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much on God now as it did when, at his bidding, it sprang from nothing ; its essence now is what it was then. If the intuition of the creative act was its life then, so is it now. Whence it follows that the order of thought represents the order of reality; and to those who sneer at the assertion we would say: please remember that the order of reality, taking creation as a fact, means the coexistence of Creator and creature; the one bound to the other by the creative act, or causal nexus. We have shown that the intuition of this coexistence and nexus constitutes the very essence of the soul, and therefore we are warranted in concluding that the order of thought represents the order of reality.
Intuition presents the absolute and contingent together; the soul develops, in the order of reflection, the contingent element first. The child notices its parents and its toys before the word God has for it any meaning; but to reason that therefore intuitively it knows the contingent before the absolute, would be as logical as to infer thence that the contingent existed before the absolute.
God's modes of operation in the two orders of nature and of grace are analogous. The act of love by which he destines the soul to the enjoyinent of the beatific vision raises the soul to the supernatural order, creates it, so to say, a supernatural soul, and enables it to react on its loving Creator, and love him in turn as its first beginning and last end. This union of love between God and the soul constitutes the state of grace, a state which is not a mere passivity but an activity. The soul is not changed in essence by being elevated to the higher sphere of the supernatural, and if to act is its essence in one order, so it must be in the other. An act may be habitual as well as the reception of an act, and in this sense the soul's supernatural love of God habits or abides by constant permanent exercise. The instant that act ceases, the instant the supernatural communication of love between God and the soul is interrupted, the soul dies, it has committed mortal or deadly sin; its supernaturalness is, if we may be allowed the expression, annihilated. Habitual grace is, in the supernatural order,
what intuition is in the natural. Both are acts, in the sense explained, each essential to the soul in its own order, and the cessation of either is the soul's death in that order. God, as the object of the soul's knowledge and volition is, in both orders, the principle of life.
Genius in the natural order is akin to sanctity in the supernatural. The soul of the poet and the soul of the saint are closer to God than the souls of other men.
Their inutual action, whether of natural intuition, or of supernatural love, is more intense, the play of the electric fire between them is more vivid, because the distance to be traversed is less, and the tendency is to diminish that distance more and more.
When man's intellect and will in the two orders are merged in God's and yet distinct, when the creature has sunk down into the bosom of his Creator and yet remains a creature, then has heaven dawned upon the soul.
W. J. B.
Art. III.—Triumph of the Church in the Early Ages. By
AMBROSE MANAHAN, D.D. New York: Dunigan & Brother. 1859. 8vo. pp. 572.
The first volume, completing the first section of the longpromised work by Dr. Manahan, on the Triumph of the Church, has now for some months been before the public, and has been received in a manner which must be highly gratifying to its learned and eloquent author. Some portions of the volume will be recognized by many as having been previously given to the public in the highly successful course of lectures which the author
since in this city, and we believe in one or two other places ; but the form of lectures has not been preserved, and the whole has been recast and much new and important matter added. The present volume opens with a masterly sketch of the ancient Gentile civilization in its material greatness and splendor, and its moral aberrations and defects, showing what men without Christianity may accomplish in the material order, and the errors, vices, crimes, into which they run ; the moral and religious degradation to which they fall, without its guiding and succoring hand, or when abandoned to their disordered nature, and the arts and influences of the great enemy of souls. It shows what was the world the Church had to battle with when the Apostles went forth from Jerusalem to proclaim the glad tidings of a Redeemer. It then sketches the founding of all or nearly all the sees represented in the Council of Nice, the labors, struggles, and victories of the Church in the first three centuries, or the Church at war with and triumphing over PagANISM, backed by all the material greatness of the old world, and all the political majesty and physical power of the Graeco-Roman Empire. A second volume is promised us presenting the triumphs of the Church in the middle ages, and a third presenting her in her struggles with heresy, especially with the heresies introduced or developed by Protestantism. Completed, the three volumes will probably present the best vindication, historical, philosophical, and theological, of the Church, especially against those who object to her on the score of civilization, that has as yet appeared.
gave a few
The best vindication of the Church is her history, especially in her relation with the world that preceded the establishment of the chair of Peter at Rome, and the world outside of her since. He who has studied carefully the world she found, and in the midst of which she was placed, and the world that has since remained outside of her influ. ence, and contrasted it with what we call Christendom, can have no hesitation in pronouncing her a divine institution, dispensing divine light and strength. Certainly not in this way can he attain to the conception of the Christian supernatural order, or to the conviction of the Church as the mystic body of Christ, as it were a visible continuation of the Incarnation on earth; but he can, on the plainest and soundest principles of inductive reasoning, conclude that she is more than human, that God specially manifests himself in her for the good of mankind, and, therefore, that she is worthy of our full confidence, and, of course, must be what she professes to be. Her superhuman and divine light and strength, which come out from her history, establish her authority to teach, or accredit her to human reason, and make it reasonable to believe what she teaches, and to do what she commands, in like manner as miracles wrought in attestation of the divine mission of the miracle-worker, accredit him as commissioned by God. The divine commission once established, we believe the teacher on his word; that is to say, on the authority of God who gives it; and it is sufficient for all matters covered by it. The Church, after her divine coinmission or character is established, is sufficient authority as to what is the real Christian order, or what are the real Christian mysteries. Dr. Manahan's work is not purely historical, but the historical element predominates in it, and thongh he does not expressly present Heathendom or Christendom in contrast, he so presents the two that the real contrast between thein in the moral order, comes out to the reader in a more or less striking light on almost every page.
The aim of the author, we take it, has been first, to show how far and in what respects Gibbon's estimate of the Graeco-Roman civilization is correct, and how far and under what relations it must be rejected ; and secondly, to refute indirectly, but conclusively, those Protestant writers in our day, who object to the Church that material civilization is less advanced in Catholic than in non-Catholic states, by showing that the peculiar truth and excellence of Christianity do not lie in the material order, as they seem to assume, and that the Protestant argument against the Church proves, if any thing, too much, and becomes an argument in favor of Gentilism ; for, under the relation of simple material civilization, the most advanced modern non-Catholic nation falls short of the more renowned heathen nations of the ancient world. Gibbon wrote his history of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to destroy the hold of the Christian religion on the world, by insinuating that under it civilization has deteriorated, and that the political and social well-being of mankind under Gentilism was far superior to what it is under Christianity. Confining our views solely to the material order, to matters of wealth and luxury, to the material greatness, splendor, and refinement of nations, Dr. Manahan joins no issue with Gibbon, but concedes all, and indeed more than he asks. But he goes into the interior of that civilization, and shows that under its dazzling and brilliant exterior, there is nothing but rottenness, cold-hearted barbarity, inhumanity, licentiousness, and cruelty; that in the moral order, in humanity, in respect for human life, in tenderness and compassion, in love, in benevolence, in sympathy with the unfortunate, the poor and afflicted, in provisions or institutions for the relief of want, sickness, distress, in succors for the weak and feeble, in all that which makes the moral glory of civilization, or of human nature itself, it was utterly deficient, and can stand no comparison at all with the civil. ization that obtains in Christendom. In the whole ancient Gentile world, he maintains, that there was not a single institution of benevolence, not a single hospital for the infirm or the orphan, not a single foundation for the poor and destitute. Love, in the sense of philanthropy, was unknown before He came who said: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another.” Taking, then, the ancient civilization as a whole, and especially under its moral and humane aspects, it is not as Gibbon would have us believe, far superior, but far inferior, to the modern; and the comparison of the two will show that the world, even without looking to another life, owes an immense debt to the Catholic Church.
Were we to hazard a criticism, it would be to ask, if the learned and brilliant author does not make his charge against the inhumanity of the Gentile world a little too sweeping ? Certainly its inhumanity was great; certainly we do not find in that world the workings of that Christian charity, which loves God with all the heart and soul, mind