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we mean by presenting it in its synthesis, in its genetic, not merely in its analytic character.
The Christian order, though it presupposes the natural, is itself supernatural, and natural reason could never of itself have attained to a conception of it. But although supernatural, it is an order created by infinite wisdom and intelligence, as well as by infinite love, and therefore is infinitely logical in all its relations within itself. Our reason, as a copy or imitation of the divine reason, placed by revelation on its plane, can, by its own light and strength, discover and respond, at least to some extent, to its interior logic. We cannot comprehend the whole, but we can apprehend the relation of article with article, or dogma with dogma, and the relation of practical with speculative, or moral with dogmatic theology. Hence we are capable of constructing, with revealed data, the science of theology, in which all in faith and morals is co-ordinated and placed in its real relation to the fundamental principle of the new creation. All Catholic theologians recognize the unity of all Catholic faith, but their analytical method of teaching it does not always enable the learner to perceive it, and very few of our popular controversial works enable non-Catholics to catch even a glimpse of it.
To them these works show no intrinsic reason why the Church should be Papal, and they seem to offer them only an extrinsic authority for any article of our faith. We think we should be more successful if we changed somewhat our method, and instead of relying solely on extrinsic authority, we endeavored to exhibit, more clearly and distinctly, the reasons that are in the Catholic system itself for Catholic dogma and Catholic morals.
ART. V.—The True Cross. Translated from the French of
the Rev. C. MALAN. New York: Randolph. 1858.
A VERY good friend has sent us this Calvinistic Tract, with an urgent request that we would review it, and point out its errors and fallacies. It is hardly necessary to do that, for there is no error or fallacy of Calvinism that may not be found refuted over and over again in our controversial literature; nevertheless, it may not be wholly useless for us to make the Tract the subject of a few comments. The Tract is ably and skilfully written, and is not ill-calculated to mislead the simple and uninstructed. Its apparent object is to exalt the glory of the Cross, and to show that we Catholics, though we make an idol of the Cross, look for salvation through some other name than that of Jesus Christ. It is written mainly in the form of a conversation between a traveller and an old man, and, contrary to good taste and Scripture counsel, the old man is represented as the learner, and the traveller, a spruce young Presbyterian parson, remarkable for his self-conceit, is the teacher. We give entire the opening chapter:
" On one of the most beautiful peaks of the Jura, not far from St. Laurent, and near a wood of beeches and firs, stands an old cross, at the foot of which several paths meet.
“This perishable monument of a love which never will end, should recall to him who contemplates it, the eternal sacrifice of the Son of God, and draw his thoughts towards the inheritance the Saviour bequeathed His Church at this great price.
“But how. few hearts understand the language spoken by the cross—that sign of the Redemption! How few Christians, beholding it, turn their affections towards the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world! How many rather revile, and wag their heads, and confirm their unbelief in the great Sacrifice of the Church, when they look upon this suffering place of the Holy and Just One!
“ But how many souls there are also who call upon the name of the Son of God, and who, deceived by prejudice or ignorance, seek in the useless and dead wood of a material cross, that which is alone found in this all-powerful Saviour, who died, it is true, on the accursed tree, but who is now with His Father in glory.
“ When the children of Israel were destroyed in the desert by the fiery serpents, Moses, by God's command, raised before them a brazen serpent, and whoever looked upon this symbol, was immediately healed. It was God himself the faith of the Israelite beheld, when he turned his eyes towards the serpent raised on high. This work of man's hand was far from being, for a believer, what superstition afterwards made it. In the desert, and in the midst of the afflicted camp, the brazen serpent proclaimed the promise and the mercy of the Lord, but, seven centuries afterwards, it had become an idol. Israel offered sacrifices to it, and even those who turned from their Maker adored this useless metal, this dead sign of a benefit they had forgotten. As the deluded Israelites looked upon the brazen serpent, so do an ignorant or unbelieving people look this day upon the cross. Jesus was sacrificed there, and the promise is made also, that every soul that beholds this victim in faith shall be saved from the death his sins deserve. The believer looks to Jesus and lays hold upon the promise, but the idolator offers incense to the Cross, and while he bends his knee before this symbol, forgets and repulses the benefactor this monument realls.
“Such were my thoughts while I rested my weary limbs on the thick turf at the foot of the cross. I had just ascended the moun. tain, and before returning to my distant home, I paused to take breath, while my heart dwelt upon this great God and Saviour that the Christian finds every where, on the mountains, among the plains, and in solitude, as in an assembly of his true worshippers.
“ Holy Spirit,' said I in my soul. "Oh! raise my heart towards my Father! Jesus, my Shepherd, look upon one of thy flock who calls thee, and may thy voice speak to me sweet words of
peace and of hope! At this moment two countrymen passed, followed by an old man, whose exterior betokened that he belonged to the higher class of society. The countrymen took off their hats, made the sign of the cross, and passed on. The old man stopped, kneeled, and bent his head reverently, while his white hair was stirred by the breeze. ""O Lord !' cried I in my heart, 'take pity on this soul, and Vol. I.-No. I.
thy true cross is still unknown to him, show him, I beseech thee, thy salvation !"-pp. 5-8.
The old man's ignorance of the significance of the Cross is concluded or suspected from his stopping, kneeling, and saying a prayer before it. One would think the fact a very good proof that the old man did understand the significance of the Cross, and that because he regarded it as the symbol of man's redemption he knelt and prayed before it. But these Calvinistic travelling parsons have a way of reasoning of their own. “But how many souls there are who call upon the name of the Son of God, and who, deceived by prejudice or ignorance, seek, in the useless and dead wood of a material cross, that which is alone found in this allpowerful Saviour, who died, it is true, on the accursed tree, but is now with his Father in glory.” Indeed! and how many are they? and who are they? The intention of the Rev. C. Malan is undoubtedly to represent that Catholics confound the material cross with Him who suffered on it, and expect salvation from the wood, not from Him who was nailed to it. But even the author of this Tract is himself able to distinguish between the wood of the cross and Him who was crucified, and we doubt if there is in the whole Calvinistic world a single individual come to the age of reason that could not do the same were the question fairly presented. How, then, pretend that Catholics cannot or do not? We are, it is to be presumed, as intelligent and as capable of making the distinction as they are, and their quiet assumption of being able to make distinctions which we cannot, only indicates on their part a very great ignorance, both of themselves and of us. Why, even the heathen never fell into the gross absurdity of mistaking the material image their own hands had carved, or moulded, for the god it was intended to represent. They worshipped the image only because they supposed it inhabited by the numen they adored. How long will men give currency to such absurdities, and how long will Protestants remain unthinking and unreasoning enough to be imposed on by them? We reverence the Cross as the symbol of man's redemption, but we are not such fools as to confound the material cross with Him who expiated on it our transgression, and made satisfaction to divine justice for our sins. The simplest Catholic that ever made the sign of the cross knows that it is not the wood that avails, and that it is only the God-man, who died on the cross, that saves. We reverence the cross from its relation to Him, and from its relation to our salvation. The death of our Lord on the cross has made the cross for ever honorable, and that in which every true Christian does and must glory. It recalls the passion and death of our Lord; it reminds us of what he suffered for us; at what price we were purchased, and it brings our Saviour fresh before us, pierced in his hands, his feet, his side, for our iniquities; brings to our hearts his deep humility, his obedience, his sacrifice, his great mercy, and his infinite charity,things which we, who are redeemed by his blood, are none too prompt to remember with all the aids to our recollection we can obtain.
But let us hear our traveller a little farther:
“ The old man having finished his prayer, raised his venerable head, and leaning his hands on his staff, turned cordially to me, and asked if I was a traveller, and if I came from a distance.
“I am only taking a ramble among the mountains,' replied I. • But I am no less a traveller, for we are all journeying towards eternity, and every day brings us nearer our journey's end.'
“ The old man looked at me silently, as if to satisfy himself as to what manner of man it was who made this serious answer; then sitting down on the grass by my side, he said with a little reserve: · Am I wrong to ask you what religion you profess?
“ The religion of Heaven,' I answered quietly; that which the only Son of God himself brought us, and which he confirmed forever, when he shed his precious blood on a cross like this.'
“ The interest of the old man seemed still more excited by this new answer. I perceived plainly that he was reflecting on what he should say to me, and that many thoughts were passing through his mind.