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to offer, if we are to judge from what we have already heard.”

“You have already heard a great deal too much, dear Lady Templedale," replied Cécile laughing : “it is twelve o'clock, and surely I may be released now.”

" By no means, my dear; pray sit down again instantly, and explain to us all about his Holiness.”



The Saint having been constrained to reassume her seat, and the latter question having been again repeated, she replied :

“We hold, as I have already said, that some heavenly guidance is vouchsafed for ever to the Christian world, and we believe that divine inspiration especially to rest upon the successors of St. Peter. Hence the authority, supreme in Spiritual matters, to which all the Catholic communities still yield their willing obedience, not as to the infallibility of any mortal man, but as to the promised direction from above, never failing the Church in the hour of her need.”

“Very good; but what I wish to understand, is whether this authority is vested in the Pope alone, or in Councils alone, or in the assent of both ?”


“ That I believe to depend very much upon the nature and importance of the matter at issue. The question is a very intricate one, nor can I pretend satisfactorily to solve it."

“Indeed I think you had better leave it alone,” said Lady Templedale laughing, “and we also, my dear.”

“Don't misunderstand me,” resumed Cécile in the same tone. “Because the highest authorities may differ on minute points of jurisprudence, because the most learned in the land are required to expound the simplest of our laws, or to obtain its proper application, does it follow that that law is too obscure and complicated to deserve the respectful assent of the enlightened ? After all, it is the will of God that spiritual and ecclesiastical affairs should, like all others here below, be administered, not by angels, but by men, the holiest and most inspired of whom have never been fully exempted from human weakness and from human error. To this supreme jurisdiction of our Church, as to many others, I humbly and confidently bow, though I may feel myself all incompetent to define its every degree and attribute, satisfied as I am that none other which has been devised has ever been so efficient for the outward peace and the religious unity of so many millions. I hold the last true recourse, in spiritual differences, to rest at Rome, as you believe that the last appeal to Justice may safely be borne to Westminster Hall. . And yet, I think I heard you say the other evening, that one page of Blackstone's Commentaries was enough to perplex you for a week.”

“There might be some sense in all this, to be sure, most philosophical Saint, if you were satisfied not to attach so immutable and incontrovertible a character to the decisions of your highest tribunal. I never saw so clearly until now, what a millstone around your necks is this alleged infallibility of your Church. But even if we clearly knew where it resides, we should yet have to consider as especially inspired those whose crimes and follies have too often been clearly repugnant to every principle of religion. Don't be offended, my dear : I have named no

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“I am not the least offended, dear Lady Templedale,” replied Cécile, pensively. “And, I will fairly own, that if I have ever felt


strangely perplexed and bewildered, it is by the very argument which you have last invoked. Yes, it is a mournful reflection, that the annals of the Church should be sullied by crimes so dark, and by the formal promulgation of such detestable doctrines. Often has my faith thereby been terrified; and yet, I trust that it is all unimpaired.”

“Ah! let us hear how that may be ?

“Well, but you can have no idea,” resumed Cécile, laughing,“ how fearful is the ordeal to which you are subjecting me. You really should allow me, in my turn, to address a very few questions to you ?”

“There is now some reason in that request, to be sure. What have you to ask ?”

“In the first place, then, do you hold that we can hope to be saved by the law or sect which we profess, so that we be diligent to frame our lives accordingly ?”

“Let me see, my dear ; I suppose that I do.”

“Indeed !" cried Cécile, smiling; "and yet you belong to the Established Church.”


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