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increase our lustre. Nothing can hurt us, while dwelling on the side of charity and charity is one in her conduct; pure in her own motives, she is still unbending;—she cannot gloze or throw her mantle over what is evil;-she cannot call good evil, or evil good;—she is Catholic; -and the Catholic faith alone, that is the sun round which her orbit plays.
Let us remember then, that the eyes of many are turned towards us, and with this consolation, that there are many more for us than there are against us. If a few bigots rail, we can despise their malice, while they draw men's attention towards us. There are many who look on us with kindly longing. Let us so act, that they may confess aloud, without any of that obtuse inverted ray of prejudice, which still summons up an hallucination that the Catholic who knows but his own light cannot understand, or perhaps pardon; but all should know, that like the holy guardians of Eliseus, it needs but that the eyes of his servants be opened; to see that there are hosts of heavenly spirits, who watch and minister, unseen to his holy Church. We cannot tell whether it be good for her, that she should enjoy a temporal calm, or not; we know not that we are worthy of increase, or of renewed persecution ; but whatsoever the lot may be, this we are assured of, that if we cling to, and live by the faith, we shall honour the Church, and most assuredly profit both ourselves and our neighbour.
Elsewhere we have alluded, and again may have occasion to allude to the new and better tone that controversy has taken. Thanks to the schoolmen of Oxford, the process of our reasoning is now much simplified, and postulates are now granted, that heretofore had to be severally proved, and perhaps in the end rejected, through the heat that was generated in the obtuseness of the captious reasoner. But this is now, in a great measure, done away with; and, with dignified and authoritative language, the Church may now speak and teach like her divine Spouse : Sicut auctoritatem habens, et non sicut Scribæ et Pharasæi. The virulence of debate, and continually-repeated attack, is now comparatively uncalled for-assuredly at all times unnecessary. Like a practised swordsman, our enemies, in a certain measure, abide by the rules of the melée, and with calm eye, we have but to stand on the defence, parry, and strike home. Vituperation, it is needless to say, is always to be avoided : it is a sure proof, to us at least, if not of the badness of the cause, assuredly of the insincerity of him who degrades himself by its use: hence it has always disgusted us when used by Catholics, and surprised us not when largely indulged in by our oppo
nents. But by whichever side used, this we know, that it has ever been most hurtful to either cause. For, what can the majesty of the Catholic faith be advantaged, by our sinking the cause that we maintain, for the purpose of displaying the point and counterpoint of our wit? As one that loses his temper in the heat of argument, is sure to make himself ridiculous, and to hurt his cause; so if we forget the dignity that becomes the champions of truth, we not only debase ourselves, but, as far as we are concerned, throw scandal in the way of others.
It matters not what insinuations, what rebukes, what vulgar slander and contumely, may, like that from the maw of Error in the “ Faerie Queene,” come pouring forth in lavish phrase against the Catholic faith ; so long as we use the simple language of truth, and reject every phrase that even by construction may imply contempt or spite, ours is the vantage ground, with all to gain and nought to lose ; for, like the guardian angels in the same delightful romance, we should never forget that we do “all for love and nothing for rewarde.” If we considered the importance of what we defend, no word of bitterness could ever pass our lips--no phrase of contempt--no language but that of dignified firmness—whether it be in argument or advice, in explanation or rebuke. Moreover, the misstatements of our adversaries, be they as wild as they may, can hurt the faith no more than the exhalation of a stagnant marsh can blot out the sun in heaven. It may prevail for a time, but soon passes away before the rays of truth, and the face of the sky is blue and serene as ever. When we look back on the Catholic Church in this country, and remember what has been urged against her, with so vast and authoritative malice, from the peasant to the prince-from the broad-sheet to the annals of the senate-house ; and yet when we look on the Catholic Church, rising now like a bride in her comely beauty, and see men who have been educated in the maze of error flocking to do her homage,—we may well say, that the shafts of bitterness fall from her coat of proof, like those from feeble infancy; -yea rather, that from these results a reaction that makes men love her all the more, for that she has been falsely accused, and urges them to excess in her praise, for that her beauty had been so long hid under a cloud, and her worth from their longing gaze.
It has often occurred to us, that if required to name a model for controversial language, we would point at once to what emanates from Rome. Let us read the dignified allocutions of our present sovereign pontiff, and ask ourselves if our individual sufferings, from the misstatements and envious opposition of men, who are not actuated by the faith, can equal the
s rrows that disturb the heart of our common father ? But though he mourn a schismatic Church in one quarter of the globe,-a schismatic and heretical tyrant in another,-a maiden vineyard here, trampled under foot by lawless men,--and a kingdom long most Catholic, torn to the vitals, by a licentious and abandoned oligarchy,—though he mourn over his suffering children, that are now exposed in two vast portions of the east to atrocious persecution, torture, and bloodshed, such as are unparalleled in the history of the Church, with the exception of the times of the Cæsars, -and yet not surpassed by those :--when we hear liis voice of complaint against so many and complicated causes of sorrow,- yet in all, there is not one word of bitterness or reproach ; but with the dignity of an apostolic man, his language is like the voice of an angel of peace, impetrating the suffrages of the faithful with his own, to join in supplication to Almighty God to look down in mercy on the suffering portion of his beloved vineyard.
By adopting such a tone-by using only the language which our common father, in all his allocutions, makes use of, we are sure that the cause of truth will find many ready and willing listeners. “Christus non circumforaneus est,” say St. Ambrose ; nor is the language of contention more suitable to his followers. It is not by mixing party concerns, and the meaner ends of political purposes, that we can gain the love, the veneration, the respect, or affection of our opponents. It has been often tried, and in the hour of need it has failed. The less we indulge in the turmoil of the world, as Catholics, the more shall we be respected. We say not this to deter Catholics from constitutionally embracing that line of public conduct which their conscience may dictate; but we cannot help thinking, that by joining either of the two great parties in the state as partisans, we do our cause harm and not good : we should rather sink all other motives, and coalesce in a compact body of ourselves. That this does not take place now, we feel assured proceeds less from our will, than from the comparative smallness of our numbers: that it will one day take place, we have too high an opinion of English Catholicism, not to look forward to with confidence; but meanwhile let us rather seek for unity one with another, and let the altar, and the adorable Victim that rests thereon, be the bond of union to us, as it has ever been to the whole body of the Church, since the institution of that wondrous mystery of love.
We wish not to be misunderstood, that in alluding to worldly politics, we have done so, not as a bone of contention, but as an illustration only. If some think otherwise from ourselves, we would remind them, in all
charity, that we may differ in all things, but that of the faith : in it alone, of all things in this changing world, can all men walk “ with one consent;" but while we have that for the foundation on which we build, —the fountain from which our thoughts flow,—the sap that spreads health and freshness over the tree of this life—we may in charity urge men, and this with good hope, to closer unity and brotherhood, than is possible with any other body of men, who have not the foundation, the fountain, and the sap, which we are privileged to possess. If in urging this we speak fearlessly, we will in charity occasionally rebuke, as we are willing in turn to be rebuked. “ Bona caritatis vulnera," says St. Ambrose ; and “utiliora vulnera amici,” says the Holy Scripture,
quam voluutaria oscula inimici,"—“it is better to be rebuked by a friend, than fall a victim to the flattering caresses of an enemy.” It is better to suffer apart in union together, then bind ourselves, by even the shadow of a compromise, to any set of men whose principles rest not, like our own, on the pillar and ground of the faith.
If ever there were a time when brotherhood should most of all be inculcated on the observance of the faithful, it is the present, when the state of Catholicism is so critically placed, and a political party long tried in enmity to it has resumed the ascendant in this country. The atmosphere that was fair and smiling has been overcast, and few amongst us can foretell what the result may be. It
be that we shall have a long and vexatious struggle, and we may have to sit in silence for a while till the faith spread more widely around; for many there are who have a prophetic vision, as it were, of the happy return of our country to her ancient faith. It is true that the tone of Catholic thought is widely spread, and widely everyday spreading around us here, but still we must not close our eyes to the sad possibility that hope may be the father of our wishes, and that perhaps at no distant day we may have to enter into the furnace of renewed persecution.
How, then, would we be found, should it please God to try us by the overthrow of these our hopes? The question is easily answered. Let us be found on the simple and single hearted ground of Catholic unity. Let us be found in charity and brotherhood with all. Let us be more fervent in prayer, more zealous in charity, more frequent in coming to the sacraments, more often at the adorable sacrament of love, more devout to our Blessed Lady, and more assiduous in our veneration for her, and for the whole court of Heaven. Let us hang up, as an exvoto offering in the sanctuary, all our prejudices and all littleness of thought; all rancour and bitterness; all coldness, suspicion, and reserve; and, in their place, let us take the whole armour of the Catholic faith, and with our steps planted on her broad and sure foundation, we at least shall be found watching, like true Christian chivalry, with our arms on rest.
Our lot is indeed cast in perilous times : there are wars without, let us have no turmoils within ; if, for a while, the horizon of our hope shine fair, dark clouds may gather the while, and when we look far away the storm may be gathering overhead. If we build on any other foundation but that of the faith, we seek an unholy alliance; if we forsake the armour which she has given us, we shall fall defenceless ; we may lean on a frail reed, but while we lean it will break and pierce the hand. But let what will come, storm or tempest, trial or persecution, we have one sheet anchor remaining than can never break away; the BARQUE OF Peter rides on the waves, more secure than did the ark on the waters of the deluge. He who rides therein has nothing to fear : hell may open its gates, and men may force upon us “the ichor of most deadly malice.” But we who are within need not heed what these can do, for we know that the Most High is with us, that He who spake to the waves, and there was made a great calm, can speak again, and if it be good for us, the winds shall again hear His voice, and shall obey Him!
In Octar. Fest. Epiph. 1842.
A SHORT ACCOUNT OF GERMAN RATIONALISM.
(To the Editor of the Catholic Magazine.) Dear Sir.—I am now engaged in translating the beautiful historical fragment of Novalis,* entitled “ Die Christenheit," (Christendom)
* Frederick von Hardenberg, called Novalis, was born in 1772, on a family estate in the Countship of Mansfeld. In his first years, he gave no particular indications of genius. However, in 1792, he went to study at the University of Leipzig, where he evinced a greater ardour for study, and more talent than he was at first supposed to possess. He afterwards repaired to the University of Wittenberg, and there he completed his studies. At this time he became acquainted with the immortal Frederick Schlegel, and contracted a friendship with him that continued until his · death. But as he grew in years, troubles and afflictions crowded upon him. Having fallen in love with Sophia von K—, and whilst looking forward to a speedy union with the lovely object of his affections, death snatched her away on