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Nor yet does this final harmonizing of the races involve necessarily a uniformity in the organization of political society throughout the nations; nor in social institutions and manners. This would be a result incompatible with the manifold diversification which the long scattering has occasioned. The general harmony of this diverse, excluding conceit, contempt, and hate betweeu the nations, with the practical recognition of the noble sentiment of Humboldt, that "none are in themselves nobler than others," will be only the richer by reason of the n,anifold peculiarities of pursuit, and custom, of government, and laws.
This, then, we regard as the ethnological significance and interest attached to this migration. The human family, at first, one in its origin, one in social organization—the patriarchal—one in language, with the utmost simplicity in pursuits; then, under the wise orderings of Providence, broken and scattered to different abodes with consequent diversities of tongue, yet ever in families to preserve ever the evidence of their oneness in origin, in order that onr nature might cover all the habitable parts of the earth and have fit opportunity for the largest, richest diversification; now, at last, in this onr day, the scattering and the diversification having reached their limits, begins the great harmonizing of these diversified developments which, when consummated, the race will have fulfilled the destiny assigned it. These are the three distinguishable stages of all vital progress and development: first, the primeval simplicity; secondly, the richest possible diversification; and thirdly, the harmonizing of this diverse into the primitive oneness, not now simple, but rich in all the developed capabilities of the one nature.
The grand import and significancy of this migration is, that it marks the epoch of this last stage of human progress. On our shores, in our days, this change from the diversifying to the harmonizing, begins; verily, " on us the'ends of the worlds (dispensations) have met." Harmonizing is thus to be the law of tho coming ages. Institutions, laws, customs, arts, sciences, languages, henceforth must bow to the sway of this principle, and be characterized by it.
Slowly, almost imperceptibly to the superficial study, will the change be, even as the development of the bud into flower and subsequent fruit. But the time has come for the fruitformation. The time and season of the ripening, it is not ours to know. But to enter heartily, intelligently, with a docile, obedient spirit, into this consummation of providence and of grace, is our high lot and privilege.
Article II.—THE LIFE OF A JESUIT FATHER OF OUR OWN DAY—FATHER DE RAVIGNAN.
The Life of Father de Ravignan, of the Society of Jesus. By Father I)e Ponlevoy, of the same Society. Translated at St. Beuno's College, North Wales. New York: The Catholic_Publication Society, 126 Nassau Street, 1869.
In the new and independent aspect which the French Roman Catholic Church has of late assumed, our attention has been drawn to the life of one of those three great Catholic preachers who in these last years have made the pulpit of Notre Dame in Paris so illustrious. We have read this biography with great interest, although in some respects it is unsatisfactory. While drawn out quite fully in detail, it still has an appearance of uureality, like many other Roman Catholic, and, as to that, Protestant, religious biographies. We are permitted to see much, but not all; and that which we are not allowed to see is what contains the gist of the matter. The book professes to give an account of " the principles of conduct and maxims of perfection" which governed the life and formed the character of this eminent Jesuit preacher; and, as to that character, judging from the book itself (and we do not have at hand other means of judgment) it was assuredly one of concentrated power, lofty aim, and extraordinary, though austere, piety.
Gnstave Xavier de Ravignan was born in Bayonne, France, Dec. 1, 1795, of noble race. Some of his ancestors in the time of Heury IV. were Protestants. His childhood was one of precocious intelligence and gravity. His academic life was passed in Paris; and though he was inclined to a diplomatic career, he finally took up the study of jurisprudence as a profession. While pursuing his studies, news came of the landing of Napoleon on the coast of Provence, and he enlisted at once in the royal volunteers. He received the appointment of lieutenant of cavalry, and participated in one engagement, where he behaved bravely, but his military career was brief; he returned to the peaceful pursuits of his vocation, and was made counselor of the Royal Court of Paris. While pursuing his professional studies, he was a devout Catholic, and belonged to a society of young men who met to pray under the auspices of the Virgin Mary. One day, while in company, the Roman Catholic religious orders were attacked, and especially the Jesuits. Young de Ravignan immediately took up the argument for them, and exclaimed, " I mean to be a Jesuit myself som'e day."
This intention he very soon carried into execution. He had, in the mean time, received the important appointment of Deputy Procurenr dn Roi, and the most brilliant prospects opened before him of rising rapidly to the highest ranks of the magistracy, when suddenly, in the year 1822, he entered the Seminary of Saint Sulpice, at Issy, to prepare himself for the career of a religions. His mother and family were fille.d with distress at this entire change in all his reasonable and high worldly prospects, but their almost passionate letters and entreaties could not alter his resolution. The letter of M. Bellart, the Procurenr General, to his young deputy before he had taken the irrevocable vows, is worthy of perusal, and contains some truths put in a strong, sensible, and impressive way. We should like to quote the whole of this excellent letter. He says: "You are taking a serious step, one which will impose upon you the most difficult duties, much privation beyond the power of man to endure, to all which you must make up your mind to bow your neck to-day, to-morrow, for years, forever, your whole life through, without murmurs, and above all without regrets. I can understand courage— great courage—kept up for a certain time; but there is something terrible in an engagement to renounce all to which nature most strongly calls us. In a moment of fervor, of enthusiasm, our imagination sometimes represents to us as permanently as possible, something which we are enabled to do only by virtue of a present grace, and of a strong determination which has not yet had time to evaporate. But if the grace leave you, if the determination prove no longer strong enough for the Btrtiggle—if it turn out, after prolonged endurance, that no
good has been done by the lengthened sacrifice of all the affections which are intended to be ornaments of the career of a good man who lives a Christian life, and of all the inclinations created and placed in us by God, who has given them to man on the sole condition of yielding to them no more than His holy laws allow! What if after this long endurance the result is nothing but a fall, with risk of the salvation of the soul! Consider, my dear Ravignan, how disastrous would be such an end, and reflect well while it is yet in your power."
The Seminary life at Issy was, however, but an outer vestibule to the noviciate. "The Abbe- de Ravignan aimed at complete self-renouncement; he had withdrawn from the world and consecrated himself to God, and his heart still cried with St. Francis Xavier, amplius, amplius, more, O Lord! yet more!" He wrote of his new vocation: "I had some prejudices against the society of Jesus. Pascal, and the traditions of (he Parliaments, deceived me and many others; and I must confess that the truth about the Jesuits came upon me in some sort against my will. I have no need to recount in this place by what path it pleased divine Providence to lead me forward, nor what interior struggle I went through in my conscience, a struggle known to God alone."—" I was led to the determination to become a Jesuit by the very points which are most misunderstood, most distorted, and most attacked in the Institute of the Society."
He entered the Jesuit noviciate at Montronge, using these words in presenting himself to the Superior: "I am a poor man come to ask your hospitality. I have nothing but myself to offer; be good enough to receive me for charity." He had already in his zeal taken the four famous vows of the Jesuit order before the canonical time—viz: those of poverty, chastity, obedience, and entire submission to the will of the Pope, to do and go as he may command. "He made haste to go down into the mystic tomb where, as St. Paul expresses it, one must put off the old man to put on the new. He disappeared as though dead; and for ten years the world saw him no more, heard not his name, spoke not of him."