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“ Peccatores Te rogamus, audi nos ;” and can a sense of our sinful nature dwell within us, while we make use of the language of derision ? What has the sword of grief to do with the laughter of fools, or the intercession of angels with raillery and wit? Let us one and all, then, cast away such thoughtless, to say the least, misconduct from ourselves ;- let us each look on our brother, who is not yet of the household, of Faith, as one who by God's grace, may soon become a burning and a shining light, and pillar in the Church ; and let us pause in silent meditation over the solemn hopes and thoughts which the following words of Holy Writ convey, as quoted by the Church in her office of a martyr in paschal time:
“The just shall stand with great constancy against those that have afflicted them, and taken away their labours. These seeing it shall be troubled with fear, and shall be amazed at the suddenness of their unexpected salvation ; saying within themselves, repenting and groaning for anguish of spirit, These are they whom we had sometime in derision, and for a parable of reproach. We, fools, esteemed their life madness, and their end without honour. BEHOLD HOW THEY ARE NUMBERED AMONG THE CHILDREN OF GOD, AND AMONGST THE SAINTS." (Sap. v. 1-5.)
In Fest. Sti. Johan. Evang. in Lateran, 1842
NEWS FOR THE REFORMATION SOCIETY.
We venture on no loose or exaggerated statement, when we say that the number of converts to the Catholic Faith in Great Britain, annually, exceeds, by some thousands, the whole number of members of the Reformation Society put together !
DISTINGUISHED PERSONAGES, At the sixty-second anniversary of the Naval and Military Bible Society, held at the Hanover-square Rooms, on the 17th ult., the Rev. A. W. H. Rose observed that “If we were anxious, as we ought to be, to promote the spiritual welfare of our sailors and soldiers at home, we should not forget those who had left our shores, but send to them also the bread of life, that they perish not in their sins. The classes of persons whence our army and navy were, generally speaking, recruited, were for the most part deplorably ignorant. In one district, whence
large supplies of men were received, it was discovered by one of the Commissioners of Education, that the people considered “Jim Crow' the most distinguished person of whom they had ever heard. 'Jack Sheppard' was the next object of their admiration ; then Buonaparte, then Wellington. They did not know the name of the Queen, and of Prince Albert they had scarcely heard.” Travellers tell us many strange stories of the ignorance prevalent among the humbler classes in Catholic countries, but we doubt if ignorance such as Mr. Rose alludes to, can be matched in any Christian country but England, which maintains a clerical establishment surpassing in riches all the rest of the Christian world.
THE CRADLE HYMN OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN.
As my God shall I adore thee,
Now to poverty exiled,
Or embrace thee as my child ?
Prostrate here in fervent prayer,
With the fondest mother's care?
Fills with joy the angel train,
Doom'd to indigence and pain !
Thou, the son of the Most High;
And beside thy pillow lie!
Yet the King of kings art thou,
Countless trembling spirits bow!
On my knees I rock thee now,
As around the cold winds blow!
Hush! my love; for here po danger
Can disturb thy, tranquil sleep,
Holy angels vigil keep!
Fill with harmony the skies?
King, though in thy mortal guise.
To proclaim thy midnight birth,
“ And to good men peace on earth.”
They are but thy mother's, dear;
And her voice that thou dost hear.
Is, alas ! thy only bed;
Where to lay thy sacred head!
To accept this lot forlorn,
That to suffer thou art born!
Now to poverty exiled,
S. R. M. F.
THE BISHOP OF OXFORD AND THE TRACTARIANS.
On Monday, the 23rd ult., the Bishop of Oxford commenced his quadrennial visitation. He arrived at St. Mary's (the University) Church at eleven o'clock, and it forms a singular feature in the case, that the prayers were read by the Rev. J. H. Newman, who is the vicar of that church. On this occasion, his lordship, who was surrounded by a numerous body of clergy and undergraduates, delivered a
charge, which in many respects may be considered most important. It appears that a very great change has come over the bishop's mind respecting the Tracts for the Times, which he now views more favourably than formerly, and even with respect to the ninetieth tract, which was the immediate cause of his interference, and which he considered “ objectionable and likely to disturb the peace of the Church," he admits - that the explanations by which it has been modified,” or, mather, "by which the writer's original meaning has been made more clear, have in part relieved” him “ from some of those most serious apprehensions with which the first perusalo it filled" his “mi nd.” His opinion as to the objectionable nature of that tract, and its tendency to disturb the peace of the Church, remains the same, and he deeply regrets its publication. Mr. Newman, moreover, cannot but be greatly consoled under this quasi-condemnation of his celebrated treatise by the following defence of it, volunteered by his lordship,
“I am aware that the articles of our Church were rather drawn up with the view of including than of excluding men of various shades of opinion; and I am further aware, that if a precedent were wanting for-I will not say stretching, but for contorting the meaning of those formularies, nothing can exceed the license which has been assumed by Calvinistic intepreters of the Articles—a license which has often gone beyond what was attempted by the Ninetieth Tract; still, I cannot persuade myself, that any but the plain obvious meaning is the meaning which as members of the Church we are bound to receive; and I cannot reconcile myself to a system of interpretation which is so subtle that by it the articles may be made to mean anything or nothing. Nevertheless, if within certain limits the articles may be so construed as not to force persons of a Calvinistic bias to leave the Church, I do not see why a similar license, within the same limits, is not to be conceded to those wlose opinions accord with those of our divines who resisted the Puritanical temper of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, or why such persons should be forced into communion with Rome. And I say this the more, because I am satisfied that the Ninetieth Tract was written 'with the object of retaining persons within the bosom of our Church who might otherwise have seceded; and further, because I think that few living men have written more ably upon the errors of the Romish Church, and the sin of leaving our own Church for her communion, than the author of that tract.”
Happy Church, say we, that by accommodating itself, whether by expansion or contraction, to the most opposite opinions, can hold together a multitude of persons whose faith is wide “ as the poles asunder!" How severe, yet in some respects just, are the words of
Ward, which flashed across our mind when we read the foregoing extract.
“ There is the high Church and the low Church
But the most spacious is their no Church,
Because it holds the Devil and all ? In the opening of his charge, the bishop states, that he has “long since felt that of all dioceses, that of Oxford is perhaps the one which at the present time can least bear any interruption of intercourse between the bishop and his clergy." His lordship then proceeds as fol
"Since I last addressed you collectively from this chair, four years have elapsed; and although it commonly, happens that men are disposed to exaggerate the importance of events occurring in their own time, and in which they are themselves more or less actors, still I cannot but think that these four years will hereafter be looked upon as the commencement of one of the most eventful epochs in the history of the English Catholic Church.
“ The last four years have witnessed the rapid development of those principles which the world, though untruly (for they are of no locality), has identified with Oxford, and to which I felt it my duty to advert in my last visitation. Those principles have, during this short interval, spread and taken root, not merely in our own neighbourhood and in other parts of England, but have passed from shore to shore, east and west and north and south, wherever members of our Church are to be found; nay, are unquestionably the object to which, whether at home or abroad, the eyes of all are turned who have any interest or care for the concerns of religion. I am not now saying anything about the tendency of those principles; I am simply asserting the fact of their existence and development. There they are, whether for good or for evil, and they are forming at this moment the most remarkable movement which for three centuries at least has taken place among us.
" And now, in the next place, I would advert to the manner of their growth. Certainly they have been fostered with no friendly hand; no adscititious aid of powerful patronage has helped them on; no gale of popular applause has urged them forward. On the contrary, they seem to have been the single exception, which an age of latudinarianism could discover against the rule of tolerating any form of belief; and while many, whose motives are above all suspicion, and whose honoured names need no praise of mine, have unhesi