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party, may carry on the war against foreigners; but the Democratic party will be true to their past policy and will sustain it so long as they hold the power.
In conclusion, we have only to express our gratitude to Almighty God for the result of the late election, and to call upon our Democratic friends throughout the Union to unite and sustain the administration they have elected, and to urge it on in the firm and unwearied pursuit of that policy which will be for the common good of the whole country, the elevation of labor, the promotion of intelligence and virtue, and the securing of true and permanent national prosperity, by warring against all monopolies, and refusing to grant any special protection to any one interest over another. Justice to all, favors to none, must be the American statesman's motto.
- LITERARY NOTICES AND CRITICISMS.
1. - Mora Carmody: or Woman's Influence. A Tale. New York:
Edward Dunnigan. 1844. 12mo. pp. 140.
This is a very pleasant little book, written with a serious intention, and with an ability and genius, from which we have much to hope. Our chief objection to it is that it is too short, and that the author, in the parts devoted to the development and defence of the Catholic faith, is quite too brief to be satisfactory, or widely useful. Works of this kind are written evidently with a view to the enemies of our holy faith, and must fail of their purpose if they do not set forth that faith with a fulness and degree of evidence which must command intellectual assent on the part of the Protestant reader.
There is no use in attempting to win Protestants to our faith by pointing out its internal beauty and glory; for to Protestants it has, and can have, no form or comeliness that they should desire it. To them it is intrinsically repulsive, and all the pride of their natural hearts revolts at it, and will, let us place it in the most attractive light we may. They are in no state to perceive its beauty, or to appreciate its worth. They have eyes, but they see not, ears, but they hear not, hearts, but they understand not. The only door to the Catholic faith is through the infallibility of the Church. No man is a Catholic who does not believe this infallibility, whatever else he is; and this infallibility once admitted, the various articles the Church teaches present no difficulty. The whole controversy with Protestants really turns on the question of the infallibility of
the Church, because no Catholic would recognize his Church as an authoritative teacher, if he did not believe it to be an infallible teacher. The infallibility is the ground or reason of the authority. We insist on this point, because we are confident, from our own experience, that conversions effected by clearing away the difficulties of the articles of faith, and explaining them so as to adapt them as much as possible, without sacrificing their truth, to Protestant modes of thinking and feeling, are no real conversions at all.
The great matter to be considered is, that on Protestant principles it is impossible to elicit an act of faith. No Protestant can have any sufficient motives or grounds of believing the articles of faith he professes. The articles of faith concern matters which pertain to the supernatural order, and which are, therefore, intrinsically inevident to natural reason. They can be only extrinsically evident; and, if believed at all, they must be believed on extrinsic authority, that is, the authority that vouches for the fact that God has revealed them. Now, if this authority be not infallible, it may both deceive and be deceived, and, consequently, they who rely on it can never have an infallible assurance that God has really revealed what it alleges that he has revealed. But without this infallible assurance there is doubt, and doubt excludes faith. Consequently faith is impossible without an infallible authority, witnessing to the fact that God has revealed the article in question. The Protestant, then, if he has the courage to be consequent, must admit that either there is this infallible extrinsic witness for God, or that there is and can be no faith in the revelation God has made. Evidently, then, the great question, as we have said, concerns the infallibility of the Church. Is the Church, the ecclesia docens, infallible or not? If it be, and it can be proved to human reason to be so, then whatever it teaches as the word of God must be received as the word of God, and we have the most satisfactory reasons for so receiving it. It is idle, then, to go into any discussion on the truth or falsity of this or that article of faith. The whole discussion should be on the authority of the Church to teach.
But we have wandered from our purpose, which was merely to commend Mora Carmody to our readers as a pleasant and interesting tale, and to express a hope that the author will continue his labors in a department of literature in which he may easily attain to eminence. Some of the poetical pieces interspersed through the volume indicate more than ordinary poetical feeling and capacity.
We have, however, one word of advice to suggest to our Catholic novel-writers; that is, to invent some method of disposing of their heroines without sending them to a convent.
We have the highest respect for monastic institutions, and honor the man or the woman that takes the vows of religion ; but we want the sacrifice should be made freely, voluntarily, with a single eye to the glory of God; not because one has been embarrassed or disappointed in some love affair. Let the virgin heart be consecrated to God. And then it is well to bear in mind that marriage is itself a holy institution, to which, if entered into with a right spirit, and maintained undefiled, God has promised his blessing. It is not merely an institution tolerated out of respect to human infirmity, but one that is positively approved, although celibacy, for those who are called to it, may be a higher state, to which higher graces and higher merit are attached. And, then, it is not necessary to hold out such discouraging views to our Protestant readers. They cannot enter into the Catholic feelings on the subject, and it is not well to lead them to think that God demands of them, in order to serve him according to the Catholic faith, what, according to that faith, he does not demand of them. The Church may counsel the sacrifice, but does not command it. It is not a condition of salvation, and need not be made unless as a matter of choice.
2. — Poetry of Feeling and Spiritual Melodies. By Isaac F. SHEPHERD. Boston: Lewis & Sampson. 1844. 32mo. pp. 128.
These poems really do indicate some poetic feeling, and may be read with pleasure. They do not, it is true, lay claim to originality and power, but they are marked by taste, Beauty, simplicity, and chaste adornment, and we are not surprised that they have found many purchasers and readers. The author seems to us to deserve an honorable rank among our American dealers in
3. - Dropping's from the Heart, or Occasional Poems. By
Thomas MacKellar. Philadelphia: Sorin & Bull. 1844. 12mo. pp. 144.
The heart from which these are droppings may be, for aught we know, a very good and pious heart, but if so, not much of it has dropped away, nor can we conceive any good purpose to be gained by undertaking to collect and preserve its droppings. Yet no doubt the owner of the heart values them, and far be it from us to speak lightly of them. The author took comfort in collecting them, drop by drop, as they oozed out, and no doubt they will be a soothing cordial to many a weary soul. God bless the author and his readers.