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Yet once more let us read out of the book of experience. The scene is Rome, the time, evening. In slow procession, with the Cross borne aloft, there comes a long line of bare-headed friars, each holding in his hand a lighted taper, and preceding a bier, on which lies the still more solemn dead. In the quiet evening as they move along, the flickering tapers show lustrous, as a long living breathing line of light, and brethren chaunt the solemn office as they bear the body to the church, where it is to lie till the propitiatory sacrifice be offered up for its soul's rest, on the following morning.
As a glimpse of this consecration of death, we have seen in this land the garb of religion thrown over the last rites of the faithful,-shorn, indeed, but yet solemn, though no saintly line bore the body through the streets, nor the measured cadence of the office of the dead were raised in the ears of all men, as they passed, in prayer for the repose of him that lies there. We have seen a glimpse within the hallowed walls of our temples, but when shall we see it in public ? when shall we behold such moving rites universal amongst us? When shall we see the tender charity of religious, or the votive charity of laymen, bearing in solemn line to the grave, that which so lately held within its continent a living soul ? When shall we see the crape bands removed from what should be the Cross, as if they were ashamed of the ensigu and sign of salvation; and the gold-tipped staves of the mutes, that should be lights, displaced for those emblems of that holier light, to which with united voice we imprecate God's mercy that our deceased brother may come. When shall those that are near and dear to us, though separated from our communion, cease from the husks of that cold form of prayer, that is rendered still more distressing and discordant amid the bustle and hurry of men who traffic with the bier, and in its place substitute the offering of the clean oblation! When will England awake to her mockery of this most moving rite ? to perceive her sons on the verge of the grave, and yet have none to help them; to see that as in her Eucharistic service she omits the Eucharistic victim, so here, omitting the Eucharistic sacrifice, she holds back, as it were, on the very point of meeting, that mutual consolation which gives to the dead refreshment, and to the survivor hope and consolation.
But yet consider in a deep heart him who lies upon that silent bier, and who is borne along, preceded by a line of lights, and the affecting cadence of the funeral office. Can the mother forge the fruit which her womb hath borne ? She may forget, but God is ever merciful, and the Church, his voice, ever kind and indulgent. Though pale and
silent now, His spirit is neither silent nor withering away with fear. He is one who was washed in the baptismal waters of regeneration, who was nourished by the graces that flow from the holy Sacraments ; who though offending, yet found reparation at the chair of confession, and was strengthened and fed with the bread of the strong. There lie the remains of one who loved the Church ; who loved her solemn rites and holy mysteries; who at her teaching, believed in God, loved God, hoped in God. Whose heart was wounded with contrition; whose soul was healed by the precious balm of her graces. If sin overtook him, his tears flowed, and he was forgiven ; and in his person God's justice met with mercy, and gave to his bruised spirit the kiss of peace. There lies one who loved God's poor, and holy poverty ; who out of the abundance of his gifts gave of his substance, and from his giving gained new increase. Fortified with the last Sacrament, his soul, in it and the viaticum, felt that it was indeed an unction-oil cast on the troubled waters that he was about to stem, and a safeguard against the storms that raged in his last hour,—when, but for that staying hope, he would have fallen into the depths from which the prayer of faith had called him ; for during all his pilgrimage prayer had been his prop, and now, whether praying or being prayed for, the virtue of imprecation returns on either side redoubled, and whether it be for glory or for grace, the chain of communion of heaven with earth in his or our persons, is one, and in both effectual. For like two lutes tuned together in perfect concord, when one is struck the other answers; or as when two strings by a certain arrangement are struck together, a third and independent note is generated of the two in the air,--so when the prayers of the faithful, militant, or suffering, or triumphant, are in concord, a third harmony is generated, which hath affinity to both, and springs from both; and what is this but the COMMUNION OF SAINTS ? Oh blessed be God, who has inspired his Church to reveal so sweet and consoling a portion of our creed, and would that we would but glow the more, and seek, by being tuned in virtue's chord, to beget too a responsive harmony, that so our works may be done for one only end~THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD!
But yet once more we will recall to mind one other page from the book we love to read. It is of another procession—and of the dead.
Among the olive-trees that wind their old roots and trunks in such fantastic shapes, -amid the orange-trees that shed their sweet perfume in the air,-amid the clustering vines that wed the trees in gay and wild festoons, there is a voice of chaunting, but it is of joy not of sor
row. See it winds forward and draws near. “ Laudate, pueri, Dominum, Laudate nomen Domini.” Can these be the accents of death ; or is it some festival of joy? Headed by the Cross, with lighted tapers in their hands, see an innocent band of children all in white, bearing a white bier and a white pall, and see that venerable priest wearing a white stole. Is it a festival of joy ? and can those be tears which the mother weeps ?-and for whom? Is that fair infant, beautiful as alabaster, who lies with a wreath of flowers on its head, and a cross of roses on its breast, and with that ineffably beautiful smile, which is only to be seen in sleeping infancy,—is she dead ? and are those tears of sorrow which the mother weeps ?
She is not dead, but sleepeth. Her angel beholds the face of her Father in heaven. Those lips that have not lisped on earth, are now singing jubilee of praise in heaven. The mother weeps—but her's are tears of nature, not of sorrow; she knows that though she has lost a sweet bud on earth, she has gained a rose in heaven; and therefore, even in tears she can sing“ Laudate, pueri, Dominum,” for she knows that she is gone to Him“ who maketh the barren in her house the joyful mother of children." “Qui facit sterilem in domo matrem filiorum letantem."
The taint of sin has been unknown; the waters of reconciliation have made this little one purer than our first parents in Eden. They, had they lived in obedience, might have deserved the continuance of their Paradise of pleasure. This little one, by virtue of the unspeakable merits of Him who gave the baptismal covenant for appliance to the souls of the faithful, has merited heaven. Truly she is not dead, but sleepeth,—her angel beholds the face of her father in heaven !*
In Fest. Nativ. B.V.M., 1842.
* “ Nolite flere ; non est mortua, sed dormit. (St. Luc. xii.) Hominibus niortua erat; qui suscitare nequieverat; Deo dormiebat, in cujus ditione et anima recepta vivebat ; et caro resuscitanda quiescebat. Unde mos Christianus obtinuit; ut mortui qui resurrecturi esse non dubitantur, DORMIENTES vocentur : sicut Apostolus, Nolumus vos' inquit, “ignorare de dormientibus ut non contristemini sicut et cæteri qui spem non habent.' (1 ad Thess. 4.)” —Sti. Beda Venerabilis ; Hom. super Evang. Dom. xxiii. post Pent.
“ Fleant igitur mortuos suos, qui putant mortuos : ubi resurrectionis fides est, non mortis species, sed quietis." --Sti. Ambrosii Expos. in S. Lucam; Lib. vi. $ 62.
MR. CONNELLY'S ADDRESS IN THE CATHEDRAL OF
[Many of our readers are already acquainted with the name of Mr. Connelly, formerly rector of the Protestant Episcopal Church at Natchez, and who has been permitted to edify his brethren, both of the communion he left, and that which had the happiness to receive him, by the noble disinterestedness with which, in obedience to his convictions, he resigned one of the most enviable of earthly positions, that of a virtuous learned, and eloquent Protestant clergyman, beloved and admired by a wealthy, intelligent, and highly polished congregation-to attach himself to “the one fold under one Shepherd”—thenceforth to seek, in new and unaccustomed modes of employment, subsistence for an increasing and helpless family. This gentleman lately passed through Baltimore, and was requested by the Archbishop to deliver an address at the Cathedral ; it being naturally expected by the Most Rev. Prelate, that the testimony of one so highly appreciated by his former co-religionists might, perhaps, induce some among them to commence the same investigation that has led himself to so happy a conclusion. Reluctantly, and impelled only by the spirit of obedience, most hastily, and amid innumerable interruptions, he prepared the following remarks. But as the reader of taste and feeling will at once perceive, his full heart needed but to be touched, to give out its honeyed wealth as bounteously and “ fast, as the Arabian trees their medicinal gum."--Ed. R. C.]
“ Desires, which might have been commands, have put me here before you. And with no other preparation than the love of Him who, in his strange mercy, brought me to the truth ; with no other motive than to bring others to seek the love of Him, have I, at a moment's bidding, put myself forward to pour out before the world what until now I have only had the right to utter at the fireside, or by the way, to the few with whom the providence of God had thrown me into personal connection—this day, a stranger, and only a rapid passenger through your city, where I remember many marks of courtesy and kindness some twelve or fourteen years ago—this day, the vigil of the feast of England's great apostle, the first of all the saints who sat in venerable Canterbury's seat--the gracious desire of my most reverend father the Archbishop has made it a duty for me to speak out aloud to you feelings that yesterday I spoke to him, as to others, in fervent indeed but humble whispers. I mean the honour and admiration, as
* From the Religious Cabinet, an American periodical.
well as love and gratitude with which I must ever remember the vir. tues I have known in the respected and respectable body of Christians at whose altars I served for many years, as a clergyman and a priest; I mean the unbounded gratitude I feel to God for the flagons of blessed oil that have of late been thrown on the too long troubled waters of Christendom, and the great joy I should feel in being chosen of God, according to the mysterious orderings of his will, whereby he makes his instruments of the lowest and the weakest, passing by the strong and high-in being honoured to contribute, ever so humbly to the blessed work that seems to be begun, of the reunion of a great member of the world's family with the Christian world's still greater head-of the reconciliation of the mother with her long lost, long loved childin finding happy opportunities of making known to each what is beautiful in the character of the other; in holding up to Catholics sweet models of much that they might copy in the persons of many among those I left behind me, when I came into the household of this mother of us all—and in holding up to those whom I would fain no more hear designated by the cruel name of Protestants—in holding up to them the heavenly purity, and all the more than human graces of that mother whom they were torn from before they ever knew her, to be put where, perhaps, no act of theirs would ever have placed them for themselves.
Few, my brethren, few are there upon earth who have more to love and live for than he who speaks to you; with no great show of worldly gear, like the merchant who carries jewels, his blessings have been fearful in their large amount; but cheerfully would he leave for ever, and with God's grace turn no look behind, cheerfully would he leave for ever all the earth holds in its unworthy lap for him to love and cling to— cheerfully would he leave all, if, in doing so, he could bring one of those he left behind him to be a sharer of the boundless spiritual wealth that God gave him when he put the pearl into his hand, and that too only for the wish he had to buy it.
But why should I feel more than others deeply interested in Protestants, and in one branch of Protestants especially ? And why should the Most Reverend the Archbishop lift me from the obscurity in which a holy, happy solitude had left me, to place me here on this eve of England's great apostle's festival ? It is because, as I just said, I too was a Protestant, and a clergyman; and because among Protestants I was an ardent high-churchman, and an ordained Presbyter of the American branch of the Established Church of England : proud to be bound by as many ties as possible to the venerable land of the Edwards, the Alfreds, and the Edgars, the Albans, the Dunstans, and St. Austin's