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Bishop England's Works

Brownson's Quarterly Review, April, 1850

Art 1. _ The Works of the RIGHT REV. JOHN ENGLAND, First Bishop of Charleston, collected and arranged under the immediate Advice and Direction of his immediate Successor, the RIGHT REV. IGNATIUS ALOYSIUS REYNOLDS. Baltimore: J. Murphy. 1849. 5 vols. Large 8vo. Double columns.

The wide-spread fame of Dr. England as an orator, a divine,
a patriot, and a scholar, will doubtless be greatly enhanced by the publication of his works. Some acquire a high reputation for oratory in the pulpit or at the bar, whose discourses, when published, leave us astonished at the weakness of their reason­ing, and the flimsiness of those ornaments of speech which fascinated multitudes. Not so with those of the illustrious Bishop of Charleston. His arguments are such as bear the se­verest scrutiny; his discourses are the compositions of a skilful artist, who combines each part with the other in close union and harmony; his images are natural and striking. It may, in­deed, be a matter of surprise to those who peruse the solid and persuasive sermon which he delivered in the hall of Congress in 1826, and which we take to be a fair specimen of his doc­trinal discourses. that he could succeed in arresting the attention of popular assemblies on matters better suited to a highly intellectual audience, such as that which he then addressed ; but the fact is widely known, that the unlearned, as well as the philosophical inquirer, hung with delight for hours on his lips, whilst be descanted on the evidences of Christianity, and that children fancied they understood what he propounded. This is accounted for by the plain and clear language which he em­ployed, by his illustrations, which brought sublime truths down to the level of the humblest intellects, and by the life and spirit which breathed throughout, since he acted, but without affecta­tion, all that he spoke. The maxim of Demosthenes, that de­livery is the chief qualification of an orator, was illustrated in him, since his long and profound discourses, without this charm, would necessarily have fatigued the attention of his hearers. His gesticulations were almost too animated for the pulpit; but they were perfectly in character, and they gave charm and ef­fect to his appeals. As he stood, with folded arms, pausing at the close of some luminous argument, and surveying his audi­ence, to discover whether tbey felt and acknowledged its force, all remained entranced. The effect of the oratorical pause was never seen to more advantage. The mind, surveying the chain of reasoning which, link by link, had been formed, admired its beauty, and felt happy in being encircled by its magic power, and made captive to truth. Interrogatories, with the responses, opportunely intermingled, relieved the seriousness of logical ex­ercise, and fixed the attention of all on tbe point under consid­eration. We recollect to have heard him in the first Council of Baltimore, above twenty years ago, when he presented the claims of the Church to be our guide in the things of salvation, with a combination of argument and authority not easy to be resisted. At the close, he asked himself in the name of some votary of liberty, -" Do you mean, then, to establish the des­potism of authority? Will you have us to renounce reason, and follow blindly the dictates of erring fellow-mortals? Will you deprive us of tbe liberty of thought?" To each of these questions he empbatically answered, " No." "What then? " said he. " I will only," he replied, "that man be subject to God."

His descriptions were picturesque and animated, bringing, as it were, under the eyes of his audience the scenes which he rep­resented. In treating of the evidence of miracles, he observed that the reality of death can be ascertained beyond all doubt, and, as if a corpse lay before the audience, he pointed to each symp­tom, - the stiffened limbs, the glazed eyes, the absence of all pulsation, the commencement of decomposition; and, as he proceeded in his scrutiny, be demanded with earnestness, "Is he dead?" The oratorical pause which ensued, and which was wonderfully expressive, left the audience in deep reflection; but on one occasion it was wellnigh being disturbed by almost irrepressible laughter, produced by a somewhat ludicrous reminis­cence. There sat in front of the pulpit the revered proto-sacer­dos of the United States, who had been an actor in a scene not dissimilar. In the earlier part of his ministry in Kentucky, he had attended many times a chronic patient, whose sufferings made such an impression on his imagination, that his sleep was disturbed with the painful idea that the aff1icted man was buried alive. The man died at length, during the absence of the mis­sionary, who, however, returned in time to assist at the burial. Just before the coffin was deposited, its lid was raised to give the friends for the last time the opportunity of looking on the face of the departed. The priest demanded with earnestness, " Is he dead?" All stood silent and motionless, astonished at the unusual interrogatory, and unaware of the dream that dis­turbed the imagination of the good father; but, on the repetition of the question, one of the by-stander's, who was deemed half­witted, and whose pronunciation was nasal, replied, "I reckon he is; he don't speak." This curious occurrence had long passed away from the remembrance of the aged father; but it was brought fresh to the mind of the younger priest, who sat at his side, and who in his boyhood had assisted at the interment. The vivid description of the Bishop would have infallibly con­vulsed him in any other place, but a sense of the sacredness of the temple and the solemnity of the occasion enabled him to preserve his gravity, and leave the audience under tbe influence of the powerful eloquence of the orator.

The outline of his general reasoning on this subject is found
in the admirable discourse delivered in the hall of Congress, to which we have already referred. His arguments on the authority of the Church are dispersed throughout the collection of his works. "An Essay and Letters on Infallibility" are, with great propriety, placed at the commencement of the first volume, which will be found to exhibit that accuracy of state­ment and strength of reasoning which so eminently character­ized him. We should be pleased to see it published apart, in pamphlet form, for general distribution, as one of the clearest and strongest essays adapted for general use. rr he letters to the Rev. Hugh Smith, a Protestant Episcopal minister in Geor­gia, "On the Judicial Office of the Catholic Church," treat of the same subject under a different point of view, with such happy variety of method, that the reader is not wearied by repe­tition, but finds delight, as well as an increase of information, in the new phases of tbe discussion. The samo observation applies to the many essays contained in these volumes, in which the subject recurs. The author seems always to have had present to his mind all he had written, and when he found him­self obliged to repeat the substance of former statements, he varied his expressions, or, chose a new mode of argument di­rected to the same end. In his reasoning he appears like a builder engaged in the election of a colossal monument; he piles argument on argument till the logical structure rises in fair proportions to a height that surprises and overawes the beholder. We know of no work in which the authority of the Church, as a tribunal of doctrine, is treated with greater clearness of dic­tion and power of reasoning, as well as variety of method.

We must, however, take leave to express our regret, that, whilst scruptulously tenacious of the defined doctrines, the illus­tious prelate, in the early part of his career, was tinged with those theological opinions which pass under the name of Gal­lican. Om readers arc aware that, ever since the Declaration of the French Assembly in 1682, as to the limits of Papal authority, these opinions have been generally ascribed to the clergy of France, although we believe the majority of that illus­trious body never cordially accepted them. In their mildest form they me characterized by a narrow spirit of nationality, which claims for the French Church certain privileges, as im­memorially enjoyed, and not to be interfered with or set aside by the Sovereign Pontiff. The most effectual refutation of these pretensions to restrict the exercise of the supreme author­ity was given by Divine Providence, which so disposed the course of events, that it became necessary, in order to preserve the Church of France from extinction, that Pius VII should remove her ancient landmarks, and displace the occupants of her sees, to create a new hierarchy, and give her a new organi­zation. This unprecedented act of sovereign ecclesiastical power was performed with the applause of the Catholic world, and with the accuiescence of most of the French prelates, who acknowledged its wisdom and necessity. In ordinary circum­stances none are more willing than the pontiffs to respect the ancient usages of local churches. St. Gregory the Great, writing to Dominic, Bishop of Carthage, declared, that, as " he defended his own prerogatives, so he maintained inviolate the rights of the respective provinces."

The relations of the Church to the civil power were, in truth, the great point at stake at the time of the Assembly of 1682. Louis XLV., in the pride of absolute sovereignty, had encrouched on the rights of several bishops, who invoked Pon­tifical interference to prevent tbe extension of the royal pre­rogative, styled regalia, to matters of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Innocent XI. acted on their solicitation; but in the strife which ensued, the bishops, overawed by the sovereign, weakly under­took to circumscribe the Papal power. No attempt had been made by the Pontiff to revive the claims of some of his prede­cessors to a paramount authority over Princes, nor was there any likelihood of their revival; but Louis, feeling that it would annoy Innocent to have them formally denied, urged the prelates to declare against them. This declaration was offensive, as well as unnecessary; it was an implied censure on the holy pontiffs, who, in the Middle Ages, had struggled against tyranny by wielding a power which, from whatsoever source it was derived, they actually possessed, and it was calculated to render the civil authority absolute and despotic, by removing moral restraint. Those who deny that the Pope had any divine right over civil governments, cannot on this account close their eyes to the evidence of history, that he was for ages appealed to by princes and their subjects, and that his judgment was sought as to the moral obligations by which they were mutually bound. It was scarcely fair, in these circumstances, to emit a declaration, which, even if true to the letter, was injurious to the memory of illustriolls pontiffs, and prejudicial to royalty itself, by the ir­responsible character which it ascribed to it. For our own part, we believe that the sanguinary scenes of the French Revo­lution may be traced to the absoluteness of the monarchy as it existed in the Great Louis, whose maxim was, "L'etat c'est moi." The penalty paid by his unfortunate descendant is an atonement for the pride which spurned any superior but God in matters of temporal administration. Monarchs, as well as their subjects, are bound by the moral law, and the abuse of power, if not remedied by the legal deposition of the sovereign, according to the jurisprudence of the Middle Ages, provokes rebellion and bloodshed.

The learned prelate willingly acknowledged that the dispensing power, as it was called, was no usurpation, whilst he denied that jt was held by divine right, and traced it to the concession and the institution of the princes and the people of Christen­dom. (* Vol. 1, pg. 168.  Vol. 2, pg. 405) We think it has a higher source. It may not be easy to prove the alleged acts of concession, much less the formal institution of this power by all the Christian princes and na­tions, The simplest and justest mode of accounting for its origin is in the nature of the moral ties which bound rulers and their subjects. Allegiance was due to those in power, and it was sanctioned by an oath. Protection and good government were promised by the rulers under the same solemn sanction. There were necessarily limits to the duty of obedience, as it was pledged on conditions which might be violated, When the nations generally professed the Catholic faith, they instinc­tively were led to appeal to the judgment of their common fa­ther to determine whether they were released from the duty, and from the oath by which it had been confirmed. The Pope, whose judgment and interposition were implored, did not, necessarily, exercise any divine right over the temporal powers ; he acted only as the authoritative expounder of moral obligation; he was the proper judge of its extent and its limits, and, as interpretor of the moral law, he released subjects from the oath of allegiance, so that his decree was declaratory of an exemption to which the facts of the case entitled them, His absolution from the oath would have been of no account whatever, had not the enormous abuse of power already de­stroyed the intrinsic force of the obligation, and warranted the sentence. His act was not an exercise of temporal power, di­rect or indirect, but of spiritual authority, regarding a moral point, on which he was called to pronounce by both, or either, of the parties, Ordinarily the popes and bishops confine the exercise of their authority to the exposition of general princi­ples, which they apply to individual cases only when these are submitted to them by those concerned, or by others having a right, or interest, in their decision. The popes did not act mere­ly in the capacity of spiritual advisers, but as filling the highest judicial station in the Church, and they approached the delicate investigation with all the caution which its importance demand­ed, and pronounced sentence with that assurance which the facts seemed to warrant, and that tone of authority which their office gave to their judgment.

The integrity of Bishop England's faith on the Primacy, and his devoted attachment to the Holy See, are evident from his erudite essay on " St. Peter's Roman Episcopate," which is found in the second volume, and from other portions of his works; but it was his lot to have pursued his ecclesiastical studies under circumstances not favorable to a just estimate of the pontifical prerogatives. In the struggles of the Catholics of
Ireland, in the early part of this century, for the attainment of their civil rights, the strongest ground of opposition to their claims was the alleged incompatibility of allegiance to the crown with the acknowledgment of the Papal supremacy. The advo­cates of emancipation, laboring to remove every pretext for this calumny, undertook to circumscribe the pontifical authority within the narrowest limits which the defined dogma would permit. The acts of various popes being objected to them, they were not content with observing, that these were not accompanied with a declaration of the right, or that the declara­tion was not of that solemn character which constitutes a doc­trinal definition. They chose the bolder position of denying the infallibility of the Pontiff. This, if understood of his per­sonal opinions, might be denied without suspicion or censure; but when embracing his most solemn decrees addressed to the whole Church on doctrine, under penalty of excommunication, it clashes with the very general opinion of divines, and the settled convictions of the great body of the hierarchy, founded, as we believe, on Scripture and tradition. We are free to con­fess, with the eminent author, that it is not an article of Catho­lic faith, because it has not been formally proposed by the com­petent authority; and as long as the Church does not attach to its denial the forfeiture of her communion, we dare not cast censure on those who question its correctness: but we deprecate all attempts to forestall her judgment, and embarrass its exercise by unnecessary statements, which may hereafter be alleged as tokens of an adverse tradition. When the civil gov­ernment, through weak jealousy, demands such a dec1aration, it may be admissible, since it is a mere statement of fact, which cannot be withheld without serious loss or suffering; but to embody it formally into the constitution of the churches in­trusted to his charge was, we think, improper. But for this blemish, these documents, which display much legal as well as ecclesiastical knowledge and great ability, might have received that attentive consideration at Rome to which their intrinsic merit entitled them, and that aprobation which the distin­guished prelate never could succeed in obtaining, notwithstand­ing the high personal regard which was cherished for him by
the Pontiff.

The official infallibility of the Pope in his doctrinal decisions
is necessarily to be presumed, even on Gallican principles. The French clergy, in their famous Declaration, admitted that he was entitled to tako a leading part in defining the revealed doctrines, whilst they denied that his judgment was incapable of being amended, as long as the consent of the Church at large had not ratified it. As the question regards only decrees of faith addressed to the Church generally, it is clear that the con­sent is to be presumed, unless opposition be speedily and for­mally manifested. This presumption is especially necessary on the part of the faithful, whom it would ill become to ques­tion the judgment of the chief bishop, intrusted by Christ with the feeding of his lambs and sheep, and the confirmation of his brethren in faith. In every government official infallibility is necessarily supposed in the supreme tribunal, from which no appeal lies, since otherwise litigation would be endless. In the Church, whatever questions may be raised as to the relations of the Pope to general councils, the Holy See is the only per­manent tribunal, which, if it be not endowed with the preroga­tive of infallibility in judgment, becomes necessary for the de­cision of controversies, since it cannot command the assent of the mind, Yet in all ages it has been deemed competent to decide such questions; recourse has been had, from all quar­ters of the Church, to its judgment; the decrees of local or na­tional councils have been sent to it for examination; and when a solemn confirmation issued, the prelates of the Church, every­where, were ready to exclaim, in the words of Augustine,­" The cause is now finally decided."

Thirty years before the holding of the French Assembly, Innocent X, at the solicitation of the bishops of France, had condemned the five propositions which formed the basis of tbe book of Jansenius, No sooner had the condemnation issued, than eighty-six of their number addressed the Pontiff, declar­ing that his dogmatical decrees " rest on a divine and supreme authority throughout the whole Church, to which all Christians are in duty bound to give even the homage of the mind." The artifices of the Jansenists, whereby they strove to elude the force of the condemnation, derived coloring from the subse­quent declaration of the Assembly, that the judgment of the Pope admitted of amendment, until it had received the assent of the body of bishops; for it was by no means easy to estab­lish the fact of the express and deliberate adhesion of the bish­ops generally ; and the tacit consent was not satisfactory. We may, perhaps, appear superstitious, or enthusiastic, in our fre­quent remarks on providential interference; but we appeal to the calm judgment of the reader. Does it not look like a spe­cial Providence, that, at the very time when lines were drawn to circumscribe the pontifical authority, its intervention was found necessary and effectual for the extirpation of a most sub­tle heresy, in the very country wherein the rash attempt was made? The Apostolic See has the glory of crushing Jan­senism, as well as the opposite extreme of Semipelagianism, without the aid of a general council, a fact which far out­weighs the Declaration of the Assembly.
In the expression of our sentiments on this subject, we feel that we owe no apology to the admirers of the French clergy, or of Bishop England, since we leave to others the liberty which we claim for ourselves, to speak freely where the defi­nite judgment of the Church has not imposed silence. We do not complain because the learned Prelate stated, what we our­selves avow, that the official infallibility of the Pontiff is not an article of faith; but we regret the statement in a document like that of the constitution of the diocese of Charleston, and we rejoice that it has been modified and corrected by a note bear­ing the initials of the present distinguished incumbent of that see: _ " The infallibility of the Pope is not of faith, i.e. has not been defined and declared an article of faith; but it is generally taught by theologians, and believed by the secular and regular clergy, and by the Christian people, that the successor of him for the preservation of whose faith Christ prayed never errs when he speaks ex cathedra in declaring the Christian doc­trines, or the principles of Christian morality. -I.A.R."

Without wishing to renew the contest on doctrinal develop­ments which some time since was carried on in this periodical with a friend of Mr. Newman, we take leave to express our conviction that this prerogative may hereafter be formally de­fined, We do not regard it as a mere inference logically drawn from a revealed premise, or as an idea suggested by the Holy Spirit to the mind of the Church in her meditation on the divine truths. The prayer of Christ for Peter especially, that his faith may not fail, strikes us as a revelation of his inerrancy in the office of confirming his brethren. It is manifest that the Holy See has always been acknowledged by the whole Church as a doctrinal tribunal, at which controversies about faith were decided, and the decision was proposed to all the faithful undel the highest penalty that the Church can inflict, ­separation from her communion. The confidence with which the Jeromes, the Ambroses, the Augustines, and the Peters of Ravenna had recourse to this oracle of Christian truth, shows the deep conviction of its unfailing orthodoxy, It may be wondered that God permitted any doubt to be entertained of that authority, which he decreed should serve as a pillar of light to guide wanderers in their pilgrimage; but it is still more wonderful, that, amidst the storms of human passion, which beat around the Holy See, its right to judge of doctrine was always admitted, and its decisions were always received by the great body of bishops, so that the harmony of his brethren proved to all that the successor of Peter had faithfully delivered the tradition preserved in his see from the days of the great Apostle. Bishop England himself defied its adversaries to show a single instance of error in a doctrinal decision.

The fact, that no false doctrine has ever been solemnly promul­gated by any of the two hundred and fifty or sixty individuals who have occupied St. Peter's chair is itself a presumptive proof of the strongest chamcter that the Holy Ghost specially assists the actual incumbent, that Peter may always speak by his mouth, and that he lives and teaches in each one of them, A tribunal, which has been in the constant exercise of its judicial powers in matters of faith during eighteen centuries, and is ac­knowledged, even by many who are unwilling to recognize its prerogotives to their full extent, never to have pronounced an erroneous judgment, is fairly presumed incapable of error. On no human principle can this invariable correctness be explained, Neither the learning nor the piety of the Pontiffs can ac­count for their felicity in judgment: and when we reflect that some few were deficient in personal qualifications, we are forced to admit the superintendence of a special Providence, which has always maintained the doctrine of truth in the chair of unity.

The language used in some places by the illustrious prelate, in regard to the power of the Pope and his relations to general councils, would, no doubt, have been corrected by himself, had he lived to prepare a complete edition of his works. He denies that the Pope has greater power in the Church than the President of the United States exercises in the Union, or than Governor Troup, whose extravagan­ces drew his special attention, claimed in Georgia. He compared the relations of President Monroe to Congress with those of the Pope to a general council. All must admit the inaccuracy of these comparisons and statements. It did not please the Divine Founder of the Church to give her a written constitution, by which the powers of her rulers should be defined. He chose one among his apostles to be his
special representative and vicegerent, to whom he gave a pleni­tude of authority in the most express terms, and under symbols the most significant. No limits to its exercise are assigned; but those which arise from right, justice, and the general good are essentially implied. We do not find any record of the in­stitution of a paramount authority to check the abuse or con­trol the exercise of the sovereignty thus delegated to Peter ; confessedly no permanent tribunal of this character exists in the Church, and it would be an anomaly in government, that the supreme executive should be subject to the control of an assembly for whose convocation no provision was made, or the right of convoking which was vested in the sovereign. We venerate the doctrinal definitions of general councils as we venerate the Gospels of Christ, for the same divine truth is manifested in both, although the words in which it is declared by councils are not inspired; but we cannot discover the character of general councils in any assemblies of bishops, where Peter is not present, in the person of his successor, or by his legates, for, as St. Ambrose remarks, "where Peter is, there is the Church." With great respect, then, fOr the mem­ory of Bishop England, we take leave to dissent fwm the posi­tions which, in his earlier writings, he has laid down on the subject. The pontiff, according to the definition made in the Council of Florence, has full power of governing the Universal Church; which plenitude of power cannot be ascribed to the President in reference to the Union, or to the governor of a State.

At a time when Gallicanism, as it has been styled, is repudiated by the body of the French clergy, who with all their heart cling to the See of Peter, it were to be lamented if it should be revived among us, where no narrow jealousy on the part of civil power exists to foster it. Since the Constitution leaves religious sentiment free, and interferes in no way with the exercise of Church authority, we need not labor to cir­cumscribe it, in order to satisfy the prejudices of individuals. Limit it as we may, it will always appear odious to those who conceive that opinion should be unrestrained; whilst, to those who prize unity, no power will seem excessive which is di­rected to the maintenance of truth and the building up of the body of Christ. We, indeed, have no fears of the spread of these views, which Divine Providence effectually checked in France by successive revolutions, loosening the ties which bound the Church to the state in servile dependence, and putting the clergy in the happy necessity of looking up to the Father of the faithful with filial confidence and attachment, for guidance, support, and consolation. The Councils of Paris and of Soissons, which have been recently held, furnish unques­tionable evidence of devotedness on the part of the French hierarchy to the See of Peter, since they have loudly proclaim­ed her unfailing faith, and have adopted measures to establish tbe most perfect harmony, even in ritual details, with the Roman Church, mother and mistress of all churches.

It is a remarkable fact, that a layman shares the honor of ex­posing the fallacy of that system which received support from an assembly of clergy, with the illustrious Bossuet in their midst. Count de Maistre in his immortal works, Eglise Gallicane, and Du Pape, has triumphantly vindicated the pontifical prerogative, placed in clear light those facts of his­tory which had perplexed inquirers, and demonstrated that the vaunted liberties of the Gallican Church were but a flattering name for the subjection of its priesthood and prelacy to parlia­ments and Princes. The happy sallies of his wit, the deep cuts of his satire and irony, combined with his luminous reasoning, entertained and enlightened many, who would not have yielded to the profound arguments of Orsi or Gerdil, or to the stringent logic of Capellari. The action of Divine Providence concurred to dissipate prejudices, which more than once threat­ened schism, - the solemn assemblies of the French clergy, which for a time vied with Rome in pronouncing judgment on erroneous propositions, could no longer be held, - the Sor­bonne became a nullity, - the very existence of the French hie­rarchy and Church was endangered, - and all became conscious that there must be an authority to guide, to govern, to teach, equal to all emergencies, and which, when councils were im­possible, could assuredly declare the truth as it is in Christ, and summarily provide for the Church's necessities.
The disputes which have been raised on this point may be accounted for, in part, by the necessary distinction to be made between the personal opinions of the Pope and his solemn definitions of faith. As many Papal acts are not marked by those characters which, by the confession of all divines, are necessary to give them the highest degree of authority, it is not strange that questions should arise as to the circumstances in which a decision should be regarded as final. The concordant acceptance of the decree by the body of bishops, is evidence that it has all the necessary characteristics; and the unity and strength of Catholic faith are manifested in the harmony of the episcopal college with their head, so that the decision is there­by invested witb an extrinsic and adventitious authenticity ; but its value in the mind of the believer is derived from the guidance of tbe Holy Spirit, by which the chief bishop is directed in the discharge of the important duty of feeding the lambs and sheep of Christ. Prophets and apostles were individually inspired, and their declarations were entitled to belief on the authority of God, in whose name they spoke. The Pope lays no claim to inspiration; but the Holy Ghost, who guides the pastor of the Church into all truth, enlightens him in his solemn judgment, that he may discriminate the ancient faith from human innova­tion, and maintain it, pure and entire, against every form of error.

The vindication of the moral character of the popes, which
is furnished towards the end of the second volume of the works
of our author, is a most valuable essay, although, in some few instances, it might be more positive and triumphant. Various other pieces, replete with information and most logical in their texture, will be perused with profit and delight, not only by tho ecclesiastical student, but by the general reader. The inquirer after religious truth, whose mind is still clouded with the preju­dices of education, or who has drunk from polluted streams of history, can find the solution of every difficulty in the elaborate letters on Blanco White, or in some other of the controversial writings which are contained in these volumes. The local usages of Spain in regard to dispensations and pecuniary con­tributions are admirably explained in the letters on the Bull of the Crusade. The amount of information, historical as well as theological, contained in the letters on Transubstantiation, addressed to Dr. Bachman, is extraordinary. Our theologi­cal students, by an attentive perusal of the works of Dr. Eng­land, will be furnished on all points with weapons to resist the adversaries of the faith, and will be prepared for rightly hand­ling the word of truth. Nothing trivial is found in his discours­es or writings; but facts and arguments are spread before the reader in clear language, occasionally adorned with imagery, and rising to the highest order of eloquence. To preach with dignity and effect, it is not sufficient to be master of dogmatic and moral theology, and to have fluency of expression: a knowledge of the history of the Church and of tbe sects, of the laws and usages of the country, of the modes of thought and of the feelings of those whom we address, is highly impor­tant. Bishop England had made a profound study of the principles of law, having been originally destined for the bar; he was thoroughly acquainted with the constitutions of the United States and of the various States; he was familiar with our laws and institutions in great detail; he had early observed and justly appreciated the peculiarities of the American char­acter; and his varied acquirements qualified him for address­ing the most enlightened classes of the community, as well as the most unlettered, with ease and effect. He was heard with profit and delight by professional men, politicians, and statesmen. The humblest slave was instructed by his teaching, and consoled by his exhortations; whilst senators stood astounded at the depth of his researches, and the commanding character of his oratory. He treated of controversy without bitterness; he confounded his adversary without mortifying him; and when he had brought him to the ground, the benignant smile which lighted up his countenance almost persuaded the fallen foe that it was rather a playful exercise than a feat of chivalry. The last adversary with whom he was engaged was Mr. Ful­ler, of Beaufort, a Baptist Preacher, formerly a lawyer, a man of considemble information and ability. The subject under discussion was the Roman Chancery, against which this gentle­man had made a most outrageous charge of pandering to crime. Notwithstanding the exciting nature of the topic, the Bishop conducted the investigation with the most delicate courtesy, as well as with immense Bibliographical erudition; and such was the impression made on the mind and heart of his adversary, that, on reaching Charleston, just after the demise of the learned Prelate, he shed tears on receiving the melancholy intelligence. But few controversial writers win the affections of those whom they confute,

Although the Bishop treated with respect the prejudices of the public, he by no means flattered them. He was the fear­less advocate of truth, ready to brave all opposition and en­counter every danger in its maintenance. He had
"A heart where dread was never so impress'd
To hide the thought that might the truth advance,
In neither fortune loft, nor yet rcpress'd
To swell in wealth, or yeeld unto mischaunce."

He felt it, indeed, to be his duty to meet the popular prejudice against the Church, by showing the democratic features of her institutions, in which respect he may have been occasionally betrayed by his zeal into some exaggeration. In a discourse delivered at Boston, on May 14th, 1841, a day of general fast throughout the United States, he thus refuted the charge of their inconsistency with republicanism :- " The principle of republicanism is the equality of men. We teach that all Chris­tians have a common Parent; that all are equally redeemed by the blood of the Saviour; that all must appear before a common God, who knows no distinction of persons; where, then, is the inconsistency? Look through the records of the world, and see where the principles of true republicanism are first to be found. They had their origin in Christianity, and their earliest instance is in the Church of which we are mem­bers. Her institutions are eminently republican. Her rulers
are chosen by the common consent; her officers are obliged to account strictly to tbose over whom they preside; her guide is a written constitution of higher force than the will of any individual. What call you this? Aristocracy? Monar­chy? It is republicanism." Here we must acknowledge an oratorical flourish; for in sober truth we cannot affirm that the institutions of the Church are purely republiean. The illustri­ous prelate, on other occasions, distinctly stated that they com­bine the advantages of each form of government, without the usual evils attendant on them. The Church, we have heard him say in a discourse before the provincial council, has the energy of monarchy, without its absolute character; the wis­dom of enlightened aristocracy, without the incubus of heredi­tary nobility; the equality of a republic, without tbe fluctua­tion of popular caprice. Monarchy is represented in her su­preme executive; an aristocracy, not of birth nor of wealth, but of merit, encircles the throne; and the democratic element pervades her whole system, because the general good is the object of her government, and all her children are equally eli­gible to her highest offices. He particularly dwelt on the man­ifestation of this principle in various religious orders, in which the noble and the peasant stand on the same level; are chosen to offices of trust by the free votes of their fellows, and hold them for a limited period, lest the perpetuity of the charge might generate abuses, and render their remedy impossible. In various parts of his works, tbe development of these views may be found, which will lead the reader to acknowledge their correctness, and acquit the prelate of any sacrifice of principle to public prejudice, or of any wilful misstatement of facts, to gain for himself an evanescent popularity, or for the Church ad­herents under tbe influence of narrow views of her affinity with any particular form of government. He quoted with approbation the words of Hussey, tbe eloquent Bishop of Waterford :_ " As the Catholic faith is a religion preached to all nations, and to all people, so it is suitable to all climes and to all forms of government, monarchies or republics, aristocracies or democracies." *(Vol. II, p. 419). 
The lettel's on Domestic Slavery, which Bishop England ad­dressed to Mr. Forsyth, then Secretary of State of tbe United States, may create an impression on tbe minds of European read­ers, that he yielded to the difficulties of his position by advocat­ing the slave system. We wish he had been spared to continue these learned essays, as he intended, by pointing out to masters the duties which they owe to their slaves, and placing in bold relief the many ecclesiastical enactments made to mitigate the evils of the system. His object was, not to flatter Southern prejudiees or to rivet more strongly the chains of the slave, but to relieve the Pontiff and the Church from the odium of disturbing existing relations, with danger of involving society in a servile war. The bull of the late venerable Pontiff against the Afriean slave-trade was represented by the Abolitionists of the North as a condemnation of domestic slavery; which im­pression was likely to retard tbe progress of the Catholic relig­ion in the Slave States, perhaps even to expose the churches and clergy to popular violence, from which they had narrowly escaped a few years before in Charleston. Under these circumstances the zealous prelate undertook to point out the pre­cise object of the Papal document, and the wise economy which the Church had observed in ancient times, on which point he displays vast stores of erudition; but, at the same time, he fear­lessly declared that he was not friendly to the continuance of slavery. We applaud his zeal, admit the correctness of his statements, and unhesitatingly acquit him of all subserviency to local prejudices or interests ; although we should have admired him still more as the advocate of the slave, pleading his cause in the name of humanity and religion. We are not of those who would claim the praise of philanthropy at the expense of social order, and with danger of insurrection and bloodshed; we know the difficulties by which slaveholders are beset, but we regret their extreme sensitiveness on this point, and the readi­ness of some to visit with vengeance the mildest expression of sentiment. Their best safeguard is the influence of religion, which would reconcile the slave to the order of Providence, secure for him his spiritual privileges and natural rights, and, by ameliorating his condition and mitigating the severity of his lot, prepare him gradually for the enjoyment of liberty, Whatever extenuation of the system may be found in the circumstances in which it originated, or the manner of its exercise, or the dangers attendant on its abolition, the contrast which it presents to liberty--our country's boast--is such as to give us in foreign nations a character of inconsistency, not easily explained away, The principles which form the basis of the Declaration of In­dependence seem to be forgotten and ignored in regard to our slave population. All friends of the honor and prosperity of the Southern States must desire them to be relieved from the odium of a system which is not in harmony with the general feelings of our age, and which notably retards their advance­ment. Had Ohio been embarrassed by it, she could never, in so short a period of time, have outstripped her sister States, and attained to the third rank in the Union. The moral considerations, which are of a still graver kind, are easily under­stood by those who have passed some years in the South.

Bishop England was uniformly kind in his treatment of slaves, and evinced the greatest solicitude for their religious in­struction. For this purpose he opened a school at Charleston, under the care of the Sisters of Mercy, whom he had estab­lished there; which, however, he was forced to close at a period of unusual excitement. His acceptance of the mission from the Holy See to the republic of Haiti gave such offence to many, that he received an intimation from some leading men, that, if he continued his relations to the colored population of that island, the churches and religious institutions of his own diocese would be endangered, His true Christian philan­thropy and independence of character appeared in his pursu­ing the good work intrusted to him, until the Pope thought proper to release him fulfill a charge highly troublesome, and rendered fruitless by the wily policy of the govemment of that country. The frankness of his character and the ardor of his temperament ill prepared him for the cold and unprincipled chi­canery of mongrel statesmen, who trifled with his generous con­fidence; as they afterwards sported with the good faith of his successor in the negotiation, - the late Bishop of St. Louis. It was highly honorable to Bishop England to have been chosen by the Holy See for this arduolls mission, and invested with legatine powers, and to have received warm commendations from the Pontiff for the zeal and ability which he had displayed in the discharge of his high functions. Nowhere is character so justly appreciated as in the court of Home. Na­tional and individual peculiarities are regarded with kind indul­gence, - theological opinions which do not harmonize with the teaching of Roman divines are treated respectfully, - and, where faith is entire, morals unblemished, zeal pure, learning and talents eminent, the individual is honored and cherished. In the course of a few years the Bishop of Charleston crossed and recrossed the Atlantic sevelal times, on business of his diocese or in his legatine capacity, and visited the See of Peter, where his talents and virtues, with his admirable candor and affection, won him the esteem and love of the highest dignitaries. The prejudices of his education and political associations in regard to the pon­tifical prerogatives gave way to the mild influence of level headed divines, and to the inspirations which are imperceptibly im­bibed at the tombs of the Apostles. His first sermon on his return from Rome, preached in St. Peter's, New York, was on the power given by Christ to Peter.

It is known that Dr. England was the intimate friend of the illustrious O'Connell, with whom he took a conspicuous part in Irish politics. Many persons may imagine that the reverence due to the priesthood is easily forfeited in the struggle for civil rights, and that the voice which proclaims the Divine law should never resound in political assemblies; yet the circum­stances of the Irish people and clergy should be thoroughly understood, before judgment be passed on them for the share they have taken in peaceful agitation. They felt that their influence would animate the laity to hope for their just rights, and to seek them in a legal and constitutional way, whilst it would restrain them from all acts of violence and bloodshed. When a child, John England had been conducted by his grandfather to the dungeon in which the aged man had been immured under the operation of the penal laws to prevent the growth of Popery, and, as the youth advanced in years, his spirit burned with an indignant sense of the wrongs of his ancestors and country. With his ardor of temperament and brilliancy of genius, it was impossible to feel no sympathy for his fellow-sufferers, or to restrain its expression. Religion achieved a triumph of which his country might be jealous, when she led to the altar the youth who might have espoused the cause of liberty on the battle-field; but, although a bondman of Christ, the floods of his eloquence beat against the pedestal of the column which was the memorial of the subjugation of Ireland by the Saxon. In the vigor of life he came to this country, deeply imbued with those political principles which had guided him in his opposition to English misrule. His sympathies with the Democratic party were soon manifested. He exercised his privilege of voting, and otherwise showed the interest which he felt in the cause of his adopted country; but he did not become an active politician, or forget for a moment the high duties of his minis­try. At the crisis which threatened the integrity of the Union, he avowed his opposition to the doctrines or nullification, re­gardless of the popularity which he might have acquired by flattering the pretensions of the State in which he lived. His letter to the Roman Catholic citizens of Charleston, which is found in the fourth volume of his works, is a model of prudence and impartiality, and well calculated to guard the Catholics against the abuse of the privileges of freemen. He wished them to vote freely and conscientiously, without bias or influ­ence of any kind, according to their best judgment, for the interests of their country. Those who would impose on cler­gymen entire silence in regard to politics, virtually proscribe them, denying them the rights of the most humble citizen. It is seldom, indeed, that it is advisable for a clergyman to identify himself with a political party, as it is wholly unsuitable for him to become an active partisan, - still less a tool; but he has rights in common with other citizens, of which, if he exercise them calmly and inoffensively, with a view to the public good, no one should censure or envy his enjoyment. It is his duty to teach his people the moral obligation of using their rights conscientiously, without suffering themselves to be tampered with or deceived by interested and unprincipled politicians, and to caution them against strife, violence, and outrage, that they may act as freemen, and not as making liberty a cloak for malice. We know of no better moral lecture on the eve of an election than the lettel just referred to, or the discourse pronounced
by him at Boston.

The organization of the diocese of Charleston, which was effected by the late lamented prelate, is developed in the constitu­tions of the local churches of the various States which composed it, in the addresses of the Bishop to the conventions assembled from year to year, and in the proceedings of those bodies, as reported in the fifth volume. The praise of much legal knowl­edge, and great skill in adapting; the ecclesiastical system to local institutions and usages, must be awarded to the learned author of the constitutions. The candor of his statements, the force of his appeals, the beauty of his descriptions, the thrilling power of his eloquence, will be acknowledged by all who read his addresses, The proceedings themselves bear a formal and solemn character, which, in some circumstances, would have been highly impressive. The assembling of the lay delegates in one house, and of the clergy in another; the declarations of adhering to the constitution formally made by the officers in the hands of the Bishop, who presided with princely bear­ing; the conferences and reports of the two houses; and the confirmation of their acts by the Prelate ; - all these forms and acts would have been of the most imposing character, had the Catholic population been great, the resources of the diocese considerable, the representatives numerous and influential, and the building in which they assembled suited to the grand occa­sion, But where the Catholics were few, and scattered over a vast territory, with limited means, the system could not be tested to advantage, and a feeling of disappointment necessarily arises all finding that scarcely any thing was accomplished by the committees charged to raise funds for general purposes, One great benefit, however, resulted from these annual assemblies, The trustee system, which had inflicted such dire evils on the diocese of Charleston, as well as on several other dioceses of the Union, was curbed and broken; the unlimited control of laymen over church property and funds was subjected to the provisions of a constitution which regulated their rights and privileges; and the rcpresentative system was adopted in a way to satisfy the cravings of a few for distinction, and yet to make them weary of the trouble and formality. In the mind of the illustrious prelate the constitution was the sovereign remedy for the pretensions of laymen who encroached on sacred ground; and such, in fact, it proved to be, when man­aged by one who possessed so much energy of character and such personal influence. But we hold it to be a dangerous ex­periment to ingraft popular institutions on those of the Church, and place the laity in a relation to the clergy, which, if it give them no real power, must prove dissatisfactory. The calamities which at that time afflicted the church of Philadelphia, and that of Charleston, led him to devise this plan, which he no doubt would have submitted to the judgment of his colleagues, had it been then customarv for them to assemble in council for the common interests of the ecclesiastical province; but his im­potunate solicitations for this purpose failed of success until after the constitution had gone into full operation, when the
rights legally regulated could no longer be disturbed. The laity, by the law of Christ, are dependent on the clergy in all that regards the revealed doctrine and tho administration of the sacraments; and under no circumstances can they claim rights over the temporalities of the Church in such a way as to check and control the clergy in the exorcise of their spiritual privi­leges. The simplest way of preventing such interference seems to us to be by general disciplinary enactments, to be made by provincial or national councils, and applied to each diocese by synodical statutes. These could assume a form which even the public tribunals would respect, should unfortunately the ne­cessity exist of seeking the protection of the law against the usurpations of ignorant or bold men who overstep the limits of their office, and seek to lord it over those whom Christ ap­pointed to be their fathers and guides.
The interposition of Dr. England, to remedy the disorders occasioned by the unfortunate Hogan and his partisans in Phila­delphia, is an evidence of his zeal and kind intentions, as well as of his unsuspecting charity and confiding honesty; although, as his letters themselves show, by the contrivance of unprincipled men, it aggravated the evils which then afflicted the congrega­tion of St. Mary's. It is not necessary for us to dwell on so painful a topic, which many will regret to see presented again to the public consideration, so long after that schism has been extinguished; but history, which is no respecter of per­sons, does not cast the mantle of oblivion over past disorders. Her lessons are derived from the scandals of former days, as well as from examples of heroic virtue, and she summons from the dead the actors in every variety of scenes, to teach us, by the different results of their conduct, what we should shun, as well as what we should imitate.

"La, retraeant leurs foiblesses passees,
Leurs actions, leurs discours, leurs pensees,
A chaque etat ils reviennent dicter
Ce qu'il faut fuir, ce qu'il faut imiter."

The Church in this country owes to Bishop England the cele­bration of provincial councils, which have given form and con­sistency to her hierarchy, and order to her internal economy. The venerated Carrol, the first Bishop of Baltimore, when this see was raised to the metropolitical dignity, held a meeting of his colleagues, then newly created, and adopted some few arrangements for their harmonious action. Nearly nineteen years passed without any other episcopal assembly. The distance of several of the suffrigan prelates from the chief see, their pov­erty, the need of their presence in their vast dioceses, ill pro­vided with missionuries, were serious hindrances to their coming together in council; but it cannot be dissembled, that the weighti­est impediment arose from the fear which some excellent men entertained, that such an assembly would occasion agitation among the clergy and people, and lead to rash innovations. The ardent character of the Bishop of Charleston was not cal­culated to diminish this apprehension. The ceaseless activity of his mind, his peculiar views on certain points of discipline, and his power in debate, were subjects of misgiving, so that little regard was paid to his suggestions, until Archbisbop Whit­field was raised to the see. In the first council which he summoned, in 1829, Bishop England used with great modera­tion the success which crowned his efforts. The ease, the dignity, the power, the beauty of his language, in the unstudied effusions of the council-chamber, or in the conferences with the theologians, were more admirable than the flashes and thunders of his eloquence which amazed the crowded audiences in the public sessions. His moderation of sentiment and courtesy of manner surprised such of his colleagues as had known him only by his reputation as a bold, uncompromising patriot and prelate, Notwithstanding the caution with which his suggestions were received, he succeeded in inducing the adoption of many measures originating with himself, and he readily modified his own views to harmonize with those of his brethren in the episcopate. At his instance, it was resolved to hold the next council after the lapse of the canonical period of three years; but when the ap­pointed time was approaching, the worthy metropolitan shrunk from the responsibility of a second experiment, and it was not until tbe Sovereign Pontiff intimated his express will, that his repugnance was overcome. We slate these facts in no offen­sive spirit; we respect the motives of the prelate and his advis­ers ; but it is right that the purpose of originating and promoting these most important assemblies sbould be given to tbe eminent Bishop of Charleston. "Honor to whom honor is due."

'We could have wished that the admirable letter to the clergy, and another of great beauty and force to the laity, which were published in the name of the first council, as also the letters of the second and third councils, which were known to be all from tbe pen of Dr, England, had found a place in the collection of his works. Besides their intrinsic value, they possess an adven­titious authority as the expressions of sentiment of these venerable assemblies through their eloquent organ. Should the sale of the works call for a second edition, as we fervently hope, this de­ficiency may be supplied, It may be right, however, to correct a mistake into which his biographer has fallen, in ascribing to him the Latin letters to the Archbishops of Cologne and Posen, which beautiful productions, worthy of a Cyprian or a Bernard, are fron the pen of the lamented Rosati, tbe late pious Bishop of St. Louis, Dr. England, although an excellent scholar, did not possess that command of the Latin language which would enable him to write it with ease and dignity, His power lay in the use of the English, which he effectually employed in the defence of truth and of his father-land, as well as of the institutions of his adopted country,