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most concerning the operations of that divine and inner life, of which their outward life is a manifestation. Nor are such questions interesting only in a religious point of view, or as a subject for the meditations of psychologists. They have the most important bearings on social relations. Nothing is more certain than that so long as nations continue to be formed of individuals, and the body politic to find its type in the personal being of man, so long will our political and social insight be in proportion to our insight into what is deepest and noblest in human nature. All political science is empirical which does not look for the philosophy of society in the nature of man; and our speculations on the latter subject can never rise above materialism until we contemplate the nature of man as irradiated by the light cast down upon it from that spiritual part of his being in which he converses with God. Man was made after the divine Image: no scheme of human society can therefore be sound, unless over every portion of it the light of that Image bo diffused. The aspirations and efforts of holy souls aro scattered beams of that primal glory, reflected from the face of human society; and if we shut our eyes to them,
T we simply exclude that highest form of teaching which proceeds at once from a Divine Teacher and from human experience. Far from a philosophy unenlightened by a Christian estimate of man's condition being capable of discovering a remedy for the evils that depress our mortal lot, it is incapable of ascertaining what those evils are, and discriminating between blessings and curses. The consequence is, that false ideals respecting the nature and end of man have again and again promptoil genius to waste itself upon schemes of humar improvement, which, if the world were Pagan, could only be reproached with being chimerical, but which, in a Christian order of things, are absolutely self-contradictory. A few words will suffice to illustrate this.
Subjection to rule is the common lut of man. Is that circumstance an evil or not? The answer to this question must be derived from just views not only with respect to man's destiny in this world, but to the mode in which God trains His creatures for another world in which freedom is united with absolute obedience. Po verty is often an evil : are we then to conclude, or not, that economical views are sound in proportion as they favour the largest possible acquisition of national prosperity? The answer again resolves itself into moral, and ultimately into religious views, respecting the relation in which the outward well-being of man stands to his inner well-being. Is ignorance an evil? Why is it an evil ? and is the remedy to be found in such an education as most largely develops man's intellectual powers, or in that which most effectually disciplines his spiritual being? The answer depends on the estimate we form of the relations between truth and knowledge, the human will and the human mind. Bodily afflic
. tions—Should we seek a state of things in which these are, by any innocent means, simply reduced to a mir mum; or a state of things in which the endurance o them, and the mitigation of them, are made most conducive to the glory of God? Again, the standard of right and wrong-what should that be? All virtues are, of course, to be exalted, and all vices to be con demned; but how are we to proportion our respect and our condemnation ? Many of the natura virtues, such
as courage, industry, moderation, do, contribute very strikingly to the outward greatness of communities, oven when alloyed by several vices, such as pride and covetousness. On the other hand, a great deal of faith, hope, charity, humility, and patience, especially when mixed
with defects such as even saints have not been exempt from, often fail to produce any very splendid external result. What class of virtues ought we then chiefly to venerate ?—These are but a very few of the social questions upon which it is evident that the greatest light must be thrown by such views of human life as are illustrated by the records of those who have lived for God, and whose life has commonly been hidden from the world.
Passing by, then, those higher considerations ra specting the interior life, as to which the following biographies are far more eloquent than any comment on them could be, it may be worth while to indicate the degree in which they stand related to the questions of the day. More clearly than half the abstruse books with which the inquiring mind concerns itself, they illustrate the social problem of the age, especially as forced on the attention of the two greatest nations of the modern world, England and France. Each of these countries may be said to have taken its fortunes into its own hands in a greater degree than any other of the old countries of Europe. Both have abounded in teachors whose constant advice has been to work out new destinies, worthy of an advanced period of civilisation; but who, while they agreed in destroying the institutinas of Catholic Christendom, have often agreed in little else. The experiment, so far as it has been carried out, has not proved in all respects successful; and though nothing could be more unphilosophical than to imagine that the middle ages, or any other periods of the world, are to be lived over again, it assuredly is not unwise to ask ourselves what lessons are to be learned from past times, and how far the institutions which they built up for the relief of man's estate are applicable to present times, and to those that await us. The latter end of the last century ushered in the most momentous event since the Reformation, and the one most analogous to it in the political order, viz. the French Revolution. Incomplete as is the restoration of religion in France, the degree in which it has taken place is the fact of chief importance amid the mutations to which France has been subjected in the present century. To what is it that society owes this partial restoration, and the return of civil order, so closely connected with it? Has England no difficulties, political or social, for which a remedy can be found in manners or institutes such as were her glory in the time of the Heptarchy, of the Conquest, of the Crusades, of Magna Charta-such as her Edwards, her Henrys, and her Alfred revered? These are questions on which the humble persons recorded in the following volume, whether founders of convents or fellow-labourers in the same wide field of religious charity, perhaps never meditated, but for the solution of which their biographies furnish no small materials. They teach us how it is that even among those who have lost the divine gift of faith, religion still retains in part her healing power.
In the midst of the stupid insults and injuries with which the Church 18 constantly assaised, her beneficent mission remains ever attested by one note at least to which men of good-will cannot remain permanently in. sensible. Like her Divine Lord, she "goes about doing good." She has her higher as well as her lower office; and while she preaches a kingdom which is not of this world, she also does what this world vainly attempts to do, in the way of alleviating the calamities that afflict our temporal state. Banished from the thrones of outward dominion, she is still to be found in the prisons and the hospitals. Her consolation, when no longer allowed to guide the soul, is to heal the sick body of those who, in their delirium, cannot abstain from striking at her who would soothe their pains. As children come back in sickness to be tended by a mother, whom, in the intoxication of health and strength, they had neglected or injured; so nations, after the storm of revolution has swept by, return to have their wounds dressed by her in maligning whom they once delighted. Of this fact revolutionary France has been a conspicuous example. Amid the wreck of her old institutions, the noblest of her triumphs was, as she deemed in the hour of madness, her victory over the Church. But it was in vain that she struggled to escape from the charmed circle of Grace and Providence. Afflictions, sent in mercy, have brought her back to the religious institutions originally accorded in mercy. It has been well said, that the Sisters of Charity have been the chief instruments in winning back France to Christianity. An army of women conquered an army of revolutionists; and the vocations of helpless children proved stronger