Puslapio vaizdai

gelicalism, of Protestantism as taught by Luther and Calvin, and refined by Edwards and those of our New England divines who have followed him.

Bet let us hear our tract-writer still farther :


“I do not think so, either,' I answered. But what I wish to ask is, whether the good you have done, either secretly or in behalf of your neighbor, has been for the honor of religion, to show your love to God your Saviour, or only an expression of your desire to gain thus the favor of the Eternal One, the forgiveness of your sins, and finally the safety of your soul ?? “My question addressed itself to the conscience of this honest

He pondered over it some minutes—then answered by this acknowledgment: 'I perceive that a man thinks of himself, when, in doing good, he seeks the reward which comes from God. I have fallen into this error, and I confess your remark has made a deep impression upon me. But I beg you to tell me whether to do what God commands, not with an ostentatious pride, but to obtain one day the approbation of heaven, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” is not right, and if this motive is not the one God himself wishes us to have ??

“I answered: “As long as I, a rebellious soldier, seek to be governed by the commands of my king, for fear that my revolt will conduct me to death, or in order that the king, at last perceiving me worthy, may give me his favor, however modestly or secretly I carry out my resolutions and my efforts, I am always acting for myself, and only work for my own safety. The law which makes me act is that of constraint and not that of liberty; still less that of love; and if I rise and go forward, it is because two swords drive me, namely, these--fear of pain, and hope of reward.'

“ Reader! how difficult it is for the heart of man to understand this concerning his obedience to the commands of God! We perceive it clearly if an inferior seeks to gain the favor of a superior, and we call every token of submission or zeal interested, when actuated by such a motive. But when we are speaking of the sinner and the Eternal One, the same motives change their appear. ance and their name: and we say, we preach and we publish, that the man who forsakes his vices, because he is afraid of the last judgment, that he who dispenses his superfluous wealth, who gives himself to strict devotions, or who spends his life in penances, in order to blot out his previous faults and to gain heaven, does it for love of God, as if love could be united to fear; as if he loved any one but himself.

“ The old man felt that my answer contained this reproach, for he said very gravely: "Sir, if I understand you rightly, you wish to say

that if I follow my religion in order thus to gain the approbation of God, and by that even the forgiveness of my sins, I have acted for myself and not at all for God; and, in fact, I see it is so, and perhaps, my works, when deprived of all ostentation, have had secretly this impure character. It is a very serious thing, and I question myself if a single man exists who can be virtuous otherwise than by this motive-of interest.'

“Do you not think,'I answered, that if it please the king to remit my faults, by a pardon full and complete, I should have the certainty that the law can no longer touch me; and that from this moment my obedience would flow from quite a different source from that which produced it before he had granted me mercy ?! ”.

pp. 18-21.

The Tract is undoubtedly right in saying that our good deeds should be done for God, propter Deum, as their last end, but its author forgets that no act can be done for God as final cause, unless it is done from him as first cause; so no act can be done for the God-man, our Lord and Saviour, unless we are united to him as the first cause, or fountain of life in us. We cannot act for him as our end, unless we act from him as our beginning. To tell a man, not regenerated, that his acts are not Christian virtues, because not done for the sake of Jesus Christ, is to talk without knowing well what one says. They are not virtues in the supernatural order, not solely because they are not referred to him as their last end, but because they do not proceed from him as their principle. Proceeding only from the principle of natural life as their terminus a quo, they cannot reach a supernatural end or terminus ad quem. You must first elevate your agent to the plane of the supernatural end, before it is possible for him to act to or for such an end. Here is a point the Calvinist overlooks, or fails to meet, in his doctrine of regeneration, because, according to his doctrine, the grace that regenerates does not lift man out of the order of nature, and become in him a supernatural principle of action ; it simply conveys to him an assurance of forensic pardon, and acceptance, but leaves hiin, as to the principle from which he acts, a mere natural man as he was before. The man, should he refer all his acts to God, could refer them to him only as the author and end of nature, and, consequently, would only fulfil the law of nature, without performing any supernatural or strictly Christian virtue. The objection the Tract makes to the old man, then, can be got over only on the Catholic doctrine of infused grace as the principle of a new and supernatural life,-a doctrine the author of the Tract denies.

The author, in consequence of his bad philosophy, and worse theology, can see no virtue in acts done from a hope of reward. He does not see that the hope of reward in the Christian is the hope of possessing God as our supreme good, and, therefore, necessarily includes a love of God. Acts done from the simple hope of the enjoyment of heaven, or simple fear of the torments of hell, though they dispose to virtue, are not themselves perfect Christian virtues. But to hope for heaven in God, or to fear hell because it is alienation from God, and loss of God as our supreme good, is a hope or a fear that has its principle only in the love of God, and therefore is a virtue, as St. Paul teaches, when he says, “ Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."* Our author cannot, however, on his doctrine, regard hope as a supernatural or Christian virtue, because he recognizes no infused grace in man, which is the principle of supernatural virtue. Hope with him is simply the hope of happiness, and fear is simply the dread of pain, in which God, instead of being honored, is dishonored, because he holds all acts done out of grace are sins,-a doctrine we certainly do not accept. But suppose the man elevated by indwelling grace to the supernatural order, that is, brought into living union with Christ his head. Suppose that he hopes to possess him, to be one with him, because he is his supreme good, and that he fears hell because hell is the utter loss of that good, you must concede that both his hope and his fear are virtuous, for they both proceed from grace, the root of charity, as their principle, and, proceeding from it, necessarily partake of its nature. Ilope loves and desires God, because he is our supreme God. In it, we no doubt have this much of interestedness, that it is as our good we desire him, but we have also this much of disinterestedness, that in it we desire our good in him, and in him only. It is then a virtue, though not so high or so perfect a virtue as charity, which loves God because he is not only our supreme good, but because he is the supreme good in itself. Yet love itself is not absolutely disinterested under all its phases. Its real nature is to unity, to make one, the lover and the beloved. If, on the one hand, the lover would give himself wholly to the beloved, he would, on the other, take the beloved wholly up into himself. So charity would give all to God, and at the same time it would wholly possess him,have, so to speak, all of God. Hence God gives, in the Incarnation, all to man that can be given, and in return asks man to give himself wholly to him.

* 1 Cor. xiii. 13.

Art. VI.- Mary Lee, or the Yankee in Ireland. By Paul

PEPPERGRASS, Esq. Baltimore : Kelly, Hedian and Piet. 1860. 12mo. pp. 391.

Who Mr. Panl Peppergrass is the Catholic public already know. They know him as the author of Shandy Maguire, and the Spacwife, both of which have had their admirers. Mary Lee, or the Yankee in Ireland, his last work, was originally published in The Metropolitan, and is now collected and published in a neat volume, carefully revised, and considerably changed by the author. It is not precisely to our taste, but it is, in its way, a work of merit, and indicates both genius and ability on the part of its distinguished author. It would, however, have come before us with better grace if it had been written by an Irishman in Ireland instead of by an Irishman in America. We should think it in very bad taste, to say the least, for an American to emigrate to Ireland, choose that country for his home, and to write and pnblish a novel, called, say, Bridget Flynn, or Paddy in America, designed to show up the Irish both at home and abroad. The Irish would hardly thank him for so doing, or regard him as treating his adopted countrymen with the consideration and respect due them. We know no reason why an Irishman migrating to this country, and making it his home, should take greater liberties with us than his countrymen would be willing an American settled in Ireland should take with them. But this is a small matter ; for if what is written is true and just, it should be accepted without any one troubling himself with the question by whoin or where it is written or published.

The author is an Irishman, bred and born in Ireland, and ought to know his countrymen far better than we; but, though he undoubtedly seizes certain salient features of their character, he must forgive us if we say his estimate of them, as we collect it from the characters introduced into his book, is far below ours. His book strikes us, as far as we have known them, to be a caricature, we had almost said, libel of the Irish national character. The Irish, in spite of all the disadvantages under which they labor in this country, are far more worthy of our love and esteem than they are as they appear in the pages of Paul Peppergrass, Esq.; and if he be really just to them, the words he puts into the month of Dr. Henshaw, near the close of the book, are none too severe :

“He's not the only one,' said Dr. Henshaw, coming up behind, ‘has seen enough of Ireland. My own expaireance of the country is vary short, but I think I've seen plenty to know it's rather a hard place for strangers who are fond of their comforts.'

« AnkstesnisTęsti »