« FöregåendeFortsätt »
she has no existence. There is only one Church that has ever dared to lay claim to the fulfilment of these promises in herself; nay, as we have more than once pointed out in this Review, the very daring to make such a claim must be either the Voice of Christ speaking through the Church that makes it, or open blasphemy. It follows, therefore, that if the promises of Christ are not fulfilled in the Holy Roman See--and where else can they be fulfilled ?—where else has the claim to their fulfilment ever been put forward ?—not only Christ has not founded a Church upon earth, but He Himself is not the Son whom the Father sent to be the Saviour of the world. On the other hand, if the Holy Father is the successor to Peter's prerogatives, then the whole scheme of Redemption, as divinely established by our Blessed Lord, is carried out, the promises made to Peter are fulfilled, Christ's last prayer has been heard, and He Himself is clearly proved to be Very God of Very God, one with the Father, and the Father one with Him, even as His Church is one. So, too, it follows that the Holy Father can never teach error, when speaking authoritatively on faith or morals, otherwise the gates of hell would prevail against the Church; and that to Him as supreme teacher, kings as well as peoples must be subject, while as Vicar of the King of Kings he is himself a king.
Our readers will find these thoughts well developed in the four lectures which form the subject of the present notice. The first is upon the Supremacy of the Pope ; the second, on his Infallibility; the third, on his Temporal Power ; while the fourth, on the Pontificate of Pius IX., forms, as it were, both a striking summary and a telling illustration of the other three. Thus, in the first lecture, the Chancellor of the Diocese of New York shows very clearly that unless the Holy Father is the supreme pastor of the Church, there is no such thing as Christianity :-:
“As we have seen," he says, “ Jesus Christ staked His veracity and divine character on the Church which lle established, and with which He promised to abide. Let us suppose for a moment that Peter and his successors are not the supreme pastors of the Church, and what are the direct logical consequences ?
“First. There is now no church whatever on earth, no visible body of Christ, no representative of the Incarnate Word who spake the language of grace and truth. Different sects, agreeing in no doctrine, separated from each other's communion, and contending against each other, are surely not one flock under one shepherd. The world can never hear, if it would, a voice of truth from lips whose names are legion, and whose tones are discord. The Church has failed. The fragments of the wreck float around, but the bark that was launched on Galilee has gone to pieces. What, then, has become of the promise of Christ, “Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world'? That promise has never been fulfilled. The Son of God has not kept His truth.
“Secondly. The Christian Church was built upon Peter as its head and immovable foundation. Thou art Peter,' &c. "The Church of Christ is founded on Peter, and any Church which rests not upon him is no Church of Christ, by whatever name it may be called. The word of the Lord must be kept with Peter, or we can trust Him in nothing. . . . . If this plain promise has been broken, and there is no house of God resting on Peter, and no flock which he feeds, then is Jesus Christ neither true prophet nor
divine teacher. The whole of His blessed life turns out to be a cunninglydevised fable." (pp. 74–76.)
Again it is argued :
“Christianity is not a pious feeling towards our Lord, nor self-complacency at the thought of His love; it is the complex of truths which He taught, which are one perfect whole that can never be divided. We do not accept the Gospel and its verities because they commend themselves to our taste, but because they are taught us by God. They all rest upon a divine authority, and stand or fall in their completeness. If there is no visible Church speaking in its living unity, or, which is the same, no supreme visible part, who shall tell what and where Christianity is? ... We would expect to see the Church which Peter guides go down to lier Gethsemani or ascend to her Calvary; but to see her broken to fragments till no trace of her form remains, and in her place rise up a thousand conficting forms, as if she hail bred reptiles of her own body, the fruits of her dissolution, this cannot be reconciled with the divinity of her founder. For an utter rout like this, are we asked to believe that God became man, and lived and died on earth? Even false prophets have done works inore wonderful than these, and the votaries of lies have not so signally failed. Heathen mythologies have not yet died out; the Jewish theocracy lived its long day; and Christianity, planted by a Divine hand, and watered by the tears and blood of the Son of God, has become a Babel of confusion, and an enigma of contradictions.” (pp. 76—78.)
While, however, we fully admit the logical sequence of these remarks, we must also add that we cannot follow the lecturer when he presses the argument still further, and maintains that “the rejection of the pastorship of S. Peter" is also “the rejection of natural religion and the light of reason.” (p. 71.) The author shows throughout the whole work so firm a grasp of Catholic doctrine, that we cannot indeed believe that he would maintain this assertion absolutely. Much rather would we suppose that we ourselves have failed to arrive at his exact meaning. Still, the
arguments brought forward in the first lecture, by which the author endeavours to prove this assertion, seem to us somewhat wanting in logical precision and accurate wording. No doubt it may often happen that a man who wilfully rejects the pastorship of S. Peter may end in utter unbelief. The man who has ceased to believe in revealed religion may also cease to believe in natural religion. Still, there is no necessary connection between the rejection of the one and the rejection of the other. The evidence for the one is distinct from that of the other. When belief in revealed religion is overthrown, the light of reason still remains strong enough to prove the existence of God. It may be distorted, but it is not extinguished. The Church has always guarded the rights of reason within reason's own province. She has constantly rejected the doctrine that there is no certitude except that which leans upon faith ; that without grace and revelation man can know nothing about God. She has no less constantly taught that the use of reason precedes faith, and that reason can prove the existence of God with certitude, and this even in those who have not yet received the faith. Now this doctrine of the Church hardly seems sufficiently kept in view in the following remarks :
“Yet when the spirit of dissent has run its logical course, and the
founder of our religion is counted an impostor, where shall shine the light of nature, or in what region shall reason hold up her torch? If the miracles of the new law be rejected, and revelation falls, where shall man repose his trust when his God has so skilfully deceived him? No prophet can come to him with the light from the infinite for which his soul yearns. No sun shall arise to chase away the gloom from the land of the shadow of death. ... If one rise from the dead, he cannot believe the testimony of his senses. It is only another deception of which he may be victim, and he will cry out within himself, 'Is there a God of love and truth unbounded that can thus sport with my misery, or am I myself a lie, the central figure in a scene of delusion?
. . . Such are the steps which descend unfailingly, by a logic that cannot be withstood, to the dark chambers of infidelity, where even the sun. shine of reason is put out. Christianity stands or falls as Jesus Christ formed it. If it fails us, everything falls with it. We cannot go back to the days of pure reason, for the light within us is distorted, and we have lost our confidence in the God who made us.”
Of course, if the author only means that one whose reason has become so distorted as to reject the truth of revealed religion, may also be unable to see the truth of natural religion, we fully adınit that this may well be ; but the words which we have placed in italics seem to us to show that he means more than this, and that he regards the rejection of Christianity as leading by strict logical consequence to the rejection of Theism. The same confusion of thought appears to us to run through the whole of the fourth division of this lecture, with the exception of the arguments which we have first quoted, and which are perfectly logical. No doubt, as the author remarks in the Preface (p. vi.), “the rejection of any part of revelation is logically the rejection of the whole”; but it is not always necessarily the rejection of natural religion or of the light of reason.
The other lectures we have found most instructive, and in some places eloquently written. The one on the “Infallibility of the Pope" seems to us especially valuable. We extract the following excellent remarks upon Gallicanism:
“That narrow and transient school of theologians has received far too much notice, and beyond the Catholic communion, far too much credit. Evil, indeed, was wrought by it, for error is always deadly, and far reaching in its consequences; but it was never allowed to influence the body of the faithful. Arising in France under the royal favour, it sprang up without warrant or antecedent, was affirmed by only a few of the bishops, while it was rejected by the great majority of them, and condemned by three popes in succession. In other countries than France it has never prevailed, and has only been used in argument by those whose minds were already out of syinpathy with the current of Catholic thought and feeling."
We must add the value of the work is greatly enhanced by an Appendix, which contains the dogmatic decrees of the Council of the Vatican on Catholic Faith and on the Church of Christ, in Latin and English, several Encyclical and A postolic letters of the Holy Father, and a chronological table of the Roman Pontiffs.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus offered to the Piety of the Young engaged in Study.
By A. Denam, S.J. London: R. Washbourne. ATHER DEHAM, of the College of S. Servais, Liége, has given us a
little treatise in which devotion to the Sacred Heart of our Blessed Lord is held out to young scholars as the best of all pledges of their future success in life. In it the boy at college, or the young girl in her convent school, will not only find explained the origin, object, and end of this devotion, the tender love and kindness of the Sacred Heart, the favour promised to those who honour It, but also will be made acquainted with many useful practices, indulgenced prayers, acts of contrition and reparation, and invocations, by means of which the Sacred Heart may be daily honoured. We are glad to see that our Lady of the Sacred Heart is not forgotten. The more these two devotions can be kept together in practice the better. Devotion to God's mother is the golden key which unlocks the Sacred Heart of her Son, and of all our Lady's glories surely her empire over that Heart is the greatest.
We may add that the Bishop of Liége has given his warmest approbation to this little work, which “he recommends both to masters and to scholars.”
The Life of Our Lord commemorated in the Mass : a Method of Assisting
at the Holy Sacrifice. By EDWARD G. Bagshawe, Priest of the
Oratory of S. Philip Neri. London : R. Washbourne. THIS method of hearing Mass will be a great help to those who are in
the habit of joining with the priest in reciting the Missal prayers. Each mystery has been carefully suited to the words of the prayer which it accompanies, while the intervals after Communion are filled up with appropriate texts. It appears to us admirably calculated to bring home to the soul, in the most life-like way, the mysteries of the Holy Mass, and to make the Mass itself a summary of the Life of our Blessed Lord. The little book is so small and thin, though printed in large and clear type, that it may easily be slipped into the Missal.
De Annis Christi Tractatus : sire Chronologiæ Sacræ et Profanæ inter se
et cum Vaticiniis S. Scripturæ Concordia Plena. In lucem prodiit opere et cura Rev. Henrici ForMBY, Tertii Ordinis Sancti Dominici. Veneunt apud Bibliopolas, Londini, Burns et Oates, Socios; Rome, J. Spithöver, &c. &c. VATHER FORMBY is really unwearied in his labours of love,
labours for our children, that they may become better acquainted with Sacred and Church History, and the Parables of our Lord and the
Seven Sacraments; labours for ourselves in the spirit of a true son of S. Dominic, that we may grow in the knowledge of the mysteries of the Holy Rosary ; labours, and by no means the least of all, that a taste for truly Christian art may be encouraged amongst us. And now he comes before us again, offering to the learned a Latin treatise about the years of Christ--a labour of love by which he hopes to do further good service to his Master, and to reconcile sacred and profane chronology both with one another and with the prophecies of Scripture, by proving that He lived, not as is more commonly supposed, three-and-thirty, but forty years with the sons of men,—“Quadraginta annis proximus fui gencrationi hinc.” We need hardly say that this is not a question which touches the faith ; there have been at different periods different opinions on the subject; indeed, so many difficulties have gathered round it, that Natalis Alexander has said that so far as tradition is concerned, the question cannot be determined with certainty. Moreover, F. Formby's treatise comes to us with the nihil obstat of F. Stanton of the Oratory, and the imprimatur of His Grace the Archbishop, so that even the inost timid may feel assured that the author has not exceeded the limits of legitimate inquiry. We must add that F. Formby, although very contident of his own position, in no way wishes to impose it upon others, or to arrogate to himself any public authority. He believes, however, that by reconciling sacred and profane chronology in this particular way, he knocks away the ground from under the feet of those who hold that the Gospel history is a myth.
The treatise is divided into two parts. The first is chronological, having to do with historical evidence, and is from the pen of the late Mr. W. H. Scott, translated into Latin by F. Formby; the second is theological, dealing with the prophecies and the interpretation of Scripture, and is by F. Formby himself.
The conclusion of the first part may be thus briefly summed up. From historical evidence, which he finds irresistible, the writer (Mr. Scott) believes that the birth of our Lord cannot reasonably be assigned to any year after 25th December, A.u.c. 746, A.C. 8; nor can the Crucifixion be in any way placed before the 3rd April, A.U.c. 786, A.D. 33 ; so that counting from the Incarnation, that is, from the end of March, and nine months before the Nativity, to the Crucifixion, there is the full space of forty years. This conclusion, he thinks, harmonizes perfectly with all the chief events and dates of sacred and profane chronology, with, however, one important exception, namely, the passage in which S. Luke is commonly supposed to say that our Lord, at the time of his baptism, " was beginning to be about thirty years old.” (Luke iii. 23.) That our Lord lived forty years on earth is also confirmed by the authority of S. Irenæus.
In the second part F. Formby appeals to the prophecies and types and figures of IIoly Scripture in support of the forty years of our Lord's life on earth, on the supposition that they are historically proved; and here he is perhaps the most successful. lle also brings forward arguments of congruity, laying great stress on the number 40 being, in a certain way, as S. Augustine tells us, the number of perfection. He then proceeds to