Puslapio vaizdai

ed to his memory? She that was so fair, is now black as an Ethiop, and instead of kissing her “batlet,” or the very ground where she had stood, he can hardly bear the mention of her name. Hatred has the same effect; we have, we hardly know or ask ourselves for what reason, a dislike to a man, and thenceforth nothing he can do or say will please us, still his words and actions are dark as Erebus, and his soul

Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.

We find in every one of his words, looks, deeds, evidence of the blackness of his heart, of his falsity, of his baseness. A change comes over us; we have mastered, for some reason or no reason, our dislike, and all the blackness disappears; the words and actions we had condemned appear to us now perfectly just and proper. In a word, the whole air and bearing, the whole life and character of the man have undergone a complete metamorphosis. And yet nothing has changed but our own feelings; nothing but the subjective medium through which we beheld him. These antipopery writers hate the Church, often with an intensity that, could they but see it, would surprise even themselves, and they can see nothing true or good in any thing she does or says. So was it in the case of our Lord. Never man spake like this man. He went about doing good, and there was not in him a fault in thought, word, or deed; all was right, true, proper, just, pure, holy, and intinitely loving, yet the Jews saw in him no beauty or comeliness; they called him a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of publicans and sinners, looked upon him as the enemy of their name and nation, became enraged against him, gnashed on him with their teeth, took up stones to stone him, and finally crucified him between two thieves. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” were the only words he pronounced against them from the cross to which they had nailed him. Was the cause of their wrath and hatred in him or in them? Do the charges they brought, and the acts they performed against him, do discredit to him or to themselves? “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household ?" These anti-popery writers are as deluded as were the old carnal Jews, and, blinded by their passions, know as little what they do when they are railing against the Church, as those Jews did when they crucified their God. Let grace, which suffers neither the delusions of love nor of hatred, once change their feelings and rectify the medium through which they see the Church, and their judgments will be reversed, and they will deplore their past blindness.

Take, as an illustration of the lengths to which hatred of the Church carries these anti-popery writers, what they all assert, that the Church denies the sanctity of oaths, that she sanctions perjury, and teaches that no faith is to be kept with heretics. In proof of this, they allege that Popes and councils have declared that an oath, taken contrary to the rights and interests of the Church, is an unlawful oath, and not obligatory. In the belief of a Catholic, an oath contrary to the rights and interests of the Church, is an oath contrary to the law of God; and an oath contrary to the law of God is, of course, an unlawful oath. Will any man in his sober senses pretend that an unlawful oath binds, and that it is perjury to break an oath which we have no right to take? If a man takes an oath to murder his neighbor, must he actually murder him, or be guilty of the sin of perjury? To take such an oath is unquestionably sin; but the additional sin is in keeping, not in breaking it. That no faith is to be kept with men who are heretics is no doctrine of the Church; but that faith pledged to heretics, to rob or despoil the Church, to dethrone the Pope, to dispossess a bishop, murder priests and religious, or to protect known heretics in performing any unlawful acts against religion, we presume she does teach is not to be kept, and she could not be the Church of God if she did not. We all know the proverb, “A bad promise is better broken than kept.” Faith pledged to heretics stands on the same footing with faith pledged to Catholics, or to any other class of men. Faith pledged to any body in regard to what is lawful and

right, or that is lawful and right for the parties in question to do, is to be kept according to its conditions; but faith pledged to others to do for them, or to unite with them in doing that which is wrong, contrary to the law of God, revealed or natural, is not to be kept; for no man can bind himself morally, or be bound by any power in heaven or earth, to do that which any law of God forbids. Such we understand to be the doctrine of the Church, and we are sure it is the doctrine of common sense and of simple justice. Would these “no-popery” writers contend that a number of men who have banded together against the State, and pledged themselves or sworn to each other to conspire to overthrow or resist its lawful authority, must actually do it, or stand as perjurers before God? Suppose a number of these have conspired together, pledged each other by oath, to destroy by violence the Presbyterian Church, to burn down Presbyterian meeting-houses, to dispossess, hunt down, or assassinate every Presbyterian parson they find in the exercise of his ministry, seize and appropriate to their own uses the funds contributed by Presbyterian liberality for the services of the Presbyterian religion, or to sustain the poor of Presbyterian congregations ; or in other respects to act in a way detrimental to the rights and interests of Presbyterianism-do you think there is a Presbyterian minister in the world that would say that this oath binds them, and that they must do these things on pain of being perjured? No; the Presbyterian minister would say, such an oath is unlawful, and in taking it there is a great sin, but there is no sin in breaking it, for the moral law which forbids taking, forbids keeping it. Why, then, this outcry against the Church?

Now go through the book before us, go through any book of the sort, and you will find no charge paraded against the Church that is not as baseless as the one just refuted, and that cannot be as easily disposed of. There is not one we have ever met with that is not either false in fact, or false in principle; or, if sound in principle and true in fact, that is not irrelevant. The state of society in Italy, or some other country where the Catholic religion is generally professed, is not, it is alleged, under a political and inaterial point of view, all that can be desired, therefore the Church is hostile to the political and material prosperity of nations; therefore is not, and cannot be the Church of God. A valid argument, if the lack of political and material prosperity be really due to the Church,-in the mouth of a carnal Jew, who looks for a temporal Messiah to raise his people to the summit of human greatness, and to reward his followers with earthly goods, --but a very inconclusive and inappropriate argument in the mouth of one who professes to be a Christian, and to hold that our Lord came not as a temporal ruler, but as a spiritual prince, to found on the earth a spiritual kingdom; a kingdom, though set up in this world, not of this world, but heavenly in its principles, in its laws, and in its ends ; who enjoins detachment from the world, self-denial, mortification, prayer, humiliation, the life of the cross; and while he promises his followers consolations here, teaches them to despise earthly goods, and to look for their reward only after death, in the kingdom of his Father. The objection proves nothing against the Church, but it does prove the worldly-mindedness and lack of Christian thought in those who bring it.

A Pope, in his private capacity as a man, or as temporal sovereign of Rome, has done, or is asserted to have done, things incompatible with wise and just policy, or true morality even; therefore, these popular “no-popery” books cry out,“ the Pope is anti-Christ, evidently the Man of Sin, the Apocalyptic Beast, and Popery a huge imposition.” Their authors forget that our Lord said to his disciples, “Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil ?" They forget also that in the faith of no Catholic is the Pope impeccable, or infallible even, except in matters in which he inherits the promise of the special supernatural assistance of the Holy Ghost made to Peter; and this promise extends to him neither when acting unofficially, as a simple private man, nor even when acting as temporal sovereign of the Roman states. We believe that nearly all the Supreme Pontiffs have, as a matter of fact, been good and holy men, and that the papal sovereigns of Rome have from the first surpassed, not only in private virtue, but in public spirit, in enlarged and liberal views, in wise and just policy, by far every other line of princes to be named in the world's history; but whether so or not, it is nothing to our faith as Catholics, for that faith does not repose on human wisdom or human virtue.

History, again, presents us periods when in particular countries faith has waxed cold, when the prelates are fonder of basking in the sunshine of the court than of residing in their dioceses and attending to the spiritual wants of their flocks; when the clergy live more like seculars than meek and self-denying ministers of Him who died on the Cross to save souls; when vice and immorality invade even religious houses, and the mass of the faithful do not rise in their conduct much above the common level of the better class of non-Catholics; therefore, once more conclude our “no-popery” writers, the Church is the Synagogue of Satan, the Mystery of Iniquity, the Scarlet Lady of Babylon, against whom every honest man should cry out, “Down with her, down with her, Erasez l'infâme." What virtuous indignation! Shall we not admire and trust the noble-minded men who manifest it? Yet what would they have us do? Is there no vice, no immorality outside of the Church? Why not manifest their virtuous indignation against Almighty God, the creator and upholder of this world which lieth in wickedness, in which evil spirits hold their revels, and make men their victims ? Surely Omnipotence could, for aught we can see, with a word, if he so pleased, put an end to it. He does not do it, because he saw proper to create man with free will, and because he chooses to govern him as a free agent. Would you have the Church destroy man's free will, take away every vestige of human liberty, and leave us no merit in our obedience, any more than have the sun, the moon, or the stars, in fulfilling their appointed revolutions ? Objections

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