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struggling with the solemnity of the moment, in expression of their innocent delight in beholding the approach of her who had that day offered up her vows, and become one of the community.
The others stood in succession, with looks more subdued, pale, mild, collected, the head gently bending toward the earth in contemplation. The procession stopped at the threshold of the church, when the young nun was received and embraced by the Lady-Superior, who, leading her onward, was followed in procession by the nuns, each bearing her lighted torch.
JOHN BELL, Observations on Italy.
TAE civil-contract theory of marriage is strictly in place in any system which banishes God from the world and human life. It is in order in rationalized communities, in societies which have ceased to be Christian. Some of us are reproached for not being in accord with the spirit of the age; how can we be, if the spirit of the age and its movements are practically atheistic? To induce men to ignore God's word and reject His law, to show men how to do without God, is the avowed aim of the advanced thinker of the day; and the view of marriage, as a civil contract only, falls in with the rest of his programme.
Unfortunately we can not stop at that. The truth must be told, however painfully it may strike the unaccustomed ear. This is not only a sign of an infidel society, it is also an outgrowth from the principles which form the evil side of Protestantism. There can be no doubt as to the genesis of this abomination. I quote the language of the Bishop of Maine: “ Laxity of opinion and teachings on the sacredness of the marriage bond and on the question of divorce originated among the Protestants of Continental Europe in the sixteenth century. It soon began to appear in the legislation of Protestant States on that continent, and nearly at the same time to affect the laws of New England. And from that time to the present it has proceeded from one degree to another in this country until, especially in New England and in States most directly affected by New England opinions and usages, the Christian conception of the nature and obligations of the marriage bond finds scarcely any recognition in legislation, or, as must thence be inferred, in the prevailing sentiment of the community.”* This is a heresy, born and bred of free thought as applied to religion ; it is the outcome of the habit of interpreting the Bible according to man's private judgment, rejecting ecclesiastical authority and Catholic tradition.
REV. MORGAN Dix, Lectures on the Calling of a Christian Woman. THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
* It is hardly necessary to remind the reader of the obsequiousness of Cranmer ; the matter of the divorces of Henry VIII., of the conduct of Luther and Melancthon in the case of the Landgrave of Hesse ; of the abortive “Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticarum" in the reign of Edward VI., and of John Milton's tractate addressed to Parliament on tho “Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce.”
The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilization. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. The proudest royal-houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century, to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy, and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigor. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustine, and
still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of
. her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated for what she has lost in the old. Her spiritual ascendency extends over the vast countries which lie between the plains of the Missouri and Cape Horn, countries which, a century hence, may not improbably contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe. The members of her communion are certainly not fewer than one hundred and fifty millions,* and it will be difficult to show that all other Christian sects united amount to a hundred and twenty millions. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world ; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in un
* Estimated now at two hundred and twenty-five millions: