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from what the Holy See and the Church were able to do then. With the Vicar of Christ for arbiter in the quarrels of nations, and judge over the whole Christian world, wars might have died out of the earth : the vision of the gospel-prophet might have been literally fulfilled: “And many people shall say, Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the House of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us His ways, and wo will walk in His paths : for the law shall come forth from Sion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge the nations and rebuke many people; and they shall turn their swords into plough-shares and their spears into sickles : nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they be exercised to war any more. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of my people, and the works of their hands shall be of long continuance. They shall not hurt, nor shall they kill in all my holy mountain, for the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the covering waters of the sea." The intellect of Christendom, which we see during this marvellous period quickening into life with all the first flush of its glorious promise, would have been developed in harmony with the Divine Revelation, and in that only true and perfect freedom which comes from the light of God: for the license of error, like the license of sin, is not freedom, but the slavery of darkness, causing men to grope about and feel their way, and retrace ever the same circle, instead of going forward to perfect knowledge. Informed by the light of God, it would have arrived at this perfect knowledge, not by spasmodic efforts, often self-contradictory as well as opposed to God's truth, but by one calm onward march; still less would it have contented itself with fragments of God's truth, but, becoming enlarged by a higher power than its own, would, in the due course of time, havo formed a still nobler synthesis of all science, divine and human, than that which, as we shall see, was then formed, noble though it was. Reason, instead of becoming first a rebel against, and then a tyrant over tho Faith of Christ, would have continued its handmaid, looking to its definitions as finger-posts, not as obstacles; helping to build up and strengthen the temple of revealed truth by the bulwarks of her arguments, and laying the results of all her investigations and discoveries at the foot of Christ's Cross. The sciences would still have continued to recognize theology as their queen and mistress; the arts, which carry on for the delight of men the development of the beautiful, instead of slaking their thirst with impure and troubled waters, and
building for them aqueducts and cisterns, broken cisterns that hold no water, would have drawn even deeper and deeper from the crystal and living well of all beauty, which is at the same time the well of all truth and goodness. Civilization, instead of being of the earth, earthly, dragging men down to mere material comfort,—to the last of the eyes, and the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life,-would have helped them forward to their eternal end, and made the earth the very footstool of God's throne. In a word, “the earth would have been the Lord's and the fulness thereof, the world and all they who dwell therein.” But the Church is not above her Lord, it is enough if she be as her Lord: and the hosannas which greeted the Church as queen of the whole earth, like those of her Lord, were destined before long to be drowned in the cries of “ Crucify her, crucify her!” God in His wisdom has willed it so to be, and all that we can do is to comfort ourselves with the knowledge that in His own good time all shall be well; that as He Himself revealed to one of His servants, who lived just when the Church's glorious era had passed away, and who, in her little quiet cell at Norwich, was sorely troubled with the “ugly sight” of sin that was coming over Christendom: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. I may make all thing well, and I can make all thing well, and I shall make all thing well, and I will make all thing well; and thou thyself shalt see that all manner of thing shall be well, for sithen I have made well by the most harm,
then it is My will that thou know thereby that I shall make well all that is less."*
Have we exaggerated the glories of this period of tho Church's meridian earthly splendour ? Are we wrong in applying the term “ meridian” to any part of her past life on earth, even in reference to her influence over the world? Do our readers think that we have not as yet shown sufficient grounds for calling this period of her nearest approach to sovereign power over the world the central period of her history? If so, we must ask them to bear with us a little longer, while we examine it still more in detail. We are not contending for a mere view, but for a theory, which, as it seems to us, is the only one which can rightly explain the philosophy of her history as well as that of the world. We have no wish to build up any mere picturesque structure of argument, which, however apparently harmonious in the proportion of its parts,
*“Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love,” made to a devout servant of our Lord, called Mother Juliana, an Anchoress of Norwich, who lived in the days of King Edward III. 13th Rev., ch. 27, 29, 31.
may rest on no solid foundation; but we wish to show that the central position of the period in question is borne out, not only by what we have already said, but also by its general nature and character. While contending that the outward growth of the Church in wisdom and grace has never ceased, and can never cease until the great day of her translation from earth to heaven, we are not by any means prevented from maintaining at the same time that in the process of development there is one central point in which the rays of the Church's wisdom and grace become as it were concentrated. So was it in the life of our B. Lord Himself, when He stood transfigured upon the holy mount, the voice of God the Father coming down to Him from the excellent glory, and confirming His whole Divine life -past, present, and future-by the manifestation, while His flesh was as yet unglorified, of the glory which He had with the Father before the world was. The glory of the Godhead broke, as it were, through His human flesh, and showed him to be indeed the Lord of
Glory, the Lord of lords, and King of kings. Even so also the period of her brightest glory upon earth may be called the Church's Tabor, not because she was surrounded with merely earthly glory—God forbid ! that would be, indeed, to take an unworthy view of the Church's mission —that would, indeed, be no transfiguration ; but because the Divine glory of the kingdom of God, which will only be revealed in its fulness when "all principality, and power, and virtue has been brought to naught,''broke through the Church's human life, and showed her for a little while to be the mistress of the world. Now, this manifestation of the Divine glory took place in other ways besides those already mentioned, and these, again, seem to us amply to justify the title of “central,” which we have given to this period.
Take for example the development of the Church's dogma. Which is the great central dogma which gives life not only to all the rest, but to the Church herself, and to all her members ? Is it not that of the Real Presence of Christ's Real Body enthroned in the midst of His Mystical Body, the Church? that Real Presence which is the source of all her wisdom and grace, the secret of all her strength, the centre of all her life, the pledge of her future glory? Yet, what do we find ? When was it that the solemn enthronement of Christ's Real Body in the worship of His Mystical Body took place? We do not of course speak of the truth of the dogma itself, which had been held from the first and in all places, but of the position which the definition of the dogma occupies in the process of development of the Church's dogmatic teaching, and of the immense increase of devotion to our Lord in the B. Sacrament which
followed that definition. When writing last year in the pages of this Review on devotion to S. Joseph, we made use of these words: “Our readers will have perceived that in the course of our rapid sketch of the Church's doctrinal developinent, we paused at the solemn enthronement of the Real Body of Christ in the outward worship of the members of His Mystical Body. We did so advisedly, for we believe that in very truth this was the centre and turning-point of the Church's mystical life. From that moment the current of ber thought and love passed into another channel; but it was only the channel that was changed, the deep waters of her doctrine and devotion were still the same. The cycle of the doctrine relating to Christ's Real Body having been completed, these in their turn began to give place to those which related to His Mystical Body. And so the Church unfolded before the eyes of men its institution, its authority, its sacraments, and its rites, ever bringing out into clearer light the mutual relationship of its members, whether militant, suffering, or glorified, as well as the royal dignity, prerogatives, and privileges of its earthly head, the Holy Roman Pontiff, until that longlooked-for Midsummer day came at last, when not yet a year ago she crowned her doctrine about Christ's Mystical Body with the solemn definition of the Infallibility of His Vicar upon earth.”* Borrowing a comparison from the architecture of the Mediæval Church, we said that the dogma of the Real Presence formed as it were the high altar and tabernacle of a vast cathedral, standing between the costly sanctuary of the doctrine relating to Christ's Real Body, which had been first built, and the long nave or central aisle afterwards to be raised out of the hewn stones of the doctrines which relate to our Lord's Mystical Body; the aisle of our Lady on the right hand, with its delicate and smaller proportions growing up by the side of the central aisle, although the Lady chapel of the worship of God's Mother, out of which it sprang, had been erected from the first, along with the sanctuary of Christ's Real Body; the third aisle of S. Joseph beginning to lift up its walls just at the very time the high altar of the B. Sacrament was being completed, while the chapels of the Saints first of all cluster round the sanctuary, and then gird the aisles, forming, as it were, an outer circle of worship around Mary, Jesus, and Joseph. Thus rose up, thus still is rising up, the
* “Devotion to S. Joseph,” DUBLIN REVIEW for April, 1871.
+ The writer of this article may perhaps state at once, that although entertaining the warmest admiration for Mediæval architecture, as the expression of some of the noblest thoughts of the human mind, he still feels most strongly that there are other thoughts, no less noble, that find their best expres
three-aisled temple of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, with the central dogma of the Real Presence as its glorious altarthrone. Now it was during that period of the Church's history that we have called “central," that this altar-throne was erected in the midst of the Church; that this central dogma reached the perfection of its development in the definition of Transubstantiation, and in the solemn enthronement of the B. Sacrament in the outward worship of the Church by the establishment of the Feast of Corpus Christi. In 1208, B. Juliana, of Mont Cornillon, beheld in vision, under the figure of a moon, full all but in one little point, how there was wanting yet some little thing to the fulness of the adoration of the B. Sacrament, and this, as she was told by God, was the institution of a special feast in its honour.
In 1215, Innocent III. opened the fourth Council of the Lateran, taking for his text the words of our Lord, “With desire have I desired to eat this Pasch with you.” This Council was for the Middle Ages what we had hoped would have been, and still hope may be, if God so will, the Vatican Council for our own times. It seems to have met every want of the Church; it consolidated and re-consecrated the great work of S. Gregory VII., and its decrees have served as a fourdation for ecclesiastical discipline down to the present day. It was meet and right that this foundation should itself rest on the foundation of all unity, and holiness, and strength; and so in the first Canon we meet with these memorable words : “Of the faithful there is only one universal Church, out of which no man is saved. Jesus Christ is Himself its Priest and Sacrifice. His Body and Blood are truly contained in the Sacrament of the Altar under the species of bread and wine, the bread being transubstantiated into the Body, and the wine into the Blood, by the power of God, in order that, for the perfecting of the mystery of unity, we may receive from Him what He has received from us." "Just as the term “ Consub. stantial,” consecrated by the Council of Nice, condenses, so to speak, into one word all the Church's early doctrine concerning her Lord's Godhead, so all her past doctrine concerning His Real Body becomes, as it were, condensed into the one word, “ Transubstantiation.” Even as the bread and wine are transubstantiated into Christ's Body and Blood, so the Church now stands before the world “ His own Flesh," and all her children “members of His Body, of His Flesh, and of His Bones.” But the thirteenth century had yet one more act of homage to
sion in other styles. His remarks, therefore, upon Mediaeval art, towards the close of this paper, must be understood rather of the spirit which animated it, than of itself, as a style.