed doctrine, which disbelievers reject as indifferent and foreign to conduct and practice. We shall find that that doctrine is the very foundation of the observance of the soundest morality. Amongst us it is the belief of mysteries that engages men to fulfil their religious duties. Unbelievers, take a view,we entreat you, of all the truths which the Author of Christianity has taught mankind, and which you consider as merely speculative, and such as are only calculated to embarrass the mind and to overburthen it with a useless yoke! Examine, not only their perfect accordance with each other, which makes of them a .connected system, a complete summary of doctrine ; but also their intimate relation with morality, and you will discover, that there is not one amongst them, which does not serve, either to fan our love and gratitude by some benefit; or to gratify our desires by some gift; or to support our courage by some hope; or to prompt us to virtue by some promise ; or to reclaim us from vice by some menace; or to direct our morals by some example. If you examine our sacred dogmas, you will not find one, that is not a fecund principle of moral consequences; not one that does not shed its influence on our duties towards God, as well as towards our fellow-men; not one that does not present either some object, or some means, or some motive to what is good and virtuous. No, he that renders useful whatever he ordains, ordains nothing use. lessly.” Instruct. Past. de M. L'Evegue de Langres sur la revelation.