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DEATH OF JOHN MENZIES, ESQ. OF PITFODELS.
The melancholy and painful duty now devolves upon us, of announcing the death of the above-named highly respected and most worthy gentleman, an event which took place on the evening of Wednesday, the 11th ult., at Greenhill Cottage, near Edinburgh. He appeared to be in his usual health on the Sunday morning preceding, and had attended mass that morning in the chapel of St. Margaret's Convent. In the afternoon, however, he was seized with a fit of paralysis, which put an end to a well-spent and useful life, which had run far beyond the term usually allotted to our frail mortality. In the list of honourable and honoured names which adorn the annals of Catholicism in Great Britain, that of Mr. Menzies will ever stand most conspicuous; while in Scotland, his native land, it will ever be held in reverence by the members of that Church, of which, at an interesting period of its history and resuscitation in that ancient kingdom, he was at once its greatest and most unwearied benefactor. The estate of Blairs, near Aberdeen, on which St. Mary's College was erected, was presented by him, a few years ago, to the Scottish Mission, a munificent gift whether we regard its pecuniary value, or the great wants of that poor but important portion of Christ's vineyard. But his pious generosity did not stop here, for his hand was always open to assist every religious undertaking, and the poor, without distinction of creed, participated largely in his bounty.
Mr. Menzies was the descendant of an ancient family in Aberdeenshire, and with him the family has, we believe, become extinct. Amid the general apostasy of the sixteenth century, the heads of the house of Pitfodels remained steadfast in the faith, and, notwithstanding their adhesion, continued to exercise considerable influence, particularly in the town of Aberdeen, of which some of them were elected Provost or Mayors. And so great was the respect shown by the nobility and gentry of Aberdeenshire towards Mr. Menzies, that he was unanimously elected by them Convener of the county, an office similar in some respects to that of High Sheriff of an English shire. He discharged the duties of Convener for a considerable number of years, and on his retirement received the warm thanks of his constituents, embodied in a resolution passed at a public meeting. Nor was he less honoured in private life, and in the circle of his more immediate friends. To a Christian meekness and affability, he joined a feeling of the most unbounded charity; yet while bearing and forbearing, no man was more alive to the beauty of truth, nor more ready to detect the sophistry of that impious philosophy which has desolated some of the fairest portions of Christendom. We are sorry that in the hurry in which we are obliged to go to press, we cannot enlarge, but we hope to see a memoir of this most excellent gentleman from the
pen of one whom he loved, the Right Rev. Dr. Gillis. Mr. Menzies was born on the 15th August, 1756, and was consequently in the 88th year of his age.
REQUIESCAT IN PACE.
MARRIAGE OF PHILIP HENRY HOWARD, ESQ. of CORBY
The marriage of Mr. Howard to Miss Eliza Minto Canning, of Foxcote, in the county of Warwick, has, we understand, been announced to the friends of the respective parties. We believe that the marriage will be solemnized at the Spanish-place Chapel, Spanish-place, Manchester-square, before Advent, and that the respected Bishop of the London District, the Right Rev. Dr. Griffit will officiate on the occasion. The parties, as most of our readers may know, are Catholics. Mr. Howard will, we understand, be thus prevented from visiting his constituents, at Carlisle, until a late period of the year.
The Catholic Magazine. .
THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS ON THE LIFE AND
VIRTUES OF MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD. [Chiefly from St. Bonaventure's Life of Christ, and written on that plan
for the use of young children.]
* OH MARY, CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN, PRAY FOR ME WHO HAVE RECOURSE TO THEE."
The holy Virgin and her spouse remained forty days in the stable at Bethlehem, during which time she was studiously watchful in the care of her son. Night and day she watched beside him, fearing lest in her absence anything might molest or disturb him. She never placed him in his little bed in the manger, or took him from it, but on her bended knees;
and she would often kiss him and hold him in her arms with unspeakable delight and motherly affection. St. Joseph willingly and affectionately assisted her in all her cares for the Divine Infant; and St. Bonaventure says, he doubts not that this holy old man often took delight in embracing Jesus, and in cherishing him on his knees. When the fortieth day was come, the Blessed Virgin took Jesus in her arms, and, accompanied by Joseph, set out for Jerusalem, in order to fulfil the law, by presenting her Divine Infant in the temple. For in those days, there was a law by which all parents were obliged to present their eldest child (when a boy) to God, in the temple at Jerusalem; and when they received him back from the hands of the priest, they made an offering to God for him. If rich, they gave a lamb; if poor, their offering consisted of two doves or pigeons, which were cheaper.
When our Blessed Lady arrived at the temple, she was met by Simeon, a holy old man, who had long been most anxious to behold the promised Redeemer. When he saw the Blessed Virgin, he instantly knew that the Infant she held in her arms was the Son of God; and taking him from her with great joy and reverence, he saluted him as his Saviour. He then prophesied many things concerning the Passion of JESUS, and spoke much of the sufferings of Mary at the death of her NO. XII.-VOL. 11.-DEC. 1843.
only Son. Also a holy widow and a prophetess, Ann, coming likewise into the temple, spoke many things concerning Jesus, adoring him devoutly at the same time. After this they all went up to the altar together; and this ceremony is every year represented in the Church by the blessing of the candles on the feast of the Purification. Being come to the altar, Mary laid the little Jesus upon it; and kneeling down, she offered him to his Heavenly Father; then taking a pair of doves from the hands of Joseph, she laid them also on the altar, and received the Divine Child back again from the hands of the priest, with great joy and contentment. The offering being thus ended, they prepared to return to Nazareth, where they usually resided. But St. Bonaventure supposes that they first paid a visit to St. Elizabeth, the Blessed Virgin being desirous of seeing again the holy little St. John. When they met, they were overjoyed to see one another, and were delighted in beholding Jesus and John together. St. John, though still an infant, seemed sensible of the superior dignity of Jesus, and behaved to him with the most affectionate respect. After they had remained some days at the house of Elizabeth, they left it to go to Nazareth, where they lived as before in the greatest poverty.
In the meantime Herod was anxiously expecting the return of the three kings to Jerusalem; but I have already told you how God defeated his wicked scheme, by commanding them to return to their own country by another road. When Herod found himself thus deceived, his anger knew no bounds; and in the height of his rage he ordered all the children under two years old in his dominions to be put to death. You may imagine what unhappiness was caused throughout the whole country, by this inhuman order. We are told of mothers who wept, and would not be comforted, for the loss of their little ones thus cruelly butchered in their very arms. When we add to this the grief of the fathers, brothers, and sisters of these slaughtered babes, we may have a slight idea of the grief into which Herod's wickedness had plunged his people. These little children were the first martyrs for the sake of Jesus; and on the third day after Christmas day, the Church commemorates them under the title of the Holy Innocents,
On that day, I would advise you to ask their prayers most fervently, for certainly Jesus Christ is not likely to refuse the petitions of those little souls, who once gave up their innocent young lives for him. When Herod gave this cruel order for their death, Mary and Joseph, unconscious of the danger of their precious charge, were journeying to their own home at Nazareth ; but an angel from God appeared to
Joseph, and bade him take the mother and child and fly into Egypt. Joseph instantly sought for the Blessed Virgin, and acquainted her with the Angel's warning. Mary was terrified at the danger threatening her beloved Infant; and taking him tenderly in her arms, they set out that very instant by a private road into Egypt. It is not a difficult thing to fancy the hardships endured by our Blessed Saviour and his most dear Mother in the course of this journey. “The little babe of Bethlehem,” as St. Francis ever fondly called his Infant Saviour, was carried along by his delicate Mother, and by St. Joseph, a feeble old man, through a wild, pathless, and unfrequented road, into Egypt,-a country where none of them had ever been before. They were too poor and feeble to have been able to bring the necessary supply of provisions with them. No inns were known there, neither were there any houses along the road where they could have satisfied their wants; so they must have frequently suffered from hunger, and still oftener from thirst. You will easily believe this, when I tell you that the desert they had to cross is a long track of burning sand, where water is very seldom to be found, and then always at great distances. They must therefore have often travelled further than they liked, and have been exhausted beneath the heat of the sun, which in the desert is always intense, before they could find a spring of fresh water, beside which to rest themselves and slake their thirst. I once saw a pretty picture, representing this holy family reposing in the desert. The holy Virgin was resting with the Divine Infant in her arms, beneath the shadow of a tree, while Joseph was bringing a bowl of water, towards which the little Jesus eagerly held out his arms. Perhaps some time or other you also may see this picture; and if you do, I hope you will compassionate the sufferings which even at that tender age our Blessed Saviour endured for your sake; you will also be able to form some idea of the severity of those sufferings which made Jesus receive so common a thing as a bowl of water with the greatest eagerness from the hands of St. Joseph; nor did the Blessed Virgin think of quenching her own thirst till ber Divine Infant had received a sufficient quantity of water to satisfy his.
After much pain and difficulty, they at last reached Egypt, where they took a little cottage, in which they lived as poor and homeless strangers. They supported themselves entirely by the labour of their own hands. St. Joseph was a carpenter, and worked at his trade; our Blessed Lady, we are told, was very industrious in spinning, and skilful at her needle, and she also laboured incessantly for the support of the