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An Imaginary Contradiction

From the Catholic World for October, 1867

 We notice in this Review the article on the Sprit of Romanism for a single point only, which it makes, for as a whole it is not worth considering.  Father Hecker asserts in his Aspirations of Nature, that, “Endowed with reason, man has no right to surrender his judgment; endowed with free-will, man has no right to yield up his liberty.  Reason and free-will constitute man a responsible being, and he has no right to abdicate his independence.”  To this and several other abstracts from the same work to the same effect, the Christian Quarterly opposes what is conceded by Fr. Hecker and held by every Catholic, that every one is bond to believe what the church believes and teaches.  But bound as a Catholic to submit his reason and will to the authority of the church, how can one assert that he is free to exercise his own reason, and has no right to surrender it, or to abdicate his own independence?  Father Hecker says, “ Religion is a question between the soul and God; no human authority has, therefore, any right to enter its sacred sphere.”  Yet he maintains that he is bound to obey the authority of the church, and has no right to believe or think contrary to her teachings and definitions.  How can he maintain both propositions?

What Father Hecker asserts is that man has reason and free-will, and that he has no right to forego the exercise of these faculties, or to surrender them to any human authority whatever.  Between this proposition and that of plenary authority of the church in all matters of faith or pertaining to faith and sound doctrine, as asserted by the Council of Trent and Pius IX in the Syllabus, the Christian Quarterly thinks it sees a glaring contradiction.  Father Hecker, it is presumed, sees none, and we certainly see none.  Father Hecker maintains that no human authority has any right to enter the sacred sphere of religion, that man is accountable to no man or body of men for his religion or his faith; but he does not say that he is not responsible to God for the use that he makes of his faculties, whether of reason or of free-will, or that God has no right to enter the sacred sphere of religion, and tell him even authoritatively what is truth and what he is bound to believe and do.  When we believe and obey a human authority in matters of religion, we abdicate our own reason; but when we believe and obey God, we preserve it, follow it, do precisely what reason itself tells us we ought to do.  There is no contradiction then, between believing and obeying God, and the free and full exercise of reason and free-will.  Our Cincinnati contemporary seems to have overlooked this very obvious fact, and had therefore imagined a contradiction where there is none at all, but perfect logical consistency.  Our contemporary is no doubt very able, a great logician, but he is here grappling with a subject which he has not studied, and of which he knows less than nothing.

It is a very general impression with rationalists and rationalizing Protestants, that whoso assert the free exercise of reason denies the authority of the church, and that whoso recognizes the authority of the church necessarily denies reason and abdicates his own manhood, which is as much as to say that whoso asserts man denies God, and whoso asserts God denies man.  These people forget that the best of all possible reasons for believing anything in the word, that is, the authority of God, and that the highest possible exercise of one’s manhood is in humble and willing obedience to the law or will of God.  All belief, as distinguished from knowledge, is on authority of some sort, and the only question to be asked in any case is, Is the authority sufficient?  We believe that there were such persons as Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, Louis XIV, Robespierre, and George Washington, on the authority of history, the last two, also, on the testimony of eye-witnesses, or persons who have assured us that they had seen and known them personally; yet in the case of them all, our belief is belief on authority.  On authority we believe the great events recorded in sacred and profane history, the building of the Temple of Jerusalem in the reign of Solomon, the captivity of the Jews, their return to Judea under the kings of Persia, the building of the second temple, the conquest of Jerusalem by Titus and the Roman army, the invasion of the Roman empire by the northern barbarians, who finally overthrew it, the event called the reformation, the thirty years’ war, etc. Nothing is more unreasonable or more insane than to believe any thing on no authority; that is, with no reason for believing it.  To believe without authority for believing is to believe without reason, and practically a denial of reason itself.

Catholics, in fact, are the only people in the world who do, can, or dare reason in matters of religion.  Indeed, they are the only people who have a reasonable faith, and who believe only what they have adequate reasons for believing.  They are also the only people who recognize no human authority, not even one’s own, in matters of Christian faith and conscience.  Sectarians and rationalists claim to be free, and to reason freely, because, as they pretend, they are bound by no human authority, and recognize no authority in faith but their own reason.  Yet why should your reason be for you or any one else better authority for believing than ours?  Your authority is as human as ours, and if ours is not a sufficient reason for our faith, how can yours suffice, which is no better, perhaps not so good?  As a fact, no man is less free than he who has for his faith no authority but his own reason; for he is, if he thinks at all, necessarily always in doubt as to what he ought or ought not to believe; and no man who is in doubt, who is unable to determine what he is or is not required to believe in order to believe the truth, is or can be mentally free; for he only has the authority of God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived, for his faith.

It is a great mistake to suppose that the Catholic believes what the church believes and teaches on any human authority.  To assume it begs the whole question.  The act of a faith the Catholic makes is, “O my God! I believe all the sacred truths the Holy Catholic Church believes and teaches, because thou hast revealed them, who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.”  The church can declare to be of faith only what God has revealed, and her authority in faith is the authority not of the law-maker, but of the witness and interpreter of the law.  In faith we believe the word of God, we believe God on his word; in the last analysis, that God is true, Deus est verax.  Better authority than the word of God there is not and cannot be, and nothing is or can be more reasonable than to believe that God is true, or to believe God on his word, without a voucher.

That the church is a competent and credible witness in the case, or an adequate authority for believing that God has revealed what she reveals and teaches as his word, can be as conclusively proved as the competency and credibility of a witness in any case in court whatever.  She was an eye and ear-witness of the life, works, death, and resurrection of our Lord, who is at once perfect God and perfect man; she received the divine word directly from him, and is the contemporary and living witness of what he taught and commanded.  The church has never for a moment ceased to exist, but has continued from Christ to us as one identical living body that suffers no decay and knows no succession of years; with her nothing has been forgotten, for nothing has fallen into the past.  The whole revelation of God is continually present to her mind and heart.  She is, then, a competent witness; for she knows all the facts to which she is required to testify.  She is a credible witness; for God himself has appointed, commissioned, authorized her to bear witness for him to all nations and ages, even unto the consummation of the world, and has promised to be with her, and to send to her assistance the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, who should recall to her mind whatsoever he had taught her, and lead her into all truth.  The divine commission or authorization to teach carries with it the pledge of infallibility in teaching; for God cannot be the accomplice of a false teacher, or one who is even liable to err.  What surrender is there of one’s reason, judgment, free-will, manhood, in believing the testimony of a competent and credible witness?

In point of fact, the case is even stronger than we put it.  The church is the body of Christ, and in her dwelleth the Holy Ghost.  She is human in all her members, no doubt; but she is divine as well as human in her head.  The human and divine natures, though for ever distinct, are united in one divine person by the hypostatic union.  This one divine Person, the Word that was made flesh, or assumed flesh, for our redemption and glorification, is the person of the church, who through him lives a divine as well as a human life.  It is God who speaks in her voice as it was God who spoke in the voice of the Son of Mary, that died on the cross, that rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, whence he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.  Hence, we have not only the word of God as the authority for believing his revelation, but his authority in the witness to the fact that it is his revelation or his word we believe.  We may even go further still, and state that the Holy Ghost beareth witness within us with our spirits in concurrence with the external witness to the same fact, so that it may be strengthened by the mouth of two witnesses.  More ample means of attesting the truth and leaving the unbeliever without excuse are not possible in the nature of things.

It is not, then, the Catholic who contradicts himself; for between the free exercise of reason and complete submission to the authority of the church, as both are understood by Catholics, there is no contradiction, no contrariety even.  Faith, by the fact that it is faith, differs necessarily from science.  It is not intuitive or discursive knowledge, but simply analogical knowledge.  But reason in itself cannot go beyond what is intuitively apprehended, or discursively obtained, that is, obtained from intuitive data, either by way of deduction or induction.  In either case, what is apprehended or obtained is knowledge, not belief or faith.  To believe and to know are not one and the same thing; and whatever reason by itself can judge of comes under the head of science, not faith; whence it follows that reason can never judge of the intrinsic truth or falsehood of the matter of faith; for if it could, faith would be sight, and in no sense faith.  If we recognize such a thing as faith at all, we must recognize something which transcends or does not fall under the direct cognizance of reason; and therefore that which reason does not know, and can affirm only as accredited by some authority distinct from reason.  The Catholic asserts faith on authority, certainly, but on an authority which reason herself holds to be sufficient.  True, he does not submit the question  of its truth or falsehood to the judgment of reason; for that would imply a contradiction- that faith is not faith, but sight or knowledge.  This is the mistake of sectarians and rationalists, who deny authority in matters of faith.  They practically deny reason, by demanding of it what exceeds its powers; and faith, by insisting on submitting it to the judgment of reason, and denying that we have or can have any reason for believing what transcends reason.  It ill becomes them, therefore, to accuse Catholics of contradicting themselves, when they assert the rights of reason in its own order, and the necessity of authority in matters of faith, or matters that transcend reason.  They themselves, according to their own principles, have, and can have no authority for believing; and therefore, if they believe at all, they do and must believe without reason; and belief without reason is simply fancy, caprice, whim, prejudice, opinion, not faith.

But the Christian Quarterly is not alone in imagining a contradiction between reason and authority. The whole modern mind assumes it, and imagines a contradiction wherever it finds two extremes, or two opposites.  It has lost the middle term that brings them together and unites them in a logical synthesis.  To it, natural and supernatural, nature and grace, reason and faith, science and revelation, liberty and authority, church and state, heaven and earth, God and man- are irreconcilable extremes; and not two extremes only, but downright contradictions, which necessarily exclude each other.  It does not, even if it accepts both terms, accept them as reconciled, or united as two parts of one whole; but each as exclusive, and warring against the other, and each doing its best to destroy the other.

Hence the modern mind is, so to speak, bisected by a painful dualism, which weakens its power, lowers its character, and destroys the unity and efficiency of intellectual life.  We meet every day men who, on the one side, assert supernatural faith, revelation, grace, authority, and, on the other, pure naturalism, which excludes every thing supernatural or divine.  On the one side of their intelligence, nothing but God and grace, and on the other, nothing but man and nature.  Indeed, the contradiction runs through nearly the whole modern intellectual world, and is not encountered among the heterodox only.  We find even men who mean to be orthodox, think they are orthodox, and are sincerely devoted to the interests of religion, who yet see no real or logical connection between their faith as Catholics and their principles as statesmen, or their theories as scientists.

The two terms, or series of terms, of course, must be accepted, and neither can be denied without equally denying the other.  The objection is not that both are asserted, but that they are asserted as contradictories; for no contradiction in the real world, which is the world of truth, is admissible.  The creator of the world is the Logos, is logic in itself, and therefore, as the Scripture saith, makes all things by number, weight, and measure.  All his works are dialectic, and form a self-consistent whole; for, as St. Thomas says, he is the type of all things- Deus est similitudo rerum omnium.  There must then be, somewhere, the mediator, or middle term which unites the two extremes, and in which their apparent contradiction is lost, and they are opposed only as two parts of one uniform whole.  The defect of the modern mind is that it has lost this middle term, and men retain in their life the dualism we have pointed out, because they do not see that the conflicting elements are not harmonizable in their intelligence; or, because they have lost the conception of reality, and are false to the true principle of things.

In the early ages of the church, the fathers had no occasion to take care that reason and nature should be reserved, for no one dreamed of denying them.  All their efforts were needed to bring out and vindicate the other series of terms, God, the supernatural, revelation, grace, faith, which were denied or perverted by the world they had to war against.  The ascetic writers, again, having for their object the right disciplining of human nature through grace, which includes revelation and faith, as well as the elevation and assistance of nature and reason, had just as little occasion to assert reason and nature, for they assumed them, and their very labors implied them.  Grace, or the supernatural, was rarely exaggerated or set forth as exclusive.  The danger came chiefly from the opposite quarter, from Pelagianism, or the assertion of the sufficiency of nature without grace.

When, however, the reformers appeared, the danger shifted sides.  The doctrines of the reformation, the doctrines of grace, as they are called by evangelicals, were an exaggerated and exclusive supernaturalism.  The reformers did not merely assert the insufficiency of reason and nature, but went further, and asserted their total depravity, and utter worthlessness in the Christian life.  They made man not merely passive under grace, but actively and necessarily opposed to it, resisting it always with all his might, and to be overcome only by sovereign grace, the gratia victrix of the Jansenists.  The church met this and its kindred errors in the holy council of Trent, and while affirming the supernatural element, and defining the office and sphere of grace, rescued nature and reaffirmed its part in the work of life.  But error has no principle and is bound to no consistency, and the Catholic has ever since had to defend nature against the exclusive supernaturalists; reason, for instance, against the traditionalists, and revelation and authority against the rationalists.  To do this, it has been and still is necessary to distinguish between the two orders, nature and grace, natural and supernatural, reason and faith.

But we find a very considerable number of men who are not exclusively supernaturalists, nor exclusively rationalists, but who are syncretists, or both at once.  They accept both orders in their mutual exclusiveness, and alternately, rather, simultaneously, assert exclusive supernaturalism, and exclusive rationalism.  This is the case with the great mass of the Protestants, who retain any reminiscences of grace, and even with some Catholics in countries where Jansenism once had its stronghold, and where traces of its influence may still be detected with the people who deny its formally heretical propositions, and accept the papal constitutions condemning them.  The two extremes are seen, and both are accepted; but the mediator between them, or the truth which conciliates or harmonizes them, seems to be overlooked or not understood.  Of course, Catholic theology asserts it, and it is in reality based on it; but, some how or other, the age does not seize it, and the prevailing philosophy does not recognize it.

The problem for our age, it seems to us, is to revive it, and show the conciliation of the two extremes.  The labor of theologians and philosophers is not, indeed, to find an unknown truth or medium of reconciliation, as so many pretend, but to bring out to the dull and enfeebled understanding of our times the great truth, always asserted by Catholic theology, which conciliates all extremes by presenting the real and living synthesis of things.

There can be no question that the dominant philosophy, especially with the heterodox, does not present the conditions of solving this problem, and the scholastic philosophy, as taught in Catholic schools, needs to be somewhat differently developed and expressed before the age can see in it the solution demanded.  According to the philosophy generally received since Descartes, the natural and supernatural are not only distinct, but separate orders, and reason without any aid from revelation is competent to construct from her own materials a complete science of the rational order.  It supposes the two orders to be independent each of the other, and each complete in itself.  Reason has nothing to do with faith, and faith has nothing to do with reason.  The church has no jurisdiction in philosophy, the sciences, politics, or natural society; philosophers, physicists, statesmen, seculars, so long as they keep in the rational order, are independent of the spiritual authority, are under no obligation to consult revelation, or to conform to the teachings of the faith.  Hence the dual life men live, and the absurdity of maintaining in the one order what they contradict in another.

This, we need not say, is all wrong.  The two orders are distinct, not separate and mutually independent orders, nor parallel orders with no real or logical relation between them.  They are, in reality, only two parts of one and the same whole.  We do not undertake to say what God could or could not have done had he chosen.  If he could have created man and left him in a state of pure nature, as he has the animals, we know he has not done so.  He has created man for a supernatural destiny, and placed him under a supernatural or gracious providence, so that, as a fact, man is never in a state of pure nature.  He aspires to a supernatural reward, and is liable to a supernatural punishment.  His life is always above pure nature, or below it.  The highest natural virtue is imperfect, and no sin is simply a sin against the natural law.  The natural is not the supernatural, but was never intended to subsist without it.  The supernatural is not an interpolation in the divine plan of creation, nor something superinduced upon it, but is a necessary complement of the natural, which never is or can be completed in the natural alone.  In the divine plan, two orders are coeval, always coexist, and operate simultaneously to one and the same end, as integral parts of the whole.  The natural, endowed with reason and free-will, may resist the supernatural, or refuse to co-operate with it; but if it does so, it must remain inchoate, incomplete, an existence commenced yet remaining for ever unfulfilled, which is the condition of the reprobate.  A true and adequate philosophy explains man’s origin, medium, and end; and no such philosophy can be constructed by reason alone; for these are supernatural, and are fully known only through a supernatural revelation.

The natural demands the supernatural; so also does the supernatural demand the natural.  If there were no nature, there could be nothing above nature; there would be nothing for grace to operate on, to assist, or complete.  If man had no reason, he could receive no revelation; if he had no free-will, he could have no virtue, no sanctity; if not generated, he could not be regenerated, if not regenerated, he could not be glorified, or attain to the end for which he is intended.  To deny nature is to deny the creative act of God, and to fall into pantheism- a sophism, for pantheism is denied in its very assertion.  Its assertion implies the assertor, and therefore something capable of acting, and therefore a substantive existence, distinguishable from God.  The denial of God, as creator, is the denial alike of man, the natural, and the supernatural.  To solve the problem and remove the dualism, which bisects the modern mind, it is necessary to study the Creator’s works in the light of the Creator’s plan, and as a whole, in the whole course or itinerary of their existence, or in their procession from him as first cause, to their return to him as final cause, and not piecemeal, as isolated or unrelated facts.  If we know not this plan, which no study of the works themselves can reveal to us, we can never get at the meaning of a single the smallest part, far less attain to any thing like the science of the universe; for the meaning of each part is in its relation to the whole.  What is the meaning of this grain of sand on the sea-shore, or this mosquito, this gnat, these animalculae invisible to the naked eye? Have they no meaning, no purpose in the Creator’s plan?  What can you, by reason, know of that purpose or meaning, if you know not that plan?  Your physical sciences, without a knowledge of that plan, are no sciences at all, and give you no more conception of  the universe than a specimen brick from its walls can give you of the city of Babylon.

Though that plan is and can be known only as revealed by God himself, yet when once known we may see analogies and proofs of it in all the Creator’s works, and study with profit the several parts of the universe, and attain to real science of them; for then we can study them in their synthesis, or their relation to the whole.  We may then have rational science, not built on revelation, but constructed by reason in the light of revelation.  We do not make revelation the basis of the natural sciences.  They are all constructed by reason, acting with its own power, but under the supervision, so to speak, of faith, which reveals to it the plan or purpose of creation, to which it must conform in its deductions and inductions, if they are to have any scientific value.  If it operates in disregard of revelation, without the light radiating from the Creator’s plan, reason can know objects only in their isolation, as separate and unrelated facts or phenomena, and therefore never know them, as they really are, or in their real significance; because nothing in the universe exists in a state of isolation, or by and for itself alone; but every thing that exists, exists and is significant only in its relation to the whole.  It is a mistake then, to assume that the church, the witness, guardian, and interpreter of the faith or revelation, has nothing to say to philosophy, or to the physical sciences, cosmogony, geology, physiology, history, or even political science.  None of them are or can be true sciences, any further than they present the several classes of facts and phenomena of which they treat in their respective relations and subordination to the divine plan of creation, known only by the revelation committed to the church.

The principle of the solution of the problem, or the middle term that unites the two extremes, or the natural and the supernatural, in a real and living synthesis, or reconciles all opposites, is the creative act of God.  The supernatural is God himself, and what he does immediately without using and natural agencies; the natural is what God creates with the power to act as second cause, and what he does only through second causes, or so-called natural laws.  Nothing is natural that is not explicable by natural laws, and nothing so explicable is properly supernatural, though it may be superhuman.  A miracle is an effect of which God is the immediate cause, and which can be referred to no natural or second cause; a natural event is one of which God is not the direct and immediate cause, but only first cause- Causa eminens, or cause of its direct and immediate cause.  The copula or nexus that unites the natural and supernatural in one dialectic whole, is the creative act of the supernatural, or God, which produces the natural and holds it joined to its cause.  Creatures are not separable from their Creator; for in him they live and move and are, or have their being; and were he to separate himself from them, or suspend his creative act, they would instantly drop into the nothing they were before he produced them.  The relation between them and him is their relation of entire dependence on him for all they are, all they have, and all they can do.  There is, then, no ground of antagonism between him and them.  If man aspires to act independently of God, he simply aspires to be himself God, and becomes- nothing.

But we have not exhausted the creative act.  God creates all things for an end, and this end is himself; not that he may gain something for himself, or increase his own beatitude, which is eternally complete, and can be neither augmented nor diminished, but that he may communicate of his beatitude to creatures which he has called into existence.  Hence God is first cause and final cause.  We proceed from him as first cause, and return to him as final cause, as we have shown again and again with all the necessary proofs.

Between God as final cause, and his creatures, the mediator is the Incarnate Word, or the man Christ Jesus, the only mediator between God and men.  In Christ Jesus is hypostatically united in one divine person the divine nature and the human, which, however, remain for ever distinct, without intermixture or confusion.  This union is effected by the creative act, which in it is carried to its summit.  The hypostatic union completes the first cycle or procession of existences from God as first cause, and initiates their return to him as final cause.  It completes generation and initiates the regeneration, or palingenesiac order, which has its completion or fulfillment in glorification, the intuitive vision of God by the light of glory, or, as say the schoolmen, ens supernaturale.

Theologians understand usually, by the supernatural order, the order founded by the Incarnation or hypostatic union, the regeneration propagated by the election of grace, instead of natural generation.  But between the natural and the supernatural, in this sense, the nexus or middle term is the creative act effecting the hypostatic union, or God himself mediating in his human nature.  The Incarnation unites God and man, without intermixture or confusion, in one and the same divine Person, and also the order of generation with the order of regeneration, of which glorification is the crown.  But as the two natures remain for ever distinct but inseparable in one person, so, in the order of regeneration, the natural and the supernatural are each preserved in its distinctive though inseparable activity.

These three terms, generation, regeneration, glorification, one in the creative act of God, cover the entire life of man, and in each the natural and supernatural, distinct but inseparable, remain and co-operate and act.  There is no dualism in the world of reality, and none is apparent- except the distinction between God and creature- when the Creator’s works are seen as a whole, in their real relation and synthesis.  The dualism results in the mind from studying the Creator’s works in their analytic divisions, instead of their synthetic relations; especially from taking the first cycle or order of generation as an independent order, complete in itself, demanding nothing beyond itself, and constituting the whole life of man, instead of taking it, as it really is, only as the beginning, the initial, or the inchoate stage of life, subordinated to the second cycle, the teleological order, or regeneration and glorification, in which alone is its complement, perfection, ultimate end, for which it has been created, and exists.  Our age falls into its heresies, unbeliefs, and intellectual anarchy and confusion, because it undertakes to separate what God has joined together- philosophy from theology, reason from faith, science from revelation, nature from grace- and refuses to study the works and providence of God in their synthetic relations, in which alone is their true meaning.

The positivists understand very well the anarchy that reigns in the modern intellectual world, and the need of a doctrine which can unite in one all the scattered and broken rays of intelligence and command the adhesion of all minds.  The church, they say, once had such a doctrine, and for a thousand years led the progress of science and society.  Protestants, they assert, have never had, and never, as Protestants, can have any doctrine of the sort, and the church has it no longer.  It is nowhere set forth except in the writings of August Comte, who obtains it not from revelation, theology, or metaphysics, but from the sciences, or the positive facts of nature studied in their synthetic relations.  But unhappily, though right in asserting the necessity of a grand synthetic doctrine which shall embrace all the knowable and all the real, they forget that facts cannot be studied in their synthetic relations unless the mind is previously in possession of the grand synthetic doctrine which embraces and explains them, while the doctrine itself cannot be had till they are so studied.  They must take the end as the means of gaining the end!  This is a hard case, for till they get the synthetic formula they can only have unrelated facts, hypotheses, and conjectures, with no means of verifying them.  They are not likely to succeed.  Starting from anarchy, they can only arrive at anarchy.  Only God can move by his Spirit over chaos, and bring order out of confusion and light out of darkness.

Moreover, the positivists do not reconcile the conflicting elements; for they suppress one of the two series of terms, and relegate God, the supernatural, principles, causes, and supersensible relations into the region of the unknowable, and include in their grand synthesis only positive sensible facts or phenomena and their physical laws.  They thus restrict man’s existence to the first cycle, and exclude the second or palingenesiac order, in which alone reigns the moral law.  The first or initial cycle does not contain the word of the aenigma.  It does not exist for itself, and therefore is not and cannot be intelligible in or by itself.  If they could succeed in removing the anarchy complained of, they would do so by ignorance, not science, and harmonize all intelligences only by annihilating them.

Nor is it true that the church has lost or abandoned her grand synthetic doctrine, or that her synthesis has ceased to be complete, or sufficiently comprehensive.  Her doctrine is Christianity; and Christianity leaves out no ancient or modern science; has not been and cannot be outgrown by any actual or possible progress of intelligence; for it embraces at once all the real and all the knowable, reale omne et scibile.  If the church fails to command the adhesion of all minds, it is not because any minds have advanced in science beyond her, or have attained to any truth or virtue she has not; but because they have fallen below her, have become too contracted and grovelling in their views to grasp the elevation and universality of her doctrine.  She still leads the civilized world, and commands the faith and love of the really enlightened portion of mankind.  The reason why so many in our age refuse her their adhesion is not because her doctrine or mode or manner of presenting it is defective, but because they are engrossed with the development and application of the physical or natural laws, or with the first or initial cycle, and exhaust themselves in the production, exchange, and accumulation of physical goods, which, however attractive to the inchoate or physical man, are of no moral or religious value.  The cause is not in the church but in them; in the fact that there minds and hearts are set on those things only after which the heathen seek; and they have no relish for any truth that pertains to the teleological or moral order.

The church does not object to the study of the natural physical sciences, nor to the accumulation of material wealth; but she does object to making the initial order the teleological , and to the cultivation of the sciences or study of the physical laws for their own sake; for, with her, not knowledge but wisdom is the principal thing.  She requires the physical and psychological sciences to be cultivated for the sake of the ultimate end of man, and in subordination to the Christian law which that end prescribes.  So of material wealth; she does not censure its production, its exchange, or its accumulation, if honestly done, and in subordination to the end for which man is created.  What she demands of us is that we conform to the Creator’s plan, and esteem things according to their true order and place in that plan.  She tolerates no falsehood in thought, word, or deed.

The natural is not suppressed or injured by being subordinated to the supernatural, for it can be fulfilled only in the supernatural.  We find the indications of this in nature herself.  There are, indeed, theologians who talk of natural beatitude; but whether possible or not, God has not so made us that we can find our beatitude in nature; that is, in the creature or a created good.  He has made us for himself, and the soul can be satisfied with nothing less.  This is the great fact elaborated by Father Hecker in his Questions of the Soul, and his Aspirations of Nature.  In this first work, he shows that the soul asks questions which nature cannot answer, but which are answered in the supernatural; in the second, he shows that nature desires, craves, aspires to, and has a capacity for, the supernatural; that the soul is conscious of wants which only the supernatural can fill.  Man has, as St. Thomas teaches, a natural desire to see God in the beatific vision; that is, to see him as he is in himself; to be like him, to partake of his divine nature, to possess him, and be filled with him.  This alone can satisfy the soul, and hence holy Job says, “I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness.”

There can be no real antagonism between the natural and the supernatural; for there can be none between nature and its Creator, and equally none between it and its fulfillment, or supreme good.  There is none, we have shown, between reason and faith, any more than there is between the eye and the telescope, which extends its range of vision, and enables it to see what it could not see without it.  There can be none between science and revelation; when the science is real science and is cultivated nor for itself alone, but as a means to the true end of man; and there can be none between earth and heaven, when the earth is regarded solely as a medium and not confounded with the end.  There can be none between liberty and authority; for man can be man, possess himself, be himself and free, only by living in conformity to the law of his existence, or according to the plan of the Creator; and finally there can be none between church and state, if the state remembers that it is in the teleological order, and under the moral law, therefore subordinated to the spiritual order.

We have passed over a great number of important questions, several of which, on starting, we intended to consider, and some of which we may take up hereafter; but we have given, we think, the principle that solves the problem of the age, and shows that the dualism which runs through and disturbs so many minds has no foundation either in the teaching of the church or in the real order.  The Creator’s works all hang together, are all parts of one uniform plan, and the realization ad extra of one divine thought, of which the archetype is in his own infinite, eternal, and ineffable essence.  The trouble with men is, that many of them do not see that the church is catholic, even when professing to believe it; because their own minds are not catholic.  They often suppose they are broader than the church, because they are too narrow to see her breadth.  They also fancy that there are fields of science which they may cultivate which lie beyond her catholicity, and concerning which they are under no obligation to consult her.  This shows that they understand neither her catholicity nor her nature, conditions, and end of science.  They contract the church to their own narrow dimensions.

We conclude by saying that the men who undertake to criticise the church, and to unchurch her, are men who want breadth, depth, and elevation.  They are mole-eyed, and have slender claims to be regarded as really enlightened, large-minded, large-hearted men.