« PredošláPokračovať »
aside for the black vestment, and she stands, as it were, on the border of the tomb, to sing requiem over the corpse of one of her children.
But it is not for one, but for all, that she is now about to sing requiem; it is for all who have departed from her in the light of faith, albeit the weakness of human frailty may have left behind a debt of . temporal punishment yet due, for which the soul must pay,-yea, to the uttermost farthing.
But when one has recently been in the full tide of hope, the heart gives not way in the first adverse wave of sorrow. The Church has been celebrating her chosen, her elect ones—she knows they are her own, and in full hope, while she praised, she sought their intercession. Hence it is through her altered vein, Hope still is, as it were, the key-note of her many variations; and as hoping, not despairing, her first words of praise are, “ Dilexi quoniam," as if, in the transition from joy to sorrow, it were meet, just, and salutary, that love should be the leading light, and motive, for raising her cry
a preparation, as it were, for her “ Ad Dominum, cum tribularer, clamavi." And how beautifully is this sentiment continued, and woven into the whole of the succeeding psalms of her first vespers ; now, moaning like a dove, that her sojourning is prolonged: “ Heu mihi, Domine, quia incolatus meus prolongatus est,” Ps. cxix. 5, and repeated, as the cream of the psalm, in the succeeding antiphon; or again bursting out into Hope, as she exclaims : “ Levavi oculos meos in montes; UNDE VENIET AUXILIUM MIHI.” Anon, in her antiphon, as if from that psalm she had culled the choicest flowers, she recalls the faith that is in her, and sings in words of cheer,—and well may they be so :—“ Dominus custodit te ab omni malo;" and then, after this service of preparation, she tremblingly entones the “ De Profundis," returning, in her holy fear, to the marrow of the psalm, in the plaintive antiphon,—“Si iniquitates observaveris Domine, Domine quis sustinebit,” till, in the hymn of confession, “ Confitebor tibi,” all — faith, hope, charity, and fear, are blended together ; which at the “Maguificat” are sealed, as it were, and assured to her, in the words of unerring wisdom and surpassing love, that “all that my FATHER gives me shall come to me, and him that comes to me I will not cast out.” Ant. “Omne quod dat mihi PATER ad me veniat, et eum qui venit ad me, non ejiciam foras."
Thus passes the eve of this solemn commemoration, and the trappings of woe are left still on the altar of God.
But, as if meditating meanwhile, and drawing sustenance from her prolonged meditation, the first words of her matins are in the INVI.
TATORY: Regem cui omnia vivunt, venite adoremus." " Come let us adore the King, for whom all things live.” And thus, bearing in mind the motive of her praise and imprecation, the same alternation of hopeful views, of wholesome fear, of earnest love, and assured faith, through each of the three nocturns; now mourning over frail humanity, now bursting into the sunshine of faith, which assures us that our Redeemer liveth ; while she teaches every one of her faithful children to appropriate—“Quem visurus sum ego ipse, et oculi mei conspecturi sunt, et non alius; exposita est hæc spes mea in sinu meo.” “Whom I myself shall see, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another's: this my hope is laid up in my breast.” And thus, during her whole office, does she look to heaven, like a taper, which, though agitated by the wind, yet, in its flickering, still looketh upward; till, in her lauds, after the “ Miserere,” she is better comforted, and sings more hopefully, saying, “ Laudate,” instead of “ Miserere;" “ Cantate Domino," instead of “ Ne in furore tuo;" till, as the solemn hour of Mass approaches, she entones the “ Laudate Dominum in Sanctis ejus," as if already some of those who were commemorated had been joined to the holy band she yesterday honoured, and as if the end for which the Holy Sacrifice is about to be offered up, were already in part accomplished !
Such, in brief array, is this beautiful, this most solemn, and consoling office of the Church, one of more than wonted interest,—for as death hath galled the feelings of all, and must be the lot of each, it touches a chord to which, alas ! every heart is responsive. Yet is it but one of her wondrously varied rites, which open up so fair a scene, and so sweet a refreshment, to the pilgrim of this world, whose sole rest is to be found within her pale; whose best and happiest hours, are spent in meditation within the precincts of this hallowed pile. But it is not alone by these means that she brings succour to her dead. Her's is no empty service, no false sentiment, which breathes thoughts of love and hope, and lets her charity evaporate in a “ Be thou clothed” to the naked, or,
“ be thou filled” to the hungry ;-with her highest and most solemn devotions, it has ever been the invariable wont of the Church to prescribe the practice of corporal charity. Thus she teaches, that while the souls in purgatory are holpen by the prayers of the faithful on earth, their prayers are not made less efficacious and valid by alms-deeds and works of charity. Thus it is, that in olden time we so often meet with charitable endowments for the good of the souls departed, wherein the naked were clothed, the hungry fed,the ignorant instructed, the orphan maintained, and the widow relieved, for the
good of the souls of dearly loved ones who had departed in the true Faith :-a practice which has been continual in the Church, which continues, and shall continue, so long as there is faith in man, so long as her voice is obeyed ; yea rather so long as natural affection is in the ascendant, and subservient to what is better than nature, the voicE OF God conveyed to us by the living voice of his impeccable and immaculate Spouse, The Church.
END OF CHAPTER VI.
Feast of The Translation of the Relics of our Holy Father
St. Erconwald of London, 1843.
ON A PAINTING OF CHRIST BY CORREGGIO.
IMMORTAL portraiture! who, save a being
pay thereby the penalty of crime?
ANGLICAN NOTIONS OF A SACRAMENT.
From a charge quite recently delivered by the Bishop of Rochester to his clergy, we extract the following passage.
“ The lax views of many of the clergy on the sacramental ordinances, have had the effect in a great degree of bringing about the extreme views which now prevail. They have treated the Sacraments lightly, and I will state my candid opinion, that I feel much more sympathy with those who exalt, than with those who depreciate these sacred rites. There are those, I grieve to say, who, in the solemn service of Baptism, having signed the child with the sign of the cross, and sprinkled it, say in the face of the Church and the congregation : “Seeing now dearly beloved brethren, that this child is regenerate and grafted into the body of Christ's Church,' &c., will afterwards, or at the very time, profess their disbelief of the doctrine.” A remarkable and truly edifying admission, my Lord Bishop !
It is then a fact, based upon the authority of your own solemn charge to your assembled clergy, that “ many of these entertain lax views on the Sacramental ordinances." It is not for us to question the justice of such an imputation upon the faith and practice of great numbers among the ministers of the Established Church, sadly confirmed as our impressions are of its truth, by the irrefragable testimony of one of their prelates ; and yet it is a matter of both surprise and pain to reflect, that such observations should have been called for. Surely, after reducing the number of Sacraments from seven to two, or rather to one and a fraction (for stripped of the great mystery of transubstantiation, what is the Protestant “ Supper of the Lord” but a most jejune and empty commemoration ?) the least one could expect, would have been the most faithful and religious observance of the all-important cere
of Baptism,—that holy rite, which in the Catholic Church is practically, in the Protestant theoretically at least, deemed to be absolutely essential to salvation.
The lamentable fact however is, that without the pale of the Catholic Church (in which, thank God, the poorest parents deem it a paramount duty to have their children christened as soon as possible after their birth) the most generally diffused indifference and neglect exist with regard to the Sacrament of Baptism. Since the Registration Act came into operation, a very prevalent notion has existed among the lowest classes, unchecked by any admonitions from the clergy, that compliance with the provisions of that statute is a sufficient substitute for a christening at Church, and the result of this fatal error is, that thousands of Protestant children are growing up without ever having been baptized by the clergy themselves. The sacrament is so carelessly administered, as frequently not to be so at all. For as the regenerating grace of Baptism is conferred by the simultaneous pouring of water on the head of the child, and pronouncing of the baptismal words, “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost,” it follows, that if any interval ensue between the pouring of the water, and the utterance of the words, the Baptismal ceremony is altogether inoperative and void. We have been assured by a Catholic clergyman on the English mission, that having purposely watched the solemnization of four christenings at a village church, three out of the four were performed in a grossly careless and defective manner.
Taking as authentic the newspaper accounts of the christening of the Prince of Wales, it appears than even in his case, with an archbishop to perform, and sovereigns to witness the ceremony, the baptism was inefficaciously administered, inasmuch as an interval of time long enough to admit of the recital of a short prayer, is stated to have occurred be. tween the pouring water on the head of the child, and the utterance of the sacramental words, “ I baptize thee," &c.* Conversing on this subject with a clergyman of the Church of England, and stating to him the impressions we have above recorded, we were met by him with a remonstrance in the way of a reductio ad absurdum, on the futility of discussion taking place between sensible men on points so vain and abstract! Thus it plainly appears that the bishop of Rochester is justified in ascribing “lax views on the sacramental ordinances” to many among the clergy; and the Catholic Church is still further justified in prescribing conditional baptism as an absolutely necessary preliminary to the admission into her bosom of all converts from Protestantism.
In banishing the practice of auricular confession from the catalogue of sacraments, the self-styled Reformers have deprived Christians of one of the most consolatory institutions of religion. No Protestant can form an adequate notion of the peace of mind and honest feeling of selfapproval that, in the heart of one who has faithfully laid open his secret sins to a minister of Christ, succeed to the ever-stinging and oppressive consciousness of guiltiness which had before haunted him.
* We believe this report originated from the misstatement of some obscure newspaper. According to the account in the respectable daily press, there is no ground for such a conclusion.