31 AUGUST 1867, Page 17



TEE practice of publishing a volume of essays, by various writers, as a manifesto of this or that political or theological school, has now grown common, and has many obvious advantages. Probably reviewers are the people who like the custom least, on account of the enormous difficulty of dealing with books containing essays on a dozen almost independent subjects, by authors who profess themselves in no way responsible for their colleagues' specific opinions. What is the reviewer to do? Nearly every essay is sufficient to furnish him with materials for an article, but readers would not thank us for ten articles on the same book. If he omits to notice some while dwelling at greater length on one or two others, he is accused of partiality in selecting the best, if he praises ; of injustice in selecting the worst, if he blames. His only way out of this dilemma is to give in the smallest possible compass the gist of each essay, at the perhaps worse risk of being unreadably dull. A quart of good strong soup may be made from a given piece of meat, but it will scarcely please the fastidious taste when Willed down to a wineglassful. A compound of a dozen such essences, extracted from different materials, is still less likely to be palatable. With the volume now before us, which is the year's manifesto of the English Ultramoutanes, one difficulty is spared us, — there is no profession by the writers of mutual independence. Indeed there could not be such a profession, since all alike recognize the authority of the Church, or rather of the Pope, as infallible and universal, and therefore little room is left for difference of opinion between them. Still the difficulty remains that the authors are various. A is not responsible for the astounding historical statements of B, nor B for the fallacious logic of C ; and it would be cruel indeed to charge upon the editor all the offences of his contributors, even though he himself, as a contributor, is perhaps the worst offender of all. However we treat this volume, it is impossible within reasonable limits to give an adequate account of its contents ; whatever we say, Dr. Manning and his staff, if any of them should read this article, will be sure to be dissatisfied. All we can do is to advise any of our readers interested to see What the Ultramontanes have to say for themselves, to read this book through, if a single essay does not exhaust their patience. We can imagine nothing more wholesome for any person possested of reasoning powers and a slight knowledge of history, whose spirit has been awed, or imagination attracted, by the splendid pre- tentious of the Roman Catholic Church.

Archbishop Manning opens the volume with an address to the ,/ Catholic Academy, a body for which, it would seem, all, or nearly all, the other papers were written. In it he dwells with great emphasis on the vast increase of influence which he believes that his Church has gained in England during the last thirty years, not going so

• Essap on Religion and Literature. By Various Writers. Edited by Archbishop Manning. Second Series. Loudon: licugataus. 1507.

far as to expect the return of England into allegiance to Rome, though " the tide," he says, " is in that direction, and it is s tide of which no law of sufficient force could be found except a momentum of the will and grace of God," whatever this extremely obscure dynamical metaphor may mean. Elsewhere he asserts that " the people of England are as conscious, nay, more conscious, of the presence of the Catholic Church among them than of the Anglican Establishment." About this production and a similar essay by Mr. Oakeley in a still more confident strain we need say no more ; it is an old remark that exiles are the worst possible judges- of the state of affairs in their own country, and the Ultramontanes in England are more completely alien to the national temper than any Jacobites who ever plotted at St. Germain's. But we cannot help remarking that repeated complaints of the " unparalleled cruelty" with which the Roman Catholics were treated in England from the Reformation till they were admitted to Parliament, beside being absurdly unfounded, sound strangely in the moutk of advocates of the Church of Dominic and Torquemada, of Alva and Philip II. ; that murdered John Huss in defiance of a safe- conduct, and sang Te Deans for the massacre of St. Bartholomew. Every one knows how this volume is likely to deal with the ques- tion of Church and State, so that we hold ourselves excused from noticing Mr. Purcell's long essay, which would have satisfied Innocent III. himself, in the audacity of its pretensions on behalf of the papal power. Nor is it worth while to dwell on Mr. Wilberforce's attempt to prove that the English Reforma- tion was forced upon a sincerely Catholic nation by the personal tyranny of the Tudor Sovereigns, which is only re- markable as showing how impossible it is for a man who sets to work to bolster up a preconceived historical theory to understand plain facts. The last essay in the volume is a discussion of certain. words used by St. Paul, in order to show that they may bear a meaning consistent with the doctrine of the Eucharistic sacrifice, St. Paul's silence being a common argument against that doctrine. As a specimen of ingenuity it is surpassed every day by counsel arguing for a particular interpretation of some expreasion in a• will, or section in an Act of Parliament ; and after all very little is gained by showing, if he does show, that certain meanings may be attributed to St. Paul's words. It is a long leap. thence to assume that such must be their meaning. Some apologists for the Pentateuch thought they answered Colenso by proving that sundry statements or incidents which he criticized were not absolutely impossible ; but rational people felt that such was a very weak method of proving the facts to be positively and literally true. Nothing injures a good cause more than bad arguments, but as Monsignor Patterson's cause is, in the opinion of ourselves and of all who value spiritual liberty,. a thoroughly bad one, he is welcome to use as many bad argu- ments as he pleases in its favour.

The other five essays, which occupy considerably more than half of the volume, stand on a somewhat different footing, their basis being principle rather than fact, philosophical rather than historical or critical. Mr. Christie discourses on the " Philosophy of Christianity," which in his hands seems to mean whatever the Roman Church dogmatically lays down, but presently is limited into the proof of the authority of the Church as derived from the• divine Teacher, whose mission is guaranteed by miracle. Much of this, in the earlier stages of the argument, is in no way specially Catholic, but the whole is, of course, pervaded by the one doctrine on which Catholicism essentially depends,—that of the divine authority of the Church. And Mr. Christie, in his anxiety to claim for his own sect the exclusive possession of all truth, does• not, probably he cannot, rightly apprehend the views of others. " Compare," he says in one place, " the non-Catholics, who admit the proof of miracles as only the proof of a revela- tion, with Catholics, who see in miracles the proof of the divine mission of the Teacher." Either he uses words in a sense which no one would expect or understand, or he is in- sinuating that all who do not hold the Roman doctrine that the divine authority of Christ has been continued to the Popes,. are guilty of what has often been imputed, not without some foundation, to Protestants of a certain school,—setting the Bible before God. Surely he ought to know that the Liberal school do precisely the opposite, that they say, " We believe to the utmosb the divine mission and authority of Christ, but we do not feel bound to believe all that has been written about Him". It does not matter, for our present purpose, whether they are right or wrong, whether they agree with Anglicanism or not ; such a school exists and is strong, and is most zealous in re- pudiating the claims of Rome, or of any human power whatsoever, to represent Christ.

Dr. Manning himself treats of the inspiration of Scripture : and -we turned with much interest for his views on a question so much agitated in the present day. But he has nothing valuable to offer, merely the statement that the Church has settled all -about it, and that he does not care how many errors of fact, con- tradictions, &c., appear to exist in the Bible, for though he

tained in the Canon of Scripture as received by the Church is simply to be believed. Mr. Lucas's paper on " Christianity in

Relation to Civil Society" is but a fragment ; one portion of it bas already appeared in the similar volume published last year, -and is yet to come. It is therefore useless to attempt to criticize, And the title sufficiently implies the nature of the paper, which is, on the whole, the ablest in the book, though saturated, like all the rest, with the sacerdotal spirit. Dr. Ward contributes two essays, one of which is mainly devoted to showing that "the perfection of man con- :sista exclusively in the perfection of his moral and spiritual nature,

'intellectual excellence forming no part of it whatever." This he maintains by four arguments, which are as follows :—St. Ignatius --says so, Thomas Aquinas says so, and so do many other theolo- gians. The Church proves it by the men she canonizes, and another argument which is a remarkable compound of premisses we cannot admit, assumptions we should not dream of making, and a singularly defective sorites. This we quote as illustrating in very small compass the style of argument which is used broad-

• east throughout the volume, though, of course usually diluted with something better :—

It will be admitted (1) that those acts which God most approves in me, must be those which most lead to the end for which He created us ; -and (2) that those to which He has promised a Heavenly Reward, must -be those which He most approves. Now, what are those acts to which He has promised a Heavenly Reward? Free supernatural acts of the will, and none others whatever. Let me suppose two Christian -philosophers, who are both occupied in some theoretical speculation, .and that for some good supernatural motive. Let me suppose that both have the same degree of Habitual Grace, and that both are aiming at the same supernatural end, with the same degree of efficacity. It is absolutely certain that to both acts God promises an equal reward. Yet one of these philosophers may be originating the most true and profound speculations, while the other's theories are quite feeble and common- place. I say that so long as this intellectual feebleness does not arise from the will's fault, so long as the will adheres in the same degree to its supernatural motive, the merit of the act is in no way affected. But if God promises an equal reward to both thest acts, He equally approves them both ; if He equally approves them both, they tend equally to the --end for which He created us ; if they tend equally to the end for which -we were created, they tend equally to our personal perfection. But they tend most unequally to intellectual excellence : hence intellectual -excellence has no part in our personal perfection.

We will not insult our readers' intellects by picking this para- graph to pieces. The theory itself is so contradictory to reason, that it is no wonder better arguments cannot be found for it. No Christian would dream of saying that intellect was more impor- tant than morality, or the body than the soul, but it does not, there- fore, follow that intellect and body are nothing. Shirt and trousers are more essential articles of dress than waistcoat and collar, and the latter can, under certain circumstances, be dispensed with, but a gentleman is not properly dressed without them all. Dr. Ward's second essay is on " The Dangers of Uncontrolled Intellect," and -amounts pretty much to this,—that men are bound to ask the Church what they are to think on every subject in the least -degree connected with faith or morals. Inasmuch as this is the one thing which no man with any sense of personal freedom can do, the claim of the Roman Church, against which, more than -against any corruptions of doctrine or practice, the Teutonic race rebelled at the Reformation, it is scarcely worth while to publish this essay at all. Catholics believe it already, or they would not be -Catholics. Protestants would not be moved, were the logic ten times better, would rather die than believe anything of the kind.

If it were not for repeated references to other than Roman 'Catholic readers, showing plainly that this book is meant for Protestants, we should almost imagine that it was published solely for the edification of Roman Catholics ; for the ultimate basis of nearly every argument is the authority of the Church, which ex hypothesi Protestants reject. • And though there is a vast amount of common ground on which all sects of Christians can meet harmoniously, yet necessarily in a book which is intended to set forth the special Roman views on various subjects, the writers travel off this common ground very soon, so that the prevailing impression derived from the whole is that of continually moving in a circle, proving the Roman Church to be right in this or that, by means of elaborate arguments starting from the premiss that the Church must always be right. Sometimes this is carried to a pitch which we should call audacious, even impudent (as, for in- stance, when Mr. Purcell quotes the Pope's decretals to prove the rightful supremacy of the papal power), did we not know how utterly unable Roman Catholic writers are to see with the eyes of non-Catholics questions affecting the claims of their Church. We do not for a moment suppose that any of these writers are conscious of the absurd fallacy of such arguments ; to them the Pope is in- fallible, and his every word as Gospel. But what would they say if we quoted the accusations of Mr. Whalley or Lord Westmeath as proofs against the Church of Rome, a method not a whit more unfair ? Of course the whole of the volume is not as illogical as this, though the prevailing tone is what we have represented; there are many disquisitions not strictly argumentative which are both able and interesting, many passages which do not involve distinctive Roman doctrines, or do not found them on a basis valid only to Romanists, not a few acute and suggestive remarks. We conclude by citing one of these latter, which is certainly new to us as coming from the mouth of a Roman Catholic. Mr. Oakeley, after speaking of the rise of the Evangelical party in the Church of England, says that it has "some points of contact with true religion " (i.e., Catholicism), one of which is " its view of religion as a question of practical moment to the individual believer, rather than as a mere instrument of social well-being." Precisely so, it is just because the Evangelicals tend somewhat to degrade religion into selfishness, presenting only the personal side, and almost ignoring the social, that they have lost much of the hold they once had on the English nation, and Mr. Oakeley goes out of his way to declare the Roman Catholics guilty of the same error, instead of striving to resist the accusation brought on this ground against their creed, or at any rate against monasticism.

St. Paul breathed the true spirit of his master when he declared that he could wish himself accursed from Christ for the sake of his brethren. To follow Christ from loyal love, not from fear or for gain, to serve to the utmost that human society for which Christ died, to count one's own welfare as nothing when weighed against duty to others,—such is the Christian ideal, for it is like the life of Christ himself ; and it is most truly an instrument of social well-being. So far as it is practically true—and both Catholics and Evangelicals are many of them better than their creed—the remark we have quoted justifies us in finding both wanting, for they fail to satisfy not only the highest teaching of Christianity, but even the noblest instincts of human nature, apart from revelation.