13. Transubstantiation

{363} PEOPLE say that the doctrine of Transubstantiation is difficult to believe; I did not believe the doctrine till I was a Catholic. I had no difficulty in believing it, as soon as I believed that the Catholic Roman Church was the oracle of God, and that she had declared this doctrine to be part of the original revelation. It is difficult, impossible to imagine, I grant;—but how is it difficult to believe? Yet Macaulay thought it so difficult to believe that he had need of a believer in it, of talents as eminent as Sir Thomas More, before he could bring himself to conceive that the Catholics of an enlightened age could resist the overwhelming force of the argument against it. "Sir Thomas More," he says, "is one of the choice specimens of wisdom and virtue; and the doctrine of Transubstantiation is a kind of proof charge. A faith which stands that test, will stand any test." But, for myself, I cannot indeed prove it, I cannot tell how it is; but I say, "Why should not it be? What's to hinder it? What do I know of substance or matter? just as much as the greatest philosophers, and that is nothing at all." So much is this the case, that there is a rising school of philosophy now, which considers phenomena to constitute the whole of our knowledge in physics. The Catholic doctrine leaves phenomena alone. It does not say that the phenomena go; on the contrary, it says that they remain; nor does it say that the same phenomena are in several places at once. It deals with what no one on earth knows anything about, the material substances themselves. And, in like manner, of that majestic Article of the Anglican as well as of the {364} Catholic Creed,—the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity. What do I know of the Essence of the Divine Being? I know that my abstract idea of three is simply incompatible with my idea of one; but when I come to the question of concrete fact, I have no means of proving that there is not a sense in which one and three can equally be predicated of the Incommunicable God. ("Apologia," p. 239.)

14. Mass

TO me nothing is so consoling, so piercing, so thrilling, so overcoming, as the Mass, said as it is among us. I could attend Masses for ever, and not be tired. It is not a mere form of words—it is a great action, the greatest action that can be on earth. It is, not the invocation merely, but, if I dare use the word, the evocation of the Eternal. He becomes present on the altar in flesh and blood, before whom angels bow and devils tremble. This is that awful event which is the scope, and the interpretation, of every part of the solemnity. Words are necessary, but as means, not as ends; they are not mere addresses to the throne of grace, they are instruments of what is far higher, of consecration, of sacrifice. They hurry on, as if impatient to fulfil their mission. Quickly they go, the whole is quick, for they are all parts of one integral action. Quickly they go, for they are awful words of sacrifice, they are a work too great to delay upon, as when it was said in the beginning: "What thou doest, do quickly." Quickly they pass, for the Lord Jesus goes with them, as He passed {365} along the lake in the days of His flesh, quickly calling first one and then another; quickly they pass, because as the lightning which shineth from one part of heaven unto the other, so is the coming of the Son of Man. Quickly they pass, for they are as the words of Moses, when the Lord came down in the cloud, calling on the Name of the Lord as He passed by, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth." And as Moses on the mountain, so we too "make haste and bow our heads to the earth, and adore." So we, all around, each in his place, look out for the great Advent, "waiting for the moving of the water." Each in his place, with his own heart, with his own wants, with his own thoughts, with his own intention, with his own prayers, separate but concordant, watching what is going on, watching its progress, uniting in its consummation; not painfully and hopelessly following a hard form of prayer from beginning to end, but, like a concert of musical instruments, each different, but concurring in a sweet harmony, we take our part with God's priest, supporting him, yet guided by him. There are little children there, and old men, and simple labourers, and students in seminaries, priests preparing for Mass, priests making their thanksgiving; there are innocent maidens, and there are penitent sinners; but out of these many minds rises one Eucharistic hymn, and the great action is the measure and scope of it. ("Loss and Gain," p. 290.) {366}

15. Benediction

THE Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is one of the simplest rites of the Church. The Priests enter and kneel down; one of them unlocks the Tabernacle, takes out the Blessed Sacrament, inserts it upright in a Monstrance of precious metal, and sets it in a conspicuous place above the altar, in the midst of lights, for all to see. The people then begin to sing; meanwhile the Priest twice offers incense to the King of heaven, before whom he is kneeling. Then he takes the Monstrance in his hands, and turning to the people, blesses them with the Most Holy, in the form of a cross, while the bell is sounded by one of the attendants to call attention to the ceremony. It is our Lord's solemn benediction of His people, as when He lifted up His hands over the children, or when He blessed His chosen ones when He ascended up from Mount Olivet. As sons might come before a parent before going to bed at night, so, once or twice a week, the great Catholic family comes before the Eternal Father, after the bustle or toil of the day, and He smiles upon them, and sheds upon them the light of His countenance. It is a full accomplishment of what the Priest invoked upon the Israelites, "The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord show His face to thee and have mercy on thee; the Lord turn His countenance to thee and give thee peace." Can there be a more touching rite, even in the judgment of those who do not believe in it? How many a man, not a Catholic, is moved, on seeing it, to say, "Oh, that I did but believe it!" when he sees the Priest take up the Fount of Mercy, and the people bent low in adoration!

It is one of the most beautiful, natural, and soothing actions of the Church. ("Present Position of Catholics," p. 255.) {367}

16. Confession

HOW many are the souls in distress, anxiety, or loneliness, whose one need is to find a being to whom they can pour out their feelings unheard by the world? Tell them out they must; they cannot tell them out to those whom they see every hour. They want to tell them and not to tell them; and they want to tell them out, yet be as if they be not told; they wish to tell them to one who is strong enough to bear them, yet not too strong to despise them; they wish to tell them to one who can at once advise and can sympathize with them; they wish to relieve themselves of a load, to gain a solace, to receive the assurance that there is one who thinks of them, and one to whom in thought they can recur, to whom they can betake themselves, if necessary, from time to time, while they are in the world. How many a Protestant's heart would leap at the news of such a benefit, putting aside all distinct ideas of a sacramental ordinance, or of a grant of pardon and the conveyance of grace! If there is a heavenly idea in the Catholic Church, looking at it simply as an idea, surely, next after the Blessed Sacrament, Confession is such. And such is it ever found in fact,—the very act of kneeling, the low and contrite voice, the sign of the cross hanging, so to say, over the head bowed low, and the words of peace and blessing. Oh, what a soothing charm {368} is there, which the world can neither give nor take away! Oh, what piercing, heart-subduing tranquillity, provoking tears of joy, is poured almost substantially and physically upon the soul, the oil of gladness, as Scripture calls it, when the penitent at length rises, his God reconciled to him, his sins rolled away for ever! This is Confession as it is in fact. ("Present Position of Catholics," p. 255.)

17. Counsels of Perfection

THE world judges of God's condescension as it judges of His bounty. We know from Scripture that the "teaching of the Cross" was in the beginning "foolishness" to it; grave, thinking men scoffed at it as impossible, that God, who is so high, should humble Himself so low, and that One who died a malefactor's death should be worshipped on the very instrument of His punishment. Voluntary [Note 1] humiliation they did not understand then, nor do they now. They do not, indeed, express their repugnance to the doctrine so openly now, because what is called public opinion does not allow them; but you see what they really think of Christ, by the tone which they adopt towards {369} those who in their measure follow Him. Those who are partakers of His fulness are called on, according as the gift is given them, whether by His ordinary suggestion, or by particular inspiration, to imitate His pattern; they are carried on to the sacrifice of self, and thus they come into collision with the maxims of the world. A voluntary or gratuitous mortification, in one shape or another, voluntary chastity, voluntary poverty, voluntary obedience, vows of perfection, all this is the very point of contest between the world and the Church, the world hating it, and the Church counselling it. "Why cannot they stop with me?" says the world; "why will they give up their station or position, when it is certain they might be saved where they are? Here is a lady of birth; she might be useful at home, she might marry well, she might be an ornament to society, she might give her countenance to religious objects, and she has perversely left us all; she has cut off her hair, and put on a coarse garment, and is washing the feet of the poor. There is a man of name and ability, who has thrown himself out of his sphere of influence, and he lives in a small room, in a place where no one knows who he is, and he is teaching little children their catechism." The world is touched with pity, and shame, and indignation, at the sight, and moralises over persons who act so unworthily of their birth or education, and are so cruel towards themselves. And, worse still, here is a saint, and what must he do but practise eccentricities?—as they really would be in others, though in him they are but the necessary antagonists to the temptations which otherwise would come on him from "the greatness of the revelations," or are but tokens of the love with which he embraces the feet of His Redeemer. And here again is another, and she submits her flesh to penances shocking to think of, and wearies herself out in {370} the search after misery, and all from some notion that she is assimilating her condition to the voluntary self-abasement of the Word. Alas, for the world! which is simply forgetful that God is great in all He does, great in His sufferings, and that He makes saints and holy men in their degree partakers of that greatness. ("Discourses to Mixed Congregations," p. 313.)

18. Relics and Miracles

I SUPPOSE there is nothing which prejudices us more in the minds of Protestants of all classes than our belief in miracles wrought by the relics and the prayers of the Saints. They inspect our churches, or they attend to our devotions, or they hear our sermons, or they open our books, or they read paragraphs in the newspapers, and it is one and the same story—relics and miracles. Such a belief, such a claim, they consider a self-evident absurdity; they are too indignant even to laugh; they toss the book from them in the fulness of anger and contempt, and they think it superfluous to make one remark in order to convict us of audacious imposture, and to fix upon us the brand of indelible shame. I shall show, then, that this strong feeling arises simply from their assumption of a First Principle, which ought to be proved, if they would be honest reasoners, before it is used to our disadvantage.

You observe, we are now upon a certain question of controversy, {371} in which the argument is not directly about fact ... We accuse our enemies of untruth in most cases; we do not accuse them, on the whole, of untruth here. I know it is very difficult for prejudice such as theirs to open its mouth at all without some misstatement or exaggeration; still, on the whole, they do bear true, not false witness, in the matter of miracles. We do certainly abound, we are exuberant, we overflow, with stories which cause our enemies, from no fault of ours, the keenest irritation, and kindle in them the most lively resentment against us. Certainly the Catholic Church, from east to west, from north to south, is, according to our conceptions, hung with miracles. The store of relics is inexhaustible; they are multiplied through all lands, and each particle of each has in it at least a dormant, perhaps an energetic virtue, of supernatural operation [Note 2]. At Rome there is the True Cross, the Crib of Bethlehem, and the Chair of St. Peter; portions of the Crown of Thorns are kept at Paris; the Holy Coat is shown at Trèves; the Winding-Sheet at Turin; at Monza, the iron crown is formed out of a Nail of the Cross; and another Nail is claimed for the Duomo of Milan; and {372} pieces of our Lady's Habit are to be seen in the Escurial. The Agnus Dei, blessed medals, the scapular, the cord of St. Francis, all are the medium of divine manifestations and graces. Crucifixes have bowed the head to the suppliant, and Madonnas have bent their eyes upon assembled crowds. St. Januarius's blood liquefies periodically at Naples, and St. Winifred's well is the scene of wonders even in our unbelieving country. Women are marked with the sacred stigmata, blood has flowed on Fridays from their five wounds, and their heads are crowned with a circle of lacerations. Relics are ever touching the sick, the diseased, the wounded; sometimes with no result at all, at other times with marked and undeniable efficacy. Who has not heard of the abundant favours gained by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, and of the marvellous consequences which have attended the invocation of St. Antony of Padua? These phenomena are sometimes reported of Saints in their lifetime, as well as after their death, especially if they were evangelists or martyrs. The wild beasts crouched before their victims in the Roman amphitheatre; the axe-man was unable to sever St. Cecilia's head from her body, and St. Peter elicited a spring of water for his jailor's baptism in the Mamertine. St. Francis Xavier turned salt water into fresh for five hundred travellers; St. Raymond was transported over the sea on his cloak; St. Andrew shone brightly in the dark; St. Scholastica gained by her prayers a pouring rain; St. Paul was fed by ravens; and St. Frances saw her guardian Angel. I need not continue the catalogue; here what one party urges, the other admits; they join issue over a fact; that fact is the claim of miracles on the part of the Catholic Church; it is the Protestants' charge, and it is our glory.

Observe, then, we affirm that the Supreme Being has {373} wrought miracles on earth since the time of the Apostles. Protestants deny it. Why do we affirm? Why do they deny? We affirm it on a First Principle; they deny it on a First Principle; and on either side the First Principle is made to be decisive of the question ... Both they and we start with the miracles of the Apostles [Note 3], and then their First Principle, or presumption against our miracles, is, "What God did once, He is not likely to do again;" while our First Principle, or presumption for our miracles, is this: "What God did once, He is likely to do again." They say, "It cannot be supposed He will work many miracles;" we, "It cannot be supposed He will work few." ... The two parties, you see, start with contradictory principles, and they determine the particular miracles, which are the subject of dispute, by their respective principles, without looking to such testimony as may be brought in their favour. They do not say, "St. Francis, or St. Antony, or St. Philip Neri, did no miracles, for the evidence for them is worth nothing," or "because what looked like a miracle was not a miracle;" no, but they say, "It is impossible they should have wrought miracles." Bring before the Protestant the largest mass of evidence and testimony in proof of the miraculous liquefaction of St. Januarius's blood at Naples, let him be urged by witnesses of the highest character, chemists of the first fame, circumstances the most favourable for the detection of imposture, coincidences and confirmations the most close, and minute, and indirect, he will not believe it; his First Principle blocks belief ... He laughs at the very idea of miracles or supernatural acts, as occurring at this present day, ... he laughs {374} at the notion of evidence for them; one is just as likely as another, they are all false. Why? Because of his First Principle: there are no miracles since the Apostles.


Now, on the other hand, let us take our own side of the question, and consider how we ourselves stand, relatively to the charge made against us. Catholics, then, hold the mystery of the Incarnation; and the Incarnation is the most stupendous event which ever can take place on earth; and after it, and henceforth, I do not see how we can scruple at any miracle on the mere ground of its being unlikely to happen. No miracle can be so great as that which took place in the Holy House at Nazareth; it is indefinitely more difficult to believe than all the miracles of the Breviary, of the Martyrology, of Saints' lives, of legends, of local traditions, put together; and there is the grossest inconsistency, on the very face of the matter, for any one so to strain out the gnat, and to swallow the camel, as to profess what is inconceivable, yet to protest against what is surely within the limits of intelligible hypothesis. If, through divine grace, we once are able to accept the solemn truth that the Supreme Being was born of a mortal woman, what is there to be imagined which can offend us on the ground of its marvellousness? Thus, you see, it happens that, though First Principles are commonly assumed, not proved, ours in this case admits, if not of proof, yet of recommendation, by means of that fundamental truth which Protestants profess as well as we. When we start with assuming that miracles are not unlikely, we are putting forth a position which lies imbedded, {375} as it were, and involved in the great revealed fact of the Incarnation.

So much is plain on starting, but more is plain too. Miracles are not only not unlikely, they are positively likely, and for this simple reason, because, for the most part, when God begins, He goes on. We conceive that when He first did a miracle, He began a series; what He commenced, He continued; what has been, will be. Surely this is good and clear reasoning. To my own mind, certainly, it is incomparably more difficult to believe that the Divine Being should do one miracle and no more, than that He should do a thousand; that He should do one great miracle only, than that He should do a multitude of less besides. This beautiful world of nature, His own work, He broke its harmony, He broke through His own laws, which He had imposed on it; He worked out His purposes, not simply through it, but in violation of it. If He did this only in the lifetime of the Apostles; if He did it but once, eighteen hundred years ago and more, that isolated infringement looks as the mere infringement of a rule; if Divine Wisdom would not leave an infringement, an anomaly, a solecism, on His work, He might be expected to introduce a series of miracles, and turn the apparent exception into an additional law of His Providence. If the Divine Being does a thing once, He is, judging by human reason, likely to do it again. This surely is common sense ... Suppose you yourselves were once to see a miracle, would you not feel that experience to be like passing a line? should you, in consequence of it, declare, "I never will believe another if I hear of one?" would it not, on the contrary, predispose you to listen to a new report? would you scoff at it, and call it priestcraft, for the reason that you had actually seen one with your own eyes? I think you would not; then, I {376} ask, what is the difference of the argument, whether you have seen one or believe one? You believe the Apostolic miracles, therefore be inclined ,beforehand, to believe later ones. Thus you see, our First Principle, that miracles are not unlikely now, is not at all a strange one in the mouths of those who believe that the Supreme Being came miraculously into this world, miraculously united Himself to man's nature, passed a life of miracles, and then gave His Apostles a greater gift of miracles than He exercised Himself. So far on the principle itself; and now, in the next place, see what comes of it.

This comes of it,—that there are two systems going on in the world, one of nature, and one above nature; and two histories, one of common events, and one of miracles; and each system and each history has its own order. When I hear of the miracle of a Saint, my first feeling would be of the same kind as if it were a report of any natural exploit or event. Supposing, for instance, I heard a report of the death of some public man, it would not startle me, even if I did not at once credit it, for all men must die. Did I read of any great feat of valour, I should believe it, if imputed to Alexander or Coeur de Lion. Did I hear of any act of baseness, I should disbelieve it, if imputed to a friend whom I knew and loved. And so, in like manner, were a miracle reported to me as wrought by a member of Parliament, or a Bishop of the Establishment, or a Wesleyan preacher, I should repudiate the notion: were it referred to a Saint, or the relic of a Saint, or the intercession of a Saint, I should not be startled at it, though I might not at once believe it. And I certainly should be right in this conduct, supposing my First Principle be true. Miracles to the Catholic are facts of history and biography, and nothing else; and they are to be regarded and dealt with as other facts; and as natural {377} facts, under circumstances, do not startle Protestants, so supernatural, under circumstances, do not startle the Catholic [Note 4]. They may or may not have taken place in particular cases; he may be unable to determine which; he may have no distinct evidence; he may suspend his judgment; but he will say, "It is very possible;" he never will say, "I cannot believe it." [Note 5]


Such, then, is the answer I would make to those who would urge against us the multitude of miracles recorded in our Saints' Lives. We think them true in the sense in which {378} Protestants think the details of English history true ... If, indeed, miracles never can occur, then, indeed, impute the narratives to fraud; but, till you prove they are not likely, we shall consider the histories which have come down to us true on the whole, though in particular cases they may be exaggerated or unfounded. Where, indeed, they can certainly be proved to be false, there we shall be bound to do our best to get rid of them; but till that is clear, we shall be liberal enough to allow others to use their private judgment in their favour, as we use ours in their disparagement. For myself, lest I appear in any way to be shrinking from a determinate judgment on the claims of some of those miracles and relics, which Protestants are so startled at, and to be hiding particular questions in what is vague and general, I will avow distinctly, that, putting out of the question the hypothesis of unknown laws of nature (that is, of the professed miracle being not miraculous), I think it impossible to withstand the evidence which is brought for the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius at Naples, and for the motion of the eyes of the pictures of the Madonna in the Roman States. I see no reason to doubt the material of the Lombard crown at Monza; and I do not see why the Holy Coat at Trèves may not have been what it professes to be. I firmly believe that portions of the True Cross are at Rome, and elsewhere, that the Crib of Bethlehem is at Rome, and the bodies of St. Peter and St. Paul also. I believe that at Rome, too, lies St. Stephen, that St. Matthew lies at Salerno, and St. Andrew at Amalfi. I firmly believe that the relics of the Saints are doing innumerable miracles and graces daily, and that it needs only for a Catholic to show devotion to any Saint in order to receive special benefits from his intercession. I firmly believe that Saints in their lifetime have before now raised the dead to life, crossed the sea without vessels, {379} multiplied grain and bread, cured incurable diseases, and superseded the operation of the laws of the universe in a multitude of ways. Many men, when they hear an educated man so speak, will at once impute the avowal to insanity, or to an idiosyncrasy, or to imbecility of mind, or to decrepitude of powers, or to fanaticism, or to hypocrisy. They have a right to say so, if they will; and we have a right to ask them why they do not say it of those who bow down before the Mystery of mysteries, the Divine Incarnation. If they do not believe this, they are not yet Protestants; if they do, let them grant that He who has done the greater may do the less. ("Present Position of Catholics," p. 298.)

19. The Earliest Recorded Apparition of the Blessed Virgin

I KNOW of no instance to my purpose earlier than A.D. 234, but it is a very remarkable one ... St. Gregory Nyssen [Note 6], then, a native of Cappadocia in the fourth century, relates that his namesake, Bishop of Neo-Caesarea, surnamed Thaumaturgus, in the century preceding, shortly before he was called to the priesthood, received in a vision a Creed, which is still extant, from the Blessed Mary at the hands of St. John. The account runs thus:—He was deeply pondering theological doctrine, which the heretics of the day depraved. "In such thoughts," says his namesake of Nyssa, "he was passing the night, when one appeared, {380} as if in human form, aged in appearance, saintly in the fashion of his garments, and very venerable both in grace of countenance and general mien. Amazed at the sight, he started from his bed, and asked who it was, and why he came; but, on the other calming the perturbation of his mind with his gentle voice, and saying he had appeared to him by divine command on account of his doubts, in order that the truth of the orthodox faith might be revealed to him, he took courage at the word, and regarded him with a mixture of joy and fright. Then, on his stretching his hand straight forward and pointing with his fingers at something on one side, he followed with his eyes the extended hand, and saw another appearance opposite to the former, in shape of a woman, but more than human ... When his eyes could not bear the apparition, he heard them conversing together on the subject of his doubts; and thereby not only gained a true knowledge of the faith, but learned their names, as they addressed each other by their respective appellations. And thus he is said to have heard the person in woman's shape bid 'John the Evangelist' disclose to the young man the mystery of godliness; and he answered that he was ready to comply in this matter with the wish of 'the Mother of the Lord,' and enunciated a formulary, well-turned and complete, and so vanished. He, on the other hand, immediately committed to writing that divine teaching of his mystagogue, and henceforth preached in the Church according to that form, and bequeathed to posterity, as an inheritance, that heavenly teaching, by means of which his people are instructed down to this day, being preserved from all heretical evil." He proceeds to rehearse the Creed thus given, "There is One God, Father of a Living Word," &c. Bull, after quoting it in his work on the Nicene Faith, alludes to this history of its origin, and adds, "No one should think it {381} incredible that such a providence should befall a man whose whole life was conspicuous for revelations and miracles, as all ecclesiastical writers who have mentioned him (and who has not?) witness with one voice."

Here our Lady is represented as rescuing a holy soul from intellectual error. This leads me to a further reflection ... It is said of her in the Antiphon, "All heresies thou hast destroyed alone." Surely the truth of it is verified in this age, as in former times ... She is the exceeding exemplar of prayer in a generation which emphatically denies the power of prayer in toto, which determines that fatal laws govern the universe, that there cannot be any direct communication between earth and heaven, that God cannot visit His earth, and that man cannot influence His providence. ("Anglican Difficulties," vol. II., p. 73-76.)

20. The Antecedent Argument for an Infallible Arbiter of Faith and Morals

THE common sense of mankind ... feels that the very idea of revelation implies a present informant and guide, and that an infallible one; not a mere abstract declaration of truths not before known to man, or a record of history, or the result of an antiquarian research, but a message and a lesson speaking to this man and that. This is shown by the popular notion which has prevailed among us since the Reformation, that the Bible itself is such a guide; and which succeeded in overthrowing the {382} supremacy of Church and Pope, for the very reason that it was a rival authority, not resisting merely, but supplanting it. In proportion, then, as we find, in matter of fact, that the inspired volume is not calculated or intended to subserve that purpose, are we forced to revert to that living and present guide, which, at the era of her rejection, had been so long recognized as the dispenser of Scripture, according to times and circumstances, and the arbiter of all true doctrine and holy practice to her children. We feel a need, and she alone, of all things under heaven, supplies it. We are told that God has spoken. Where? In a book? We have tried it, and it disappoints; it disappoints, that most holy and blessed gift, not from fault of its own, but because it is used for a purpose for which it was not given. The Ethiopian's reply, when St. Philip asked him if he understood what he was reading, is the voice of nature, "How can I, unless some man shall guide me?" The Church undertakes that office; ... she alone ... dares claim it, as if a secret instinct and involuntary misgivings restrained those rival communions which go so far towards affecting it. The most obvious answer, then, to the question, why we yield to the authority of the Church in the questions and developments of faith, is, that some authority there must be if there is a revelation, and other authority there is none but she. In the words of St. Peter to her Divine Master and Lord, "To whom shall we go?" Nor must it be forgotten, in confirmation, that Scripture expressly calls the Church "the Pillar and Ground of the Truth," and promises her as by covenant that, "the Spirit of the Lord that is upon her, and His words which He has put in her mouth shall not depart out of her mouth, nor out of the mouth of her seed, nor out of the mouth of her seed's seed, from henceforth and for ever." {383}

And if the very claim to infallible arbitration in religious disputes is of so weighty importance and interest in all ages of the world, much more is it welcome at a time like the present, when the human intellect is so busy, and thought so fertile, and opinion so indefinitely divided. The absolute need of a spiritual supremacy is at present the strongest of arguments in favour of its supply. Surely, either an objective revelation has not been given, or it has been provided with means for impressing its objectiveness on the world. If Christianity be a social religion, as it certainly is, and if it be based on certain ideas acknowledged as divine, or a creed, which shall here be assumed, and if these ideas have various aspects, and make distinct impressions on different minds, and issue in consequence in a multiplicity of developments, true, or false, or mixed, as has been shown, what power will suffice to meet and to do justice to these conflicting conditions, but a supreme authority ruling and reconciling individual judgments, by a divine right and a recognized wisdom? In barbarous times the will is reached through the senses; but in an age in which reason, as it is called, is the standard of truth and right, it is abundantly evident to any one who mixes ever so little with the world, that, if things are left to themselves, every individual will have his own view of things, and take his own course; that two or three agree together today to part tomorrow; that Scripture will be read in contrary ways, and history will be analyzed into subtle but practical differences; that philosophy, taste, prejudice, passion, party, caprice, will find no common measure, unless there be some supreme power to control the mind, and to compel agreement.

There can be no combination on the basis of truth without an organ of truth. As cultivation brings out the colours of flowers, and domestication the character of animals, so does {384} education of necessity develop differences of opinion; and while it is impossible to lay down first principles in which all will unite, it is utterly unreasonable to expect that this man should yield to that, or all to one. I do not say there are no eternal truths, such as the poet speaks of [Note 7], which all acknowledge in private, but that there are none sufficiently commanding to be the basis of public union and action. The only general persuasive in matters of conduct is authority; that is, when truth is in question, a judgment which we consider superior to our own. If Christianity is both social and dogmatic, and intended for all ages, it must, humanly speaking, have an infallible expounder. Else you will secure unity of form, at the loss of unity of doctrine, or unity of doctrine at the loss of unity of form; you will have to choose between a comprehension of opinions, and a resolution into parties, between latitudinarian and sectarian error; you may be tolerant or intolerant of contrarieties of thought, but contrarieties you will have. By the Church of England, a hollow uniformity is preferred to an infallible chair, and by the sects of England, an interminable division. Germany and Geneva began with persecution and have ended in scepticism. The doctrine of infallibility is a less violent hypothesis than this sacrifice either of faith or of charity. ("Essay on Development," p. 125.) {385}

21. The Practical Wisdom of the Holy See

IN the midst of our difficulties [Note 8] I have one ground of hope, just one stay, but, as I think, a sufficient one, which serves me in the stead of all other argument whatever, which hardens me against criticism, which supports me if I begin to despond, and to which I ever come round, when the question of the possible and the expedient is brought into discussion. It is the decision of the Holy See; St. Peter has spoken, it is he who has enjoined that which seems to us so unpromising. He has spoken, and has a claim on us to trust him. He is no recluse, no solitary student, no dreamer about the past, no doter upon the dead and gone, no projector of the visionary. He for eighteen hundred years has lived in the world; he has seen all fortunes, he has encountered all adversaries, he has shaped himself for all emergencies. If ever there was a power on earth who had an eye for the times, who has confined himself to the practicable, and has been happy in his anticipations, whose words have been facts, and whose commands prophecies, such is he in the history of ages, who sits from generation to generation in the Chair of the Apostles, as the Vicar of Christ, and the Doctor of His Church.

These are not the words of rhetoric, but of history. All who take part with the Apostle, are on the winning side. He has long since given warrants for the confidence which he claims. From the first he has looked through the wide world, of which he has the burden; and, according {386} to the need of the day, and the inspirations of his Lord, he has set himself now to one thing, now to another; but to all in season, and to nothing in vain. He came first upon an age of refinement and luxury like our own, and, in spite of the persecutor, fertile in the resources of his cruelty, he soon gathered, out of all classes of society, the slave, the soldier, the high-born lady, and the sophist, materials enough to form a people to his Master's honour. The savage hordes came down in torrents from the north, and Peter went out to meet them, and by his very eye he sobered them, and backed them in their full career. They turned aside and flooded the whole earth, but only to be more surely civilized by him, and to be made ten times more his children even than the older populations which they had overwhelmed. Lawless kings arose, sagacious as the Roman, passionate as the Hun, yet in him they found their match, and were shattered, and he lived on. The gates of the earth were opened to the east and west, and men poured out to take possession; but he went with them by his missionaries, to China, to Mexico, carried along by zeal and charity, as far as those children of men were led by enterprise, covetousness, or ambition. Has he failed in his successes up to this hour? Did he, in our fathers' day, fail in his struggle with Joseph of Germany and his confederates, with Napoleon, a greater name, and his dependent kings, that, though in another kind of fight, he should fail in ours? What grey hairs are on the head of Judah, whose youth is renewed like the eagle's, whose feet are like the feet of harts, and underneath the Everlasting arms? ("Idea of a University," p. 13.) {387}

22. The Obligations of Catholics to the Holy See

OUR duty to the Holy See, to the Chair of St. Peter, is to be measured by what the Church teaches us concerning that Holy See and concerning him who sits in it. Now St. Peter, who first occupied it, was the Vicar of Christ. You know well, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who suffered on the Cross for us, thereby bought for us the kingdom of heaven. "When Thou hadst overcome the sting of death," says the hymn, "Thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to those who believe." He opens, and He shuts; He gives grace, He withdraws it; He judges, He pardons, He condemns. Accordingly, He speaks of Himself in the Apocalypse as "Him who is the Holy and the True, Him that hath the key of David (the key, that is, of the chosen king of the chosen people), Him that openeth and no man shutteth, that shutteth and no man openeth." And what our Lord, the Supreme Judge, is in heaven, that was St. Peter on earth; he had those keys of the kingdom, according to the text, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed also in heaven."

Next, let it be considered, that kingdom which our Lord set up, with St. Peter at its head, was decreed in the counsels of God to last to the end of all things, according to the words I have just quoted, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it." And again, "Behold, I am with you {388} all days, even to the consummation of the world." And in the words of the prophet Isaias, speaking of that divinely established Church, then in the future, "This is My covenant with them, My Spirit that is in thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever." And the prophet Daniel says, "The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed ... and it shall break in pieces and shall consume all those kingdoms (of the earth, which went before it), and itself shall stand for ever."

That kingdom our Lord set up when He came on earth, and especially after His resurrection; for we are told by St. Luke that this was His gracious employment, when He visited the Apostles from time to time, during the forty days which intervened between Easter Day and the day of His Ascension. "He showed Himself alive to the Apostles," says the Evangelist, "after His passion by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them and speaking of the kingdom of God." And accordingly, when at length He had ascended on high, and had sent down "the promise of His Father," the Holy Ghost, upon His Apostles, they forthwith entered upon their high duties, and brought that kingdom or Church into shape, and supplied it with members, and enlarged it, and carried it into all lands. As to St. Peter, he acted as the head of the Church, according to the previous words of Christ; and, still according to his Lord's supreme will, he at length placed himself in the See of Rome, where he was martyred.

And what was then done, in its substance cannot be undone. "God is not as a man that He should lie, nor as the son of man, that He should change. Hath He said then, and shall He not do? hath He spoken, {389} and will He not fulfil?" And, as St. Paul says, "the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance." His Church, then, in all necessary matters, is as unchangeable as He. Its framework, its polity, its ranks, its offices, its creed, its privileges, the promises made to it, its fortunes in the world, are ever what they have been.

Therefore, as it was in the world, but not of the world, in the Apostles' times, so it is now:—as it was "in honour and dishonour, in evil report and good report, as chastised but not killed, as having nothing and possessing all things," in the Apostles' times, so it is now:—as then it taught the truth, so it does now; as then it had the sacraments of grace, so has it now; as then it had a hierarchy or holy government of Bishops, priests, and deacons, so has it now; and as it had a Head then, so must it have a Head now. Who is that visible Head now? who is now the vicar of Christ? who has now the keys of the kingdom of heaven, as St. Peter had then? Who is it now who binds and looses on earth, that our Lord may bind and loose in heaven? Who, I say, if a successor to St. Peter there must be, who is that successor in his sovereign authority over the Church? It is he who sits in St. Peter's chair: it is the Bishop of Rome. We all know this; it is part of our faith; I am not proving it to you, my brethren. The visible headship of the Church, which was with St. Peter while he lived, has been lodged ever since in his Chair: the successors in his headship are the successors in his Chair, that continuous line of Bishops of Rome, or Popes, as they are called, one after another, as years have rolled on, one dying and another coming, down to this day, when we see Pius the Ninth sustaining the weight of the glorious Apostolate, and that for twenty years past—a tremendous weight, a ministry involving momentous duties, innumerable anxieties, and immense responsibilities, as it ever has done. {390}

And now, though I might say much more about the prerogatives of the Holy Father, the visible Head of the Church, I have said more than enough for the purpose which has led to my speaking about him at all. I have said that, like St. Peter, he is the Vicar of his Lord. He can judge, and he can acquit; he can pardon, and he can condemn; he can command, and he can permit; he can forbid, and he can punish. He has a supreme jurisdiction over the people of God. He can stop the ordinary course of sacramental mercies; he can excommunicate from the ordinary grace of redemption; and he can remove again the ban which he has inflicted. It is the rule of Christ's providence, that what His Vicar does in severity or in mercy upon earth, He Himself confirms in heaven. And in saying all this, I have said enough for my purpose, because that purpose is to define our obligations to him. That is the point on which our attention is fixed; "our obligations to the Holy See;" and what need I say more to measure our own duty to it and to him who sits in it, than to say that, in his administration of Christ's kingdom, in his religious acts, we must never oppose his will, or dispute his word, or criticise his policy, or shrink from his side? There are kings of the earth who have despotic authority, which their subjects obey indeed but disown in their hearts; but we must never murmur at that absolute rule which the Sovereign Pontiff has over us, because it is given to him by Christ, and in obeying him we are obeying his Lord. We must never suffer ourselves to doubt that, in his government of the Church, he is guided by an intelligence more than human. His yoke is the yoke of Christ, he has the responsibility of his own acts, not we; and to his Lord must he render account, not to us. Even in secular matters it is ever safe to be on his side, dangerous to be on the side of his enemies. Our duty is,—not indeed {391} to mix up Christ's Vicar with this or that party of men, because he in his high station is above all parties,—but to look at his formal deeds, and to follow him whither he goeth, and never to desert him, however we may be tried, but to defend him at all hazards, and against all comers, as a son would a father, and as a wife a husband, knowing that his cause is the cause of God. And so as regards his successors, if we live to see them; it is our duty to give them in like manner our dutiful allegiance and our unfeigned service, and to follow them also whithersoever they go, having that same confidence that each in his turn and in his own day will do God's work and will, which we have felt in their predecessors, now taken away to their eternal reward. ("Occasional Sermons," p. 264.)

23. English Catholics an Pius IX.

AND if I am to pass on to speak of the present Pontiff, and of our own obligations to him, then I would have you recollect that it is he who has taken the Catholics of England out of their unformed state and made them a Church. He it is who has redressed a misfortune of nearly three hundred years' standing. Twenty years ago we were a mere collection of individuals; but Pope Pius has brought us together, has given us Bishops, and created out of us a body politic, which (please God), as time goes on, will play an important part in Christendom, with a character, an intellect, and a power of its own, with schools of its own, with a definite influence in the counsels of the Holy Church Catholic, as England had of old time. {392}

This has been his great act towards our country; and then specially, as to his great act towards us here, towards me. One of his first acts after he was Pope was, in his great condescension, to call me to Rome; then, when I got there, he bade me send for my friends to be with me; and he formed us into an Oratory. And thus it came to pass that, on my return to England, I was able to associate myself with others who had not gone to Rome, till we were so many in number, that not only did we establish our own Oratory here [Note 9], whither the Pope had specially sent us, but we found we could throw off from us a colony of zealous and able priests into the metropolis, and establish there, with the powers with which the Pope had furnished me, and the sanction of the late Cardinal, that Oratory which has done and still does so much good among the Catholics of London.

Such is the Pope now happily reigning in the chair of St. Peter; such are our personal obligations to him; such has he been towards England, such towards us, towards you, my Brethren. Such he is in his benefits, and great as are the claims of those benefits upon us, great equally are the claims on us of his personal character and of his many virtues. He is one whom to see is to love; one who overcomes even strangers, even enemies, by his very look and voice; whose presence subdues, whose memory haunts, even the sturdy, resolute mind of the English Protestant. Such is the Holy Father of Christendom, the worthy successor of a long and glorious line. Such is he; and, great as he is in office, and in his beneficent acts and virtuous life, as great is he in the severity of his trials, in the complication of his duties, and in the gravity of his perils. ("Occasional Sermons," p. 271.) {393}

24. Scandals in the Catholic Church

NO Catholic will deny it [that the Church has scandals]. She has ever had the reproach and shame of being the mother of children unworthy of her. She has good children;—she has many more bad. Such is the will of God, as declared from the beginning. He might have formed a pure Church; but He has expressly predicted that the cockle, sown by the enemy, shall remain with the wheat, even to the harvest at the end of the world. He pronounced that His Church should be like a fisher's net, gathering of every kind, and not examined till the evening. Nay, more than this, He declared that the bad and imperfect should far surpass the good. "Many are called," He said, "but few are chosen;" and His Apostle speaks of "a remnant saved according to the election of grace." There is ever, then, an abundance of materials in the lives and the histories of Catholics, ready to the use of those opponents who, starting with the notion that the Holy Church is the work of the devil, wish to have some corroboration of their leading idea. Her very prerogative gives special opportunity for it; I mean, that she is the Church of all lands and of all times. If there was a Judas among the Apostles, and a Nicholas among the deacons, why should we be surprised that in the course of eighteen hundred years, there should be flagrant instances of cruelty, of unfaithfulness, of hypocrisy, or of profligacy, and that not only in the Catholic people, but in high places, in royal palaces, in bishops' households, nay, in the seat of St. Peter itself? Why need it surprise, if in barbarous ages, or in ages of luxury, there have been bishops, or abbots, or {394} priests, who have forgotten themselves and their God, and served the world or the flesh, and have perished in that evil service? What triumph is it, though in a long line of between two and three hundred popes, amid martyrs, confessors, doctors, sage rulers, and loving fathers of their people, one, or two, or three are found who fulfil the lord's description of the wicked servant, who began "to strike the manservants and maidservants, and to eat and drink and be drunk"? What will come of it, though we grant that at this time or that, here or there, mistakes in policy, or ill-advised measures, or timidity, or vacillation in action, or secular maxims, or inhumanity, or narrowness of mind, have seemed to influence the Church's action or her bearing towards her children? I can only say that, taking man as he is, it would be a miracle were such offences altogether absent from her history. Consider what it is to be left to oneself and one's conscience, without others' judgment on what we do, which at times is the case with all men; consider what it is to have easy opportunities of sinning; and then cast the first stone at churchmen who have abused their freedom from control or independence of criticism. With such considerations before me, I do not wonder that these scandals take place; which, of course, are the greater in proportion as the field on which they are found is larger and wider, and the more shocking in proportion as the profession of sanctity, under which they exhibit themselves, is more prominent. What religious body can compare with us in duration or in extent? There are crimes enough to be found in the members of all denominations: if there are passages in our history, the like of which do not occur in the annals of Wesleyanism or of Independency, or the other religions of the day, recollect there have been no Anabaptist pontiffs, no Methodist kings, no Congregational monasteries, no Quaker populations. {395} Let the tenets of Irving or Swedenborg spread, as they never can, through the world, and we should see if, amid the wealth, and power, and station which would accrue to their holders, they would bear their faculties more meekly than Catholics have done. ("Occasional Sermons," p. 144.)

25. "Popular" Catholics

HERE is another grave matter against you, that you are so well with the Protestants about you; I do not mean to say that you are not bound to cultivate peace with all men, and to do them all the offices of charity in your power. Of course you are, and if they respect, esteem, and love you, it redounds to your praise and will gain you a reward; but I mean more than this; they do not respect you, but they like you, because they think of you as of themselves, they see no difference between themselves and you. This is the very reason why they so often take your part, and assert or defend your political rights. Here again, there is a sense, of course, in which our civil rights may be advocated by Protestants without any reflection on us, and with honour to them. We are like others in this, that we are men; that we are members of the same state with them, subjects, contented subjects, of the same Sovereign; that we have a dependence on them, and have them dependent on us; that, like them, we feel pain when ill-used, and are grateful when well-treated. We need not be ashamed of a fellowship like this, and those who recognise it in us are generous in doing so. But we have much cause to be ashamed, and much cause to be anxious {396} what God thinks of us, if we gain their support by giving them a false impression in our persons of what the Catholic Church is, and what Catholics are bound to be, what bound to believe and to do; and is not this the case often, that the world takes up your interests, because you share its sins?

Nature is one with nature, grace with grace; the world then witnesses against you by being good friends with you; you could not have got on with the world so well, without surrendering something which was precious and sacred. The world likes you, all but your professed creed; distinguishes you from your creed in its judgment of you, and would fain separate you from it in fact. Men say, "These persons are better than their Church; we have not a word to say for their Church; but Catholics are not what they were; they are very much like other men now. Their Creed certainly is bigoted and cruel, but what would you have of them? You cannot expect them to confess this; let them change quietly, no one changes in public,—be satisfied that they are changed. They are as fond of the world as we are; they take up political objects as warmly; they like their own way just as well; they do not like strictness a whit better; they hate spiritual thraldom, and they are half ashamed of the Pope and his Councils. They hardly believe any miracles now, and are annoyed when their own brethren officiously proclaim them; they never speak of purgatory; they are sore about images; they avoid the subject of Indulgences; and they will not commit themselves to the doctrine of exclusive salvation. The Catholic doctrines are now mere badges of party. Catholics think for themselves and judge for themselves, just as we do; they are kept in their Church by a point of honour, and a reluctance at seeming to abandon a fallen cause." {397}

Such is the judgment of the world, and you, my brethren, are shocked to hear it;—but may it not be, that the world knows more about you than you know about yourselves? "If ye had been of the world," says Christ, "the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." So speaks Christ of His Apostles. How run His words when applied to you? "If ye be of the world, the world will love its own; therefore ye are of the world, and I have not chosen you out of the world, because the world loveth you." Do not complain of the world's imputing to you more than is true; those who live as the world give countenance to those who think them of the world, and seem to form but one party with them. In proportion as you put off the yoke of Christ, so does the world by a sort of instinct recognize you, and think well of you accordingly. Its highest compliment is to tell you that you disbelieve. Oh, my brethren, there is an eternal enmity between the world and the Church. The Church declares by the mouth of an Apostle, "Whoso will be a friend of the world, becomes an enemy of God;" and the world retorts, and calls the Church apostate, sorceress, Beelzebub, and Antichrist. She is the image and the mother of the predestinate, and, if you would be found among her children when you die, you must have part in her reproach while you live. Does not the world scoff at all that is glorious, all that is majestic, in our holy religion? Does it not speak against the special creations of God's grace? Does it not disbelieve the possibility of purity and chastity? Does it not slander the profession of celibacy? Does it not deny the virginity of Mary? Does it not cast out her very name as evil? Does it not scorn her as a dead woman, whom you {398} know to be the Mother of all the living, and the great Intercessor of the faithful? Does it not ridicule the Saints? Does it not make light of their relics? Does it not despise the Sacraments? Does it not blaspheme the awful Presence which dwells upon our altars, and mock bitterly and fiercely at our believing that what it calls bread and wine is that very same Body and Blood of the Lamb which lay in Mary's womb and hung on the Cross? What are we, that we should be better treated than our Lord, and His Mother, and His servants, and His works? Nay, what are we, if we be better treated, but friends of those who thus treat us well, and who ill-treat Him? ("Discourses to Mixed Congregations," p. 165.)

26. A Bad Catholic

[BY how many] a Catholic have the very mercies of God been perverted to his [own] ruin! He has rested on the Sacraments, without caring to have the proper dispositions for attending them. At one time he had lived in neglect of religion altogether; but there was a date when he felt a wish to set himself right with his Maker; so he began, and has continued ever since, to go to Confession and Communion at convenient intervals. He comes again and again to the Priest; he goes through his sins; the Priest is obliged to take his account of them, which is a very defective account, and sees no reason for not giving him absolution. He is absolved, as far as words can absolve {399} him; he comes again to the Priest when the season comes round; again he confesses, and again he has the form pronounced over him. He falls sick, he receives the last Sacraments: he receives the last rites of the Church, and he is lost. He is lost, because he has never really turned his heart to God; or, if he had some poor measure of contrition for awhile, it did not last beyond his first or second confession. He soon taught himself to come to the Sacraments without any contrition at all; he deceived himself, and left out his principal and most important sins. Somehow he deceived himself into the notion that they were not sins, or not mortal sins; for some reason or other he was silent, and his confession became as defective as his contrition. Yet this scanty show of religion was sufficient to soothe and stupefy his conscience: so he went on year after year, never making a good confession, communicating in mortal sin, till he fell ill; and then, I say, the viaticum and holy oil were brought to him, and he committed sacrilege for his last time,—and so he went to his God.

Oh, what a moment for the poor soul, when it comes to itself, and finds itself suddenly before the judgment-seat of Christ! Oh, what a moment, when, breathless with the journey, and dizzy with the brightness, and overwhelmed with the strangeness of what is happening to him, and unable to realise where he is, the sinner hears the voice of the accusing spirit, bringing up all the sins of his past life, which he has forgotten, or which he has explained away, which he would not allow to be sins, though he suspected they were; when he hears him detailing all the mercies of God which he has despised, all His warnings which he has set at nought, all His judgments which he has outlived; when that evil one follows out into detail the growth and progress of a lost soul,—how it expanded and was confirmed {400} in sin,—how it budded forth into leaves and flowers, grew into branches, and ripened into fruit,—till nothing was wanted for its full condemnation! And, oh! still more terrible, still more distracting, when the Judge speaks, and consigns it to the jailors, till it shall pay the endless debt which lies against it! "Impossible, I a lost soul! I separated from hope and from peace for ever! It is not I of whom the Judge so spake! There is a mistake somewhere; Christ, Saviour, hold Thy hand,—one minute to explain it! My name is Demas: I am but Demas, not Judas, or Nicolas, or Alexander, or Philetus, or Diotrephes. What? hopeless pain! for me! impossible, it shall not be." And the poor soul struggles and wrestles in the grasp of the mighty demon which has hold of it, and whose very touch is torment. "Oh, atrocious!" it shrieks in agony, and in anger too, as if the very keenness of the affliction were a proof of its injustice. "A second! and a third! I can bear no more! stop, horrible fiend, give over; I am a man, and not such as thou! I am not food for thee, or sport for thee! I never was in hell as thou; I have not on me the smell of fire, nor the taint of the charnel-house! I know what human feelings are; I have been taught religion; I have had a conscience; I have a cultivated mind; I am well versed in science and art; I have been refined by literature; I have had an eye for the beauties of nature; I am a philosopher, or a poet, or a shrewd observer of men, or a hero, or a statesman, or an orator, or a man of wit and humour. Nay,—I am a Catholic; I am not an unregenerate Protestant; I have received the grace of the Redeemer; I have attended the Sacraments for years; I have been a Catholic from a child; I am a son of the Martyrs; I died in communion with the Church: nothing, nothing which I have ever been, which I have ever seen, bears any resemblance to thee, and to the flame and stench {401} which exhale from thee; so I defy thee, and abjure thee, O enemy of man!"

Alas! poor soul; and whilst it thus fights with that destiny which it has brought upon itself, and with those companions whom it has chosen, the man's name perhaps is solemnly chanted forth, and his memory decently cherished among his friends on earth. His readiness in speech, his fertility in thought, his sagacity, or his wisdom, are not forgotten. Men talk of him from time to time; they appeal to his authority; they quote his words; perhaps they even raise a monument to his name, or write his history. "So comprehensive a mind! such a power of throwing light on a perplexed subject, and bringing conflicting ideas or facts into harmony!" "Such a speech it was that he made on such and such an occasion; I happened to be present, and never shall forget it;" or, "It was the saying of a very sensible man;" or, "A great personage, whom some of us knew;" or, "It was a rule with a very worthy and excellent friend of mine, now no more;" or, "Never was his equal in society, so just in his remarks, so versatile, so unobtrusive;" or, "I was fortunate to see him once when I was a boy;" or, "So great a benefactor to his country and to his kind;" "His discoveries so great;" or, "His philosophy so profound". Oh, vanity! vanity of vanities, all is vanity! What profiteth it? What profiteth it? His soul is in hell. Oh, ye children of men, while thus ye speak, his soul is in the beginning of those torments in which his body will soon have part, and which will never die. ("Discourses to Mixed Congregations," p. 37.)


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1.  ["If an instance can be imagined of voluntary suffering, it is the mission and death of our Lord. He came to die, when He need not have died; He died to satisfy for what might have been pardoned without satisfaction; He paid a price which need not have been asked, nay, which needed to be accepted when paid ...  He died, not in order to exert a peremptory claim on the Divine justice, if I may so speak—as if He were bargaining in the market-place, ... —but in a more loving, generous, munificent way." "Discourses to Mixed Congregations," p. 307.]
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2. [The following verses, written eighteen years before this passage, may, perhaps, be fitly introduced here:—

The Fathers are in dust, yet live to God:
    So says the Truth; as if the motionless clay
Still held the seeds of life beneath the sod,
    Smouldering and struggling till the judgment-day.

And hence we learn with reverence to esteem
    Of these frail houses, though the grave confines;
Sophist may urge his cunning tests, and deem
    That they are earth;—but they are heavenly shrines.

"Verses on Various Occasions, " p. 131.]
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3. I am arguing with Protestants; if unbelievers are supposed, then they generally use Hume's celebrated argument, which still is a Presumption or First Principle, viz. it is impossible to fancy the order of nature interrupted [as to which see p. 139].
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4. Douglas, succeeding Middleton, lays down the sceptical and Protestant First Principle thus: "The history of miracles (to make use of the words of an author, whose authority you will think of some weight), is of a kind totally different from that of common events; the one to be suspected always of course, without the strongest evidence to confirm it; the other to be admitted of course, without as strong reason to suspect it," &c.—"Criterion," p. 26.
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5. ["Though it is a matter of faith with Catholics that miracles never cease in the Church, still that this or that professed miracle really took place, is for the most part only a matter of opinion, and when it is believed, whether on testimony or tradition, it is not believed to the exclusion of all doubt, whether about the fact or its miraculousness. Thus I may believe in the liquefaction of St. Pantaleon's blood, and believe it to the best of my judgment to be a miracle, yet, supposing a chemist offered to produce exactly the same phenomena under exactly similar circumstances by the materials put at his command by his science, so as to reduce what seemed beyond nature within natural laws, I should watch with some suspense of mind and misgiving the course of his experiment, as having no Divine Word to fall back upon as a ground of certainty that the liquefaction was miraculous." "Grammar of Assent," p. 193.]
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6. [See "Essay on Doctrinal Development," p. 386.]
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7. [Hou gar ti nun ge kachthes. k.t.l.]
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8. [Attending the foundation of the Catholic University in Dublin.]
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9. [In Birmingham.]
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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