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nor is computed by number of years, but wisdom is the grey hair of man, and an unspotted life is old age.” The Maccabean martyrs died amid cruel torments, “being mindful of the resurrection” and surely trusting that He for whose laws they suffered would raise them up in glory, for they knew that it is a good and holy thought to pray for the dead and that “the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die, and their departure was taken for misery, and their going away from us for utter destruction, but they are in peace...... We fools accounted their life to be madness, and their end without honour. Behold how they are numbered among the children of God, and their lot is with the Saints.” And so completely had this doctrine of a future life become part of the national creed, that the Sadducees, who denied it, and on that account rejected all the later books of the Old Testament, were regarded, in the time of our Lord, as little better than a sect of heretics.” Nor let it be replied that, under the Old Law, the fount of inspiration never ran dry, but was sealed up in the first century of our era. For, not to dwell here on the partial inspiration which many have ascribed to such men as St. Bernard, or Savonarola, or Thomas à Kempis, we possess in the Divine illumination of the Church of all ages—# dei čkk\mata—a surer guarantee against error than could be found in the intermittent utterances of holy men of old.' The same Spirit, who once “spoke by the Prophets,’ abides for ever in the mystical Body of Christ. Now indeed, as then, whenever some special crisis occurs, we need not doubt that a special prophet or preacher of righteousness will be raised up to meet it, from whose lips a fresh energy may be caught for the enlightenment or regeneration of them that come after. Thus, amid the collapse of ancient philosophies, and fabrics of political greatness tottering to their fall, the form of Socrates is revealed against the dark background of heathen antiquity clothed in the radiance of an ideal purity, and, as he conquers by the sacrifice of his life the right to teach a nobler wisdom than his people cared to listen to, giving dim surmise of a Higher Presence yet to come. Thus, in the deep decline of the fifteenth century, with its hideous moral depravities and terrible burden of secret unbelief, the white-robed monk of Florence stands forth, annealed in martyr-flames, to bear witness to an outraged holiness, and give warnings, little heeded, of the judgments that were coming upon the earth.' But it is our privi. lege, as contrasted with our Heathen or Israelite forefathers, that we are not mainly dependent on such exceptional interpositions raised up for an emergency, but can assimilate and utilise the intellectual acquisitions of every age as it passes, from whatever school they may be derived, knowing how to separate the dross from the genuine ore, to refuse the evil and choose the good.” If then, all systems of ancient philosophy, so far as they had any truth in them, contained not mere arbitrary axioms, but germs to be developed in the thinking mind; if the light of divine inspiration, handed down through a long line of Patriarehs and Prophets, like the fire of a Greek torch race, kindled more and more continually towards brighter day—there were little reason and less reverence in denying, that the words of Christ and His apostles are instinct with an exuberant fulness of life, with capabilities of infinite expansion, of which our creeds and theologies are a true but inadequate expression, which the science of eighteen centuries has fed upon but has not exhausted. Who does not recognise the manifold teaching of the Psalter, as its thunderous echoes roll from age to age along the aisles of our stately Cathedrals, and its whispered music cheers the lonely deathbed, and its tones of awful supplication call “out of the depths' of human misery on that unwearied compassion which watches over the Christian dead? The very form of the New Testament, which contains not dogmas but principles, narratives and letters instead of creeds, is itself a confirmation of our view. Its very “half sentences, its overflowings of language, admit of development; they have a life in them which shows itself in progress.” What more unlike in form than De Lugo's De Incarnatione, and the Gospel of St. John? Yet the great Jesuit does but formulise the Apostle's belief. It took centuries to draw out the full significance of those few verses that are read in the Gospel at the end of the Mass, as it took centuries to exhibit in practice the meaning of the commission addressed to Peter, on the shore of Gennesaret, “Feed My sheep.” Consider, again, all that is involved in the idea of personality, which, though not new in itself, must have come almost like a new revelation on St. Paul's Greek and Roman converts. The heavenly message is addressed to the Church, like the words of Christ to His blessed Mother in the temple of Jerusalem, not merely to be received with devout acquiescence, but to be laid up and pondered in the heart, to become
Ps. lxxxii. (E. W. lxiii.) 24, 25. Dan. xii. 2, 3. Wisd. iii. 1–3, iv. 8, 9, v. 4, 5, 2 Macc. vii. 9, 29, 36, xii. 43–5.
* The author of Ecce Homo speaks of this (p. 37) as “the greatest revolution the human mind has ever experienced.”
* The Hebrew Prophets discharged an office somewhat analogous to that of the sensus fidelium or public opinion of the Church among ourselves, standing to the Levitical priesthood in the relation of the earnest and intelligent laity to the clergy. This analogy, however, must not be pressed too far, as the ritual and prophetic offices, separated under Judaism, are united in the Christian priesthood. In another way the Prophets may be compared with the Hermits of the earlier, and Monks of a later age, as contrasted with the secular clergy.
* Savonarola has often been claimed as a forerunner of Luther. He has actually had a niche assigned him in the Luther monument at Worms. It may be worth while, therefore, to observe, that his writings, after a rigorous scrutiny at Rome, were pronounced entirely free from doctrinal error. St. Philip Neri had a special reverence for him.
* Certainly, therefore, “all the devout thought of Protestant Christendom” is not to be ignored, as one of my critics has strangely supposed me to imply. On the contrary, as Döllinger has observed, the greatest Catholic theologians will be the first to acknowledge their obligations to their Protestant rivals, especially in Biblical criticism. But the results can only be finally authenticated by the judgment of the Church.
the source of growing knowledge, a seed springing up continually into higher forms of life.'
The second and last objection requiring notice here proceeds from a class of thinkers deserving of deep sympathy and respect. They would say in effect that this theory, however plausible it may look on paper, is, after all, nothing but a theory; that, whatever intellectual difficulties may be started, their own system holds water practically; that the three creeds, and the great verities of Christianity, have been accepted by thousands who indignantly rejected all later "additions;' that the Bible, whatever criticism may object to its authenticity or inspiration, has, in fact, been to thousands a rule of conduct, a guide in perplexity, an unfailing source of strength in life and solace on the bed of death. The Greek Church, it will perhaps be added, has never admitted the principle of development, but has none the less maintained intact its inheritance of orthodox belief. I have no wish to dispute the facts, but they are no real objection to my argument. The Eastern Church presents certainly the nearest existing approach to a crystallized, or undeveloped form of Christianity; and the explanation is not far to seek. Having adopted the developments of
Alphonsus de Castro is quoted in Harper's Peace through the Truth (p. 202), as saying, “The Church daily progresses in her members, since God enlightens her daily more and more. Wheretore she is compared to the morning, Quæ est ista quæ progreditur sicut aurora ? But the morning at its commencement has a more feeble light, which increases as time goes on. So it is with the Church. Hence I doubt not but that many matters will be more clearly and plainly discovered by those who come after us, which are utterly unknown to us at present.”