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Madness of Antichristians

Brownson's Quarterly Review, January, 1847

Art. III. The People.    By M. Michelet.    Translated by G. H. Smith, F. G. S.    New York.    1846.

M. Michelet is a Professor of History in the College Royal of France, and is pretty well known as the author of several historical works, and of two or three publications against religion, which have been favorably received by the Protestant community in general. He is not deficient in natural endowments, and appears to be a scholar of respectable attainments. As a writer, though wanting in dignity, he is lively, brilliant, and sometimes even eloquent. His historical works can be cheerfully recommended to all who wish only to become acquainted with his theorizing, poetizing, and sentimentalizing on history, but they are not indispensable to those who would study history itself. against the Jesuits is mere frothy declamation, without any coloring of fact or argument ; his Le Pretre et la Femme de Famille is a compound of ignorance, infidel malice, prurient fancy, and maudlin sentiment ;   and the work before us is the author himself.
" This book is more than a book ; it is myself, is I."    Indeed, whatever the author may appear to be writing, it is always himself that he writes.

The book we have introduced to our readers is of no great intrinsic value. It throws no certain light on the condition of the people, and makes no important suggestion for their improvement. The only thing we can say in its favor is, that it proves the mass of the French people are less immoral than they are commonly represented, and shows that the modern system of industry has not so many advantages over that which it has superseded as is commonly imagined.     But the work mainly interests us as an exponent of the spirit of the Anticatholic world.     The author considers himself a fair representative ol   he age, and   so far as the age is not Catholic, he appears to us to be so.     I hey who study the age in him will not be likely to mistake its dominant tendencies.    He is carrying on a war against religion, and has published this work to enlist his countrymen on his side.    It may, therefore, be taken as an index to the kind of appeals the enemies of religion are  making to the people  and to the ground on which they are to be met and routed.     We no sooner open it than we perceive the bold and direct denials of religion, made by the infidels of the last century, are not now continued.    The age of absolute negations appears to have gone by.    The present age shrinks from the direct issue,  religion or no religion,and returns to the old device of attempting to oppose Christianity in the name of Christianity herself, and  to  seduce the people from their love and fidelity by substituting something real and positive in her place, and something, too, which she apparently approves and consecrates.   
                                                                   What is this something ?    Christianity represents the divinity on earth, and to oppose it is to oppose God and all that pertains distinctively to the divine order.    In the nature of things then, they who oppose it can oppose to it nothing divine, nothing positive, in fact, but man himself, or what is simply human.     The enemies of Christianity must oppose to  it either man or nothing.     In the last century, for a time, they really opposed nothing, and relied on simple hatred to religion itself. -But hatred is spasmodic, unnatural, and short-lived.    Only the -Devil  himself can make it a universal and  permanent principle of action.    The bulk of mankind are not bad enough for that.     Ihey must have something positive to love and strive tor ;   and they  will not act long steadily and  energetically, unless for something they love and wish to possess.     But when God is opposed, when Christianity, the Church in which ne resides and dispenses his grace, is discarded, nothing is left to love and strive for but man, and what pertains to him as man.    Hence, we find M.  Michelet opposing man to God and seeking to draw off our love from God by means of our love lor the human.

This, in principle, is no new device. It is precisely what the Irotestant Reformers themselves did. They rebelled against God ; and as God cannot be divided and set against himself they were forced to fall back on what is simply human for their support. They asserted sometimes the supremacy of the state against the supremacy of the Church ; but this was only a human authority; for the state is human. They asserted, also, the supremacy of the Scriptures, taken on and interpreted by a human authority. But this, again, was only asserting the supremacy of man ; for the Scriptures, so taken and interpreted, are only a human authority, and impose no faith but what each interpreter chooses to find in them. They asserted, in fine, the right of private judgment. But this all the world knows is human ; and no one who has analyzed their movement doubts for a moment, that, reduced to its general formula, it is,  Man is supreme, and is to us in the place of God.                                       

Nor was this the  device of Protestantism alone.     There was very little originality in the Protestant movement.    It proceeded on the principle common to all movements, no matter in what age or country, against  the City of God, and did but continue  the protest which our first parents, through the seductions of the Serpent, made in the Garden.    There may be development and  modification of external representation from age to age, or from place to place; but there is no substantial change.     The principle is always the same.     It is always in the name of man, always under pretence of bringing up and out the human element, that religion is opposed.     The effort is always to create an antagonism between the love of God and the love  of man, or to subordinate God to man. " Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."   That is, if we may paraphrase it, " The command you suppose God has given you, and which you suppose you must keep, is tyrannical ;  it degrades your nature, cripples its energies, enslaves its affections, and hinders the development and growth of its godlike faculties.    If you were free, or if you had the courage, to eat the forbidden fruit, your eyes would be opened; you would not need to see by another's eyes ; you would know good and evil, and not with another's knowledge, but with  your own knowledge,  for yourselves,  in like  manner as God himself knows in and of himself, without another to teach him.    Has God said, Ye shall not eat, lest ye die ?   Nonsense.    Believe no such thing.     Can   God wish to keep you  children and slaves for ever ?    What pleasure can he take in the homage of those who have no mind, no will of their own, who dare neither think nor act but as they are bid ?    No ; God loves the free, bold, manly spirit, that acts from choice, affection, not from compulsion. Would you be acceptable to him, you must entertain more worthy notions of him, divest yourselves of your idle fears, of the silly notion that God requires you to submit to a commancl that would keep you for ever weak and puny slaves. There is a soul within you ; Jet that speak; listen to that ; follow it, and be free, be great, be noble, be gods." So spake the serpent ; Eve was charmed, and no doubt fancied that the best way to render herself acceptable to God would be to disobey him. But be this as it may, the temptation which seduced her from her allegiance was the elevation of the human, the glory and dignity of man.

The same temptation is repeated in our days. The Church is opposed from the same motives that Satan urged in the beginning. "What hear we ? « The Church is dangerous to the state ; it is hostile to liberty ; it obscures the dignity of human nature ; it does not respect the rights of man ; denies private judgment ; tyrannizes over the freeborn mind ; and is in the way of intellectual and social progress." All the popular charges the age prefers against the Church are reducible to these several heads, and therefore all oppose man to God, the human to the divine. It were easy to prove this by reference to the literature of the clay, to the movements and boasts of the age ; but the fact is so salient that it is not necessary.

The real characteristic of the Antichristian, that is, Anti-catholic, world is, in brief, the Supremacy of Man. It makes man its God, its master, the end for which it must strive, and the fountain from which it must derive its light and strength. It is man against God. There can be no denial of this fact. Whoso wars against the Church wars against Christianity, and whoso wars against Christianity wars against God. Let no one deceive himself on this point. Christianity is not an abstraction nor a dead letter ; it is a living organism, the Church, and without the Church it is not,  is inconceivable. The   distinctions you imagine   between  Christianity and the Church.--the   Roman   Catholic   Church,   we   mean--are mere moonshine. No such distinctions are possible. God did not first give you a Christianity, and then build up, or leave you to build up, a Christian church around it, to embody and express more or less of it. He gave the Church in the beginning, and gave you nothing but what is included integrally in it. When you oppose the Church, you oppose the   religion of God,  and  God  himself.    You cannot do otherwise, if you would. There is no middle course for you. You must either say, God, and man for the sake of God, or, Man, and God, if at all, for the sake of man. There is no need of words or wry faces. Here is the plain, indisputable fact. There is no medium between the two possible in the nature of things. You are on the Lord's side, or you are against it. If you are on his side, you are on the side of the Church in which he is universally and permanently present unto the consummation of the world ; if you are on the side opposed to the Church, you are on the side opposed to God. No verbiage, no sophistry, no art or ingenuity, can alter this fact ; and the sooner you become convinced of it, and look this fact steadily in the face, the better will it be for all of you who are carrying on your unhallowed war against God's Holy

But, assuming the fact to be as we state it, what have the enemies of religion to offer us ? In general terms, they offer us man, represented in the family, native land, and universal brotherhood. M. Michelet opposes to the Church simply, if we abstract his verbiage, family and native land. These are the means and end of man's existence. These are M. Mi-chelet's religion. " France," he says, " is a religion." These he would substitute in the place of religion, and he would educate solely in reference to them. He opposes the Church because she insists on educating for God, and subordinating family and country to God, and teaching us they are good and holy only when sought or loved for God's sake. Others add to family and country, or, one may almost say, substitute for them, universal brotherhood, and place the supreme excellence of moral character in Philanthropy. These are philanthropists, and test all things by their schemes for the general improvement of mankind. They do not ask, Is the Church divine, is she from God, commissioned by God himself to teach us what we shall believe and do ? But they ask, Is she an abolitionist, a teetotaller, a radical, a socialist ? Now we certainly respect family, native land, brotherhood, and hold them to be sacred, when elevated by religion to her own order, and referred to God as the end for which they are, and are to be loved and sought. So viewed^ we have as much to say in their favor as have the Antichristian reformers themselves, and perhaps more too. The madness of these reformers does not consist in their devotion to them, but in their devotion to them for their own sake, as detached from God, the end for which they are, and made to be ends in themselves. T. his is their madness ; and it is precisely here where lies their power of deception. Religion consecrates all lliese terms, lhe Gospel pronounces marriage holy, and makes it a sacrament ; what do I, then, when I extol it, but what the Gospel itself does ? The Gospel enjoins patriotism ; when 1 present the claims of native land, and ask that all be trained to love it, am I not following out the Gospel ? The Oospel declares that love is the perfection of the law, that he who loveth dwelleth in God and God in him, for God is ove  when, then, I proclaim the excellence of love, make love the basis of my system, and call upon all to love one another, and to live as brothers, what do I but follow both the spirit and the letter of the Gospel ? This looks plausible, and the uninstructed and unwary may not at first sight perceive wherein lies the sophistry, or wherein they who reason thus are opposed to Christianity.

Marriage, when blessed by the Church, is a sacrament, and when sought for God's sake, is indeed holy, but not otherwise. Patriotism is a duty, and is meritorious, when we love and serve  our country from love of God, not when we love it simply for its own sake- Love is the perfection or fulfilling of the law, when understood in the Gospel sense for charity ; not when it is understood in the human sense for philanthropy. The error lies in the neglect of these distinctions, and in predicating of marriage, patriotism, love of mankind, when referred simply to what is human as the end, what may with truth be predicated of them when they are referred to God. The enemies of the City of God say, because family, native land, brotherhood, when referred to God, are sacred, and to seek them is a religious act, to seek them is a religious act when they are not so referred ; because to love our neighbour as ourselves, for the love of God, is a precept of the divine law,  to love him for his own sake, without reference to the love of God, is the fulfilling of that precept ; and because whoso loves God must love his brother also, God is loved in man, not man in God.

Now all this makes man the end, and supreme, and, if our modern reformers were not stark blind, they could not fail to perceive their absurdity. There is a solemn truth burnt into the heart of every man who has had some little experience of life, that man never suffices for man, and therefore that nothing human is ever sufficient for itself.   The good to be derived
from marriage, from native land, from universal brotherhood, is never attainable when they are sought for their own sake, and not for the sake of God. When sought for his sake, there is all the good derivable from them which our reformers allege ; but by no means when sought for their own sake, as all experience proves.

The age prates everywhere of love, of woman, and oi 1am-ily     Nothing is more remarkable than the rank assigned to woman, and the reliance that is placed on her  for whatever good is looked for.    She is made the Church, and men nowadays ask from her what in the ages of faith they asked irom the  Immaculate Spouse of the Lamb ; and the worship  we pay to the Blessed Mother of God is, in more instances than one, taken by persons out of the Church to be symbolical ol the worship due to the sex.    M. Michelet tells us, man is man only when with a wife, with whom he is married or not married ; and Frederika Bremer, the popular Swedish novelist, whose works even the Dublin Review has commended, with only a faint whisper of  dissent, confounds  the sentiment ol two passionate lovers  for each other with the love of God, apparently regarding it as one of the purest and highest forms ot charity.    It would not be difficult to trace the same doctrine through no small portion of that literature which at once forms and expresses the age.    All this may be very fine and charming in one of love's paroxysms, but the love of man for woman, and of woman for man, taken in its most honest sense, never suffices for itself; and pure and hallowed as may be woman's gentle influence, when she herself loves God supremely and ex-clusively, it can never be safely appealed to when she does not so love him.    Her influence, when religion is wanting, is more fatal than that of man himself.     What is said of her, the appeals made to her, and the flattery bestovyed on her by this ae;e, only mark its luxury and gross corruption.                     

We may love, should love,  but God only. All else that is loved must be loved in him and for him. This is as true in relation to the mutual love of husband and wife, of parents and children, as in relation to any other love. And when this is forgotten or neglected, the love is full of misery and wretchedness. Our novelists delight to picture two young lovers, all and all to each other, living only one for the other, unable to live one without the other, seeing their heaven in each other s eyes, and shocked at the bare thought that either could find a heaven hereafter, save in the presence of the other.     Adelaide, in one of Miss Bremer's novels, believing herself to be dying, consoles Alaric, her lover, with the assurance that he will soon follow her, and that they will meet in heaven, which would be no heaven to her without him.     Never was Love more worshipped than  in our days ; never were more pains taken to enlist all imaginations in his favor, and to introduce him into every heart of the least susceptibility.     Yet what is the complaint which we everywhere hear ?    The heart is not met; we have a power to love which is not called forth ; the heart is lonely, sad, and sighs for some one to love, some one it can love, which will fill its capacity to love, and on which it may lavish all its wealth of love.    But in vain.    There is no such object.    We try one, then another, then still another, all to no purpose.    No one comes up to our idea ; no one understands us ; no one enters into all our feelings, and responds to all our nice sensibilities.     Our  deep and rich affections, longing to overflow and fertilize a kindred heart, are repulsed, forced back upon their source, and stagnate and rot.     Such is the  tone of the complaints we hear.    Indeed, the very age itself is a lovesick maiden.     It believes in love, celebrates it in prose and rhyme, and sighs and whimpers that it can find nothing to love.    All this is natural and inevitable.    Love, left to itself, is madness, and cannot be satisfied with love.    It is never for two successive moments in the same mood ; and it is never, when obtaining, the same as when demanding.   Nothing can satisfy it.    No human being can meet its caprices, or appease its cravings.

Now, all this comes, not from the fact that love is sought, or is regarded as a good, but from the fact that it is sought for its own sake; subordinate love to religion, love only in reference to God ; seek the love, the peace, the tranquillity of the family for God's sake, and not for the sake of the family itself, and the whole tone and temper change. There is no less love, no less generous or tender affection, no less sensibility, no less of all that which in love is lovable ; but the love is controllable, is no longer a madness, is rational ; for it now lives not on itsr. ;' alone, feeds not by devouring itself, but is nourished, sustained, directed by something higher, nobler than itself,  something nor time nor change can affect, and which keeps it as fresh and vigorous, when age and care have furrowed the cheek or frosted the brow, as in the heyday of youthful beauty. Nothing in this world more needs religion than does love itself.    Only the religious can truly love, or find love a blessing.    It is only where God is loved supremely and exclusively that there is real marriage, marriage in the Christian sense of the word.    They only receive the fruits of the Sacrament of Marriage who are married in God, and love each other with infinite tenderness for the love of God.     Then are they indeed no longer twain, but one,  made one by the true medium of union, the living and lifegiving God.    Their union is perfect and living, and is indissoluble till death.    There is no return upon self, no asking if one loves or is loved, whether one understands or is understood, appreciates or is appreciated ;  each looks to God, finds the other in him, and is satisfied.    Where it is thus, there may be family in its true sense. Husband and wife, parents and children, love each other, for they all love one another in the one love of their Father in heaven.     There is no discord, no division, for they are all one in this higher love.    Such family is sacred, is holy ; its sweet affections, its peace, its solicitudes, its troubles, are all religious, and acceptable offerings to God.      Infirmities are borne with, personal qualities do not impair affection, and toil, and want, and suffering do but endear the members the more to one another, and make them  the more indissolubly one. Yes, there is religious family.     The error is not in extolling family, is not in exalting the virtue and peace of domestic life, when referred to God, but in detaching the family from religion, in making it in itself religious, and in seeking it for its own   sake.    Seek God and him only, and you may find the family ; and then, but only then, will it be all you desire it.
The principle we have asserted in relation to love, marriage, and the family, holds good throughout every department of human life.  

Philanthropy, in our days, is  a high-sounding word, and it is regarded as a high compliment to a man to call him a philanthropist.     But philanthropy, in itself considered, is a mere human sentiment, and brings good neither to its subject nor to its object.    It has never effected any thing great or good for the race.     It has been the mainspring of none of those noble institutions which have more or less flourished in every age of the Church, and from which mankind have derived so much advantage.    Moved by a simple love of humanity, men may talk finely, use charming words, and vent much exquisite sentiment ; but they effect nothing, unless it be to aggravate the  evils they undertake to  cure.    Philanthropists are the most useless race of mortals, as well as the most disagreeable, that it is easy to imagine.     Their heads are full of kinks and crotchets, and there is no living with them. They mtermeddle with every thing, and mind every body's business but their own. They seem to fancy that their trade of phi-lanthmpy gives them the right to trample on all the laws of good-breeding, to outrage every honest feeling, and to make themselves supremely offensive. Poor creatures ! they are just a-going to effect something great and glorious; but, alas ! it is always they are just a-going to do it.

Our age teems with philanthropists  of all sorts, sizes, and colors. It claims to have a large share of generous sympathy lor man.    It is socialist.    It is terribly pathetic over depressed humanity, especially the poorer and more numerous classes. Never before has man understood the value of man ; never before has he felt for man as man.    Now, for the first lime in the world s history, man sees a brother in his fellow-man, and a man in the humble, toil-worn laborer, as well as in the lordly noble. #  An ocean of love for the oppressed and indigent is now stirred up from its depths, and the race, after its sleep of six thousand years, awakes to a sense of the duty it owes to each of its members.    Take courage, ye poor and neglected, ye wronged and outraged, ye oppressed and down-trodden, ye perishing classes, one and all!    It is the glorious nineteenth century, the  century of light,  of love, of humanity.      Now blessed are  the  poor,  for now shall they have  the  Gospel preached.    All men are brethren.    Man  measures man the world over;   hear it, ye  poor and outcast, and lift up your heads ; hear it, ye rich and proud, whose eyes stand out with latness, and  tremble.     A  new  age  commences.    The oreat order so long foretold, so long and so ardently desired,°now descends from heaven, and the Saturnian years begin.    Oppression shall end, slavery shall cease, the captive shall go free, the bruised  spirit shall  be  healed, and all  men  shall be as brothers, and  love one  another.     Admirable !     But how ? What a question !    Up start a thousand schemers and projectors ; each has a sovereign remedy, and there is a confusion of tongues, as if Babel had come again.    Such muttering, sputtering, chattering, vociferating, pulling and hauling, clatter and racket, that one is glad to escape with a whole skin ; and unless he has a large share of grace, must  wish it had pleased Heaven to haye given him  his birth in some other than this enlightened and philanthropic nineteenth century,
Now, with all deference to our enlightened philanthropists, we must express some doubts whether this age is so original as it imagines. Some go so far as to deny it originality altogether, and it has been publicly declared that it has not done so much as to « invent even a new humbug." I his may be say-ins too much ; but, after all, it has not falsified the word of God, which declares there is nothing new under the sun. It was not left to this age to be the first to preach the Gospel to the poor, or to discover the real worth of man as man. I he antics which people play, the capers they cut, when they get a new idea into their heads, are often as much a proof of their ignorance as of their knowledge. Many is the fledgling philosopher or philanthropist who fancies the world is rapidly advancing because he has learned something to-day of which he was ignorant yesterday. Sometimes we fancy we are making discoveries, when we are only learning what the scientific take it for granted every body knows, as was the case with Bacon in regard to the Schoolmen.

No Christian has ever needed to be taught the very commonplace truths which so inflate our modern reformers, tor every Christian   has  learned  them  in  his  catechism,     A lie Christian needs not this  flood of light which  the nineteenth century boasts.     What it  calls   a flood   of  light is to him but the  last   flicker   of  a farthing-candle,  and   he   wonders where these enlightened reformers came from, that so small a  light so dazzles their eyes  and turns their heads,    purely they are birds of the night,  owls or bats, and no eagles, accustomed to gaze on the sun.    Certainly every man must deplore  the condition of the millions of our race unblest by the light of the  Gospel, perishing for lack of the bread  oi life ;  certainly  every Christian   must and does   deplore  the physical wretchedness of vast multitudes in all countries, but chiefly for the  moral destitution which too often  accompanies it.    He feels with and for the poor and destitute, and does all in his power to relieve their wretchedness.    Not he stands indifferent to suffering humanity, or in the way ol relief. But there is a great distance between that love for the masses which originates in the simple love of man lor his own sake, and that which originates in the love of God and loves them in and for him.     The   one  we  call   philanthropy, the other charity, and the age makes such a .fool of itself in regard to the former simply because it wants the latter.    Philanthropy turns its head because it is ignorant of charity.    We grant the age philanthropy, the love of man, for it sets up man against God ; but this, instead of being its glory, is its shame.     It boasts the less, because it has not the greater.

In nothing is the absolute insufficiency of man for himself more striking than in the philanthropise efforts of the day. Whether our philanthropists have for their object to relieve the indigent, to liberate the slave, to check a prevalent vice, to remodel the state, or reorganize society, they proceed as madmen, prove utterly impotent, save to unhinge men's minds, to unsettle what is fixed, and to throw into chaos what has been reduced to order. Never was more breath or ink wasted over the indigent classes ; never was a greater variety of splendid schemes^ devised for their relief; and never was there a period in the history of the world when they were more in need of help and when they received less. What is now done for them only increases their disquiet, their intense longings for what they have not and cannot get,  only sharpens their sensibilities, and augments their sufferings. The evils of poverty are more than half relieved, when you have removed from the poor the craving to be rich, and made them contented with their state in life. Philanthropy cannot understand this ; she cannot conceive a good for them, unless they are placed in another rank in life ; and all her tears over them, all her exhortations to them, only increase their craving to be other than they are, and deepen the sense of their misery.

So it is, and so it must be, when we rely on philanthropy, and mistake it for that love which the Blessed Apostle says is the perfection of the law. When we do so, we begin at the wrong end, and seek God in man, instead of man in God. Man out of God can do no good, can receive no good,  that is, no good in any deep sense of the word. The true course is the reverse ; it is to begin in God, and to find all in him. The love we should have for our neighbour, and which his good, as well as our true worth, requires us to have, is, not that human sentiment beginning and ending in man which our philanthropists contend for, but that blessed charity which loves God above all things, with the whole heart and soul, because he is infinitely amiable and deserving of all love, and our neighbour as ourselves for the love of God. Not by any means is it wrong to love our neighbour ; not by any means is the love of mankind to be discountenanced ; but it must, through religion, be made infinitely more than philanthropy, or it will inevitably be less. As we said of the love of the family, so say we of the love of mankind. The merely human sentiment has never its complement in itself, is always weak and whimpering, and  evaporates  in words, sighs, and
tears. We have no true and solid love one of another, unless one love the other not in himself but in God. Only in God can the brotherhood of the race be found. Men must be carried up to the Father, before they can be seen and loved as brethren. So far from the love of God being antagonisti-cal to the love of man, it is only in loving God that we really do or can love man.    We love the child because we love the Father.                                                                            

We do not love our fellow-men less because our love is charity instead of philanthropy, but we love them from a higher and a stronger motive, with a purer, richer, and more enduring love.    Having found our neighbour in God, we can then find God in our neighbour, and live or die for our neighbour ; for it is not for him, but for God.    Those who, in what Protestants call the dark ages, from pure love of God, associated themselves for the redemption of captives, and, when   then-funds failed, sold themselves as the ransom of the slave, probably loved the slave not less than do our modern Abolitionists, who, at a convenient distance, declaim against his master, and gain the praise of philanthropy by making speeches against slavery, and by their incendiary proceedings riveting the chains of the slave all the firmer.    Philanthropy never did and never will loosen the bands of the captive.    Let philanthropy go, let the slave go, let humanity go,  but let the heart be touched by divine charity, let each love God and him only, live for God, and desire nothing but God in heaven or on earth, and the prison-doors will fly open, the fetters drop from the slave's feet, the bowed down will be raised up, the whole race will be free, their hearts will be one heart, beat with one love and one hope, and bound with one joy.
We  open here a great subject, which we would gladly, if our space permitted, pursue still farther.    We may, perhaps, resume it  hereafter.    The age would do well to weigh it as it has not weighed it ; and it would do well to contrast what charity did in the  ages of faith, and what it does now where men are not ashamed to be Christians in their deeds, with the puny and abortive  efforts  of philanthropy,  Rome, for instance, with London, or England of the fourteenth century with England of the nineteenth.     The principle we contend for has no exceptions.    There is only God we can seek and not miss. Whatever else we seek we gain not, or, if we gain it, it turns out to  be worthless, or worse.    God is the Supreme Good. We must seek him, and leave all subordinate goods to follow or not follow, as he pleases. If they follow, it is well, be thankful ; if they do not, still ho thankful, for it is just as well. He who has God has all. The possession of secondary goods adds nothing, their loss diminishes nothing. They are goods only in so far as they are included in him. " Seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you " ; for, in so far as they are for his glory and your good, they are included in his gift of himself. It he gives himself, what good thing can he withhold ?  We have written not to depress the human, but to show its impotence when abandoned to itself or sought for its own sake. The great rule to be observed is to deny the human, or to seek it only in God, where it ceases to be human, and becomes divine. This is the self-denial taught us by our holy religion. We must utterly renounce ourselves, crucify our nature, as the only possible condition of obtaining any thine; good. "He that will save his life shall lose it." But this crucifixion of nature, this self-renunciation, is moral, not physical. Nature remains with all its capacities, and self remains with all its faculties, but not as an end, not as that which is to supply the motive or reason of acting. We annihilate ourselves for God, live for him only, and we live for ourselves only in him. ^ We exercise still all our faculties, and retain the same sensibility to pleasure or pain ; but we retain not the sensibility, and exercise not the faculties, for their own sake. We cease to be our own. We are the Lord's. Yet in this we lose nothing, but gain every thing. « He that shall lose his life for my sake shall find it." We give ourselves to God, to live only for him, to have no will but his, no thought but for him ; and in return he gives us himself, and in himself gives us the Sovereign Good, all conceivable good, yea, more than is conceivable. All good is ours, moral, spiritual, physical. The secondary goods, the elevation of the individual and of society, the freedom of the captive, and the unloosing of the bound, so far as they are goods, follow in the train ; and we are sure to find, that, in giving up all for Christ, we receive in return a hundred-fold in this life, and the promise of that which is to come. Christian asceticism is the only path to true good, individual or social.