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feeling, just because so much at variance with the scenes of violence and oppression around them. But these sentiments cost their authors nothing more than the ink that penned them, and no more prove the Romish Church to have originated, or to have worked out the constitutional and legal freedom of modern Europe, than the sagacious hints of Roger Bacon on optics, or those of the Marquis of Worcester on the possible uses of steam, prove the ingenious speculators to have been the inventors of telescopes or our modern steam engines. It had, indeed, been wonderful if church theologians, in the thousand years of the Middle Ages, had not uttered some generous sentiments and enlarged views on our social relations. More wonderful still, if the clergy had so thoroughly forgot their Christian calling or lost all sympathy with the common people, from whom most of them sprung, as not to have often used their church power to protect their oppressed flocks against the bad chiefs and sovereigns of that singular period. Yet Guizot has shrewdly remarked, "that when the question of political guarantees has arisen between power and liberty, when the question was to establish a system of permanent institutions, which might truly place liberty beyond the invasions of power, the Church has generally ranged on the side of despotism." Nay, those guarantees which almost every European nation, and none more than Spain, inherited from its ancestors in the form of a Cortes, Parliament, or States-General, the sovereigns of Europe were permitted to extinguish, one by one, unresisted and unrebuked, by the Papacy; and their restoration, in modern times, has been the work of the laity alone. In our day, indeed, we have been startled by the sight and sound of democratic priests, and even by a vision of a liberal Pope. Rome attempted to run with the "horsemen," and has suffered mortification. Some imagine that she has now turned for ever from the sovereign people she lately courted, to the sovereign princes. We believe no such thing. Rome, like other churches, was alarmed, and felt that order and security are the first necessities of society; but when the present reaction against popular excesses is over, she will endeavour to keep pace, at least, with the "footmen," in European politics and progress, working in her service as best she can an advancing civilisation too world wide now to be arrested.
This work of Balmez, in the style of its defence, proves that even Rome advances in her ideas. In spite of herself we see her giving up her old refuges, and betaking herself to new ones. Call it progress, or only adaptation, or what you will, Balmez admits what no former advocate of Rome would have admitted, and, by a certain superiority to his predecessors, seeks to commend his reasonings to a more favourable attention from intel
Use of the term Catholic.
ligent minds. He adapts himself to the new era of the Spanish mind that has arisen in his own day. Instead of representing the English Reformation as the accident of Henry the Eighth's amours, or the German of Luther's monkish jealousies of the Dominicans, he confesses that "that which is general must have general causes, and that which is lasting must have lasting and profound causes." He admits the necessity of Church Reform in the sixteenth century. He tells us he does not like describing Protestantism as "a great movement for the liberty of the human mind." Yet he confesses, "that the principle of submission to authority in matters of faith has always encountered a vigorous resistance in the human mind;" and the higher moral tone of the man and his finer intelligence promise a more than usually fair and reasonable treatment of the great question of the comparative civilizing powers and results of Protestantism and Romanism.
But Romanism or the Papacy are not the phrases the Abbé Balmez chooses to employ. He never once uses these appropriate and distinctive names for his Church system. He prefers stating the question which he discusses as one between Catholicity and Protestantism. The reader will take up this book expecting to find a comparison between the civilizing effects of whatever may be fairly described as peculiar and appertaining to the Papal Church system, and whatever may be fairly described as peculiar and appertaining to the leading Churches of the Reformation. This is the question in which Spain, Europe, the world, is interested. This question Balmez seems to discuss, yet he leads his reader into quite another, by the use of the epithet Catholic. Assuming that this epithet belongs exclusively to the Church of Rome, and "Catholic" being held as synonymous with Christian, the course of his argument may be easily imagined. Whatever Christianity has done for elevating the social condition of Europe, in the course of fifteen centuries, has been done by Catholicism, that is by Romanism, that is by the Papacy-Catholic, Roman, Papal, Christian, being all one and the same thing. Save, therefore, for sundry digressions and applications to Protestantism in the course of his reasonings, this work had been more truly designated "Christianity compared with Paganism and Islamism in its Effects on the Civilisation of Europe." The work is a satisfactory refutation, if such were needed, of the pretensions of those religious systems. But this is not the question Balmez wishes his readers to hold in their minds, nor yet the conclusion to which he would bring them. After setting before us many pleasing evidences of the effects of Christianity under the Empire and among the barbarians that overran it, he thus addresses Protestant Churches ::
"We may be allowed, in conclusion, to inquire of the Protestant Churches, of those ungrateful daughters who, after having quitted the bosom of their mother, attempt to calumniate and dishonour her, where were you when the Catholic Church accomplished in Europe the immense work of the abolition of slavery? and how can you venture to reproach her with sympathizing with servitude, degrading man, and usurping his rights? Can you, then, present any claim which thus entitles you to the gratitude of the human race? What part can you claim in that great work which prepared the way for the development and grandeur of European civilisation? Catholicism alone, without your concurrence, completed the work; and she alone would have conducted Europe to its lofty destinies, if you had not come to interrupt the majestic march of its mighty nations, by urging them to a path bordered by precipices, a path the end of which is concealed by darkness which the eye of God alone can pierce."P. 81.
Such a taunt really merits no other reply than an Irish peasant is said to have given to the very similar one-" Where was your Church before Luther?" "Where was your reverence's face before it was washed this morning?" It may be that a thorough-bred Romanist priest finds great difficulty in conceiving of the priority of the Principles to the Protest of the Reformation. But Protestants believe, and it forms the very essence of their Protest, that their principles were those of the Christian Church in all times, minus the ecclesiastical system and superstitions built up around them in the course of or, to use the figure of the Irish peasant-Protestantism is the Church of the Middle Ages, with its face well washed.
The real question, then, between Protestantism and the Papacy is, whether those deeper and broader foundations, by which European civilisation is distinguished both from the Ancient and the Eastern civilisations, have sprung from principles and practices in any way peculiar to and distinctive of the Papacy. Father Balmez does not pretend to connect the superior place and consideration of women in modern Europe, or the higher respect for the rights of the individual man, or any of the other characteristic features of European civilisation, with the worship of the Virgin, or any other form of saint-worship,-far less with the use of images, crosses, relics, or any of the mere externals by which Rome stands distinguished from Protestantism. Like every reader of the New Testament he finds them in those words of "grace and truth" that fell from the lips of the Son of God, or in the teachings of his Apostles. He must also admit that "the hope full of immortality," that enables men to overcome the violence of the passions, is pre-eminently the teaching of Holy Scripture. So far, therefore, Romanism, as a distinctive system, has no exclusive claim to have laid the
More Tenable Ground.
broader and deeper foundations of our modern and European civilisation. Nay, one of the very protests of the Reformation. is against the exclusion of the mass of the people from the free use of those Scriptures which, the more they were known, the more European society must have been leavened beneficially by their influence. How, then, does Father Balmez contrive to connect Romanism exclusively with such social developments? Let us hear his own pleading:
"We must observe, that ideas, however powerful they may be, have only a precarious existence until they are realized, and become embodied, as it were, in an institution, which, while it is animated, moved, and guided by them, serves them as a rampart against the attacks of other ideas and other interests."-P. 127.
There is truth here. The Christian society needed organization and government, and the stronger the better, if suited to its nature. Father Balmez, exulting in the superior strength of his Church organization, exclaims,
"What would Protestantism have effected in such difficult and dangerous circumstances? without authority, without a centre of action, without security for her own faith, without confidence in her resources, what means would she have had to assist her in restraining the torrent of violence-that impetuous torrent, which after having inundated the world, was about to destroy the remains of ancient civilisation, and opposed to all attempts at social reorganization an obstacle almost insurmountable? Catholicism, with its ancient faith, its powerful authority, its undivided unity, its well compacted hierarchy, was able to undertake the lofty enterprise of improving manners; and it brought to the undertaking that constancy which is inspired by conscious strength, and that boldness which animates a mind that is secure of triumph."-P. 139.
This is more sensible and more tenable ground, than to ask where Protestantism was before the protest of Spires? When God ceased to water the plant of Christianity by miracles, means, systematic, powerful, and pervading were required, without which good principles must have remained for ever only good principles. But the question is, what were the means, at once legitimate and powerful, for carrying gospel principles into the heart of society, and ultimately seating them in its manners, laws, and institutions? The means most suitable to civil government may be most fatal to the ends of a Christian Church. The gospel is not a scheme for governing men from without, but for imparting to them the power of self-government within themselves—of bestowing on them principles, and motives, and habits that shall make the smallest possible amount of external force necessary to society. Its highest success is, therefore, attained
just as it renders all physical violence superfluous, by lifting the subject of its efforts into the condition of a self-guided, self-governed, Christian man. The church of Christ, therefore, was entrusted not with great political powers, but with great spiritual truths and hopes. It was not even the miracles of the first age that then changed men and society, but the gospel manifested to their consciences and hearts. "Because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness," its right hand achieved terrible things. Its might was "the might of weakness." Christianity seen and heard and, like its Divine Head, lifted upon the cross, drew men after it. It enlightened, persuaded, entreated men, warmed their hearts with new emotions, and, by its new hopes, furnished new springs of action, as well as new and powerful restraints. As our Lord said to the woman of Samaria, "The water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water." Not a refreshing draught only such as philosophy gives; nor a cistern such as life's innocent pleasures may yield, but a perennial fountain in the soul of the individual man, and in the society of which he constitutes a part.
Such was gospel power. The legitimate instruments for doing its work were the same as at the beginning, the teaching and preaching of the lessons of the gospel; and its legitimate organizations were for the better working of these into the head and heart of society. The church system of the third and fourth centuries, as it added one round after another to the hierarchical ladder, was mighty too, but it was no longer only "the might of weakness"-nor were its triumphs only "because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness." It lost its simply spiritual character, and entered into combination with all manner of worldly elements and influences, which ere long overmastered it. It was no longer "all of gold," but like the image seen in vision by Nebuchadnezzar, mixed with baser materials, even to the iron and the clay. In the fifth century, Paganism was vanquished as a power. The Christian Church had become that of the Empire. Her bishops were more potent, in their several dioceses, than the representatives of the Emperors, and the church had no enemy but herself. We are far from saying that this church, which triumphed over Paganism, did nothing for the Roman Empire worthy of her origin. The gospel was still in her, though mixed with base materials. She could not suddenly nor easily forget what she had been and was designed to be. Doubtless she did many things to soften the manners, elevate the sentiments, and soothe the sorrows of mankind. Many poor felt her protection from the oppressor, and were relieved by her charities; and many of the rich and powerful were awed into justice, and softened into humanity. But the broad fact remains, that as she became powerful to govern, she