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Recent Publications

Brownson's Quarterly Review, April, 1847

Art. IV. 1. The Chapel of the Forest, and Christmas Eve. From the German of Canon Schmid. Baltimore : Murphy's Cabinet Library.    No. VIII.
2. Lorenzo ; or the Empire of Religion. By a Scotch Non-conformist, a Convert to the Catholic Faith. From the French ; by a Lady of Philadelphia. Baltimore : Murphy.    1844.
3. The Elder's House, or the Three Converts. New York : Dunigan's Home Library.    No. VIII.
4. Pauline Seioard; a Tale of Real Life. By John D. Bryant.    Baltimore : Murphy.    1847.    2 vols.   12mo.

Canon Schmid's tales are said to be for young persons, but they may be read with equal pleasure and profit by young and old, learned and unlearned. They are simple and unpretending, but exquisitely beautiful, and replete with the unction so peculiar to Catholicity, and which is attainable only by those who have long lived under Catholic influence, and been subdued by the holy discipline of the Church. They have almost a sacramental virtue, as have the writings of all saintly authors, and elevate their readers to those pure and serene regions where the soul enjoys a rich foretaste of heaven. Would that we had more of them.

Lorenzo is evidently by a convert, but is, nevertheless, a very interesting and valuable little book, though far inferior to the inimitable tales of Canon Schmid. It wants the ease, simplicity, naturalness, and unction of the good Canon, and its author does not appear to be quite at home in the order of characters to which he wishes to introduce us. He tells us, indeed, of the power of religion to overcome the repugnances of nature, to enable one to sacrifice all that is dearest in life, and life itself, to save even an enemy,  to give calmness and joy in the midst of the severest trials and sorrows, the heaviest calamities and distresses ; and what he tells us is literally true ; but he does not write as one who has realized it in his own spiritual life, and he introduces too much physical weakness, too much nervous sensibility, and too much sighing and weeping, to permit us to believe him on his simple word. The Christian hero counts no sacrifice ; his loss is his gain ; and if he laments any thing, it is that he can make no sacrifice, for in every attempt to make one Almighty God prevents him, and overloads him with rich rewards.    In general, however, saving the marriage of cousins, and of the faithful with heretics, we can cheerfully recommend Lorenzo as interesting and edifying.

The Elder's House does not appear to he by a Catholic. It wants the Catholic accent, even where its doctrine is not objectionable.    The author writes with ease, sprightliness, and occasionally with beauty and strength, and the argumentative part indicates learning and ability.    Yet he does not appear to have learned that marriage is prohibited within the fourth degree, and that the Church abhors the marriage of the faithful with heretics.    He shows too much favor to the demon revenge, and makes the good fathers of the Society of Jesus spend much more time in the families of rich heretics than is their custom.    His Catholicity smacks more of Oxford than of Rome, and his book indicates quite too much hankering after the great, and fawning around the rich.   It recommends, indeed, tenderness to the poor, but fails to make us feel that poverty in itself is no evil.    Catholicity teaches us not merely to be tender to the  poor,  but to respect them, and to feel that they may have all that is truly respectable or desirable without ceasing to be poor.    We regretted to find the author so familiar with Byron and Bulvver, and that he could represent a well-instructed Catholic as making love to an heretical young lady in the language and superstition of idolatrous Egypt and the East ; and we were even scandalized that he should make Florence Ruth-ven, intended to be a perfect model  of a Catholic lady, fall in love with an heretical or infidel scamp, and break her heart and die because he married another.     There may be such Catholics as the author introduces, but they should  be held  up to our pity, not to our approbation.

Pauline Seioard is a work of some pretension, and not without solid merit. The author, we have seen it stated, is a convert,  a fact we should readily infer from the book itself. It is no easy thing for us, who have had the misery to be brought up out of the Church, to conceal the fact. Our speech betrays us, and we show in our accent that we are naturalized citizens, not native-born. Judging from internal evidence, we should presume the author to be not only a convert, but a recent convert, and that) in sketching the conversion of his heroine, he is portraying the principal features of his own. He is evidently a man of good natural gifts, a scholar of respectable attainments, a cultivated mind, and serious and noble aims. His novel possesses more than ordinary interest, and contains passages of rare beauty and power. After taking  it  up, we   found   ourselves unwilling to lay it down, before reading to the end of the second volume.    It is, upon   Uie whole, the most interesting and the least objectionable of any of the popular religious novels, written on this side of the water, that have appeared since Father Rowland.    Nevertheless, it is not without its faults.    As a work of art it cannot assume a very high rank.    The characters want individuality, and the dialogue is frequently stiff and awkward.   There is too frequent a recurrence of the same epithets, and a little too much dearing, embracing, and kissing.    An author may leave some things to be supplied by the knowledge or imagination of his readers.    The incidents, some of which are very interesting in themselves, are often superinduced upon the main design, instead of being developed from it.   The argument is sometimes needlessly minute, at other times quite too summary, and the whole work wants originality.    The serious portion is avowedly copied from very common   books  of controversy, and the romance is   hashed   up   from   Bulwer, James, Dickens, and others.    The author, moreover, looks with too much forbearance   on  the  marriage  of a Catholic with a Protestant, and, in one instance, at least, not necessary to specify, makes a concession to Protestants which is fatal to his whole argument, if strictly taken.    But, notwithstanding these faults, the work, as the times go, is very creditable to the author, and leads us to hope for better things from him hereafter.

The last two works we have mentioned belong to that class of religious novels which we criticized with some severity in our last Review. This class of works, under the relation of art, are as offensive as a picture in which the painter joins the beautiful head of a maiden on to the body and tail of a fish; They are literary hybrids, formed by the union of the moclern novel or novellette with the theological tract or pamphlet, and as such we have no toleration for them. What we think of them as romances we have heretofore told our readers. But it is not merely as romances, or works of art, that they are to be considered. They have another and a higher aim ; and it is in relation to this other and higher aim that we wish now to examine their claims on the Catholic public. Waiving their character of romances, they pertain to the department of polemical theology, and are designed to set forth, recommend, and vindicate the Catholic faith. This is their principal aim. It is proper, therefore, to consider them in this latter character, and to examine with some care their probable influence, supposing them to be extensively read, both on those who are without and on those who are within. If, under both or either of these relations, they are fitted, here and now, to exert a favorable influence, we must approve them, whatever may be our objections to them as mere romances or works of art.

I. In relation to those without, these works do not seem to us to be of the sort we want.    The very fact that they mix up a love-story with the controversy is a drawback upon their good influence.    They who are  not sufficiently interested in the questions discussed, to read the arguments without the story, will hardly be sufficiently interested by it to read them with profit.    They will read for the story, and, if they read the arguments, it will, in general, be as if they read them not. But those who are sufficiently interested to read the discussion with profit would read with more pleasure and profit the same matter without the story.    The tone of these works is also against them.    Protestants expect us to be less worldly-minded, and to possess more evangelical simplicity and  humility, than they, and  they are repelled from us just in the same proportion as they find us like themselves.    The worldly and aristocratic tone which these works breathe, the hankering after wealth and fashion they exhibit, the care taken to introduce no Catholics upon the scene but such as are rich, learned, refined, or fashionable, in a country like this, where it is well known that the great majority of the faithful belong to the poorer and humbler classes of society, are more likely to disgust and repel intelligent Protestants, already prejudiced against our religion, than to charm and  attract them to the Church.    They show us too much like themselves for them to draw an inference favorable to Catholicity.    These works would have a far better influence,  if they laid their scene in some damp cellar, some miserable garret, or wretched shanty, and contrasted the poor Catholic, exiled from the land of his birth and all the cherished associations of his childhood and youth, in the midst of poverty, sickness, labor, destitution, and death,  purified, sustained,  consoled,  made   cheerful,  joyous even, by his holy religion, with some rich and voluptuous heretic, surrounded by his troops of satellites, educated, learned, refined, with all that wealth and luxury can give, yet tortured by a gnawing within, weary of himself and the world, with no sweet recollection behind, no inspiring hope before, and
seeking to drown the present in gay dissipation or in vice and crime. Pie who has been an inmate in the houses of our rich and luxurious heretics, undazzled by the splendor of the outside, and able to look beneath the veil of elegant manners and refined hospitality, and who has also witnessed the simple faith and fervent piety of our poor Irish Catholics, sat down with them in their scantily furnished dwellings and shared their warm household affections, loses for ever all his hankering after high life, wealth, fashion, and feels his heart melt in unaffected pity for all whom the world envies.

It is also an objection to these works that they seek to present Catholicity in its resemblance to, rather than in its contrast with, Protestantism. The aim appears to be to make the faith as much like heresy as it can be, and still be called faith. This is very questionable policy, and betrays no profound knowledge of human nature in general, or of American Protestant nature in particular. In proportion as we diminish the differences between Catholicity and Protestantism, we should remember, we diminish, in a country like this, where all the worldly advantages are on the side of the latter, the motives there are for one to embrace the former. The Protestant does not become a Catholic in order to retain what he already has, but in order to get what he has not ; and to arrest his attention and induce him to investigate the claims of our religion, we must hold out to hirn, not what we have in common with him, but what we have which he has not, and cannot have, unless he becomes one of us. Assuredly, few men in this country will abjure Protestantism for the sake of receiving it back under the name of Catholicity.

On this point the works in question seem to us to commit a grave mistake. They adopt too low a tone, and seem to be afraid to present the Church in her imperial dignity and glory, as claiming always to be all or nothing. They appear to wish to conceal, rather than to display, her exclusiveness,  forgetful that it is her recommendation to those without as well as to those within. Men of the world, cold and indifferent as they are, will not listen to the Church, unless she speaks in a tone and language which none of the sects can or dare adopt. The sects are proud and arrogant, but they are also timid and cowardly. When it comes to- the point, their courage oozes out, and their speech falters. Not one of them dare say that out of its bosom there is no salvation. They rely, and they know they rely, on man for their support, and they are always in trepidation lest they should say something which may be offensive to the human pride and prejudice on which they depend. The Church relies on God, and has no fear of men or devils. She speaks in the calm tones of authority whatever she has been commissioned to speak, and remains quiet as to the result. It is this which, more than any one thing else, penetrates the hearts of heretics, and makes them feel that she is not one of the sects, but something totally distinct and diverse from them all.

The great mass of Protestants, as we have known them, of all denominations, have a lurking suspicion that Protestantism is a nullity,  what Carlyle calls a sham, and they cling to the simulacrum, only because they persuade themselves that there is nothing more real or less empty to be found. Their position is by no means what they wish it ; but they are unwilling to change it, because they have concluded that there can be no other position less unsatisfactory. They place Catholicity among the sects, and look upon all sects as substantially alike ; wherefore, then, should they change ? Jt is to this state of mind the Catholic controversialist must address himself, and his first and chief care must be to show that Catholicity cannot be included in the category of the sects, that her Christianity is generically distinguishable from that of each and all the sects, from Puseyism to Straussism, and that, under the relation of Christianity, she knows no one of the sects, or if so, only as St. Polycarp knew Marcion as " pri-mogenitum diaboli." She will be all, or she will be nothing; and as such should always be presented to the public. When so presented, doubtless the Protestant's first impulse will be to reply with a sneer,  Let her be nothing; but his second impulse, as he reflects on the nullity of his own faith, what he knows of her past history and present condition, the wants of the soul, and the goodness of God, even as manifest by the light of nature, will be to inquire, if, perchance, she may not, in very deed, have the right to be all. It is always better to present the Church in her strength than in her weakness,  as she is and has the right to be, than as shorn of her glory, and compressed into the smallest possible dimensions, for the sake of eluding the attacks of her enemies. There is always less to be apprehended from offending Protestants than from failing to arrest their attention and engage them earnestly in the work of investigation.

These works, furthermore, assume too much as already accepted by Protestants. It is a mistake, rather than charity, to assume that Protestants in general are in good faith and really concerned about their salvation, and therefore are to be treated always as men who are willing to hear reason and yield to the force of argument. We make also an unwarrantable assumption, when we assume that they generally believe that our Lord has made a revelation, in the strict sense of the word, and instituted some sort of a Church for its dispensation. Individuals there are, among them, who, indeed, believe this much ; but, in general, if not always, these are to be regarded as persons who have received a special grace, and who are already on the high road to Rome, whither they are sure to arrive, if they persevere. The bulk of the Protestant world have no solid belief in the fact of revelation, and really admit nothing like a Church in any sense intelligible to a Catholic. There is a differentia generis between the views of even your High Churchmen and those of Catholics ; Dr. Pusey's notions approach no nearer to Catholicity than the vegetable oyster does to the animal ; and, for the most part, one must reason with a Tractarian as if he were a No-churchman.

It is never safe to assume, whatever a Protestant may profess to believe, that he believes any thing with sufficient firmness to warrant us in taking it as our point of departure in an argument against him. The majority of Protestants, it may be, still profess to believe the primary articles of the creed, and we do not question but they really believe that they believe* them; but, if we wish to deduce from these articles consequences in favor of the Church, or in favor of any conclusion they are not prepared to believe, we shall find they deceive themselves, and that we are to make no account of their profession. Their belief may be strong enough to bind them by consequences they wish to believe, but never strong enough to bind them by consequences, however legitimate and necessary, to which they are opposed. This cannot surprise us ; for we know, and it is one of our strong arguments against heretics, that they who reject the authority of the Church necessarily deprive themselves of all possible means of firm faith, even in those articles of the creed which they may flatter themselves they still retain. We ought, therefore, never to expect them to be bound by the consequences of their own avowed principles. If they cannot deny the necessity of the consequences, we may be sure they will escape conviction by casting doubts, in their own minds, on their premises.  To proceed prudently in our arguments against Protestants, we must reason against them as if we were reasoning contra gentes. We must first demolish their idols, show them the vanity of their superstition, and the absolute nullity of what they call their faith ; and then begin and build up an argument for the Church from the very foundation. We can presume nothing. It is labor lost to quote the Holy Scriptures against them. They are too far gone to be affected by prophet or Apostle. They will dispute the application of the prophecy, and gravely tell you, that, in their opinion, the Apostle, if he agrees not with them, was mistaken, or did not fully understand the doctrine he was inspired to teach !

Nor must our readers suppose that this is true only of those commonly called Liberal Christians.    What we say does not apply only to Unitarians, Rationalists, and  Transcendentalists in New England.    These are as good Protestants as there are in the country, and though they may be a little bolder in their statements, or less disposed, or less able,  to deceive  themselves, they are far from differing generically from Protestants in general.    We shall look in vain for an essential difference between Andover and Cambridge, Professor Stuart and Professor Norton, or between these and Dr. Strauss and his followers at home or abroad.    Dr. Potts  of St. Louis  even quotes with approbation Michelet and Edgar Quinet',  two notorious infidels.    There is more unity in the Anticatholic world  than we always  suspect.    Go where  we will, whatever the  form professed, at bottom we shall find the same want of that firm adhesion of the mind which Catholics understand by the  term faith.    It is true, converts from the ranks  of Episcopalians and Presbyterians   may  be disposed,  in some   instances,   to question this statement ; but the testimony of converts in favor of their former associates, as well as  against them,  is  to be taken with some grains of allowance.    They know what was true of themselves, and from that they are too apt to conclude what is true of those with whom they were associated,  forgetting that themselves received special grace, which gave them, if not faith, at least a certain preamble to faith, and  that they have been brought into the Church, while the others have remained outside.    We rest our conclusion not on the testimony of converts, nor  on  our own  individual  experience while  a Protestant.    When we find men avowing principles from which the Church is logically inferable, and yet refusing to admit it when  it is clearly shown to them to be so  inferable, we attribute it, not to the inability to perceive the legitimacy and necessity of the inference, but to a secret distrust of the premises from which it is drawn.

In consequence of overlooking this fact, these works, as controversial works, have but little value. They do not go to the root of the matter, and reach the real difficulty under which the Protestant mind labors. Indeed, this may be said, to some extent, of all the works in our language on the points controverted between Catholics and Protestants. None of them are ultimate enough, and, unhappily, the greater part of them are directed specially against Anglicanism, which, if the most vulnerable, is by no means the dominant form of heresy among Protestants. They all, or nearly all, seem written for a bygone age, and to proceed on the hypothesis, that the old Protestant formulas have in general some significance for their adherents. This is a serious defect ; and if we are to have controversial works, their authors should study to give us works adapted to the present state of opinion and prejudice in the Protestant world,  at least, to what it is when they commence writing.

A still more serious objection to these works is, that they make no account of the necessity and agency of grace in the fact of conversion. To read them, one would think conversion is a purely rational or human process, and that nothing is more simple and easy than to convert a Protestant. The facility with which they effect conversions  on paper  is marvellous. Rich heiresses, crabbed old papas, and sour old uncles, and wild young men, and giddy young girls, are all subdued by a few commonplace arguments, and made devout and edifying Catholics. But conversion is no merely rational or human process. In vain we reason, in vain we prove every point, in vain we refute every objection, if grace be not present to open the understanding and incline the will. Till grace operates and dispels the mist which the Devil throws before the eyes of his children, they can see nothing opposed to his kingdom, though as plain as that two and two are four. They have eyes, but they see not,  ears, but they hear not,  hearts, but they understand not. Converts whom God has, in his great mercy, brought from darkness to light, from death to life, are prone to forget this. We fancy the path by which we came was plain and smooth, straight and continuous, and that nothing is easier than to point it out to our neighbours and persuade them to walk in it; but we overlook the fact, that it was grace which made it so, and enabled us to walk in it without stumbling. Where grace is operative, all is indeed smooth and easy. It is marvellous how readily all difficulties give way, how obvious and beautiful the truth appears, how suddenly, and of themselves, all objections vanish. Strange we did not see this before ! How could we be so blind ? How could we regard that objection as pertinent, or that argument as solid ? It is grace, not human reason, that makes the crooked straight, and the rough even. How, then, without grace, shall the unbelieving or the misbelieving feel the force of our arguments ? Or why shall we be astonished that they see not as we see ? When we were in their shoes, we saw no more than they do ; and why should we ask them to see what, when we were as they, we saw not ?

But grace is always ready to assist all, if they wish it. Undoubtedly, and therefore all may see and believe if they will, and it is purely their own fault if they do not. But they cannot do it without grace, and whatever tends to make them rely on the rational process hinders, instead of furthering, their conversion. Their present difficulty is, that they rely on this process, and, not finding it leading them to the Church, conclude that the Church is against reason, and that they are justified in refusing her obedience. These books, by overlooking or making no account of the necessity of grace, have a natural tendency to confirm them in this conclusion, and therefore as fatal a tendency, so far as concerns those without, as they could possibly have.

There is no use in presenting arguments to one who is not predisposed to listen and to receive the truth. Prior to faith, there must be a preparation for faith ; and till there is this preparation, the arguments we present for faith itself will have no weight, for the mind is blinded to their conclusiveness. The first thing to attempt to produce, in the case of those not already prepared by their interior disposition to receive the truth when clearly presented, and with sufficient motives of credibility, is this interior disposition itself, which is the work of grace only. The motives to be presented in their case are not motives to believe, but motives to seek by prayer and humiliation the grace that disposes to believe. The necessity of this grace should always be insisted on, its readiness and willingness to aid all who do not resist it should be set forth, and the means of cooperating with it explained and pointed out, and their adoption seriously and solemnly urged. Conversion, if conversion, is no human work.   " Convert us and we shall be converted." We do not come, we are brought ; and in a way which is always a mystery unto ourselves. We cannot explain the process. All we can say is, Whereas we were blind, we now see. It is not our doing, but God's doing, and his alone be the praise and the glory. This fact needs to be known by those without, that they may be induced to look not to themselves, but to God, for illumination.

It is true, these works, in general, recognize the necessity of some preparation for receiving arguments for the faith ; but, unhappily, they seek the predisposing cause where it is not, and cannot be. They seek it in the human affections, in love, friendship, sympathy, social or domestic influence, all of which are human, unable to generate grace, and, when sought without grace, are only an obstacle to its operation. It is impossible by these to prepare the mind and the will to receive the truth ; for their tendency is oftener to blind and pervert than to enlighten and correct. The motives to be urged are not to be found in the modern novel, but in ascetic theology. And here is the grand mistake of our authors. If they sought to combine the ascetic or the moral with the dogmatic, if they sought the interest of the story in moral or ascetic truth, instead of love and romance, their works would have, with the blessing of God, a tendency to predispose the will to cooperate with grace, and consequently a favorable influence in effecting conversions. But as they are, they seem to us better adapted to keep men out of the Church than to bring them into it.
II. Nor are these works better adapted to exert a wholesome influence on those within. Controversial reading is not, in general, that which is the most edifying to the faithful. The constant reading of controversial works tends to withdraw their attention from the practical part of theology, and to fix it on the speculative ; to cultivate acuteness and strength of intellect, rather than pious affection ; to make them able and skilful defenders, rather than devout followers of the faith,hearers, rather than doers of the law ; and it requires more than ordinary grace to be able to withstand its dry and withering influence. Controversy is not the genius of Catholicity. It may sometimes be necessary, and when and where it is, she does not shrink from it; but she refers it to those whose special vocation it is, and would, in the main, confine to them the task of defending the faith, and of guarding the flock over whom the Holy Ghost has placed them, against the subtlety and craft of their enemies. She has no desire to see the great body of the faithful become able and expert disputants, for she knows that it is no gain to a man to be able to argue convincingly for the faith, and to silence the heaviest batteries of its enemies, so long as he does not practise it. It suffices for the faithful at large to know their faith and to obey it. Prayer, meditation, frequenting the sacraments, visits to our Blessed Redeemer who abides in our tabernacles to enlighten, console, and bless us, and works of charity, mercy, and mortification, are their best arguments for the truth, and their surest safeguards against error.
It is worth remarking, that they who fall away fall not from the faith till they have first fallen from its practice. Prayer is neglected or cut short, the confessional is forsaken, assistance at mass becomes irregular and infrequent ; then doubts begin, bad books and evil companions are relished, faith is abandoned or stifled, and the apostate fancies that he is emancipated, and, because his vision is narrowed or blinded, that he is enlightened, that he is a philosopher, one of the free and choice spirits of the age. Now he talks largely of ignorance and craft, bigotry and superstition, looks with contempt on the simple faith and holy life of his fathers,, sneers at Holy Church, and speaks big words in swelling tones to the priests of God's house, becomes deaf to the voice of conscience, and rushes on in mad license, through Protestantism or infidelity, to hell. Such is the process by which one loses his faith and his soul,  not because he did not know his faith, not because he was unable to answer the objections raised against it, but because he would not obey it; because he yielded to the temptations and seductions of the world, the flesh, and the devil. It is pious affection, not intellectual acuteness and strength, that is most needed ; and this is seldom, if ever, promoted by controversial reading.
What we say of controversial reading in general, we may say a fortiori of the class of works, in particular, on which we are commenting. They are evidently written on the principle of the " sliding scale," and tend to turn the mind outward, to fix it on our religion as it is likely to be regarded by its enemies, and, in our age and country, to reduce it to its minimum. This is a grave objection. The disposition to ask, flow little will answer ? can be excused in those who are investigating the claims of the Church, but it is always inexcusable in the faithful themselves. There are, as every Catholic is presumed to know, some things which, though the Church does not positively command them, it is  pious to believe and do, and our good Mother is always pleased to see in us the disposition to believe and do them. The pious son or daughter is never willing to stop with what is positively commanded, but seeks always to be more perfect than the law, and to do not only all our dear Mother bids, but all she wishes. The disposition to be more perfect than the law is peculiarly Catholic, and every one who is livingly a Catholic manifests it always, and in all directions. Is there any thing more than is commanded which the Church would be pleased to have him do, he runs to do it ; any thing more than is strictly enjoined that it is permitted to believe, that it is pious to believe, that she wishes him to believe, his mind and his heart leaps to embrace it. His faith is broad and generous, and tends ever to a sublime excess. Those who are without regard him as of too easy a faith, and sneer at him as credulous ; but this does not affect him ; for he does not look to them for instructions, and they are the last people in the world he would resemble, or whose judgments he would respect. This disposition, the mark of a lively faith and an ardent charity, is most consoling to our dear Mother. It gladdens her maternal heart to see her children manifest it everywhere and on all occasions, as it does the hearts of our natural mothers to see us eager to do not only all they bid, but all they wish ; and she is grieved to see them manifest a contrary disposition, showing themselves close and stingy in their faith, love, and obedience, and careful always to inquire, How little will do ? How far can this article be pared down without incurring censure ? Such a disposition indicates that faith is weak, that charity is cold and languid, and excites the apprehension that both in the hour of trial may be found wanting. Our good Mother does not grieve that we do no more, but she grieves at our disposition to do no more, at our willingness to persuade ourselves that we have done all when we have done only the least that is required or that will be accepted.

This uncatholic disposition to ask, How little will do ? and to be satisfied with ourselves when we have done only the least, is, to some extent, characteristic of our times and country. It is one of the principal temptations to which we are exposed, one of the most formidable enemies we have now and here to combat. There are too many among us who seem to cultivate it on principle, and who approach as near the confines of heresy as they can without overleaping them. They appear to study to make Catholicity as near like Protestantism as they can without destroying her indentity. They confine her long, flowing locks heneath a close Quaker cap, force her feet into a little pair of Chinese shoes, compress her waist in stout whalebone stays laced up by machinery, bid her put on a demure look, and mind and not speak above her breath, and, placing her a low stool in the obscurest corner of the drawing-room, turn to receive their gay,
fashionable, and accomplished heretical friends. If one of these, in walking about, chances to espy her, they exclaim, "Don't be alarmed, dear friend. She is on her good behaviour. She can't bite or scratch. There can be no huge teeth in that pretty little mouth, so like the mouth of one of your own high-bred and gentle daughters ; and her nails, you see, are pared down to the quick.    Don't be alarmed."

These worthy people feel that it is necessary to keep their religion always in proper trim to be presented to their respectable heretical friends  and visiters.    They are people of the world, and they share in the passions and  tendencies of their age and country.    They are liable daily and hourly to hear their religion reviled, their children jeered because  children of Catholic  parents, and objections urged, many of which it is not pleasant to hear, nor always convenient to stop and answer.    Why should they not, then, seek to make Catholicity present as few points objectionable to her enemies as possible ? Some of them have a very dear friend, a father, a mother, a wife, or a husband, who is a heretic, yet perhaps,  humanly speaking, warm-hearted,  kindly disposed, whose feelings and prejudices must be respected, and with whom they would live in peace and love.    How can they adopt, or be willing that others should adopt, a high, stern, and uncompromising Catholic tone ?   Perhaps the matters they hear most frequently objected to do not appear to them to be of vital importance.    Why, then, insist on them ?    Why be always bringing out those very things which  our   "separated  brethren"  are   the   most  prejudiced against ? What need of being so bigoted and unyielding ? These peculiarly offensive things may be well enough where there are none but  Catholics, but here they only add to the unpleasantness of our  position, and  widen  the  breach  between us and our " dissenting Christian  friends," and  can only do harm. You are imprudent, and drive them away from us by your ultra-catholic tone and   sentiments.     They  are  very respectable people, very  sincere Christians  in their way, and  no  doubt would be very good Catholics, if they only had the opportunity of learning the truth.   We must be charitable and conciliatory.

Some of them even speak well of us.    Only the other day, the distinguished  Mr.   Goldencalf was heard to say he " did' not think  Catholics were so bad as they had been  represented," and Master Goldencalf said he "did not care a fig  whether one was a Catholic or a Protestant," and Miss Goldencalf is actually receiving her education  in one of our academies for young ladies.    The country is becoming every day better disposed towards us.     There is a more liberal tone.    The  age itself is growing  more enlightened  and tolerant; old animosities are passing away, a better feeling is springing  up between  Catholics and  Protestants, and we trust that we shall prove, in this enlightened and happy country, that Christians, though they cannot all think alike, can agree to differ, and live in mutual peace, love, and esteem.

Now, in a country like this, there will always be large numbers of people who will think and speak in this manner, without once suspecting that they are only repeating the Socinian and Liberal cant of the day.    Peace is beautiful, and we are always to follow after the things which make for it ; but peace is founded in truth and justice, and there is and can be no peace out of Jesus Christ.    It is the peace of the Lord which was left  with the faithful, and  which they are to study to merit and preserve.    The Church, in this world, is the Church Militant, and does and must wage a deadly warfare with falsehood, error, heresy, sin, iniquity ; and her children forget their love and fidelity to her, when they shrink from this warfare, seek to divert her from it, or show the least disposition to strike hands or sound a parley with her enemies.    All the faithful are soldiers enlisted for the fight, during the war, and not one of them can retreat without dishonor, not one of them ever hope to be able to put off his harness and ground his arms, so long as life remains.     The victor's crown is only for those who persevere unto the end.

Nevertheless, such people as we have described there are, and probably always will be, for scandals will remain unto the end of the world ; and these will always study to conceal their cowardice, their lukewarmness, or their indolence and love of ease, under the respectable names of prudence, liberality, and sometimes even that of holy charity. They will be an incubus on the breasts of their mpre zealous brethren, and justify themselves on the ground that they are conciliating and winning over those without, when in reality they are only ceasing to offer them any opposition.    They will consider their faith, almost exclusively, as something to be presented to others, and made as unobjectionable as possible to the world in which they live. Naturally, then, and with perfect consistency, taking their point of view, must they always ask of each article of faith, of every statement of Catholic doctrine, How will this strike our separated brethren ? What must they think of it ? What can they say against it ? What will they think of us, if told that we hold it ? Anxious to avoid opposition, to have the task of defence as light and as easy as possible, they will necessarily study to explain and qualify away all the peculiarities of their faith, because it is precisely the peculiarities that are objected to ; and thus be always laboring to reduce Catholicity, as we have said, to its minimum.

This tendency is already strong. Pour in upon us now a mass of books which spring from this tendency, which are written in perfect harmony with it, which never protest against it, never even intimate that it is dangerous, or not strictly and genuinely Catholic, and which keep our minds turned outward, not to oppose the enemies of God and his holy Spouse, but to conciliate them by showing them that we are not so far gone as they suppose us, and have more in common with them than they give us credit for, .presenting always the faith as something objected to, not as something which one already has, is to keep, be contented with, and to enjoy,  and it is easy to see what must be their influence, so far as they have any, and that they cannot fail to be deeply prejudicial to Catholic faith and piety. Such are, in general, the works we are considering ; and hence the reason why, in our judgment, they are as little adapted to the edification of the faithful as to the conversion of the unbelieving and heretical world around us.

Nor is this all,  Facilis descensus Mverno. The momentum we acquire in descending to the minimum may, if we are not on our guard, carry us below it. When we proceed on the principle, not of arraigning the enemies of our faith, attacking them in the very principle of their objections, and of compelling them to defend themselves against the charges of rebellion, malice, and falsehood, but of explaining and qualifying our doctrine so as to elude their objections to it, we are in great danger, unless we are learned and exact theologians, of going beyond the line. The declivity is so steep, and we descend with such fearful rapidity, that it is not always easy to arrest ourselves at the precise moment, and at the precise point. If we are not much mistaken, so far as concerns the general reader, and as
they are sure to be interpreted by the latitudinarian tendencies of the age and country, these works sometimes arrest their descent not until it is too late, and not till they have descended into the abyss below. In explaining and qualifying such articles as are peculiarly offensive to Protestants, they not unfrequently weaken, if not entirely destroy, their force and meaning, at least to the great majority of their readers.

We do not recollect one of these popular works which ever ventures to say, " Out of the Church there is no salvation," and there stop, as does the Church herself, as does our holy Father, Pius the Ninth, in his  Encyclical Letter ; but all  of them, whenever they have occasion to introduce this   dogma,  are careful to accompany it with an explanation, which, in our age and country, eviscerates it of all its Catholic significance for the people at large, whether within or without.    Thus, in the second work on our list, we read, "We know that out of the Church there is no salvation ; but many are they who, by want of opportunity of learning the truth,  innocently adhere to error, and thus are in spirit members of the Church."    Here the qualification to the general reader negatives the  dogma, and makes the assertion that out of the Church there is no salvation appear a mere  rhetorical  flourish.     There are few people, not versed in the distinctions and subtilties of the schools, who in these latitudinarian times can read this qualification, expressed here in its least exceptionable form, and not gather from it a meaning wholly repugnant to faith.    The conclusion the author draws,  moreover,  is not warranted by  his premises. Undoubtedly men may  innocently adhere to   error,  but it does not therefore follow that they are in spirit members of the Church ; for a man, though not in sin by reason of his error, may yet be in error by reason of his sin.    It may be, that, if he had complied  with the graces given him, and which are given to all men, he would have had the opportunity of being enlightened and brought to the knowledge of the truth.    It is possible, then, that the reason why a man is not an actual member of the Church is his own fault, not, indeed, the fault of not knowing what he had no opportunity of learning, but of not complying with the graces given him and with which he was bound to comply, and we presume no one will pretend that he is in spirit a member of the Church, who through his own fault is not an actual member.

We are, indeed, authorized by our religion to judge no one individually, and we never have the right, without a special revelation, to say of this or that man that he is eternally lost ; but faith declares that out of the Church there is no salvation. We are all commanded to hear the Church, and Almighty God gives to all the grace needed to obey his commands ; and the presumption is, therefore, always against all who live and die out of her visible communion. Certainly no one will ever be condemned for not doing what it was never in his power to do, or for not believing the truth he had never had an opportunity of learning ; but, since the providence of God in this matter must count for something, and we are never at liberty to take the simple human element alone, it is not easy to say precisely what is or is not the extent of the possibilities in the case. In no case is the opportunity of learning the truth ever furnished except by the providence of God, and it costs him nothing to furnish it whenever and wherever he sees that it will not be rejected. You must suppose the man prepared in his interior disposition to embrace the truth as soon as it is presented to him, or you cannot claim him as a virtual member of the Church ; but when you have supposed the disposition, are you sure that you have the right to suppose the non-possibility of the opportunity ? If the opportunity is withheld, can you say it is not withheld because there was no disposition to profit by it ? Can you adduce a case of a man having the disposition and dying without the opportunity ? Such a man, you say, had no opportunity of hearing of the Church, and yet he had the disposition. How know you that he had the disposition ? From his own statement, and the fact that the missionary found him with it. The missionary found him, then ? Then the opportunity was furnished, and your case is not in point. But if the man had died before the missionary came------. How know you, that, supposing his good disposition to remain, it was possible in the providence of God for him to die before the missionary came ? It may be that God would not let him die before, any more than he would holy Simeon before he had seen his salvation, and that he would not is presumable from the fact that he did not. You say there are large numbers in schismatical and heretical communions who are not guilty of the sin of schism or heresy. Be it so. But how know you that God will ever in his providence suffer any of these to die without an opportunity of being formally reconciled to the Church,  or that, if he suffers one to die in those communions, without such opportunity, it is not because he is in mortal sin ?

As Catholics, we know nothing of the fiction of an invisible Church, for which heretics in our day contend, and which is composed of the elect of all communions,  the subterfuge to which they were driven, when pressed to tell where their church was before Luther and Calvin. The Church which Catholics believe is a visible kingdom, as much so as the kingdom of France or Great Britain, and when faith assures us that out of the Church there is no salvation, the plain, obvious, natural sense of the dogma is, that those living and dying out of that visible kingdom cannot be saved. This is the article of faith itself, what we are bound to believe under pain of mortal sin ; it is what the fathers taught,  " Habere non potest Deum patrem," says St. Cyprian, " qui Ecclesiam non habet matron " ;  and where this is concealed or explained away,as in the Grand Duchy of Baden, for instance, - faith becomes weak, charity languishing, and Catholicity hardly distinguishable from one of the sects. Theologians may restrict the language of the dogma, they may qualify its apparent sense, and their qualifications, as they themselves understand them, and as they stand in their scientific treatises for theological students, may be just and detract nothing from faith; but any qualifications or explanations made in popular works, as the general reader will understand them, especially when the tendency is to latitudinarianism, will be virtually against faith ; because he does not and cannot take them in the sense of the theologians, and with the distinctions and restrictions with which they always accompany them in their own minds. We never yet heard a layman contend for what he supposed to be the theological qualification of this article of faith, without contending for what is, in fact, contra fidem. We can teach the whole faith, and must teach the whole faith ; but, do our best, we cannot teach the whole of theology to the common people. They may be firm and enlightened believers, and that is enough for them ; but they cannot become exact and accomplished theologians. There are a great many truths, and important truths to the scientific, which we can teach only to those who, by previous moral and mental discipline, are prepared to receive them. We may suppose we are teaching these truths to others, but we deceive ourselves ; for the truth in our mind becomes falsehood in theirs. This deserves more consideration from some from whom we look for better things, than they seem, if wo may judge from their writings, to have given it.

We  do not dispute the doctrine intended  to be taught in the extract we have made from Lorenzo.    We are not theologians  by profession, and it is not our province to decide theological questions.    Indeed, the gist of our complaint is, that popular writers do undertake to decide them, instead of confining themselves, as they should, to the simple dogma as the Church propounds it, concerning which there is, and can be, among Catholics, no dispute.    The theological doctrine, as understood   by those  theologians who contend for it, we respect, as in duty bound.    It is not to it as they understand it, that we are objecting, but to it as understood by the people at large, who learn it, not from theological works where it is treated at length, and the proper restrictions  are made, but from brief, loose, and unqualified statements in popular novels, periodicals, newspapers, and manuals,  for, unhappily, many of these last are not always careful to distinguish between the dogma and the theological opinion.    As hastily caught up from these, by careless, half-educated, and unreflecting readers, already deeply imbued with the prevailing  latitudinarianism of the day, it becomes practically false   and  hurtful ;  for it is practically understood as if it meant that a man may be saved in any communion  to which   he  is  sincerely attached, and whose teachings he does not doubt.

Indeed, the plea of invincible ignorance is not unfrequently so extended as to cover the case of every one in any communion external to the Church, who could hope to be saved according to the teachings of that communion itself. Thorn-berry Abbey, in many respects an excellent little book, represents the good priest as sorely distressed, because he had, in a conversation not of his own seeking, pointed out to a Puseyite young lady the invalidity of Anglican orders. He was afraid that he had gone too far, and had endangered the poor girl's salvation by taking away the invincibility of her ignorance ! The authoress of the Catholic Story makes no bones of sending to heaven as rabid an old heretic  to all appearance as ever lived,  one who was filled with hatred of Catholicity, who withdrew his love from his wife, and refused to speak to, or even to see her, after her conversion, thus violating even the law of nature ; and who, when his only daughter, to whom he had transferred his affections, was also converted, became perfectly frantic with wrath and hatred, made himself sick, and went off and died, without the least sign of repentance, regret, or forgiveness.    And yet the
Catholic wife is made to say, and to defend it as Catholic doctrine, that she had no doubt that  he  had  gone   straight  to heaven, for she was sure he would have embraced the truth, if he had only had an opportunity of learning it !    And this is to be said of a man of rank, of education, of extensive reading, living close by the Church, and having a wife and daughter converted and instructed in his own house !   Far be it from us to judge the old sinner, but if he was in invincible ignorance, we should like to know who, not brought up in the Church, may not be, if he chooses ; and if such a man, dying unchanged, goes straight to heaven, what is the use of hell, or even of purgatory ?    The poor authoress had heard something about invincible ignorance, and persons who, though out of the visible communion of the Church, are yet in spirit members of the Church, and only half understanding what she heard, broaches a doctrine which makes the dogma, out of the Church there is no salvation, perfectly ridiculous.    The article entitled Reasons for adhering to the Roman Catholic Religion, to  be found in the Garden of the Soul, the Ursuline Manual, Key of Paradise, and we know not how many more of our popular manuals, goes almost as far.    As understood by theologians, it contains nothing formally contra fidem, as   is   to be presumed from the fact that  these manuals  are  published with episcopal approbation ; but we have had  it frequently quoted against us by persons in and out of the Church, in support of a doctrine of which the  best we could say was, that it was not Universalism, but which reminded us too forcibly of the latitudinarianism we preached when a Unitarian.
u I believe I have been wrong," said a Catholic lawyer and politician to us the other day ; " we have, some of us, been laboring here, for some time, to liberalize the Church. It occurred to us, that the Church, having grown up in other countries and other times, might have incorporated into her constitution many things, which, since they are opposed to the genius of the age and country, and are those things most frequently thrown in our faces, she might consent to modify or reject altogether. We wished her, in a word, to conform to the enlightened and liberal spirit of modern society ; and we regretted to find the authorities opposed to us, and, while there was progress everywhere else, absolutely refusing to admit any progress into the bosom of the Church herself. We were honest and sincere ; we really believed that the policy we recommended would diminish the repugnance of the people
to becoming Catholics, enable us to take a more active part in the movements of the age, and accelerate the spread of Catholicity through the land ; but I begin to suspect that we were wrong, and that, since the Church is of God, the true policy is to labor to bring the people up to her, not her down to the people."

Our legal friend characterized precisely the spirit and tendency these popular works   seem   to   us   to   encourage,  and against which we seek to place our readers on their guard. The Church, however, we admit, adapts herself to time and place ; but in a contrary sense.    Her spirit is always to insist with the greater firmness and energy on that particular truth which the genius of the age and country most opposes. She concedes that peculiar tendencies demand a peculiar application of truth ; and hence what she requires of us, here and now, is to bring out and  state, in the   greatest  prominence possible, those very truths which stand opposed to our dominant errors  and tendencies ; because it is only these truths which can resist them, and because these are precisely the truths which here and now we are the most liable to lose sight of.    To throw these truths into the background, or to bring out in bold relief those views which offer no special resistance to the reigning errors and tendencies, however wise it may seem to men of the world, is a'base desertion of the post of danger, and even a narrow and short-sighted policy ; for the public  mind may change to-morrow, and a new set of errors and  tendencies  be uppermost.    There may be times when it is not necessary to repeat the dogma, out of the Church there is  no salvation, because there may be times when every body believes it, and there is no tendency to doubt it.    In such times the theological explanation even may accompany it ; for then no  one will misinterpret or misapply it.    But when, as with us, the tendency is all in the direction against it, the dogma requires to be stated in the broadest and most unqualified terms the truth permits ; for it is only when so stated that  it does not convey to minds in general less than the truth.

The temptation to conform to the spirit of the age, we know, is strong, but we must be firm against it. The age boasts of liberality, but under this liberality we see the curse of indifferency. The real tendency is to the conclusion, that salvationif salvation there be  is attainable in any form of religion or in none. The tendency we have pointed out among Catholics, and which seems to us to be encouraged by the popular explanations and qualifications of the dogma of exclusive salvation, is  in the same  direction, and, at bottom identical with it.    It is, therefore, a tendency to be resisted' not fostered.    Nothing can be  more fatal, and it is not we alone who say so.    God himself, speaking by his Vicegerent on earth, in the recent Encyclical Letter, addressed to all the patriarchs, primates, archbishops, and bishops of the world and through them to all the faithful, has pointed this out as one of the special and formidable evils of our times, and commanded, nay, entreated, us to resist it with all our strength and   energy.     Now,  all  this   ingenious  speculation, all  this refining on faith, and refusing to  present the  dogma which is opposed  to  this formidable  evil without  so   explaining and qualifying it that it offers no longer any opposition  to it, is not only not resisting it, but actually encouraging and augmenting it.    We take up our popular publications, we look for some condemnation of the evil, for some bold proposition of the  faith  against it ; but, alas ! we look in vain.    We find, perhaps, a glorification of the age, or a side blow at the  earnest-minded Catholic who, in the simplicity of his faith, protests against it, rarely any thing better.    Our authors have nothing to say against the fatal latitudinarianism now so rife, but waste their time and strength in  denouncing  bigotry and intolerance.    Yet bigotry and intolerance are not the besetting sins of the times, and what we say against them is much less likely to moderate them in our enemies than to produce laxity of doctrine in the faithful  themselves.    There is more hope of a bigot than of a latitudinarian.    He who cares enough for his   religion   to oppose its enemies gives evidence  that it is possible  that he has some shreds of a conscience left.    The Church has less formidable  enemies to contend  against when she is openly persecuted, than when there is a state of general religious indifference, or a general disposition to accommodate faith to the tastes and prejudices of her enemies.    St. Hilary preferred Nero and Decius to Constantius, and the persecution of die former to the patronage of the latter.

For our part, we always prefer the man who is either cold or hot to the one that is lukewarm. We like the man of strong convictions, who has the courage to act up to his convictions. We cannot condemn a true principle because it is claimed and abused by those who have no right to it. In reading the Elder's House, we did not sympathize with the abuse heaped  upon the heretical  lady for refusing to  marry the man she loved because he was a Catholic.    We honored her for her correct principle, and pitied her Catholic lover for his want of it.    If there is any thing about which a man should be in earnest, it is his religion, and we respect the rigidness of our Puritan ancestors more than we do the laxity of their descendants.    The man who is in earnest, and who really believes  his religion to be the only true religion, must needs be regarded as bigoted and intolerant by all who differ from him. The Catholic is no bigot, is  never uncharitable, but  he  is and must be, in all that concerns religion, exclusive.    The Church is necessarily exclusive and intolerant, in the sense in which truth and  duty are exclusive and intolerant, and they are wanting in their fidelity to her who maintain  the contrary. There can be no giving and taking, no communion, no fellowship, no meeting half-way, between  her  and  those without. As we have said, she will be all or nothing.    If she is not what she professes to be, if she can have any fellowship with external communions, she deserves to be nothing, has no right to be  at all ; but if, as every Catholic believes, she  is what she professes to be, she has the right to be all, and whatever is opposed to her the faithful must hold  to be of sin and iniquity, and to be resisted, if need be, even unto death.
But if you  take that ground,  you will be called a bigot, and accused of a want of charity and liberality.     Quid inde ? Suppose it is so, is that a thing for which a man should break his neck ?    In this country every man has the  legal right to choose and observe his own religion, so long as he respects the equal right of others.    This right we claim for ourselves, and, as  far as in our power, vindicate for all ; but here we stop.    We cannot  consent to maintain, in deference to Voltaire and his  followers, that a man has a divine  and natural right to be of any religion he pleases.    Before the divine and natural law no man has the right to be of a false religion ; and when the case is transferred from the exterior court to the interior, no man has the right to be of any religion  but  the Catholic,  and no  one   can  be   acceptable   to  God   or gain heaven, unless he is a true, firm, sincere, conscientious Roman Catholic.    You say this is narrow-minded bigotry ; we say it is truth and consistency, and what every Catholic must say,  and he who is afraid  to say it has no business to call himself a Catholic.    But you who   are   outside   may call it what you please.    We have no wish to be gratuitously offensive to you, but we do not look to you for instructions.    You are not our masters, nor are we troubled by what you say of us, unless you speak in our praise. Then, indeed, we might ask with the Psalmist, " O Lord, what sin hath thy servant committed, that the wicked praise him ? " We Catholics look to our Holy Mother for approbation, and if we secure her maternal smile and blessing, we care not, for our sakes, however much we may for yours, what you may think of us. It would be much more to the purpose for you to ask what you ought to think of yourselves.

Every Catholic, from the fact that he is a Catholic, has the world   and   the   devil for his enemies.    This is one   of the necessities of his profession   of faith.    He cannot escape it, without deserting his post, and proving a traitor to his Master. If he be not a base coward, he will gird on his armour, and go forth to the battle in the Lord.    The enemy is always at hand, and must be ferreted out and withstood, let him come in what lurking disguise he may.    He comes to-day as a pretended friend, bearing the honorable name of Liberality, and dressed in the  shining robes of Charity ; but he is none the less, but all  the more, dangerous  for that.    The pretended friendship is a snare ; the boasted  liberality is a lure.    Be on your guard.     If you listen to the voice of the siren, and drink of the proffered chalice, like the companions of Ulysses, you will be transformed into swine, and wallow in the mire.    We cannot shake hands with the spirit of the age without contracting a mortal disease.    We must resist it,  or die.    In vain would we sound a parley with the devil, and seek to coax or bribe him to leave us to serve in peace Him whom he hates. Resist the  devil, and he will  flee  from you.    There  is no otherway of safety ; and the sooner we understand  this, accept it, and beg of God to give us grace to conform to it, the better will it be for us and also for the enemies of the Church. It is always the sign of an unhealthy state of things, when the faithful contemplate their faith as something to which those without are to be conciliated, rather than as the principle  of a holy life in themselves.    The  conciliation and conversion of heretics is, no doubt, a great and important work ; but there is a work greater and more  important still,  namely, the edification  of the  faithful, and the salvation of our own souls.    We are, indeed, to do  good  to all men as we  have  opportunity, but especially to  the household  of faith.    Charity begins at home ; and he who provides not for his own household has denied  the faith, and is worse than an infidel.    Our faith and religion need to be studied and presented mainly for the edification and perfection of the faithful themselves ; and when we seek so to study and present them, we shall not ask, how little will answer. We shall inquire, not for the minimum, but for the maximum. We want for ourselves our religion in all its fulness, in all its life and vigor, with all its outspreading branches and thick foliage, in all the rich, luxuriant growth of nature,  not trimmed and pruned to suit the taste of a cold, rationalistic, half-skeptical, timid, and fastidious taste. We want it as unlike heresy as it can be. What sectarians most hate we most love ; what they find most offensive we find most edifying ; the more they hate, the more we love ; and even things indifferent in themselves become dear to us as life, the moment they oppose them. It is in this spirit books should be written, and would be, if written by Catholics for Catholics. The books we are censuring are not written in this spirit, and therefore are not books adapted to our edification.
The conversion of heretics is desirable, we grant; but for their sakes, not for ours. We seek their conversion from charity, not interest. We receive nothing from them, but they receive an infinite benefit. The gain is all on their side. They have nothing to give us. We covet not their silver or their gold, their fashion or their respectability. The Church looks not to the rank or standing of her members* She can borrow no respectability from the highest rank, but the highest can receive new dignity and lustre from her. We admit that the great majority of the faithful, with us, belong to the poorer and humbler classes, and we thank God that it is so. The poor have souls as precious as the souls of the rich. They, in all ages, have been the jewels of the Church, and the sounder part of the faithful. They build our churches, support our clergy, and endow our orphan asylums and charitable institutions. It is the widow's mite that makes the treasury of the Church overflow. Sad indeed would have been the condition of the Catholic Church in this country, if she had been compelled to depend, for her temporal goods, on the contributions of rich and fashionable Catholics. The poor are God's chosen people, and above all, with us, the poor Irish. We honor the German emigrant ; he has done well, for he came richer in faith than in gold ; but the poor Irish laborers and servant-girls have been, with us, the most liberal benefactors of the Church. They came, and on landing looked round and asked, Where is the Church ? Plonest souls ! in their simple faith and tender piety they could not understand how there could be any living without the Church. They could work hard, shelter themselves in a poor shanty, lodge on the bare ground, and want food for the body ; but they could not live without the Church. They must have the Bread of Life, and some one to break it for them ; and where they went, churches arose, surmounted by the emblem of man's salvation, the sacred priest followed, the Holy Sacrifice was offered, God was praised, and the poor exiles found a home. Would we exchange these for rich and fashionable heretics ? Or shall we think it is to be regretted that God sent us these to be our laity, instead of the rich and noble, the learned and the distinguished ? O, no ! Our good Father chose well for us ; and who knows how much we, who have the happiness of being converted, owe to the prayers of the poor servant-girls we have had in our employment ? Nothing is more silly or disgusting than this fawning around the rich and fashionable, than this hankering after wealth and patronage, which our Catholic novels exhibit. Such things make one ashamed and blush for the folly and forgetfulness of some of his brethren.

We presume, in these remarks, we shall be found treading on some worthy people's corns or gouty toes, and that we shall be thought by many bigoted and severe, as well as unfair and unjust to our incipient literature. All we can say is, that we stand here on our own natal soil, a free man, by divine grace a Catholic, and we do not know how to speak in a servile or an apologetic tone. Before authority we count it an honor to be permitted to bend the knee and the will ; but before heresy, error, evil tendencies, by whomsoever abetted, we stand erect, and, with God's blessing, will stand erect, as becomes one who has been made a free citizen of the commonwealth of God. If we speak at all, we must, as a Catholic, speak as we have been taught. If we err, let authority rebuke us, and we are submissive, silent ; but we shall not rebuke ourselves for aiming to show the necessity there is that all Catholic writers should adopt a free, pure, bold, lofty, and uncompromising Catholic tone, and speak out from good, warm, honest, Catholic hearts, without the least conceivable fear of heretics, or of their father, the devil, to make them falter and stammer in the utterance of God's truth.

As a critic, we aim to be fair, candid, and just, but are by no means infallible, and appeal lies from us to  the public. The aggrieved party can appeal, and in most cases, we doubt not, the appeal will be sustained ; for we are far from pretending to be guided by popular taste or public opinion in forming and expressing our judgments.    The authors  of the publications in question are, for the most part, entirely unknown to us. and we have and can have no personal motive for treating them unfairly or unkindly.    We take a deep interest in our literature, and wish to see it flourish, but they must pardon us if we tell them that we prefer Catholicity to its literature.    Faith and sanctity are necessaries of life, but literature is not.    A bad literature is worse than none ; and any literature which is not adapted to our wants, which turns our minds away from what should fix attention, and aids and encourages tendencies already too strong, in our judgment, is bad.    If in this we err,  or if we have misconceived the spirit of our present popular literature, it has been from ignorance or weakness, not from malice. We have spoken plainly and strongly, for it is always better to crush an evil in the bud than when it is full blown, and because we regard our popular writers as possessing learning, talents, genius enough to give us far better works than they do, and they deserve something of a castigation for not doing so.    They give us works which spring from the exceptionable tendencies we have pointed out, and which, instead of checking, can hardly fail to exaggerate them.    We tell them this, not to discourage them, but to do what in us lies to direct their attention to the dangers to which the faithful are exposed, and to urge them, by the most powerful motives of our religion, to adapt their works to our actual and most pressing wants.    We respect their motives and applaud their zeal, but we pray them to look deeper, to take a wider survey of our actual condition, and consider more attentively the peculiar temptations and seductions we are called upon to  resist; and to write books which will tend to edify us, to turn our attention, not outward, where all is hostile, but inward, where all should be, and may be, unremitted effort after Christian perfection.    If they would do this, and give us works modelled, to some extent, after the charming tales of Canon Schmid's works which unfold the internal richness and beauty of religion, which show how it blends in with all our daily duties and household affections, sweetening our cares, sustaining us in our trials, consoling us in our sorrows, imparting depth and tenderness to chaste love, new charms to the innocence and sprightliness of childhood, strength and dignity to the prime of life, peace and gravity to old age, they would furnish a far more attractive series of publications, secure to themselves a far wider circle of readers, and exert an infinitely more healthful influence, both on Catholics themselves, and on those who unhappily are aliens from the kingdom of God.

Unquestionably, such works would require labor and study, prayer and mortification, abstraction from worldly thoughts and cares, subdued passions, and complete self-annihilation.    But we will not suppose that this would be an objection.    It should rather be an argument in their favor, and serve to stimulate ambition.    The ambition to do what is beautiful, great, noble, and difficult, for the love of God and our neighbour, is praiseworthy, and the only ambition that is not mean and belittling. A blessing would attend the preparation of such works.    The author would live in a pure and serene atmosphere, and commune with the sweet and gentle,  the strong and  the heroic. He would dvyell in the presence of God, and sustain and nourish his life with Him who gave his own life to  be ours.    He would become a better man ; his vision would be  purged, his heart expanded, and his soul filled with holy unction ; and from his pen would flow words of sweetness and power ; he would make to himself a throne in the hearts of the young and the old, the joyful and the sorrowful ; the poor and  the bereaved would bless him, the saints would claim him as their brother, and God would embrace him as his son.    His work would be holy ; his reward a crown of life.    O, who would not, if duty permitted, leave the arid and barren field of mere dialectics, the tumultuous sea of controversy, and seek out some quiet retreat, where bloom the perennial flowers of piety and love, and where, if he spoke at all, he would speak from the heart to the heart of the rich graces and consolations our good Father, through our sweet Mother, never tires in bestowing on those who love him, and seek no love but his ?

When we look upon the multitude of our youth, growing up in a land so hostile to their faith, amidst temptations and seductions so numerous and so powerful, and reflect how hard it is, even for those who are far advanced in Christian perfection, to maintain their ground, we feel that every generous heart should beat for them, and every lover of God and of his neighbour should rush to their aid and rescue. It is frightful to think how many of those around us, who have never known the true Church, precious souls, for whom God has died, must finally be lost ; but it is far more frightful, that not these  only, but thousands of our own dear children, regenerated  in Holy Baptism, anointed with the Holy Chrism, soldiers  enlisted in the army of King Jesus, are to fall away, become deserters, traitors,   and,   from   heirs   of heaven,   heirs   of eternal fire. These claim our thoughts, our prayers, and our labors.    For the love of Jesus, dear friends, turn your minds and affections towards these exposed youth, and speak, if you can, a word that shall touch their yet susceptible hearts, that shall quicken their love for religion, and  make them  feel how noble, how honorable, it is to be a Catholic, especially in a land where the Cross is derided, where holy things are hourly profaned, and men glory in denying the Lord that bought them.    Open to them the grandeur and sublimity of our holy religion, and make their cheeks redden that they ever were so cowardly as to be ashamed of it.    Make them feel, by your own quiet, assured manner, by your own inward fulness and joy, that you have in it all you ask for, and that you do not need to  coax all the world to go with you, in order to save you from regretting the choice you have made.    Show that you love your brethren, that you honor your Catholic friends, even the humblest, and see, in the poorest and most illiterate servant-girl, a nobility that infinitely surpasses that of the proudest of earth's kings or potentates ; for the  humblest Catholic  has  that which  makes him the son of the King of kings, and heir of an immortal crown.

Our youth find their religion rejected and derided by those they see, when they look forth into the world, honored, courted, and flattered, even by Catholics themselves. Wealth, fashion, honors, distinction, place, power, are in the hands of the enemies of the Church, and they feel that their religion is an obstacle to their rising in the world, a bar to their worldly ambition, and they are tempted to wear it loosely, or to throw it off altogether,unless, perchance, to call it in, if they have an opportunity, to bury them. They are ashamed of it, because they imagine it detracts from their respectability ; and it is not uncommon to hear even those who are not, as yet, quite lost, apologizing for it, and alleging as their excuse, that their parents were Catholics, and brought them up to go to Mass. This, in a country like ours, where there are no fixed ranks, where nobody is contented to serve God and save his soul in the state of life in which he was born, and where there is a universal strife of every body to rise to the top of the social ladder, makes the condition of our Catholic youth one full of peril.

It is of no use to undertake to show them, in books, that we have Catholics able to grace any walk in life, or to add lustre to the most brilliant and fashionable assemblies, and that we are daily making converts from the very elite of Protestant society. This is only to approve their false ambition, and to inflame it yet more.    Moreover, these marvellous Catholics, and still more marvellous converts,  so common in books,  are somewhat rare in every-day society ; they bear but a small proportion to the whole number of the faithful ; the worldly advantages remain as ever on the side of the enemies of the Church, and those Catholics who flatter themselves that they are somebody are very apt to show that they prefer a rich and distinguished heretic, as a friend and companion, to the poor but devout Catholic. Our authors should study to correct this, and seek to avert the evil by drying up its source.    They must repudiate the silly and absurd notion, that the heretical world around us is the fountain of honor, that it is an honor to a Catholic for rich and influential heretics to take notice of him, or that it is better to frequent the gay saloons and fashionable assemblies of those vvho are the enemies of God, the deriders of his Immaculate Spouse, than it is to live in the modest and humble society of the faithful.    What is   the proudest heretic  in the land,  in comparison with the poorest and most illiterate Irish laborer or servant-girl ?    Who would not rather be poor and outcast, despised and trampled on, with the hope of heaven before him, than to have all this world's goods, and hell in the  world  to come ?   And who that has a Catholic heart does not find more that is congenial to his taste and feelings, more of all those qualities which adorn human nature, and which make one a desirable friend and companion,  in the humblest but sincere Catholic, than in your most elevated, high-bred, accomplished, and fascinating heretic ?    Believers are the true nobility, whatever their social position or worldly possessions.    They are God's nobility, and will surround his  throne, and live in his immediate presence ; while others, whom a vain and foolish world runs after, admires, adulates, all but adores,  will be cast down to hell, to writhe in eternal agony with devils, and all that is foul, and filthy, and hateful, and disgusting,  gnashing their teeth, and blaspheming,  as  they behold from afar  the glory and beatitude  of those they had despised when living. This thought should stamp itself on the pages of our literature. Our writers should aim to show not tenderness only to the poor, but true Christian honor, as our religion commands ; they must acknowledge no high life, where God is not loved and served ; rise above the vain follies and frivolities of the world ; and, avoiding the levelling absurdities of the day, all of which spring from a worldly pride, recognize the dignity and worth of every soul, the true equality of all souls before God, and then they will breathe a Catholic spirit, and, to the extent of their influence, create a Catholic atmosphere around our youth,  a Catholic public sentiment to which they may defer without meanness or danger of corruption.

Our authors would do us a service, if they would stamp with disgrace that silly notion which some, who regard themselves as the better sort among Catholics, are not ashamed to express,  that our condition would be much pleasanter, and the cause of Catholicity more flourishing in this country, if we had a larger number  of wealthy  and   distinguished  Catholics.    We   have heard this said, and coupled even with a regret that so large a portion of the Catholic population is made up of poor foreigners.    Converts from the old Puritan stock, like ourselves, are very apt, when first coming into the Church, to take up without reflection a notion of this sort.   God forgive them ! # Whom did our Lord choose for his intimate friends and for his apostles ? Were   they  not poor fishermen and  contemned  publicans ? Who composed the first Christian congregations in the cities of the Gentiles?    Were they not  poor dispersed Hellenistic Jews; the poor Irish of their day,  almost an abomination to their proud and idolatrous heathen neighbours, and after those, chiefly the slaves and the lowest class of the people ?    Did the Apostles complain of this ?    Nay, they gloried in it.    Do our honorable bishops and priests complain of the rank and standing of their flocks ? By no means, for they know that God seeth not as man seeth.    What matters it where a man was born ? Let us who are native-born remember that so large a portion of our brethren were born  elsewhere only to  remember the faith and virtues they brought with them, and to engage in a holy strife with them which shall outdo the other in humility, and works of charity and mercy.    The Church is the Catholic's country, and his home is where  God is offered for the living and the dead, and abides with his people.

Finally, we beg our authors to study to strengthen the sentiment and draw closer the bonds of brotherhood among our widely scattered population, and to induce us to feel and speak of ourselves as a Catholic community.    We are such  if we would but own it.   We are in the world, but not of it; and, saving that charity which knows no geographical boundaries, or distinctions of race or creed, we should seek, as far as possible, to concentre our interests and affections, our hopes and aspirations, our joys and our sorrows, within our own cherished Catholic-community.    Taking care, in relation to those without, to discharge all our duties as good citizens, kind neighbours, and faithful servants, we should regard  ourselves  as forming a  commonwealth of our own,  in which we live according to our own laws and usages.    We are such a commonwealth, and the closer we draw its bonds, the better for us, the better for all.    This accepted, we should have a public and a public opinion of our own, and our children would find a home at home, and soon come to restrict their aspirations to such rewards and honors as are in the gift of their own, their Catholic countrymen.
The world around us, no doubt, at first will rage or sneer at this ; but no matter.    Take care to give them no just cause of complaint, and then heed them not.    We are and must be, in some sort, a people apart, with our own aims, hopes, duties, and   affections.    Let us be so ;  let  us love and  honor the meanest of our brethren beyond the most distinguished among the heretics ; cherish each other, aid and assist, protect and defend, each other as our religion commands ; and soon the .world without will look on in admiration.    Seeing how closely we are knit together in the bonds of unity, and how wc love one another, they will knock at  our door for admission, and, with tears and entreaties, beg to be naturalized in our republic, to live under our laws, and to share the freedom, peace, and prosperity of our institutions.

Let all who undertake to write for us look to this desirable result, and write with a deep and tender love, not only for Catholicity, but for Catholics, and because they are Catholics ; and their works will have a salutary influence in checking the eyils to which we are exposed. They will then write as Catholics for Catholics ; and our youth/if they read, will see and feel that not the clergy only, but all good Catholics, take an interest in them, and are willing to cast their lot in with theirs. The attention of the faithful will be turned more and more in upon themselves, and the work of our own conversion and progress will be accelerated ; and just in proportion as we ourselves are what we should be, the work of conversion will go on without. Let the faithful only be good Catholics, obedient to their dear Mother, and attentive to their duties, and they will merit blessings not only for themselves, but for others. Cod will then hear and answer their prayers for the conversion of their Protestant friends ; and before they are aware of it, they will find the whole country is Catholic, that throughout its whole extent the Cross is planted, the choral chant is heard, the "clean sacrifice" daily offered, and the whole population, as it were, drawing near in faith and humility to receive the Bread of Life.
This glorious consummation, under God and the intercession of his Holy Mother, is undoubtedly to be brought about chiefly by the ministry of those whom the Holy Ghost has placed over us to govern and to feed us ; but we who are laymen, and write for the public, may, working in submission to them, with warm hearts, and fervent zeal, and strong faith, and ardent charity, in our humble degree contribute something towards it,  at least, we can pray for it, strive for it, and avoid doing any thing to retard it.    But we almost feel that in what we have said   we have   exceeded  the province  of the  layman, especially one who but yesterday was himself in the ranks of the enemies of the Church, and who is not worthy of the least consideration among the faithful ; but if so, may God and our brethren forgive us.