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great martyr-successor in the chair of Canterbury, the glorious St. Thomas. For some nine years had I officiated as Episcopalian minister, when the anti-holy, anti-Catholic, anti-apostolic press drove me, by its violence, to examine for myself more carefully the nature and the abuses of everything that was peculiar to the Catholic Church ; to find out really what was its faith, and what was its morality. The most ex-parte examination of the question of unity and Catholicity led me where it has since led far abler and far better men, the ornaments of the most illustrious of the English universities. “ But, with the truth of unity, the necessity of supremacy came to my mind, as a metaphysical corollary, and the strong passages in the New Testament which mark St. Peter's place over the rest, they also came upon me with a new light and a new force. I acted at once; blessed be God, blessed be the Mother that brought Him forth-I acted at once, and fully, up to my convictions of my duty. It was only left for me to see if the Church I had thus been thrown against by my own brethren, were truly holy as well as Catholic and apostolic. Here it may be well, perhaps, to say something more definite of my principles, as what was called a high Churchman. I acknowledged the primacy of Rome, and the necessity of valid sacraments for the salvation of the soul. I believed mysteries the characteristic of faith, and the Church the only authority in interpreting the Bible. Perhaps you will bear with me while I read a few extracts from sermons preached, I know not how many years before I was led into the Church of Rome.
[Here the lecturer read several passages from old manuscript sermons. ]
As for Cranmer and the English Reformers, I never pretended to be their defender, or to think myself called upon to be so. I would have subscribed to what the British Critic (the able organ of the high Church party in England) says of Jewell, as applying with still more force to others. · And, with the men of Oxford, I confess I only admired them in proportion as I imperfectly knew them.
With regard to the working of Protestantism, sad indeed had been my observations and reflections, and still more sad were the prospects I looked forward on. I might have long hesitated before I acquiesced in the assertion of one of the ablest writers in the Oxford tracts, that “ Protestantism, in its essence and in all its bearings, is characteristically the religion of corrupt human nature ;” but I would have been ready to acquiesce with them in the acknowledgment of the necessity of the sacrament of the confessional, and of its necessity as a duty
that is, as a sacrament. In short, I felt the necessity of other holds upon the life and heart for religion-of other restraints, and more close and practical sacred authority—and I felt it especially for a country where the almost unbounded liberty of the citizen—the absence of strong local attachments, and ancestral pride in virtue—where the immense facilities of an exaggerated and unreal material prosperity placed wealth within the reach of every reckless man ; and where the moral and social influences of Christianity grew weaker and weaker, in proportion as their civil necessity increased; and where a vast and growing class of the population were either entirely without the knowledge of the faith, or were only the worse for what was taught them, under the name of our holy religion.* These were the feelings, or rather some among the many, that filled me when I threw my mantle around me, and girded up my loins, to follow the conviction that truly proved to me no less than an angel of the Lord. And would to Godif there be one of those who hear me that is now what I then was—if there be one high churchman looking, as the men of Oxford-looking “ forward with momentary anticipation to the season when the bride shall make herself ready, by the resumption of all such outward jewels and adornings, as, while the bridegroom has been tarrying, she may inadvertently have laid aside," looking forward to “ the Church as ever on the point of being reunited, whatever number of ages may yet be destined to roll over the unhappy schism's unnnatural continuance," “ bound, in the present unhappy condition of things, unceasingly to direct their efforts and their prayers toward a reaccomplishment of that happy union, which the offences of their forefathers have violated, and of which their own sins still prevent or delay the restoration,”+—would to God, if one of them now hears me, he could be led to follow the fair and simple course God's blessed mercy led me into!
When I looked for the Catholic Church's claims to be holy, as becomes the spouse of Him who is the Holy One-I looked for them, not in the lives of those whose lives their dearest lovers would reject as patterns-nor in the works of those whose evasions or whose exaggerations were always without authority, and often without fairnessbut I took the works of their great council, the holy Ecumenical one of Trent-and, for the first time, I saw the Bible treated, in all its
* At the time Mr. Connelly left his parish, at Natchez, he was preparing a catechism for the coloured population.-Ed. R. C.
† British Critic for July 1841, p. 139.
breadth, as a book of not impossible commands—and the Lord's tremendous counsels of daily martyrdom, and deliberate abandonment of wealth and honour, and the holy happiness of married life--and the love of kindred and the love of life—the deliberate abandonment of all this laid down with rules for practice, and even (wonderful necessity !) with restrictions upon excess. I saw the heroic sufferings of Christian asceticism and martyrdom in life as well as death, treated as glorious rewards to be aspired to-but to be aspired to only by those who wished to be foremost in the battle ranks, who wished, as it were, to sleep in the very tent, and were ready to lie down on the self-same bed of sufferings with him, who had called them to fight under his standard, against the armies of the wicked world, the crafty devil, and the seducing flesh. These were the works I looked into. And, when I sought for men, such as the fathers of Trent had created in my imagination-I looked for them, not among the idle in the marketplaces, nor among the buyers and sellers in the temple—but among those who had gone to the wars; among the armies of the eight times blessed-among the meek and the humble, and the peacemakers, and the persecuted-I looked for men who had thrown their wealth into the lap of poverty, or into the treasury of the Lord—who had left their babes in their cradles—who had given the last kiss to a dear mother, or a dearer wife, or who had fled from even the consecrated embraces of woman, that they might go with the Lamb wherever he goeth forever. I let Catholics themselves point out to me their own patterns of sanctity; as I would have asked to be allowed to hold up to them an Andrews or a Ken, a Beveridge, or a Froude, for churchmen to be judged by. I left my native land, where I was told Popery had unlearned its vices, and been stripped of half its infamy; and I betook myself, where all that was said to be hateful in it grew rankest. I fol. lowed it into schools and colleges, into monasteries and convents, to the cradles of unmothered babes, and to the beds of unhonoured and childless mothers, to the hospitals, and asylums, and the jails, and blessed God)-what was my amazement, when I saw, with my own eyes, the all beautiful within of her household, whom I had heard called the drunken, the harlot, the mother of abominations; what was my amazement, when I beheld the superhuman spirit of the first great twelve, and of Him who chose the twelve, carried out daily in practice, and armies of living men, who, for the love of the Only-born, and of her who,—blessed is her name for ever,—was chosen from all eternity to be his Mother ; who, for the love of them, and for the love of being
like them, had chosen, as a bridegroom would his bride, poverty and contempt and sufferings for all their weal and all their wealth, seeking only with the blessed One, to be near her Son, to bear the burthen of his cross, to feel the stripes they laid on him, to be wouuded in his wounds, and die upon the wood. What was my amazement when I beheld the inexhaustible resources of voluntary poverty, and its calm sunny joy-like sweet flowers growing on a rock, whose bright colours are unchanging ;* when I saw troops of men and women living over again, day by day, the sweet story of our Saviour's life, following him in their holy meditations at early dawn from Bethlehem to Calvary, from the happy manger to the holy cross; at one time kneeling in spirit beside that Virgin Mother, as she nursed her babe, and making response to every Alleluia lullaby; at another, following with slow and humble steps, as that Blessed one led her infant Saviour by the hand, who had often and again gone with her, and wept sad tears with her when she lost her boy, who had lived with St. Joseph and the Virgin, when none else lived with Jesus, and who had learned a little of the love they bore Him, if indeed it has ever been granted to the heart of man to share in any degree the devotion She was consecrated to, who alone, of all the countless pure ones among the daughters of the race of man, was found worthy to be the chosen one from all eternity. In a word, I found more than all I sought for-more than ever I had hoped for.
I found in thee, O holy Church of Rome, what if I had not found in thee I could have found nowhere." And I cried out, with St. Augustin, “ too late have I found thee, O beauty so ancient and yet so new! too late, too late, have I begun to love thee !" I woke up as from a dream.
I hold in my hand, and will read if you will bear with me, a letter to my former venerated Bishop, written at the very moment of my abju. ration :
“ Rome, March 28th, 1836. “ Dearest Bishop-How continually have you been in my thoughts, in my heart and in my prayers, within the last few days. Would to God you were with me here at Rome. You would do what I have done, you would not, you could not, resist the power of God; you would be too happy, too grateful, to throw yourself into the bosom of that dear and holy Mother, who is our only Mother-our only true Mother—the neglected, the forsaken, the persecuted Church of Rome. I
* It may not be known to all our readers that the colours of Alpine flowers never fade.- ED. R. C.
know how you would love her if you only knew her, I know how you would embrace her knees, and live and die her humble, faithful servant, if once persuaded that she was, what she most surely is, the real spouse and Church of our Redeemer. And it is here you would be persuaded of it. Here it is, you would recognize her as the very same which has been eighteen hundred years changed only in her outward garments, not in her form—her spirit, or, thank God, her power. Everything around you tells her history; and the days of St. Peter and St. Paul seem revived or rather continued in the grace of the ministry, the personal holiness of their successors, and in the faith of all the people,-prince, peasant, and pauper. Yes, would to God you were here,—not that I imagine you would like all you would see, or that you would find no grounds for scandal ; but you would feel that the faith of St. Peter had never failed. You would see, with your eyes you would see, and with your soul you would understand, such a faith, as that prayed-for apostle felt, when, in the presence of his Lord, he cried out: 'I believe and am sure.' There is an undoubtingness and an unboundedness about the faith of these Romans, such as I frankly confess to you, I did not think existed on earth. And it is only in the midst of such faith that God vouchsafes to make his truth and his power gloriously manifest. I declare I knew not what faith was, until I came to Rome. And the Protestant religion could never have given it to me. You who know me to be no fanatic, and as little inclined to bigotry or superstition as any man living, you will understand the reason, when I tell you I have now no more doubt of the miracles constantly performed in the Catholic Church, than I have of the historical existence of our Blessed Saviour. It is impossible to doubt them; I believe with a tenfold faith the miracles of the first centuries for the miracles of this day, and I laugh to scorn the man, who, with a fair opportunity of examining the evidences of both, receives the former, and rejects the present. And then, too, such institutions! That one, for instance, of the Pellegrini, where within twelve years nearly eight thousand poor penitents, who had made their pilgrimage to Rome, were at one time lodged and fed beneath its venerable roof, the hard crust washed from off their feet by nobles on their knees, the warm food placed before them by the hands of men, among whom, under the coarse dress of the fraternity, you recognised some of the oldest blood of England, and of the continent, and the most distinguished learning of the world. No, Protese tantism has no such examples of charity and humility to offer, as I last night witnessed in the dim light of these large chambers. Nor has its worship the capability of a spectacle so striking and so touching as these pilgrims of different tongues, while winding up the high staircase to their dormitories, they all with one voice and one language chaunted their holy litanies. Let the weak creatures, whose eyes are only of nse to them as Herschell's telescope would be to Harlequin, let them talk of what they see, of scarlet coaches and virgins dressed like dolls; there is not a corner of all Rome, but I would find in it enough to make the firmest Protestant or the most stubborn infidel feel and profess his