Page images

self, when he should come in his glory--The ex, pression is taken from Daniel, vii. 13th, where the son of man is represented as coming before the ancient of days, with clouds, or great power; and from Isaiah, xiv. ch. 13th v. when the prophet represents the king of Babylon's vanity in exalting himself in his heart, saying, “ I will ascend into heaven; 1 will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will set also upon the mount of the congregation on the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most high." These are all expressions in the figurative style taken from the great

of the revolution, had published the following proclamation, which breathes a spirit of piety scarcely expected to be found in a general, much less in the sable commander of negre armies. “ Brethren and friends, beware of thinking that in any circumstances, in which success has crowned my undertakings, I have had the vain presumption of attributing the glory to myself-The light of religion, that sure and faithful guide of my conduct, has always shown me to whom I was indebtedto God-to that infinite Being by whom we live and move wbose power extends over the whole of the human race, and whose invisible hand guides and governs the universe.

“ If the example which I gave you, had been sufficient to fix in your hearts, the love of that being who has heaped on us so many benefits, I should not now have been compelled to awaken in you again the remembrance of them" After seeing yourselves lightened of those fetters, beneath which you have so long time groaned, and after having recovered your rights, you may, perhaps, in the delirium of your joy, have attributed your change of condition to human means alone; but if such has been your blindness, open your eyes, and be assured that the will and act which have accomplished the revolution,

hat has shaken off from your necks and those of your fellow sufferers, the shameful yoke, are of God alone. His beneficence and justice have placed you again in the rank of men. Study to practice and fulfil your duties, as well towards him, as towards society of which you now form a portion. It is therefore time you should persuade yourselves of the indispeusable necessity of acknowledging two objects to which you owe veneration, submission and affection--these two objects are God and the Law.

Officers and soldiers of the army! the first of your duties is to honor God, the next to serve your country.

The first obligation consists not only in the observation of a worship, which all nations of the earth have agreed to render to the Supreme Being ; but you must each join to this external mark of respect, the exercise of every virtue-Let your ex

mple lead those over whom you have influence, to the remembrance of a religion which they seem to have forgotten, and inspire them with sentiments necessary to the purity of morals, without which the re-establishment of order and


wil become impossible. Let your example especially, and if it be necessary your authority, correct that frantic passion of gaming, the fatal effects of which, are not less frequently attended with loss of honor, than that of life.”

In this interesting struggle of the catholic church with the torrent that is pouring in on it on every side from infidelity, nothing is more amusing to a serious by-stander, than to witness the hesitation, the deference, the decisions and the various conflicts between pious prejudice and manly resolve, which agitate the breasts of those venerable fathers, when they look towards the author and finisher of their faith, the holy


The learned reporter, in order to excuse the schism of the constitutional clergy, from the authority of the court of Rome, which the pope has characterized in his bulls and briefs, by heretical rebellion, has quoted the authority of former schis. maties, such as Melchior Canus in his advice to the emperor Charles V.-of Bessarion to the council of Florenee, and even of St. Bernard; of the opposition made by the Italian

bishops to the late ball Autorem Fidei, against which, when sent to the council of Castile to obtain the Exequatur, protests had been made by the Gallican bishops, and had counteraeted, tho' with extreme difficulty, its effects.-Emboldened by these authorities, which sanctioned their opposition to the authority of the holy see, they turn the arms of the church against the holy father himself, and quote the observation of an English writer, who proves from the famous bull in Cæna Domini, that the pope having received into his port, the vessels of the English, who were heretics, and given them aid, is him. self excommunicated, without power of absolution, even at the hour of death, but by another pope, for such are the decisions of this bull.

The learned bishop, after detailing the various difficulties which had occurred in the convocation of this national council, from the novelty and danger of the circumstances and the situation in which they were placed, closed his interesting report with an eloquent pre-oration to the venerable assembly of rererend fathers—“ The political world is shaken to its centre, the inquisition and despotism-tyranny, civil and religious, are crumbling to the dust; although sufficient data be not laid down to indicate the exact term, or calculate the total result of this general shock impressed on the world, which enlightened mnen, even among the Jews, consider as the forerunners of changes, yet more strange and eventful. The whole of prophecy is now accomplishing: it is not for us to know the time and the moment; nevertheless from the appearance of the natural and moral phenomena which present themselves to our eyes, the christian is compelled to concentrate his thoughts, to ask if the epoch be not near, in which the catholic

grandeur, power and authority of the Messiah when he should come in his glory-Perhaps this exaltation may be brought about by the powers of the gov. ernment, calling the people of God, to the chief places

religion shall enlighten the whole of the new world--when the descendants of the Gentiles among us (the race of modern infidels) shall be deprived of the light of the gospel, which they have abused-when the remains of the tribes of Israel, whom the breath of God has scattered over the face of the earth, shall acknowledge him whom they have pierced and shall become a consolation to the church."

The first acts of the council were the publication of a synodical letter to the pastors and the faithful on the means of establishing religious peace; and a letter to the bishops and priests resident in France in the same spirit of christian charity. As the primary object of the council was to lay down a plau of general pacification, these reverend fathers proceeded method. ically to enquire what ought to be the nature of the plan of reconciliation ? To whom this union ought to be proposed 2-in what spirit and on what points they ought to agree-what ought to be the conditions of the pacification ? and whether it were necessary to address it to the pope and likewise to the bishops of the foreign churches ?- These various topics underwent long examination. The first article respecting the Dature of the plan, was vague and indistinct-the base of it was stated to be, the three virtues, charity, justice and truth; and portioned to the extent of the evils that had desolated the Gallican church. The next which relates to the individuals and bodies who should be invited to compose their union, was more precise and specific.-The emigrant priests were excluded from necessity, being in a state of bauishment; and of those who resided in France, the majority remained under the interdiet, as long as they persisted in their refusal to submit to the laws of the republio-with respect to the points in which

of honor, trust and importance, and re-establishing the word and ordinances of God in greater purity and practical influence than ever.

they ought to agree, and the spirit in which they were to act, it was proposed that a general oblivion should cover all former dissentions, and that the acknowledged tenets of the church should be the prescribed articles of belief. As to the means of pacification, it was aceorded, as a general rule, that all pastors and priests, who should remain faithful to their vocation, should be called without distinction, to the exercise of the ministry, whatever might have been their opinions on the ques. tions which have divided the church of France. The bishops of foreign churches were to be presented with the decree of reconciliation; and the article of submission to the plenitudo of the pope, was conceived in a spirit of entire subjection.

The Gallic church after protesting its inviolable attachment to the Catholic, Apostolic, Roman church, acknowledges that the pope is of divine right the visible chief; and that thereby he has the primacy of honor and jurisdiction. That the members of it profess all the dogmas received by the catholie ehurch, and condemn all the errors that it proscribes.

« PreviousContinue »