페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

few have been better informed than Coleridge, whose keen observation and fixed habits of reflection led him to express himself on this subject as follows: "When I contemplate the whole system as it affects the great fundamental principles of morality, the terra firma of our humanity; when I trace its operation on the sources and condition of national strength and well-being; and lastly, when I consider its woful influences on the innocence and sanctity of the female mind and imagination, and on the faith and happiness, the gentle fragrance, and everpresent verdure of domestic life-I can, with difficulty, avoid applying to it what the Rabbins said of Cain, that the firm earth trembled wherever he strode, and the grass turned black beneath his feet."

Let St. Alphonsus, then, become the moral teacher of our country, and the same fatal blight must pass over our young life, which has made the republics of South America prematurely old. And let it be remembered that Liguori is by no means the worst of the Roman casuists, but is valued chiefly for his moderation. He is, in fact, a sort of compiler, and while he allows the safety of adopting the worse suggestions of others, he affects for himself a higher character. Accordingly, he is eulogized by his French editor, as presenting the juste milieu between the rigorous and the lax, which his Church has stamped as the grand desideratum. Cardinal Wiseman eulogizes his “mild theology” in the same spirit, and volunteers the admission that every confessional in England receives the illumination of his putrescent principles. Can it be doubted that the same is the case in America ? Does any one wonder at the increase among us of assassinations, of tumults, and of outrages which cannot be accounted for, or punished ?

The Abbé Laborde, in his unanswerable work upon the Immaculate Conception, has demonstrated the doctrinal corruptions to which the Pope has committed his followers. It destroys the claim of Papal Infallibility, as conclusively as if it were done in the formulas of Euclid. But it seems impossible to rouse

the ordinary mind to the enormity of a doctrinal fraud in matters concerning the truth of God, and thousands excuse themselves from sensitiveness in such matters, under the idea that the learned only are competent to decide such questions. But no such plea can excuse a man for indifference to a question of morals. There is no one not hopelessly depraved, but has a monitor within, which enables him to distinguish between theft and honesty, between candour and falsehood; and I pity the moral cowardice of that man who is content to profess a religion which he dares not carefully examine, when the civilized world is roused by it to a state of profound alarm, in view of its professed principles as to oaths and trusts, as to the morals of priests, and the maxims on which they are to mould the characters of females, and keep the consciences of wives and mothers.

In conclusion, the writer cannot but give expression to the thought which is ever present in his heart, when he compares the social state of England and North America with that of Spain and South America ; or whenever he contrasts Taylor and Sanderson with Liguori and Sanchez. God be praised for the brave and holy men who reformed the Church of England ! The world has not yet acknowledged its debt to those apostolic martyrs, to whom we owe it under God, that the language we speak is not degraded by habitual employment in conscientious fraud, and that a gentleman, in our tongue, means above all things the man who scorns to lie. How sublime the wisdom which, while removing the confessional because of its intolerable degradation, led them to provide for the public reading of the Decalogue every LORD's day in all the congregations of the Anglican Church! How full of blessing their provision, that each commandment should be followed by penitential prayer ! But above all, how precious their ordinance for the reading of the Holy Scripture in the vulgar tongue, by which the heavenly teaching of our Great Example becomes the rule of living to every believer. They have set before us as our pattern “ the Lamb without blemish, who did no sin, and in whose mouth there was found no guile.Long may His Sermon on the Mount be our standard in casuistry, and long may the aspirations of the Psalm Beati Immaculati (cxix) be the genuine emotion of our heart, when we say in our public worship, “therefore hold I straight all Thy commandments, and all false ways I utterly abhor.”

A. C. C.

BALTIMORE, April 24, 1856.

MORAL THEOLOGY

OF THE CHURCH OF ROME.

No. I.

S. ALFONSO DE' LIGUORI'S THEORY OF

TRUTHFULNESS.

AN ARTICLE REPRINTED FROM

THE CHRISTIAN REMEMBRANCER,” OF JANUARY, MDCCCLIV.

N

LONDON: J. AND C. MOZLEY, PATERNOSTER ROW ; EDINBURGH: R. GRANT AND SON; DUBLIN: W. CURRY AND CO.

« 이전계속 »