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Capes's Four Years' Experience

(A Review of: Four Years' Experience of the Catholic Religion: with Observations on its Effects upon the Character, Intellectual, Moral, and Spiritual. By J. M. CAPES, Esq. Philadelphia, 1849)

Brownson's Quarterly Review, July, 1850

THIS is an American reprint, in a cheap form, of an English work, by Mr. Capes, formerly a minister of the Anglican Establishment, who was received into the church some five or six years since. It is a sort of compte rendu, which the author has judged proper to furnish his former brethren who still remain in heresy, of what during four years he has found Catholicity and Catholics in Great Britain. Its author is the founder and editor of The Rambler, one of the best conducted and most valuable periodicals in the United Kingdom, and commends himself to us as an accomplished scholar, of a high order of ability, firm faith, and fervent zeal. His experience is written in a tone of great candor and moderation, and can hardly fail to have a happy influence on many of his "separated brethren."

While we acknowledge the ability of the work before us, and add our own experience as a convert in confirmation of its favorable report of Catholicity and Catholics, we still have some doubts about the strict propriety of such works. They seem to us in their general character to be more in consonance with Protestantism than with Catholicity. With Protestants, religion has only a psychological basis, is purely a matter of private experience, and private experience is the rule by which they are accustomed to judge of its truth or falsehood; but with us, private experience counts for little, and we are accustomed to judge private experience by our religion, not our religion by private experience. If a man has confessions to write, and can write them like St. Augustine, let him write them by all means; but as a general rule we think it better not to be too fond of parading our personal experiences before the public. If such experiences interest and attract some who are without, they also minister to their present false notions as to the grounds of religion, and hinder rather than facilitate their study of the true motives of credibility. Religion has an objective validity, an objective evidence, independent of your experience or mine, and our reliance, under the grace of God, should be on that. If Protestants reject the testimony of the church herself, how can we expect them to accept ours as individuals, when ours as individuals is worth nothing, save as corroborated by hers? It is but justice, however, to Mr. Capes to say, that his book is not precisely a narrative of his religious experience, in the Protestant sense, and that it is mainly a report of facts with regard to our religion and its followers in England, which he has picked up during four years of his Catholic life, together with his reasonings and reflections on various important topics, intellectual, moral, social, and theological.

The author seems to us to have written in a form altogether
more egotistical than was desirable. He apologizes for it, indeed, on the ground that, as he was relating what he had himself seen and remarked in himself and others, he could not well avoid it. He could not avoid speaking in the first person, it is true, but he could have spared us the long account in the beginning of his competency and admirable qualifications as a witness. All he says is, no doubt, true, but what was the need of saying it? Those who knew him were already prepared to admit him as a competent witness, and those who did not know him could not be prepared by his own panegyric on himself. They who would not take his word as to his experience could hardly be expected to take his word for his own competency and credibility as a witness. It would have been amply sufficient to have told in a simple, straightforward manner what he had to say, without prefacing it with an account of his own mental habits, and without interrupting the flow of the narrative to tell us that he "honestly asserts," "honestly believes," "fully believes," &c., what he is asserting. However, this is a matter of taste, and no one suffers from it except the author himself.
As a writer, Mr. Capes may be commended for his pure
idiomatic English, but he is diffuse, sometimes wordy, and not always clear, direct, and forcible. He affects to write as a man of the world, as a layman, in a popular style, free from all technical terms or forms of expression usually adopted by professional writers. In this he follows the precepts of the rhetoricians, but, perhaps, without considering the peculiar circumstances in which the Catholic writing in English is placed. A Protestant writing in English on Protestantism can avoid technical terms and expressions, and abandon himself to the current language of the people, because his Protestantism is itself vague and loose, and appears to far greater advantage in popular than in scientific language, and because the terms most appropriate to its expression have passed into the language of the market, and ceased to be technical, or, at least, become terms familiar to the general reader. But the Catholic writing in the same language on Catholicity cannot do this with safety, because his doctrines are definite and fixed, and because the terms which express them with clearness, exactness,and precision are not in common use. The English language has for three hundred years been usurped by heretics, and been chiefly used as a medium of one or another form of heresy. In its current use it is inadequate to the expression of orthodoxy, and consequently the Catholic writer is obliged, at the risk of appearing stiff and pedantic, to make a liberal use of technical terms and scientific forms of expression, if he does not choose to leave his meaning vague and uncertain. Our Oxford converts do not in general, as far as we have seen, appear to be sufficiently aware of this; they write on as they were accustomed to write before their conversion, in very good English, it is true, but with a choice of terms which leaves us perpetually in doubt whether their thought is sound or heretical.

There is also among others than converts a mistake as to the obligations of the layman writing on theological subjects to be exact in his language. We take up a book written by a layman, by the illustrious Count de Maistre, for instance, all bristling, perhaps, with errors, and errors which become heresies in the minds of unprofessional readers, and if we complain, we are told in excuse, that the author was a man of the world, that he was not a professional theologian, and therefore was not to be expected to write with exactness. We may need, but we cannot accept, this excuse. If the layman cannot write on theological topics with exactness, both of thought and expression, he has no business to write on them at all. He who assumes the doctor's office must be held to the doctor's responsibility; and it is peculiarly important that this rule be enforced in these days of journalism and of lay-writing, when a very considerable portion of our popular literature is proceeding from the hands of the laity. In judging the man, we of course look to what he probably means; but in judging the author, we must hold him to what he says, -to the plain,obvious, and natural sense of his words, whether he be cleric or laic.
The tone of Mr. Capes's work is subdued, and exceedingly moderate. The author writes as if he was afraid some prim Anglican or fastidious Puseyite should suspect him of extravagance or enthusiasm. His statements are generally under the truth, and appear to the Catholic to be weak and tame. The author's motive has been a good one; he has believed that a calm, deliberate, and reserved statement will have more weight with Protestants than one in which he suffers his Catholic heart to speak out in its own unrestrained warmth and energy. But in this we believe he is mistaken. Heretics do not in our days doubt our ability, our learning, or our logic. What they doubt is our sincerity,-that we believe our own doctrines. They look upon the intelligent Catholic defending his religion as a lawyer speaking from his brief. In a word, they doubt our honesty. Hence, what we say coolly, deliberately, in measured terms, expressly for them, has little weight with them as a body. They all feel, all, with here and there an exception, that they are daily and hourly professing what they know they in reality do not believe, and, judging us by themselves, they conclude it must be the same with us. They not only have no faith, but they have ceased to believe faith possible. What they are most anxious to know is, not whether good reasons can be given for our church or not, but whether her intelligent members, men of learning, of good sense, of whole minds, do really believe her to be what she professes to be,- do really believe what they profess to believe. Asseverations of our honesty and of the firmness of our faith weigh nothing with them, for they know by their own experience that such asseverations cost nothing,- that a man who can profess what he does not really believe, can easily asseverate that he believes what he professes. They attend not to what we say, but to the unconscious manner, the unconscious look and tone, with which we say it.

Moreover, Mr. Capes, knowing the Protestant world as he does, needs not to be told that Protestants, save individual exceptions, under the influence of grace vouchsafed to lead them back to faith and unity, always put the most unfavorable construction on the words we use or the statements we make that they will bear. Candor and fair-dealing are not to be expected from them; otherwise we should be obliged to regard them as in good faith, and if they were really in good faith they would not remain in their Protestant communions, but would be speedily reconciled to the church. Candor and fair-dealing on religious matters are incompatible with the nature of Protestants, and it is always folly to look for them. What we say will always be taken by them in the worst sense it can be. Our moderation will be termed lukewarmness, our candor will be taken as "damning with faint praise," and our forbearance to state our attachment to Catholicity in terms most consonant to our own feelings will be construed into our disgust, if we are converts, at the change of religion we have made. Moderation towards heretics avails nothing to win them, and is usually a wrong to our Catholic friends. He who knows Protestants well, knows that it is idle to try to speak so as to suit them. We shall always have the most favorable effect on them when we pay little regard to them, but speak out naturally, simply, and truly from our own full Catholic hearts, according to the instincts, so to speak, of our Catholic faith and love.

We see clearly enough from Mr. Capes's book, that his faith is full and firm, that his heart is Catholic to the core, and that his real estimate of Catholic life is hardly less high than ours; but he restrains himself in the utterance of his sentiments too much, and is too much afraid of appearing extravagant or enthusiastic, of speaking from his excited feelings, rather than from his sober judgment. He speaks of Catholicity too coldly, without that glow of feeling with which the child always speaks of his tender mother, the lover of his beloved, and he submits to a dissecting of her influence on his own mind and heart, and to the running of a sort of Plutarch parallel between her and Church-of-Englandism, which are to the warmth of our feelings half profane. What if we do appear extravagant, enthusiastic, to the heretical? The apostles on the day of Pentecost appeared to the by-stander's terribly extravagant and forgetful of proprieties. Some thought them drunk, filled with new wine; but three thousand were that day added to the church. And it is rare that any, except those who appear extravagant, drunken even, to those without, have the consolation of being the instruments of adding large numbers to the faithful. Always will Catholics, filled with the spirit of their religion, and speaking and acting according to the inspirations of grace, appear to heretics and infidels to be extravagant, enthusiastic, carried away by their feelings, drunk even; for they are drunk, inebriated with the wine of the spirit. But what then? What need we care for Anglican primness, or Puseyite fastidiousness? What to us are the notions that heretics, the enemies of God, the children of Satan, may entertain of our sayings and doings? Are we not the children of the kingdom, and shall we not run and exult to behold the bridegroom as he cometh forth from his chamber? Command us to hold our peace, and the very stones would cry out. Does not the inspired Psalmist call upon the trees to clap their hands; upon all nature, inanimate, animate, and rational, to rejoice and exult aloud? How then shall we restrain our joy when we speak of the church, our blessed mother, and of the graces we receive through her from her celestial Spouse,- of the sweet repose we experience, after years of wandering, in laying our head upon her maternal bosom, or feeling ourselves locked in her affectionate embrace, lest some sneering heretic or infidel shall call us extravagant, and be led to disregard our words? Just as if the joy that gushes from our hearts, the love that beams from our eyes, and speaks in every look, tone, and gesture, were not the very thing which, of all others, must most effectually touch his soul, and disarm his face of its sneer? We mean no censure upon Mr. Capes; we only wish to express, in the most forcible manner we are able, that cool, measured statements are not those the most consonant to our feelings, nor those most likely to persuade heretics that we who are converts have found in the church all, and far more than all, we expected, or than was promised us. There is not one of us who would not find the language of the queen of Sheba to Solomon quite too cold and weak to express how much more we have found than we looked for, when we sought admission to the Catholic communion. "The word is true which I heard in my country of thy virtues and wisdom. I did not believe them that told it, until I came, and my eyes had seen, and I had proved that scarce one half of thy wisdom had been told me: thou hast exceeded thy fame with thy virtues. Happy are thy men, and happy are thy servants, who stand always before thee, and hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the Lord thy God, who hath been pleased to set thee on his throne."

Nevertheless, Mr. Capes sometimes forgets the restraint he imposes upon himself. The following, which is the concluding paragraph of his work, is written with deep feeling, and is very beautiful, as well as very true.

"Truly can I say with the Patriarch, 'The Lord is in this place, and I knew it not. This is no other but the house of God, and the gate of heaven.' The Catholic Church can be nothing less than the spiritual body of Jesus Christ. Nothing less than that adorable Presence, before which the angels veil their faces, can make her what she is, to those who are, within her fold. Argument is needed no longer. The scoffings of the infidel, the objections of the Protestant, the sneers of the man of the world, pass over their heads as clouds over a mountain-peak, and leave them calm and undisturbed, with their feet resting on the Rock of Ages. They know in whom they have believed. They have passed from speculation to action, and found that all is real, genuine, life-giving and enduring, Such, with all my sense of the awful mysteriousness of the world which is still invisible, of the fallaciousness of human knowledge, and of the argumentative points which controversy will ever urge against the claims of the Catholic Church,- such is the result of my experience of her aspect towards those who repose upon her bosom, in order that they may gaze upon the lineaments of her countenance. As a child that rests upon its parent's bosom, pressed to her heart with a tenderness that nothing less than a mother can bestow, and from that place of peace and security looks up into her eyes, and there reads the love which is its sweetest joy, so do I watch the aspect of her who has clasped me in her arms, and sustains me that I should not fall, and know that she is indeed the mother of my soul. I know only one fear, the fear that my heart may be faithless to Him who has bestowed on me this unspeakable blessing; I know only one mystery, which the more I think upon it, the more incomprehensible does it appear,- the mystery of that calling which brought me into this home of rest, while millions and millions are still driven to and fro in the turbulent ocean of the world, without rudder and without compass, without helmsman and without anchor, to drift before the gale upon the fatal shore."

The thought with which this closes is often in the mind of the convert, and is a mystery which grows upon us the more we meditate on it, because, while we see and acknowledge our guilt in remaining as we did outside of the church, we know that it was no merit of ours, it was no virtue in us, that brought us into her communion. Not to us the glory, but to the free grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Mr. Capes first considers the influence of Catholicity in regard to intellectual freedom. We extract a paragraph or two.

"It is commonly supposed, indeed, that a man of sense and intellectual courage cannot believe the dogmas of Catholicism without violating the first principles of reasoning, and enslaving his judgment at the beck of a designing priesthood. So far from this being the case, I find myself compelled to act in the very opposite direction. I cannot help believing the truth of Catholicism in general, nor can I perceive the slightest violation of the laws of reasoning in anyone of its separate doctrines. Granting the truth of Christianity as a divine revelation, my reason forces me to be convinced that no one form of Protestantism can possibly be true. So far as argument is concerned, I can see and feel the difficulties which exist in the way of the reception of the Christian religion as divine, and even of belief in any religion whatsoever, natural or revealed; but when once the question of the origin of Christianity is settled, though I can see and feel arguments against the Church of Rome, and admit that, so far as they go, they are difficulties which must be solved, yet I can see nothmg in favor of any doctrinal Protestantism whatsoever; and I can no more avoid believing in the exclusive claims of the Church of Rome, than I can help believing in the deductions of physical astronomy or of electricity. The argument in favor of Rome is precisely similar to the reasonings which establish the great facts of any purely human science, which is based upon probabilities, and not on mathematical certainties. On such morally proved sciences, whether physical, domestic social, or political, the whole course of our daily existence is conducted. We neither eat, drink, move, talk, read, buy, sell, grieve, rejoice, or, in a word, act for a moment as reasonable creatures, except on the supposition that certain general ideas are true, and must be acted upon, although not one of them can be proved with all the strictness of a mathematical proposition. Yet no man in his senses claims this an intellectual bondage, or wonders that people can devote their whole lives to a course of conduct against which some difficulties can be alleged, though the balance of probabilities is decidedly in its favor.
"And just such is my experience of the effect of a belief in the infallibility of the Catholic Church on my daily moral and spiritual existence. I grant that there are some difficulties to be urged against Christianity, and that the proof of the infallibility of Rome is not a mathematical proof; but nevertheless, I cannot help perceiving that the balance of proof is undeniably in favor of Christianity and of the Catholic Church, and therefore I cannot help acting myself in accordance with that balance, and no more believe or feel that I am intellectually a slave, than when I believe that I am at this moment awake. though it is impossible to prove that I am not asleep and dreaming. Many people imagine that a Catholic lives and moves with a sort of sense of intellectual discomfort, with a half-admitted consciousness that he is the victim of a delusion; that he dreads the light of criticism and argument, and is afraid of having his opinions honestly and rigorously canvassed. For my own part, I can most solemnly assert, that from the moment I entered the Catholic Church, I felt like a man who has just shattered the fetters which have impeded his movements from his childhood. I experienced a sensation of intellectual relief, to which I believe every conscientious Protestant to be an utter stranger. So far from feeling as if I had renounced the great privileges of humanity, and subjugated myself to a debasing servitude, I was conscious that now, for the first time, my faculties had fair play, that I was no longer in bondage to shams, forms of speech, pious frauds, exploded fables, youthful prejudices, or the impudent fabrications of baseless authority. Reason, like a young eagle for the first time floating forth from its mountain nest, and trusting itself with no faltering wing to the boundless expanse of ether around, above, and below, rejoiced in her new-found powers, and looked abroad upon the mighty universe of material and immaterial being, with that unflinching gaze with which the soul dares to look, when conscious that the God who made her has, at length, set her free. To tell me, at such a time, that I was enslaving my reason by that very act which enabled her to assert her supremacv, or that I was violating truth and common sense, by embracing the most probable of two momentous alternatives, I should have counted a folly not worthy to be refuted. And such have I felt it to this day. I am conscious that I have embraced one vast, harmonious system, which alone, of all the religions of mankind, is precisely what it pretends to be, and nothing less and nothing more. I behold before me a mighty body of doctrine and practice, self-consistent in all its parts, cohering by rigid logical deductions, and held together by certain moral laws, which are as universally applied in every conceivable contingency, as is the physical law of gravity throughout the visible universe. Complicated and varied as it is, and diverse in nature as are the many elements which go to make up its far-stretching whole, I can detect no flaw in the structure, no incompatibility of one feature with another, no tendency to decay, no token of failure in accomplishing all that it really professes to accomplish. I find every thing to charm and invigorate my intellect. If I am enthralled, it is in a bondage to truh; if I am fascinated, it is by the spell of faultless beauty."

The Protestant, having himself no faith in his sect, concludes that we have none in the church, and understanding very well that one is not free who is bound to believe whatever a sect, which neither is nor is believed to be infallible, teaches or commands him to believe, he concludes that we must both be and feel ourselves in mental bondage. But he falls in this into the sophism called by logicians transitio a genere ad genus, or concluding from one order to another, forgetting that the conclusion, to be valid, must always be in the same order with the premises. The church is not in the sectarian order, is not simply the sect claiming infallibility and supreme authority; and Catholics believing their church infallible and supreme differ essentially from Protestants disbelieving their sect, and well aware that it is fallible and liable to command what is false and wicked. Supposing the church to be what she claims to be, there is no mental bondage in being held to believe whatever she teaches, and supposing us really to believe that she is what she claims to be, we cannot feel ourselves in mental bondage in being so held. The difficulty the Protestant imagines for us grows out of his supposition that the church is for us what his sect is for him, and that at bottom we no more believe her than he does it. But this, luckily, is his mistake. Believing with us does not mean professing to believe, and actually doubting. We believe our church infallible, divinely commissioned, speaking in the name of God, and therefore that in believing and obeying her we are believing and obeying God, which is not slavery, but freedom; for God is truth and justice, our Maker, and our rightful Sovereign. Hence, Mr. Capes only asserts what reason itself asserts, when he says that one never enjoys, never knows, mental freedom till he becomes a Catholic. In becoming a Catholic we throw off the despotism of opinion, of passion, of caprice, and submit ourselves to the authority of God, and have his truth, his veracity, his word, as our authority for believing. We are freed from bondage, emancipated, and admitted as citizens into the commonwealth of Christ, and made partakers of the liberty of the children of God. On this point every convert's experience fully confirms all, and more than all, Mr. Capes has said.

But while we accept heartily all Mr. Capes says in favor of the freedom possessed and felt by the Catholic, we cannot help thinking that he has made some concessions to his former brethren which he was not required to make, and which may be turned with considerable force against him. He concedes that there are real difficulties in the way of admitting the truth of Christianity itself, and also in the way of admitting Catholicity as its true and only form. He makes the question, aside from the donum fidei, or gift of faith, between Christianity and infidelity, and between Catholicity and Protestantism, to be a balancing of probabilities, and concedes that in becoming a Catholic he was only "embracing the most probable of two momentous alternatives." Here is evidently an admission that unbelief and heresy are probable, although, by far, less probable than Catholicity. We are not prepared to make this admission, for in our judgment, and, we think we may safely say, in the judgment of the church, heresy and unbelief are both improbable, with not the least shadow of probability in their favor, and that every argument that can be adduced in favor of either implies its falsity; that is to say each is self-contradictory, and is refuted by itself. Unbelief is a negative quantity, wholly unintelligible save by a positive quantity; for pure negation, being nothing, can be no object of thought. No man can make a denial but by virtue of some affirmative principle, and every affirmative principle is opposed to unbelief. Every man who denies Christianity must affirm something in its place, and the principles he must affirm in order to affirm any thing in its place will, if he remains faithful to them in examining the motives of credibility, compel him to assent to the truth of Christianity. All heresy is self-refuted. It asserts too much to be infidel, and too little to be Christian. If it follows out its denials, it falls into total unbelief, which is refuted by the necessity of believing something as the condition of disbelieving; if it follows out its positive affirmations, it must accept Catholicity, for Catholic truth is a unity, is one and indivisible, and, embrace what aspect of it you will, you must, in order to be self-consistent, embrace the whole of it down to the holy-water-pot and the blessing of asses, for either it is all false, or, as St. Paul says, "every creature of God may be blessed by prayer." Moreover, if the author concedes that Catholicity is, to human reason, simply the most probable of two alternatives an acute opponent may force him to a conclusion he may find it inconvenient to adopt. There are eminent Catholic divines who, uncensured, maintain that the law to bind must be not only probably, but certainly, promulgated, and therefore where we have not certainty,- objective certainty we mean,- we are free to follow the probable instead of the more probable. Even on principles, then, which the author cannot pronounce uncatholic, he might have innocently embraced the other alternative, refused to have become a Catholic, and have without sin remained, even after he had examined the motives of credibility, in his heresy or infidelity.

The author, no doubt, thinks that he escapes this difficulty by asserting that faith is the gift of God, and that certainty, not arrived at by reason, is attained to by virtue of this supernatural gift. But he appears to us to mistake the real question involved in his remarks. Undoubtedly, faith, in the theological sense, subjectively considered, is the gift of God, and it is only by this gift that we are able to believe with that firm adhesion of the mind which is demanded by the virtue of faith. But this is nothing to the purpose. The donum fidei is not an objective revelation of the truth, nor does it add any thing to the objective evidence or certainty of the faith; it is simply an infused habit of faith, giving to the mind a supernatural facility, aptitude, and strength in believing what God reveals and the church proposes. Yet, in discussing, for those who do not believe, the motives of credibility, we can make no account of this infused habit, because those who do not believe have it not, and because we cannot expect them to believe that they can have it, till we have convinced their reason that our church is the church of God. God forbid that we should, in the slightest degree, overlook the fact that faith is a supernatural gift, or the necessity of grace to incline the will and to illumine the understanding to see and appreciate the evidences of the truth of our holy religion. But our question here regards the certainty of our religion in se, not its certainty in our intellect; its objective certainty, not as addressed to the super-naturalized intellect, but as addressed to natural reason, and as the object, not of divine, but of human faith. Certainly human faith does not of itself suffice, but human faith is all that we seek to produce by arguments, and all that anybody ever pretends is produced by the motives of credibility. The real question here is, Do the motives of credibility, duly considered, establish to right reason the objective certainty of the Catholic religion, or only its probable truth, making out, as Lardner says of the credibility of the Gospel history, not certainty indeed, but very high probability? Proposed in this form, although grace is requisite to subjective certainty, to the firm adhesion of the mind to the truth, no Catholic can hesitate a moment as to the answer to be given. The evidence of our church, taken at its just weight, presents a case, not merely of very high probability, but of absolute certainty, against which reason can bring no reasonable or logical objection; and the man who has examined that evidence is both logically and morally bound to believe what she teaches and to do what she commands. That is to say, the motives of credibility establish the truth of Catholicity, with all the certainty reason ever has or can require, and leave no room for a reasonable doubt; and where there is no room for reasonable doubt, there is not merely objective probability, but objective certainty. We must say all this, or concede that our religion does not respond to all the demands of reason, and that the grace by virtue of which we elicit the act of faith is a dispensing with reason, instead of being its supernatural elevation, which is the radical error of modern Evangelicalism. Gratia praesupponit naturam. Grace retains reason and elevates it above itself; it does not supersede it, and require us to believe without or in opposition to its dictates. In believing Catholicity natural reason is fully satisfied, finds all her demands complied with, so that she never finds herself disappointed, or in any degree opposed to what through grace is believed. This the author himself shows, and it is on this ground that he asserts that the Catholic not only feels, but actually is, mentally free. But this would not be true, if the reason saw only probability, or could see room for a doubt as to the objective truth of Catholicity.

The author has been misled, most likely, by his Oxford logic, which teaches that mathematical certainty is the only genuine certainty, and that moral certainty, or certainty by virtue of extrinsic evidence, is only probability. Yet he holds that probability is sufficient in the case. So Mr. Newman, in his Essay on Development, concedes that the infallibility of the church can be only probably established, and yet contends that we may be infallibly certain of the doctrines we believe on her authority; that is, we may have infallible certainty by virtue of an authority which is only probably infallible! Hence, when we tell Protestants that they have no infallible certainty in the case of the doctrines which they profess to deduce from the Holy Scriptures, because they have only probable reasons for believing that the Scriptures are inspired, and only probable reasons that they have in their doctrines rightly seized their sense, we are altogether wrong, and must concede to Protestants, after all, that, so far as concerns the truths contained in the written word, they stand on as good grounds as we, and that all the advantage we have over them by means of an infallible church is that of an authority to preserve and define the unwritten word, and to watch over the developments of Christian doctrine, and from time to time to decide between the true developments and the false, anathematizing the latter as heresy, and taking the former up into the body of doctrine, and commanding them to be received as dogmas of faith! But, although this logic may be very convenient at Oxford, and very necessary indeed to all Protestants not confirmed rationalists, we hardly need it in the Catholic Church. As Catholics we can abide by the old rule, that the conclusion follows the weaker premise, and maintain that the certainty by an authority can never transcend the certainty of the authority itself. We concede that the evidence which establishes to human reason the divine authoritv of the church is extrinsic, but we do not concede that probability is sufficient for belief in that authority, nor that probability is all that this sort of evidence gives. A thing may be established as certainly by extrinsic as by intrinsic evidence, and moral or historical certainty in its order is every whit as high, as infallible, as mathematical certainty. It is rendered, by the extrinsic evidence in the case, as infallibly certain that our Lord wrought miracles, as it is that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles, and can be doubted only on the assumption of principles which render problematical the highest form of metaphysical certainty. Mr. Capes admits, or rather contends, that we have for the church the highest degree of certainty, except mathematical certainty, that the human reason ever has; we must then hold him quite inexcusable for conceding that her truth is only a probability and that in embracing her one is only choosing the more probable of two alternatives. It may be prudent to choose the more probable of two alternatives, but it is entirely to mistake the evidence in the case to suppose that we have nothing to propose to the unelevated reason but a choice between probabilites. It may seem all very wise to him to make liberal concessions to heresy, but we must look well to it that we do not make them at the expense of orthodoxy, or that, in our generosity to Protestants, we do not forget to be just to Catholics. It is not meet to rob the children of their bread and give it unto dogs. However, we do not suppose the real thought the author had in his mind is necessarily unsound, but he has not taken sufficient care to define and express it with exactness and precision.

The author, having spoken of mental freedom under Catholicity, makes some excellent remarks on the influence of Catholicity in developing and strengthening the intellect. He proceeds to give his experience and his views of its influence on modern civilization, and from this portion of his work we must be allowed to make a brief extract.

"On the other hand, how far the course of modern civilization is impeded by the reception of Catholicism, is a question which is by no means easy of solution. From all that I can judge by experience of its effects on myself and on others, I should be disposed to say that, while it tends to the culture of the intelligence, and to the development of all the faculties of the mind to the highest possible extent, it would lead its disciples to march with a somewhat hesitating step in what is commonly termed the civilization of the age. How far it would discourage purely intellectual cultivation apart from religion, is a question with which I have nothing to do, as I am speaking only of what are the effects of a sincere belief of Catholic doctrines, and an earnest practice of Catholic duties, upon the thoughts and life of man. While, then, I see every token that there is not a faculty in the soul, whether it be the pure reasoning faculty, the imagination, the taste, the love of extensive and accurate knowledge, or that which we term common sense, which Catholicism does not tend directly to stimulate in the healthiest and most effective possible manner; -while I see that its sons may be impelled by a burning enthusiasm to triumph throughout the whole domain of human studies, and to bend every acquisition of mental power to the service of God and the salvation of souls; -while the Catholic will labor with unwearying energies, and with the highest abilities, in the fields of mathematics, history, philosophy, science, poetry, or fiction, just as in former days the whole course of European civilization was directed and impelled by the devoted sons of the church; -at the same time it is impossible to overlook the fact, that so far as our civilization depends on the pursuit of gain, and the restless strivings of ambition, so far it would suffer in the hands of devout Catholics. There exists in the Catholic faith a power to detach the affections from any thing on this side of the grave, which necessarily makes men take matters somewhat too easily to be in harmony with the notions of the present epoch. A pious Catholic, to a certain extent, sees no future, except that which commences after death. He lives for the present hour and for eternity. He has a greater tendency to take the affairs of life as they come, and to enjoy what he actually has in possession, without putting himself very much out of the way to add to his store, than is usually found among ardent and business-like Protestants. Taken on the whole, I do not believe that Catholic merchants, Catholic tradesmen, Catholic travellers, or Catholic bankers, will ever so successfully compete with men of the world of similar occupations as to make as large fortunes as their Protestant competitors, or to exercise as powerful an influence upon the economic progress of the age. We never shall, taken as a body, be the first in the nation as men of business; and I question whether we could ever be first (though we might be second) in the study of those physical sciences with whose cultivation the characteristic movement of our time is so intimately bound up. It is undeniable, that Catholics do not care so much as others for those objects which furrow the sober and laborious Englishman's brow, and bend him down with premature old age. Not only the general influence of their religion, as a spiritual system, but the nature of their belief in the excellence of poverty. and of the monastic and celibate life, and in the pernicious nature of excessive carefulness, and of a melancholy, anxious spirit, tends to make them sit down contented amidst reverses, and comparatively careless about worldly success, where other men would strain every nerve to struggle against the assaults of fortune, and to provide against every possible future contingency."

Here, again, with what the author means we fully and heartily agree, but we can hardly accept what he says. How is it possible to regard Catholicity as likely to impede modern civilization, since modern civilization is undeniably the product of the Catholic religion? Indeed, Catholicity is the only thing that can save civilization, and prevent the modern world from lapsing into barbarism and savagism. The author himself holds and proves this, as is clear from the remarks which follow the passage extracted. Why, then, does he intimate that it will impede rather than advance our civilization? Simply because he takes the pains neither to think nor to express himself with accuracy. What he means by modern civilization is not modern civilization, but practices and tendencies in modern nations, especially Protestant nations, directly opposed to it, namely the neglect of the higher intellectual culture, worldly-mindedness, selfishness, exclusive cultivation of the physical sciences, and excessive devotion to wealth and mere material prosperity. Mr. Capes is quite right in supposing the Catholic religion favors unworldliness, cherishes the intellectual rather than the mere physical sciences, checks the inordinate pursuit of wealth, and reconciles men to poverty; he is quite right, too, in regarding this as one of its recommendations; but by what hallucination he should have been led to regard it for this reason as less friendly than Protestantism to modern civilization is more than we are able to divine. Certainly, he is too clear a thinker to confound with our civilization the causes in operation amongst us which tend incessanly, as he himself admits, to destroy it.

We regret that he has not expressed himself with more accuracy, for he cannot be ignorant that the question between Catholicity and Protestantism is no longer a theological or religious question. It is now in reality a purely social question. As a religion, as a medium of worshipping God and saving the soul, Protestants, throughout the world, have virtually yielded the ground to Catholicity, and no longer dispute her claims. They feel that, for men who would give their souls to God, and live only for heaven, the Catholic is the best religion; indeed, the only religion adapted to their purpose. They shift the question, and now oppose our religion, though excellent in regard to heaven, as abominable in regard to earth. Admirable as a religion, it is execrable as a civilization. They pretend that it enslaves the mind, crushes the spirit, and fits men only to be mere tools and drudges; that it robs man of the nobility of his nature, forbids him to assert his manhood, and unfits him to bear a manly part in the progress of society. They institute comparisons between Protestant nations and Catholic, and tell us that in the former all is life and activity, energy and improvement; industry and commerce flourish, wealth accumulates, social and material well-being are cared for and incessantly advanced; while in the latter indolence prevails, a general want of thrift is manifest, enterprise sleeps, and every one is contented to remain where and what he was born. All this is false, no doubt, but nothing is more certain than that the notion is entertained by Protestants, and even by some Catholics, that Protestant nations surpass in civilization and temporal prosperity Catholic nations, and that the cause of it is to be sought in the difference between Protestantism and Catholicity. It is on the ground that their pretended religion is more favorable than the Catholic religion to civilization and temporal prosperity, that Protestants now seek to place the controversy with us. It will not do, then, in these times, for us to begin with the apparent concession that our religion is unfavorable to modern civilization. No matter how correct may be our meaning, we must not, even in words, have the least appearance of conceding it, for a candid interpretation of our language is the last thing we are to expect from Protestants. As little value as we set on the earth and things of time, we must not concede even this world to Protestants, although they may be willing to concede us heaven in exchange. They must have nothing, in this world or the next, at our hands, but what they are honestly entitled to, which is just nothing at all; and we must be ready to maintain against them that ours is the only religion favorable to man's true interests, whether for time or for eternity.

If Protestants retained, as a body, any real reverence for spiritual things, if they were not generally ready "to jump the world to come" if they can make sure of this world, we would waive the question they raise, for a religion is not to be tested by its relations to material prosperity, but by its adaptation to the end of all religion, namely, the glory of God in the redemption and sanctification of souls; but as they can be made to feel only on the material side of their being, as much as we despise the things of the world, we hold it important for them, not for us, to meet them on their own chosen ground,- the last that remains to them,- and prove to them that, setting aside all considerations of its advantages in regard to another world, the belief and practice of our religion are the only sure means of advancing civilization, and securing and promoting man's social and material well-being. Mr. Capes has himself proved this unanswerably, and we need but refer the reader to his luminous pages on this subject. That our religion detaches its followers from the world, and tends to make them indifferent to material goods, is, no doubt, true, and it is because this is true that it is favorable to civilization and material prosperity. It checks selfishness and increases charity, and charity makes us solicitous for the welfare of others just in proportion as it renders us indifferent to our own. Hence it is that selfishness always retards, while charity advances, civilization. It checks eagerness in the pursuit of wealth, and therefore extravagance in expenditures. All the selfish passions tend to overshoot themselves, and too great eagerness in the pursuit always misses its aim. Riches are not to be estimated by the amount produced, but by the amount produced beyond consumption. No matter how many fold you increase the productions of a people; if you increase their expenditures in the same proportion, you add nothing to their riches. Protestantism, by destroying men's faith in a future life, by depriving the people of the relish for simple spiritual pleasures, always to be had at a trifling expense, confines them to sensual pleasures, which are always expensive. Its very worldly-mindedness and craving for sensual gratification induce an expenditure for pomp and show, for feeding pampered appetites, for sustaining rivalries in houses and furniture, places and honors, which brings consumption in Protestant countries closer on the heels of production than it is ever brought in any Catholic country. Even admitting, what is doubtful, that more is actually produced by a Protestant than by a Catholic people, the latter, placing their felicity, not in sensual, but in spiritual pleasures, caring little for worldly show, and contented with a cheaper and more simple style of living, are sure to have always on hand a larger surplus beyond their wants for consumption, and therefore to be always actually richer. This is evinced by the fact, that one can live in the same grade of society in a Catholic country at less than one half the expense that is required in England or the United States, the two most favorable Protestant instances to be selected.

If from the accumulation of wealth, which is greater under Catholicity than under Protestantism,- of course we are not speaking of a Catholic people, like the Irish, ruled and oppressed by a Protestant people,- we pass to social and political well-being, we shall find the advantage is all on the side of Catholicity. The tendency of all Protestant legislation is to make the rich richer, and the poor poorer, if we may judge from the example of England, and from our own, and the worst form of aristocracy, a moneyed aristocracy, the aristocracy of money-bags, stocks, and spindles, is its favorite. The poor are ground into the dust, the rich escape. The subordinate in villainy is punished, the principal usually escapes. In Catholic countries,- really Catholic countries we mean,- the constitution of the state and society are respected; but legislation and administration, filled with an unworldly and charitable spirit, tend to protect the poor and helpless, and punishment falls with its greatest severity on the proud and lordly oppressor, on the greatest villain. Austria punishes the chiefs of the Hungarian rebellion, but spares the subordinates. Liberty does not consist in fanciful theories, in passionate declamations against monarchy or aristocracy, and the loud vociferation of the words Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, nor in well-planned and successful Jacobinical revolutions, which overturn the throne and altar, and set up the despotism of unbelief and the tyranny of the mob, but in the supremacy of law, in the maintenance of wise and just government, however constituted, and in orderly submission to its authority. That which tends to repress turbulent passions, to wean the affections from this world, to make men unambitious, indifferent to their political or social position, self-denying, disinterested, charitable, contented with spiritual occupations and pleasures, must, then, be that which will most effectually serve the cause of liberty, by drying up the source of the dangers to which it is exposed, weakening the selfishness from which the disposition to tyrannize or to rebel against legitimate authority arises, and taking from tyranny and rebellion their motive and excuse. As a matter of fact, in liberty and real temporal prosperity the Catholic nations of Europe, notwithstanding the obstacles thrown in their way for three hundred years by heretical neighbors, infidel governments, and infidel mobs, are far in advance of the Protestant nations, and have in them a vitality, a recuperative energy, that we should in vain look for in any country where Protestantism predominates. This should be so, for it is an irreversible law that the goods of this world always fly those who pursue them for themselves, and overtake those who despise and fly them for God's sake.

Mr. Capes has some profound and excellent remarks on the social crisis that has approached or is approaching in England, and shows clearly that the great social problem of the age, pressing every day more and more urgently for a solution, can be solved only by Catholicity. The great question, which socialists misconceive and are impotent to answer, and which they conceal under their demand of "the right to labor," is, say what we will, the great social question of our day. It is a fearful question, and cannot much longer be blinked, or left to the management of socialists and communists. The Protestant system of industry and economy has predominated in the modern world since the peace of Utrecht, in 1713, and it has brought the greater portion of the civilized world to the very brink of ruin. It has reduced the price of labor to the very minimum of human subsistence, and given us an immense operative class,- millions of men and women, able and willing to work for their bread, who are starving because there is no work to be had. Such is the terrible fact that stares us in the face, and affords us so sad a comment on the boasted progress of industry and material prosperity under Protestantism. This fact. has to be met and disposed of, or it will dispose of the modern world. Till some practical solution is found, some effectual remedy is applied, we must expect socialist and communist movements to continue, and society to be constantly menaced with total disruption. Nothing renders men more desperate, more ready to make a revolution, than the gnawings of hunger. If you wish to be free from revolutions, take care that the people find employment, and experience no lack of provender. Mr. Capes has not gone into the question at so great a length as we wish he had, but in what he has said he shows that he understands it, has deeply pondered it, and sees whence the remedy is to come. That the church has in her institutions, if she be cordially accepted, a sure and even a speedy remedy for the evil, he shows conclusively. We feel it necessary to add, to guard against misapprehension, that, though the institutions on which he appears to rely as the institutions of the church are as highly esteemed by us as by him, yet it is necessary to bear in mind that the church does not do her work by virtue of them, but they accomplish their ends by virtue of her. In other words, the Catholic doctrine in regard to poverty, monastic establishments, and vows of celibacy on the part of the clergy and religious, if they could obtain out of the church, would not, as parts of Protestantism, accomplish any thing good, and it is not they that give to Catholicity its power to remedy social evils, but it is it that gives to them their power and efficiency to that end. The church is one, a unity, not a union, and her power and efficiency proceed from her centre, from the Holy Ghost who dwells in her, not from an aggregate of parts. When we say monastic establishments, vows of celibacy, &c., have this or that tendency, we must always bear in mind that it is not they that contribute so much power to the church, but she that contributes their power for good to them.

There are several other points in Mr. Capes's work on which we should like to comment, and some few more inaccuracies of expression we should like to point out; but perhaps we have found fault enough, and have already said enough to incline many of our readers to think us far more ready to censure than to laud. Mr. Capes is an able man, a zealous Catholic, who cheerfully devotes his time, his talents, and his fortune to the cause of Catholicity. His errors arise from his retaining his Oxford philosophy, from his partiality for Mr. Newman's theory of development, his wish to write in a popular style, and from the low state of Catholic theology in Great Britain. From the latter proceeds his twaddle about conscientious Protestants, and wishy-washiness on the subject of exclusive salvation; both are uncalled for, and, if they do no harm, they do no good. We cannot understand why a Catholic writer should be exceedingly anxious to prove the worthlessness of his own religion, and give to those without assurances that they can be saved without embracing it. There is no reason in the world, that we can understand, why every popular scribbler on Catholic theology should be putting his gloss on the solemn definitions of the church in her general councils. She has defined, that out of the church no one can ever be saved, and why can we not be contented to stop where she stops? Mr. Capes does not hesitate to call Anglicanism an absurdity, to deny it all religious character, or to assert, if he means what he says, the impossibility of faith out of the church; how, then, can he concede the possibility of salvation out of the church, since" without faith it is impossible to please God"? Suppose the gloss he and others put upon the definition of the church be allowable, it can be allowable in the case of no one who can know that it is allowable, for such a one has an opportunity to hear the church, and cannot be in invincible ignorance. No man can be invincibly ignorant of what is necessary, necessitate medii, to salvation, for salvation is possible to all men. A man must have this,- and faith is always in re, never in voto, - before the plea of invincible ignorance can excuse him. But we will do Mr. Capes the justice to say, that he is on this point less latitudinarian than English Catholic writers generally, and shows evidently that he does not believe much in the alleged good faith and sanctity of Protestants. He seems to wish to drop the qualification so earnestly insisted upon by those kind souls, who are afraid that they may wound the feelings or alarm the consciences of "their separated brethren."

We are glad to find that Mr. Capes insists earnestly on the great fact, that faith is the gift of God, but we are not quite sure that he is right in calling this gift, received in baptism, a special faculty. It is not a faculty, but an infused habit, and imparts no new faculty to the soul, but simply elevates or supernaturalizes an existing faculty.

But enough of this. Notwithstanding the faults we have found, we place a high value on this work, and have read it with great interest and satisfaction. It will be widely read, and will have a good influence on the courage and tone of English and American Catholics. It is not as bold and energetic as we could wish it, but is far more so than the productions of English Catholics during the last century and the beginning of the present. We have, unhappily, been forced to find fault with nearly all the works that have reached us from the Oxford converts. Mr. Faber is the only one of the converts whose writings we are aware of having seen, whom we have had no occasion to criticise. What we have seen from him is written in a true Catholic spirit, is Catholic to the core. Nevertheless, we have found some noble tendencies in all these converts. They nearly all seem to be free from the common English distrust of the papacy, and if they have any errors, they are not those of the school of Charles Butler. They do not appear to think Catholicity would be improved by being remodelled after the Anglican Establishment, nor are they afraid to say their beads, or ashamed to invoke the saints, and venerate sacred images and relics. They do not appear to think that Catholicity should be one thing for Englishmen and another for Italians, and they appear to feel that their religion is really Catholic.

We have heretofore spoken of the freer and bolder tone that is beginning to be assumed by English Catholics; there is decidedly less namby-pambyism among them, less of that truckling and servile spirit, so incompatible with the freedom and dignity of our faith, and less of that striving to conciliate and to avoid displeasing heretics, lest our goods should be confiscated or our throats cut, hardly to be expected in the members of a church that teaches men that in dying they may conquer the world; and we attribute this, under God, in some degree, to the accession of converts from Anglicanism, but mainly to the influx of Irish Catholics. The church in England, as in this country, increases by emigration from Ireland, and it is from this source that English Catholicity has derived chiefly its courage to speak in bolder tones and stronger language. And this not only because a large portion of the Catholic population are Irish, but poor Irish. Your Catholic aristocracy, save individual exceptions, have too many worldly relations, and too many connections with the dominant heretical society, to permit the missionary to rely upon them with much confidence, and they will always, in consideration of their rank and large possessions, be disposed to temporize, and to give up all of their religion that can possibly be given up without giving up the whole. We regard it as a very great blessing to our own country, that at the present moment the great majority of our Catholic population are poor, and poor Irish. Our Catholicity will thus have a healthier tone, and rest on a far more solid basis, humanly speaking, than if it prevailed only among the native-born population, and the wealthier and more distinguished families. What might at first view seem against us is really in our favor, and we really feel more joy, other things being equal, in the conversion of a poor man or a poor woman, than in that of a rich man or a fine lady, the poor, they who have but few ties that bind them to the world, are more devoted to the truth, love their religion more for its own sake, care less for appearances, and are less afraid of having the plain truth told to their heretical neighbors. The Irish have their faults,- no man pretends to deny it,- and who has not faults? But Almighty God seems to have reserved to them the special mission of restoring to the faith the nations that speak the English language, and they seem to us to be peculiarly fitted for its performance. If, then, we mark a decided improvement in the tone and feelings of Catholics in England and in this country during the last half-century, let us, who are of the old English stock, not forget to give the honor where, under God, it is due,- to the piety, the zeal, and the steadfastness of the poor Irish emigrants. And let it console them in some measure for the sufferings of poor, oppressed Ireland, that they are, by divine Providence, made the instrument of building up the church in England and the United States, and of the salvation of millions of souls.