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bulwark of the Sanctuary. Every breach there, imperils the Hierarchy, and even the very Faith. A Bishop may not flee, as the hireling, nor hold his peace, like those dumb dogs, of which the Prophet Isaias speaks, and which are not able to bark.1 He is the Watchman of Israel: he is a traitor if he first lets the enemy enter the citadel, and then, but only then, gives the alarm and risks his person and his life. The obligation of laying down his life for his flock, begins to be in force at the enemy's first attack upon the very out-posts of the City, which is only safe when they are strongly guarded.
The consequences of the Pastor's resistance may be of the most serious nature; in which event, we must remember a truth, which has been admirably expressed by Bossuet, in his magnificent Panegyric on St. Thomas of Canterbury, which we regret not being able to give from beginning to end. "It is an es"tablished law," he says, "that every success the "Church acquires costs her the life of some of her "children, and that in order to secure her rights, she "must shed her own blood. Her Divine Spouse redeemed her by the Blood he shed for her; and he "wishes that she should purchase, on the same terms, "the graces he bestows upon her. It was by the "blood of the Martyrs that she extended her con"quests far beyond the limits of the Roman Empire. "It was her blood that procured her, both the peace "she enjoyed under the Christian, and the victory "she gained over the Pagan, Emperors. So that, as "she had to shed her blood for the propagation of "her teaching, she had also to bleed for the making "her authority accepted. The Discipline, therefore, "as well as the Faith, of the Church, was to have its "Martyrs."
Hence it was, that St. Thomas, and the rest of the
Martyrs for Ecclesiastical Liberty, never once stopped to consider how it was possible, with such weak means as were at their disposal, to oppose the invaders of the rights of the Church. One great element of Martyrdom, is simplicity united with courage; and this explains how there have been Martyrs amongst the lowest classes of the Faithful, and that young girls, and even children, can show their rich Palm-branch. God has put into the heart of a Christian a capability of humble and inflexible resistance, which makes every opposition give way. What, then, must that fidelity be, which the Holy Ghost has put into the souls of Bishops, whom he has constituted the Spouses of his Church, and the defenders of his beloved Jerusalem ?" St. Thomas," says Bossuet, " yields not to injustice, under the pretext "that it is armed with the sword, and that it is a "King who commits it; on the contrary, seeing that "its source is high up, he feels his obligation of re"sisting it to be the greater, just as men throw the "embankments higher, when the torrent swells."
But, the Pastor may lose his life in the contest! Yes, it may be so—he may possibly have this glorious privilege. Our Lord came into this world to fight against it and conquer it—but he shed his blood in the contest, he died on a Cross. So likewise were the Martyrs put to death. Can the Church, then, that was founded by the Precious Blood of her Divine Master, and was established by the blood of the Martyrs— can she ever do without the saving laver of blood, which reanimates her with vigour, and vests her with the rich crimson of her royalty? St. Thomas understood this: and when we remember how he laboured to mortify his flesh by a life of penance, and how every sort of privation and adversity had taught him to crucify to this world every affection of his heart, we cannot be surprised at his possessing, within his soul, the qualities which fit a man for martyrdom— calmness of courage, and a patience proof against every trial. In other words, he had received from God the Spirit of Fortitude, and he faithfully corresponded to it.
"In the language of the Church," continues Bossuet, "Fortitude has not the meaning it has in "the language of the world. Fortitude, as the world "understands it, is the undertaking great things; "according to the Church, it goes not beyond the "suffering every sort of trial, and there it stops. "Listen to the words of St. Paul: Ye have not yet "resisted unto blood; as though he would say: "' You have not yet gone the whole length of your "' duty, because you have not resisted your enemies "' unto blood.' He does not say, 'You have not "' attacked your enemies and shed their blood;' but, "' Your resistance to your enemies has not yet cost "' you your blood.'
"These are the high principles of St. Thomas; "but see how he makes use of them. He arms him"self with this sword of the Apostle's teaching, not "to make a parade of courage, and gain a name for "heroism, but simply because the Church is threat"ened, and he must hold over her the shield of his "resistance. The strength of the holy Archbishop "lies not, in any way, either in the interference of "sympathisers, or in a plot ably conducted. He has "but to publish the sufferings he has so patiently "borne, and odium will fall upon his persecutor: "certain secret springs need only to be touched by "such a man as this, and the people would be roused "to indignation against the King! but the Saint "scorns both plans. All he has on his side is the "prayer of the poor, and the sighs of the widow "and the orphan: these, as St . Ambrose would say, "these are the Bishop's defenders, these his guard, "these his army! He is powerful, because he has a "soul that knows not either how to fear or how to "murmur. He can, in all truth, say to Henry, King "of England, what Tertullian said, in the name of "the whole Church, to a magistrate of the Roman "Empire, who was a cruel persecutor of the Church: "We neither frighten thee, nor fear thee .•1 we Chris"tians are neither dangerous men, nor cowards; not "dangerous, because we cannot cabal, and not "cowards, because we fear not the sword."
Our Panegyrist proceeds to describe the victory won for the Church by her intrepid Martyr of Canterbury. We can scarcely be surprised when we are told, that during the very year in which he preached this eloquent Sermon, Bossuet was raised to the episcopal dignity. We need offer no apology for giving the following fine passage.
"Christians! give me your attention. If there "ever were a Martyrdom, which bore the resemblance "to a Sacrifice, it was the one I have to describe to "you. First of all, there is the preparation: the "Bishop is in the Church with his Ministers, and "all are robed in the sacred Vestments. And the "Victim? The Victim is near at hand—the Bishop "is the Victim chosen by God, and he is ready. "So that all is prepared for the sacrifice, and they "that are to strike the blow enter the Church. The "holy man walks before them, as Jesus did before his "enemies. He forbids his Clergy to make the "slightest resistance, and all he asks of his enemies "is, that they injure none of them that are present: "it is the close imitation of his Divine Master, who "said to them that apprehended him: If it be I "whom ye seek, suffer these to go their way. And "when all this had been done, and the moment for "the sacrifice was come, St. Thomas begins the cere"mony. He is both Victim and Priest—he bows "down his head, and offers the prayer. Listen to
1 Non te terremus, qui nec timemus.
"the solemn prayer, and the mystical words, of the "sacrifice: And I am ready to die for God, and for "the claims of justice, and for the Liberty of the "Church, if only she may gain peace and Liberty "by this shedding of my blood I1 He prostrates "himself before God: and as in the Holy Sacrifice "there is the invocation of the Saints our Interces"sors, Thomas omits not so important a ceremony; "he beseeches the Holy Martyrs and the Blessed "Mary ever a Virgin to deliver the Church from "oppression. He can pray for nothing but the "Church; his heart beats but for the Church; his "lips can speak nothing but the Church; and, when "the blow has been struck, his cold and lifeless "tongue seems still to be saying: The Church!"
Thus did our glorious Martyr, the type of a Bishop of the Church, consummate his sacrifice, thus did he gain his victory; and his victory will produce the total abolition of the sinful laws, which would have made the Church the creature of the State, and an object of contempt to the people. The tomb of the Saint will become an Altar; and at the foot of that Altar, there will one day kneel a penitent King, humbly praying for pardon and blessing. What has wrought this change? Has the death of Thomas of Canterbury stirred up the people to revolt? Has his Martyrdom found its avengers? No. It is the blood of one, who died for Christ, producing its fruit. The world is hard to teach, else it would have long since learnt this truth—that a Christian people can never see with indifference a Pastor put to death for fidelity to his charge; and that a Government, that dares to make a Martyr, will pay dearly for the crime. Modern diplomacy has learnt the secret; experience has given it the instinctive craft of waging
1 Et ego pro Deo mori paratus sum, et pro assertions justitiae, et pro Ecclesiae Libertate; dummodo effuaione sanguinis mei pacem et Libertatem oonsequatur I