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deed, no one who bears the name of Christian, would willingly absent himself from the service of his Creator, their altars are silent, and their churches empty. With what feelings would our Catholic ancestors, whose piety was proverbial, and whose daily practice it was to assemble in public adoration of that God who was their daily benefactor and protector, have looked upon
the degeneracy of these days, upon the melancholy fruits of Protestant Reformation!
Whatever, to a superficial, and, perhaps, a prejudiced observer, may be the general appearance of immorality and irreligion, in Catholic countries, in our own times; and whatever may be the real degree of vice among the wealthy and the great, whose virtue, as is usually the case, is too generally choaked up with the cares, the riches, and the pleasures of this life; there is, at any rate, to be found, even in demoralized France, a large portion of sincere and unaffected piety. One can never enter a Catholic church, at any hour, even upon a week day, without being edified by the devout comportment of at least a few, and at the hour of morning service, of a great number of pious christians.()
“Even on week-days the churches are not deserted, pious Christians may be seen on their knees at all hours; and the ancient and affecting custom of the Catholic
The Protestant churches are not holy, because, among the ministers of their religion, no one has
church, so much recommended by Erasmus, is not yet forgotten or neglected, even in this profane capital.” Eustace's Letter to G. Petre, Esq.-It is to be remarked that, since this period, religion has made immense pro. gress in France, especially in the provinces.
The Catholic church is holy in her people, from the number of devout persons of both sexes, who, preferring the part of Mary to Martha, have retired from the bustle and temptation of the world, to adore their God in solitude and in silence:
“Who quit a world where strong temptations try,
“ And since 'tis hard to combat, learn to fly." Without taking into consideration the preference which the Almighty has generally been pleased to show to a secluded and ascetic life, no one has a right to complain of the pious refuge from temptation, and retreat from the attractive, yet dissipating pleasures of the world, of so many devout persons, but those who are able to fulfil the duties and obligations of a Christian amidst the cares, the riches, and the pleasures of this life. These are the only persons who, with any justice, can complain of the seclusion of so much virtue, and the loss of so much good example to mankind: yet when they consider the difficulties they themselves have daily to contend with, they will not be so ready to condemn the more timorous, but, perhaps, safer and wiser resolution, of withdrawing from the troubles and temptations to which they remain so fearfully exposed.
ever yet appeared of such exalted piety, such mortified passions, such holy meekness, such unwearied zeal, and such sublime devotion, as to render him worthy of being held up to the people as the pattern of a saint, or a model of the man of God. It is the prerogative of Catholicity alone to furnish such examples.
The Protestant churches are not holy, because they have never been sanctified by the manifestation of miracles. No Protestant teacher ever yet wrought a miracle in confirmation of his faith, whereas, there is no country in the world which has been converted to christianity by Catholic missionaries and few there are which have not been both edified by their virtues, and enlightened by their doctrine—without the miraculous interposition of Divine Providence having been exerted in its favour..)
10 Catholics are often accused of lending too easy a belief to miracles, though generally without reason. It is surely natural that those who believe firmly in the truth of their religion, should be more disposed to expect supernatural proofs of its authenticity; and it is upon the firmness of their faith alone that this predisposition is grounded, not upon any superstitious feelings, or excess of credulity. On the other hand, an obstinate disbelief of miracles, when clear to the evidence of the senses, would appear to be characteristic of an unsound religion, and of perversity of intention. The Scripture informs us,
No Protestant minister ever yet executed the following commission of our Saviour--a commis
that the very day on which St. Peter had healed the sick, he was, for this crime of producing a miraculous evidence of Christianity, apprehended, and thrown into prison, from which he was delivered only by another miracle. When St. Stephen was brought before the council, they saw his face as if it had been the face of an angel, and yet they condemned him to death! When the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles, and imparted to them the gift of tongues, the people exclaimed: These men are full of new wine! Such was the obduracy and incredulity of the enemies of the Doctrine of Christ. As it was with his Disciples, so had it been with Christ himself. When our Saviour, armed only with a scourge, but supported by the power of God, drove the multitude of profaners from the temple, the Jews said to him : By what miracle do you prove to us your right to do these things ? as if the very act they had just witnessed was not itself a miracle, and the evidence of a supernatural power. They ask for one miracle to prove another, like those sectarians and unbelievers, who ask for evidence upon evidence in favour of a truth which has already the mark of heaven upon it, and the Revelations of God to establish it. They act like the Pharisees and Sadducees of old, who, immediately after witnessing the most astonishing miracles, asked our Saviour for a sign; but, instead of granting their request, he only condemned their unbelieving curiosity, censured the voluntary blindness in which their pride and obstinacy had involved them, referred them to the signs that had just passed, and to another that was to come. That other sign arrived: it
sion which, to the honour and credit of the Ca. tholic Church, has been so literally fulfilled in a thousand instances by her pastors, not only in primitive times, but in every age of Christianity. And going... heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils.() They went forth and preached every where, the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.)
The Church of England is not holy in her Ministers, because she disallows the sacrament of Holy Orders; and without it, how can her pastors be qualified for the arduous duties of the shepherds of the flock of Christ? How are they to discharge the awful duty of rendering an account of the souls entrusted to their care. Without the peculiar graces of Almighty God, (and how are they to receive those graces but through the sacraments, the only means we have of applying
verified all those which had gone before, it was the sign which they had so eagerly and so importunately demanded: --but they remained perverse in their judgment, and obdurate in their infidelity.—How merited, then, was the reproof which Jesus so soon afterwards pronounced even on his own disciples: Do you not yet know, nor understand? Have you still your heart blinded? Having eyes, see you not? and having ears, hear you not? (St. Mark viii. 17, 18.) (u) St. Matt. x. 7. 8. (s) St. Mark, xvi. 20.
(Y) Heb. xiji. 17.