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then approaching. And in truth, on this side the water, we imagined that Louis Napoleon had done pretty well in that particular; but it seems M. Montalembert is not satisfied: for no pledge has yet been given that the Papal throne shall be upheld by French arms as long as France has arms at her command, and as long as there are human hearts in Rome on which the iron heel may trample.
At the present moment, Count Montalembert is, we fear, a person of infinitely small importance to Louis Napoleon, who may properly consider his opposition, especially since it is made ludicrous by its reserves, as among the minutest of things that are. But when Count Montalembert wrote the letter to which we have referred, his influence was the turning-point which determined the course of the religious party in France in the election of the President, which was then impending, and which at once consummated and solemnized the downfall of liberty, and of the hope of liberty, in France. To that downfall, as we see, he was a willing, nay an eager accessory. Was he inconsistent then. with his present course? No. The only inconsistency is that which he commits when he assures us of his sympathy, and the sympathy of the Roman Church, with freedom. He acted then as he acts now, upon one and the same principle. About the parties or the alternatives before him he asks himself one, and only one, set of questions: which of them will most exalt the Pope; which of them will most effectually preclude the revival of Gallican or nationalising opinions; which of them will most extend liberty of conscience in France where the Roman Church cannot do without it, and narrow it in Italy and Spain, where she would lose by it; which of them will best insure the influence and sway of that pure and glorious order of the Jesuits, to whose virtues the wickedness of this world so obstinately refuses to pay unconditional homage; which of them will be most likely to accelerate that most glorious epoch, which Pius IX. in his exile so meritoriously endeavoured to accelerate, the epoch when another star shall be added to the galaxy of Roman dogmas, and the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception shall be erected into an article of faith?' (p. 37.) These are the objects of the Count's pious care, and these only; but the man whose mind works in this train of thought has no more knowledge of the real value of the principle of freedom as an element in human action, and in public laws and institutions, than a new-born infant of the differential calculus; and much less chance of acquiring any.
Upon the whole, we rise with much pain from the perusal of this interesting book. There have been at times gleams and in
dications in the writings of divines, in the administrations of bishops and even of popes, to say nothing of the noble alliance so familiar to the middle age between freedom and religion, which ' have warmed the heart of the hopeful observer with the idea that a spirit of spontaneous and healthy reform might, in the Providence of God, gradually permeate the mighty mass of Roman Catholic: Christendom. The urgent necessities of these times, the undermining of positive and traditional attachments, the gradual decomposition in so many and such various quarters of the fabric of dogmatic belief, the improved tactics of infidelity, the refinement. which its tone has acquired, and its specious association with a warm religious phraseology, all remind us that now, if ever, those who have faith in Christianity as a creed definitely and unchangeably revealed, a firm, deep-seated anchorage for the soul, ought to be at least drawing nigh to one another, under the strong sympathetic attractions of a common interest and cause. So it ought to be; but let us not follow the wilful philosopher before us, who, in the busy workshop of his imagination, stamps upon something that he calls the world the image he would have it bear. That approximation, or the sense of the need of it, may be growing in individual minds. But as regards the public tone of communities, the case is otherwise. The spirit of unity, the only effective preparation for its form, does not grow in Protestant bodies relatively to one another, nor between them and the great Churches of the East and West, nor between these last in regard to one another. Never were their reciprocal aspects more hostile; and yet, while this is so, while the wave from without is sapping the foundations of the common faith, while the once omnipotent idea of an historical and collective religion, incorporated in a visible society, is receding from the general mind, there may yet be heard continually, mocking heaven and bewildering and deluding earth, the loud hollow vaunts of the Roman Church, and of her hot and sanguine votaries.
They tell us of the immortal fidelity of Ireland, when their Church is giving there signs quite unprecedented alike of numerical losses and of moral weakness. They announce the re-conquest of England, when year by year the tone of English society jars more harshly with that of Romish policy and teaching, the course of English thought and feeling removes farther and farther beyond their reach. More cool and rational than most of his fellow-labourers on this last point, yet Count Montalembert, too, can draw his boastful contrasts between the middle of the century and its beginning-when yet, if his reasons for so glorifying the era be examined, they seem mainly to be these that the Jesuits are everywhere restored,
everywhere increasing and that the Immaculate Conception is, after 1800 years, about to be declared an essential part of that religion whose proud privilege it is, in common with its Author, to be without variableness or shadow of turning. Could they, would they but have done with their skin-deep surveys, and look a little beneath the surface! No doubt the army of the Roman priesthood is under better, far better, dis-, cipline than it was: its various corps are concentrated: one watchword only passes through the camp, the Chair of Peter': it has been purged well nigh of all who scrupled at the orders to deny quarter to any milder form of Christian association or belief. In short, if we consent to judge of that body by the standard of a soldiery or a police alone, its state is one of the highest efficiency, its prospects are of the brightest colour. But, how wide is here the deviation from ancient ideas! They indeed contemplated the church as an army amidst the world; but the modern view is of the clergy as an army amidst the people, the shepherds as an army amidst the flock. In its young vigour and its virgin purity, Christianity prospered not by propagating anti-social dogmas and winding up to the highest point the spirit of caste, but by cultivating and expanding while it sanctified the individual soul-by blending together the reverence for authority and the passion for freedom-by founding itself on the whole nature of man-by joining hands with every influence and every agent that could elevate him as a moral, a social, a responsible being by marching at the head of art, science, and education, and enlisting into its service every new form of knowledge as it came to light in a word, by collectively and systematically following in all its breadth and depth that wondrous precept of St. Paul, who bids us individually embrace and make our. own 'whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report.' (Phil. iv. 8.) Thus it was on man at large, and on society at large, that Christianity fixed its grasp. But can M. de Montalembert fail to see that the most fatal of all signs in regard to the future relation between mankind and the Gospel is a permanent and growing divergency between the general course of temper, thought, and action of Christian nations on the one side, and the spirit of the sacerdotal caste and its immediate. adherents on the other? Has the Church of Rome done what justice and truth demanded towards averting this frightful evil, and is it not, has it not long been steadily on the increase? He has reasoned like the man who vigorously plies his skiff against a stream of irresistible rapidity and power: his
Catholic Interests in the Nineteenth Century.
eye is on the water, he sees it shoot away from him, and he thinks that he advances because it recedes: he lifts his gay streamer to the breeze, and exults in his success; but all the while the mighty mass is bearing him and it inevitably downwards, farther and farther from the haven of his hope.
No one will
Such is the case of Count Montalembert. dispute the zeal and vigour either of himself or of those whom he represents; none will question the gigantic force of that current which we familiarly call the spirit of the age, and which not merely by its grosser elements, but by its bestreasoned and most deep-seated attributes, is in the sharpest conflict with the system of modern Rome. Well, he sees a good concordat with some ephemeral government here, a successful intrigue there, civil speeches from a man all whose words are mined under, some poor Madiai put in prison, more Jesuits, winking images of the Madonna, and great hopes of the Immaculate Conception for a new article of faith what successes, what glories, what assurances of final triumph! But all this time the slow divorce is being prepared; the severance of that union yet more slow in its formation, the union which it required some thirteen hundred years of the Church's incessant labour to consolidate, between Divine Revelation and human thought and action, between the invisible and the visible kingdoms of God, the dispensation of heaven and the dispensation of earth. And the more perfect the organisation of the Roman Catholic clergy shall become, the more rigid the proscription of variance in opinion, the more exact its military discipline, the more precise, elaborate, and perfect its manoeuvring, the more glaring, on the other hand, to all except itself, will it be, that all the successes of that army are far more than counterbalanced by the simple fact, that it is an army and nothing else, a fortified camp in the midst of Christian society: the more evident will it become that for others and not for them, for others less equipped in high pretension but better grounded upon homely truth, is reserved the solution, or the best approach to solution, of the great and world-wide problem, how, under the multiplying demands and thickening difficulties of the time coming upon us, to maintain a true harmony between the Church of Christ and the nations it has swayed so long, to reconcile the changeful world and that unchanging faith on which all its undeceptive hopes are hung.
ART. VII.-1. Observations on the British Museum, National Gallery, and National Record Office, with Suggestions for their Improvement. By James Fergusson, M.R.B.A., &c. &c. 1849.
2. Handbook to the Antiquities in the British Museum; being a Description of the Remains of Greek, Assyrian, Egyptian, and Etruscan Art preserved there. By W. I. Vaux, M.A., F.S.A., Assistant in the Department of Antiquities. 1852.
3. COPY of all COMMUNICATIONS made by the Architect and Officers of the BRITISH MUSEUM to the Trustees, respecting the Enlargement of the Building, and of all Communications between the Trustees and the Treasury, subsequent to the period when the Commissioners upon the Constitution and Management of the British Museum presented their Report to HER MAJESTY. Ördered by the House of Commons to be printed, 30th June,
UR article of December, 1850, has sufficiently acquainted our readers with the variety of criticisms and hypercriticisms-the regrets and the complaints-of which the British Museum has been so long, and on the whole so undeservedly, the object. We are not about to go over that debated groundall the most important points of which the 'Report of the Royal Commission' of 1848 has cleared and settled, much to the credit of the whole internal administration of the Museum, and more especially as to the management of the Library, which had been the object of the loudest, but, as it has turned out, the most groundless, the most ignorant, and we are sorry to be obliged to add, in some remarkable instances, the most malicious complaints. We shall hear no more, we presume-at least from any one who has read and weighed the evidence-of forcing the Trustees to attempt that physical impossibility, a general printed catalogue for current use-a proposition so long and so pertinaciously urged by some, as a covert mode of personal censure on the officers of the library department, and by a few respectable persons who, with little practical experience of the manipulation of the library, were deluded by the ideal facilities of a printed catalogue-an object no doubt extremely captivating, and to which certainly we ourselves see but one objection-viz., that no power of men or money could ever complete one. The only really practicable proposition suggested in the Report for a printed catalogue would be of some class or period which could be considered as completed and closed-such as the collection of works connected with the Great Rebellion, or of the books possessed by the Museum printed in the