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Into this humble retreat, hardly sufficient for the comfortable accommodation of a private gentleman, did Charles enter, with twelve domestics only. He buried there, in solitude and silence, his grandeur, his ambition, together with all those vast projects which, during half a century, had alarmed and agitated Europe; filling every kingdom in it, by turns, with the terror of his arms, and the dread of being subjected to his power.
. In this retirement, Charles formed such a plan of life for himself as would have suited the condition of a private person of a moderate fortune. His table was neat but plain; his domestics few; his intercourse with them familiar; all the cumbersome and ceremonious forms of attendance on his person were entirely abolished, as destructive of that social ease and tranquillity which he courted, in order to soothe the remainder of his days.
As the mildness of the climate, together with his deliverance from the burdens and cares of government, procured him, at first, a considerable remission from the acute pains with which he had been long tormented, he enjoyed, perhaps, more complete satisfaction in this humble solitude than all his grandeur had ever yielded him.
The ambitious thoughts and projects which had so long engrossed and disquieted him, were quite effaced from his mind. Far from taking any part in the political transactions of the princes of Europe, he rest:ained his curiosity even from any inquiry concerning them; and he seemed to view the busy scene which he had abandoned, with all the contempt and indifference arising from his thorough experience of its vanity, as well as from the pleasing reflection of having disentangled himself from its cares.
THE NECESSITY OF AN INFALLIBLE
THE characteristic I speak of is an absolute infallibility. Any supernatural religion that renounces its claim to this, it is clear can profess to be a semi-revelation only. It is a hybrid thing, partly natural and partly supernatural, and it thus practically has all the qualities of a religion that is wholly natural. In so far as it professes to be revealed, it of course professes to be infallible; but if the revealed part be in the first place hard to distinguish, and in the second place hard to understand-if it may mean many things, and many of those contradictory-it might just as well have been never made at all. To make it in any sense an infallible revelation, or in other words a revelation at all, to us, we need a power to interpret the testament that shall have equal authority with that testament itself.
Simple as this truth seems, mankind have been a long time in learning it. Indeed, it is only in the present day that its practical meaning has come generally to be recognized. But now at this moment, upon all sides of us, history is teaching it to us by an example, so clearly that we can no longer mistake it.
That example is Protestant Christianity, and the condition to which, after three centuries, it is now visibly bringing itself. It is at last beginning to exhibit to us the true results of the denial of infallibility to a religion that professes to be supernatural. It is fast evaporating into a mere natural theism, and is thus showing us what, as a governing power, natural theism is. Let us look at England, Europe, and America, and consider the condition of the entire Protestant world. Religion, it is true, we shall find in it; but it is religion from which not only the supernatural element is disappearing, but in which the natural element is fast becoming nebulous. It is indeed growing, as Mr. Leslie Stephen says it is, into a religion of dreams. All its doctrines are growing vague as dreams, and like dreams their outlines are forever changing. There is hardly any conceivable aberration of moral license that has not, in some quarter or other, embodied itself into a rule of life, and claimed to be the proper outcome of Protestant Christianity.
Now considering the way in which I have just spoken of Protestantism, it may seem to many that I have dismissed this question already. With the enlightened' English thinker such certainly will be the first impression. But there is one point that such thinkers all forget: Protestant Christianity is not the only form of it. They have still the form to deal with, which is the oldest, the most legitimate, and the most coherent—the Church of Rome. They surely can not forget the existence of this Church or her magnitude. To suppose this, would be to attribute to them too insular, or rather too provincial, an ignorance. The cause, however, certainly is ignorance, and an ignorance which, though less surprising, is far deeper. In this country the popular conception of Rome has been so distorted by our familiarity with Protestantism, that the true conception of her is something quite strange to us. Our divines have exhibited her to us as though she were a lapsed Protestant sect, and they have attacked her for being false to doctrines that were never really hers. They have failed to see that the first and essential difference which separates her from them lies, primarily, not in any special dogma, but in the authority on which all her dogmas rest. Protestants, basing their religion on the Bible solely, have conceived that Catholics of course profess to do likewise ; and have covered