Skip to main content

Full text of "Essays on catholicism, liberalism and socialism : considered in their fundamental principles"

See other formats



11 ^^3 








Cornell Catholic 
Union Library. 

Date Due 


_jjtii>T rH *' "^ ' ^ ^ 

Cornell University Library 
BX1753 .D68 1879 

Essays on Catholicism, liberalism and so 


3 1924 029 402 439 

The original of tliis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

Cornell Catholic 
JiL O vJ jTi Y v^ Union Library, 



^vm^txia iv. tjiett iFunKammtal ^rinttplea. 









;?S'sr/f C 5" 

J\, l'2-z.^^2> ■ 




WHEN I first found Donoso Cortes' Essays on 
Catholicism, Liberalism, and Socialism in my 
hands, and opening its pages, began to read, I was so 
enchanted with it — so amazed at the profoundness of 
the views expressed in it, and the angelic sublimity of 
the ideas it contained — that I determined, if time and 
occupations should ever permit, to undertake its tran- 
slation into English. This occurred several years ago ; 
but my circumstances were such that the fulfilment of 
the intention then formed was delayed till the present 

And now that my task is at last accomplished, I 
venture to give it to the press, not without misgivings 
about the success of my efforts. However, if the reader 
find many defects and shortcomings in this English 
version of a great work, he will be kind enough to re- 
member that the difficulties I had to contend with were 
not insignificant or few. Any one acquainted with the 
diversity of form in which the same idea may be, and 
frequently is, expressed in two modern languages, knows 
well that the translator's task is often one of consider- 
able anxiety and pain. But in the present case there 


existed a new and special difficulty, which was, to cull 
and employ language which might bear some proportion 
to the majestic grandeur of the ideas to be expressed. 

I know I fall far short of what I aimed at — I feel it is 
beyoild my skill to shoot so high, and I shall be quite 
content if I have got to within a respectable distance of 
the mark. If I have drawn an approximately true por- 
trait of the inimitable original, I will regard my work as 
well done ; and my readers, I am certain, will rise from 
the perusal of these pages filled with wonder at the 
depth and breadth and sublimity of the author's con- 

With regard to the plan and analysis of the work, I 
asked my distinguished friend Canon Torre Velez, so 
well known for his critical acumen and profound philo- 
sophical acquirements, to deal with that matter in a 
concise Introduction ; which he has very kindly done, in 
a style becoming a man of his brilliant parts. And he 
has done it willingly, on unreasonably short notice, as 
became a warm and generous friend. His words are 
few, but pregnant ; and what he says may be taken as 
the just appreciation of one gifted mind, by another 
endowed with all the qualifications requisite to form a 
correct judgment. 


Salamanca, October 12, 1874. 



Introduction, ...... i 




How a Great Question of Theology is always involved in every 

great political question, ...... g 

Of Society under the empire of Catholic Theology, . . .24 

Of Society under the empire of the Catholic Church, . . 34 

Catholicity is love, ...... 53 


Our Lord Jesus Christ has not triumphed over the World by the 
sanctity of His doctrine, nor by prophecies and miracles, but in 
spite of all these things, ..... 58 




Our Lord Jesus Christ has triumphed over the World by exclusively 

supernatural means, ...... 64 


The Catholic Church has triumphed over Society in spite of the 
same obstacles, and through the same supernatural means, 
vifhich gave the victory over the World to our Lord Jesus 
Christ, ........ 79 



On the free will of man, ...... 93 

Answers to some questions relative to this dogma, . • . 100 

Manicheeism of Proudhon, . , . . . .113 


How the dogmas of Providence and Liberty are saved by Catho- 
licity, without falling into the theory of rivalry between God 
and Man, ...... 



Secret analogies between the Moral and Physical perturbations, all 

derived from the liberty of man, .... 134 




The Angelic and the Human prevarications — Greatness and enor- 
mity of sin, ....... 144 


How God draws good from the Angelic and the Human prevari- 
cation, ........ 156 

Solutions of the Liberal School relative to these Problems, . 167 

Socialistic Solutions, . . . . . • .179 

Gontinuation of the same subject — Conclusion of this Book, . 195 



Transmission of Sin, dogma of Imputation, . . . .217 


How God draws good from Sin and Penalty, and from the purifying 

action of pain, freely accepted, ..... 228 


Dogma of Solidarity — Contradictions of the Liberal School, . 240 



Continuation of the same subject — Socialistic Contradictions, . 2S7 

Continuation of the same subject, . . . . .279 


Dogmas Correlative of that of Solidarity — Bloody Sacrifices — 
Theories of the Rationalistic Schools about Capital Punish- 
ment, ........ 290 


Recapitulation — Inefficacy of all the proposed Solutions —Neces- 
sity of a more profound Solution, .... 305 


The Incarnation of the Son of God, and the Redemption of the 

Human Race, . . . . . ■ S'S 


Continuation of the same subject — Conclusion of this Book, . 325 


DONOSO Cortes is one of the most profound thinkers 
of the nineteenth century. If the many and varied pro- 
ductions which have flowed from his learned pen had 
not raised him to the rank of eminent publicists, the 
work now offered to English readers, translated from 
the rich and harmonious tongue of Cervantes and Fray 
Louis de Granada, would be sufiScient to immortalise 
him. It bears the modest title of Essays ; but this 
insignificant title gives no index to the richness and 
sumptuousness of the splendid edifice he has built up 
under that name. True merit characteristically presents 
itself on the scene of the world without pretensions, and 
real virtue is known to every one but itself. St Augustine, 
to refute the calu;nnies of the pagans, who laid all the 
evils which befell the Roman Empire at the door of the 
Christians, writes the "City of God; " and after attaining 
his object, he does what perhaps he had not intended — 
he creates a science unknown to the pagans, which was 


the science of the intervention of Providence in history, 
St Thomas aims at writing a systematic text-book for 
students of theology in the thirteenth century, and his 
"Sum " raised theology to the category of a science, and 
became a book of consultation for the learned of all 
ages. Dante intends to write a poem after the manner 
of Virgil, and the " Divine Comedy " becomes the reflex 
of a civilisation, or rather is Christian civilisation sung 
in numbers by a bard. Cervantes aims at suppressing 
the books of knight-errantry by ridiculing their extrava- 
gances, and he becomes famous with posterity, not for 
his transitory victory, but for the deep and witty pic- 
ture he gives of humanity, and the profound knowledge 
of the human heart he displays. Finally, Bossuet does 
not venture to call his history anything but a Discourse, 
and yet posterity has acknowledged Bossuet to be the 
father of what is known as the Philosophy of History. 

Well, what those giants of Christian thought were 
in their respective ages and in their own spheres, the 
present work of the Marquis of Valdegamas, under the 
modest title of "Essays," is at the present day. He 
proposes to compare Catholicism with Liberalism and 
Socialism ; and his work is not, as might appear at first 
sight, a simple comparison of the truth with the great 
errors of the , present time ; it ■ is more — it is much 
more, — it is incomparably more, than what he proposes. 
It is history, like the " City of God ; " it is theology, like 
the " Sum " of St Thomas ; it is the portrait of Catholic 
civilisation, like the " Divine Comedy ; " it is a pro- 
found knowledge of the miseries of the heart, of the 


errors of the intellect, and of the defects of human institu- 
tions, like the work of Cervantes Saavedra ; and it is a 
philosophy of history much more profound than that 
of Bossuet and all other historians ; for without the 
philosophy of these Essays, history is an enigma im- 
possible to decipher. Spain may well be proud of pro- 
ducing the illustrious author of these " Essays," a work 
which, without a controversial character, is the most 
glorious and sublime apology of religion, and the 
victorious refutation of Liberalism, Rationalism, and 

And let it not be imagined that the varied and 
encyclopedic character of the work throws the matters 
of which it treats into confusion, or clogs the develop- 
ment of the author's plan in its majestic march. No ; 
the author knows well what he has to do, and scans all 
with the eye of genius, which walks not on beaten paths, 
but opens fresh ones for itself If he paints, it is as a 
creative artist, who rises superior to all calculation, and 
discovers new aspects of truth and beauty by some 
method of his own. Our author is like the eagle, who 
discovers from the firmament he brushes with his wings 
immense horizons unseen by other birds. He is like 
the daguerreotype, which condenses into small space, 
without confusion, a group of innumerable objects. 
The merit of the work is not in the matters it treats of, 
nor in the facts it states, nor in the problems it deals 
with, nor in the employment of this or that argument, 
nor in the amount of erudition it displays, nor in the 
clear method it follows, nor in the critical skill it mani- 


fests ; for, everything in the "Essays " has been treated of 
and discussed a thousand times before. The merit of 
Donoso Cortes, as far as the " Essays " are original and 
great, consists in raising the question to a height to 
which no other book carries it ; in extracting, like the 
bee, from the flowers spread over the field of human 
intelligence the wax and honey with which the hive of 
the " Essays " is stored ; and in the new aspect with 
which every question is invested from the first to the 
last page. 

But I should scarcely have used the word question, for 
there is no such thing here, as it is not a work of con- 
troversy. From the point of view he occupies, Donoso 
does not argue nor hold discussions with error, to 
which he denies all rights. Donoso only teaches, and 
shows error its profound ignorance and contradictions, 
or points out its deformity to the world ; and in teach- 
ing one and the other with the authority of truth, 
whose eloquent organ he is, he needs not to, enter on a 
contest with error in order to conquer it. Whilst other 
apologists go down into the arena, and contend with 
dubious victory, Donoso Cortes, like a giant, demolishes 
error by one stroke of his arm : witness his victory over 
Proudhon and Guizot, whose fairy edifices crumble tq 
earth under his analytical touch. In the contest with 
others, the monster, Proteus-like, assumes a thousand 
forms, and when pressed on one side escapes on the 
other, but Donoso strips it of its false appearances, and 
presents it to the eyes of thinking men in all its foul 
nakedness, and holds it up tq the cprite5npt qf the woyld 


— enough assuredly to fill it with confusion, and make it 
hide its dishonoured head. 

The reader may now see how this book, without boast 
of erudition, without scientific pretensions, or ostenta- 
tion of great acquirements, possesses an encyclopedic 
character. There is no dogma of faith, nor hierarchy 
in the Church, nor institution in society, nor important 
question in philosophy, nor epoch in history, nor human 
aberration in the speculative sphere of the schools, or in 
the practical life of nations ; which does not occupy its 
proper place in the vast plan of this work. As we have 
said, Donoso Cortes is theologian, philosopher, historian, 
politician, apologist ; but not as a scientific man who 
limits himself to one sole branch, but like a genius, who 
takes in at one glance all the orders of science and 
of life. The mystery of faith, defended by dogmatic 
theologians in the limited circle of the schools, Donoso, 
without profaning it, presents on the scene of real life, 
and makes it the touchstone of science, and the founda- 
tion of society. In the Theological Places, the organisa- 
tion of the Church is dealt with from the data supplied 
by scripture and tradition. According to Donoso Cortes 
the Church is the mistress, the foundress, the life of 
society. He does not require, like the apologists, to 
demonstrate the existence of the miracles and the 
prophecies. In his historical studies Donoso has discov- 
ered a sublime miracle in the Christianising of pagan 
society, and in the indefectibility of the Church, a pro- 
found prophecy in process of fulfilment for nineteen 
centuries. The autonomy of reason cannot be admitted 

5 introduction: 

by him who reveres the infallibility of the teaching of 
the Church ; nor the noisiness of parliaments admired 
by him who stands astonished before the majesty of the 
Councils ; nor the regulations of the police lauded by 
him who bends in reverence before the grand law of 
charity. Without the dogma of the fall, and the dogma 
of the rehabilitation, as they are explained in the 
" Essays," history is without explanation. The miracle 
of the Christianising of society lies patent before the 
eyes of men. Or, to use our a:uthor's own words — As 
God had no witnesses in the grand act of the creation 
of the heavens and the earth, He desires that man 
should witness a more sublime creation — the creation of 
Christian civilisation. 

The foregoing is a slight sketch of the work now 
offered to the English-speaking public. We have made 
no extracts from it, for we would be afraid to profane 
and injure them by placing them in juxtaposition with 
our meagre observations. The work of Donoso Cortes 
forms a perfect whole. One must read it through ; and 
on concluding, every man of bona fides must exclaim, 
" I never before had noticed the sublime harmonies of 
Catholicism, and the foul repugnance of error. Catholi- 
cism is the law of life, the hfe of the intelligence, the 
solution of all problems. Catholicism is the truth, and 
everything that departs from it one iota, is disorder, de- 
ception, and error." 

Alejandro de la Torre Velez, D.D., 

Canon and Dignitary of the Cathedral of Salamanca, and 
Professor of Sacred Scripture, ^c, Sfc, 




This work was examined in its dogmatic aspect by one of the 
most famous theologians of Paris, belonging to the glorious school 
of the Benedictines of Solesmes, and the author has finally adopted 
all his observations. 



How a great question of theology is always involved in 
every great political question. 

In his " Confessions of a Revolutionist," M. Proudhon 
has written these remarkable words — " It is wonderful 
how we ever stumble on theology in all our political 
questions." There is nothing here to cause surprise, 
but the surprise of M. Proudhon. Theology, inasmuch 
as it is the science of God, is the ocean which contains 
and embraces all sciences, as God is the ocean which 
contains and embraces all things. 

They were all before, and they are all after, their 
creation, in the divine understanding ; for if God made 
them from nothing, He adjusted them to a mould which 
is eternally in Him. They are all there in that sublime 
manner in which effects are in their causes, consequences, 
in their principles, reflections, in light, forms, in their 
eternal exemplars. In Him are the expanse of the sea, 


the beauty of the plains, the harmony of globes, the 
pomp of worlds, the splendour of the stars, the magni- 
ficence of the heavens. There, are the measure, the 
weight, and the number of all things, and all things came 
thence with number, weight, and measure. There, are 
the inviolable and subhrne laws of all beings, and each 
is under the empire of its own. Everything, that lives 
finds there the laws of life ; everything that vegetates, 
the laws of vegetation ; everything that moves, the laws 
of motion ; everything that has feeling, the laws of 
sensations ; everything that has intelligence, the laws of 
understandings ; everything that has liberty, the laws of 
wills. In this way, it might be said, withoutfalling into 
Pantheism, that all things are in God, and God is in 
all thing^s. 

This explains why, in proportion to the diminution 
of faith, truths diminish in the world ; and why the 
society which turns its back on God, beholds all its 
horizons suddenly obscured by terrifying darkness. 
For this reason, religion has been considered by all men, 
and in all times, as the indestructible foundation of 
human society. " Omnis humanae societatis funda- 
mentum convellit qui religionem convellit," says Plato 
in the loth Book of his Laws. According to Zenophon 
(on Socrates), "The most pious cities and nations 
have ever been the wisest and most lasting." Plutarch 
says (against Colotes), " That it is easier to build a city 
in the air than to constitute a society without belief in 
the gods." Rousseau, in his " Social Contract," lib. 4, 
ehap. 8, observes, " That there never was a state formed 


without religion serving as the foundation." Voltaire 
says in the " Treatise on Intolerance," chap. 20, " That 
wherever there is a society, religion is absolutely 
necessary." All the legislations of ancient peoples rest 
on the fear of the gods. Polybius declares that this 
holy fear is more necessary in free states than in others. 
Numa, that Rome might be eternal, made her the Holy 
City. The Roman, among the peoples of antiquity, was 
the greatest, precisely because it was the most religious. 
When Caesar one day uttered in full senate certain 
expressions against the existence of the gods, Cato and 
Cicero at once rose to their feet to accuse the irreverent 
youth of pronouncing words dangerous to the state. It 
is told of Fabricius, a Roman captain, that when he 
heard the philosopher Cineas mock the Divinity in pre- 
sence of Pyrrus, he uttered these memorable words — 
" Would to the gods our enemies may follow this doc- 
trine when at war with the Republic ! " 

The diminutio n of faith, which produces the diminu- 
tion_^f__truth, does not necessa rily ca rr y with it th e 
diminution, but rather, the extravaganc,e,_S.fthg„illlJnan 
intellect. At once merciful a nd just, Go d denies^the 
tr uth to culpable intel ligences, ^_tjIe_does_jiot_^d eny 
them life; He_condemns them to error, but_ not to 
death;^_jience_we_ha^^all_s£^ ourey^es 

thos e ages of prodigjous incredulity and Jiigh^ culture, 
which have left_a__track__Jbehind,_^ss_hjmin^ 

'■^.^^^ISiiE-i^ P''°l95S§i^°'^ ^^ time, and have shone 
with phosphoric light in_history. Fix your eyes on 
them, however — look at them again and again, and you 


shall see that their splendours are conflagrations, and 
they illumine, only because they are lightning. One 
would say their illumination proceeds from the sudden 
explosion of materials in themselves obscure but in- 
flammable, rather than from the pure regions where 
is engendered that gentle light softly diffused over the 
arches of heaven, by the inimitable pencil of the Sove- 
reign Painter. 

And what we have here said of ages, can be said of 
men. Denying or granting them the faith, God denies 
or grants them the truth. He does not grant nor deny 
them intelligence. The infideFs may be sublime, the 
laeliever's moderate. But the former is only great like 
an abyss, whilst the latter is holy like a tabernaclg,: in 
the first dwells error ; in the second, truth. In the abyss, 
with error, is death ; in the tabernacle, with truth, is life. 
For this reason there is no hope whatever for those 
societies which abandon the austere worship of truth 
for the idolatry of genius. On the heels of sophisms 
come revolutions ; on the heels of the sophists, execu- 

He who knows the laws to which governments are 
subject, possesses political truth ; he who knows the 
laws to which human societies are subject, possesses 
social truth ; he who knows God, knows these laws ; he 
knows God who hears what He affirms of Himself, and 
believes what he hears. Theology is the science which 
has these affirmations for its object. Whence it follows, 
that every affirmation relative to society or to govern- 
ment, supposes an affirmation relative to God ; or, what 


amounts to the same, that every political and social, is 
necessarily converted into a theological, truth. 

If all is explained in God and by God, and theology 
is the science of God, in whom, and by whom, all is 
explained, theology is the science of all. If it be, there 
is nothing beyond that science, which has no plural, 
because all, which is its subject, has none. Political 
and social science do not exist, except as arbitrary 
classifications of the h.uman understancjjng^, „ManjnJiis 
weakness distinguishes what is jimte^,__injG;od_^in the 
s implest u nity. In this way he distinguishes political 
affirmations from social and from rehgious affirmations ; 
whilst in God there is but one indivisible and sovereign 
affirmation. He who, when he speaks explicitly of any- 
thing, knows not he speaks implicitly of God, or when 
he speaks explicitly of any science, is unaware he 
speaks implicitly of theology, may rest assured he has 
received from God only the intelligence absolutely 
necessary to constitute him a man. Theologj^jthen, 
considered in its most generalacce£tatioji,Js^the_ per- 
petual subject of all sciences^as^ God is the perjgetual 
subject of all human speculations. Every word which 
comes from the mouth of man, is an affirmation of the 
Divinity, even that by which he blasphemes or denies 
Him. He who, turning against God, frantically ex- 
claims, " I abhor Thee ; Thou dost not exist," lays 
down a complete system of theology, as well as he who 
raises his contrite heart to Him, and says, " Lord, 
strike Thy servant who adores Thee ! " The first hurli 
2, blasphemy in His face ; the second lays a prayer at 


His feet : but both affirm Him, each in his own way, for 
both pronounce His incommunicable name. 

In the manner of pronouncing that name, Hes the 
solution of fearful enigmas — the vocation of races, the 
providential mission of peoples, the great vicissitudes of 
history, the rise and fall of famous empires, conquests, 
and wars, the different temperaments of nations, their 
physiognomy, and even their various fortunes. 

Away there where God is infinite substance, man, 
abandoned to silent contemplation, inflicts death on his 
senses, and passes through life like a dream, fanned by 
sweet-scented and enervating breezes. The adorer of 
the infinite substance is condemned to a perpetual 
slavery and an infinite indolence : the desert will be for 
him something more sublime than the city, because it is 
more silent, more solitary and grand ; and yet he will 
not adore it as his god, because the desert is not infinite. 
The ocean would be his only divinity, because it em- 
braces all, only for its wild turbulence and strange noise. 
The sun, which illumines all, would be worthy of his 
worship, if only he could not take in its resplendent disc 
with his eye. The heavens would be his lord if it had 
no stars, and the night, if it had no rumours. His god 
is all these things together — immensity, obscurity, im- 
mobility, silence. There, shall suddenly rise, by the 
secret virtue of a powerful vegetation, colossal and 
barbarous empires, which shall fall one day, with rude 
noise, crushed by the immense weight of others more 
gigantic and colossal, without leaving a trace in the 
memory of men either of their fall or of their foundation. 


The armies there shall be without discipline, as the 
individuals, without intelligence. The army will be 
principally and above all, a multitude. It shall be less 
the object of war to determine which nation is the most 
heroic, than to discover which empire is the most 
populous. Victory itself shall be only a title of legiti- 
macy, inasmuch as it is the symbol of the Divinity, 
because it is the proof of strength. So we see that 
Indian theology and history are one and the same 

Turning our eyes to the West, we see, stretched at its 
portals, a region which begins a new world in the moral, 
political, and theological, orders. The immense Oriental 
divinity is here analysed, and stripped of its austere and 
formidable character — here it is multitude. The divinity 
was there stationary ; here the multitude seethes without 
rest. All was there silence ; here it is murmurs, cadence, 
and harmonies. The Oriental divinity extended through 
all time and over all space. The grand divine family 
has here its genealogical tree, and finds room on the 
small space of a mountain top; There is the repose of 
eternal peace in the god of the East ; here, in the divine 
dwelling, all is war, confusion, and tumult. The political, 
suffers the same vicissitudes as the religious, unity : here, 
every city is an empire, whilst there, all the multitudes 
formed one empire. To a god corresponds a king ; to 
a republic of gods, one of cities. In this multitude of 
cities and of gods all will be disorder and confusion. 
Men will have in them something heroic and divine, and 
the gods, something terrestrial and human. The gods 


will give to men the comprehension and instinct of the 
great and the beautiful, and men will give to the gods 
their discords and their vices. There will be men of 
lofty fame and virtue, and incestuous and adulterous 
gods. Impressionable and nervous in temperament, that 
people will be great in its poets and famous in its artists, 
and will make itself the wonder of the world. Life will 
not be beautiful in its eyes, unless surrounded by the 
splendour and the reflections of glory ; nor will death be 
fearful, only because it is followed by oblivion. Sen- 
sual to the marrow of its bones, it will look for nothing 
but pleasure in life ; and will consider 'death happy if 
it occurs among flowers. The familiarity and relation- 
ship with its gods will make that people vain, capri- 
cious, loquacious, and petulant. Wanting in respect for 
the divinity, it will be wanting in gravity in its designs, 
firmness, and consistency in its resolutions. The Oriental 
world will appear to it as a region full of shadows, or 
as a world peopled by statues. The East in its turn, 
regarding the other's life so ephemeral, its death so 
premature, its glory so short-lived, will call it a nation 
of children. In the eyes of the one, greatness is in 
duration ; in those of the other, in movement. In this 
way Grecian theology, Grecian history, and the Grecian 
character are one and the same thing. 

This phenomenon is visible above all in the history 
of the Roman people. Its principal gods, of Etrurian 
origin, as far as they were gods, were Grecian ; as far as 
Etrurian, Oriental. Inasmuch as they were Grecian 
they were many ; inasmuch as they were Oriental, 


austere and sombre. In politics as in religion, Rome 
is at once the East and the West. It is a city like_that 
of Theseus, and an empire like that of Cyrus. Ronae is 
like Janus : on its head there are two faces, and on its 
faces two countenances ; the one is symbolic of OxLental 
. duration, and the other of Grecian inovement^ So great 
is her capacity of movement, that she reaches the con- 
fines of the world ; and so gigantic her duration, that 
the world calls her eternal. Created in the designs of 
God to prepare the way for Him who was to come, her 
providential mission was to assimilate all theologies, 
and to domineer over all nations. Obeying a mysteri- 
ous call, all the gods mount the Roman Capitol, and 
the nations, seized with a sudden terror, bow their 
heads to the earth. All cities, one after another, see 
themselves deserted by their gods : the gods, one after 
another, see themselves despoiled of their temples and 
of their cities. Her gigantic empire regards as peculi- 
arly its own, the legitimacy of the East, the multitude, 
power, and legitimacy of the West, intelligence and 
discipline. Hence it subjugates all, and nothing with- 
stands it; it grinds all, and no one complains. As her 
tiieologyhas at on«^e something diff erent from, _and 
something i n common with, all theologies, Rome has 
something peculiar and something in common with all 
the cities conquered by her arms or eclipsed by her glory. 
From Sparta she has severity ; from Athens, culture ; 
from Memphis, pomp ; and grandeur from Babylon 
and Nineveh. In a word, the East is the thesis, 
the West its antithesis, Rome the synthesis ; and 


the Roman empire signifies nothing else but the 
Oriental thesis and the Grecian antithesis, which have 
become lost and confounded in the Roman synthesis. 
Analyse now the constitutive elements of that powerful 
synthesis, and you shall find that it is synthesis in the 
political and social orders, only because it is so in the . 
religious order. In the Oriental peoples as in the 
Grecian republics, and in the Roman empire as in the 
Grecian republics and in the Oriental peoples, the theo- 
logical, serve to explain the political, systems. Theology 
is the light of history. 

The Roman greatness could not descend from the 
Capitol except by the same means which had served 
it in ascending. No one could put his foot in Rome 
without the permission of her gods ; no one could scale 
the" Capitol without first hurling down Jupiter Optimus 
Maximus. The ancients, who had a confused notion of 
the vital force which exists in every religious system, 
believed that no city could be conquered unless first 
abandoned by the national gods. Hence we find in 
all wars of city with city, of people with people, and 
race with race, a spiritual and religious contest, which 
followed the fortunes of the material and political. The 
besieged, whilst they resisted with the sword, turned 
their eyes to their gods that they might not abandon 
them in their misery. The besiegers, in their turn, con- 
jured them with mysterious imprecations to abandon 
the city. Woe to the city in which was heard that 
terrible voice which said, " Thy gods are going ; thv 
gods are abandoning thee 1 " The people of Israel could 


not be overcome whilst Moses kept his hands raised to 
the Lord; and could not conquer when they fell. 
Moses is the figure of the human race, proclaiming in 
all ages, in different formulas and ways, the_omni- 
£otence of God and the dependence of man^hejjower 
of religion and the yirtue_pf prayer. . 

Rome succumbed because her gods succumbed ; her 
empire came to an end because her theology ended. 
In this way does history place in relief, the grand prin- 
ciple which is hidden in the depths of the human con- 

Rome had given to the world her Caesars and her 
gods. Jupiter and Caesar Augustus had divided between 
them the grand empire of things human and divine. 
The sun, which had seen gigantic empires rise and fall, 
had never, since the day of its creation, beheld one of 
such august majesty and such extraordinary grandeur. 
All nations had received its yoke ; even the rudest and 
wildest had bent their necks : the world laid down its 
arms ; the earth hushed its breath. 

At that time there was born, in an humble stable, of 
humble parents, a Child, prodigious in the land of pro- 
digies. It was said of Him that at the time of His 
appearance among men a new star shone out in heaven ; 
that He was scarcely born when He was adored by 
shepherds and kings; that angelic spirits had swept 
through the air and spoken to men ; that His incom- 
municable and mysterious name had been pronounced 
in the beginning of the world ; that the patriarchs had 
watched for His coming ; that the prophets had an- 


nounced His kingdom ; and that even the sibyls had 
"^ung His victories. These strange rumours had reached 
/he ears of the servants of Csesar, and awakened a 
vague terror and dread in their breasts. That dread 
and that vague terror soon passed away, when they 
saw the days and nights prosecute as before, their per- 
petual rotation, and the sun continue rising on the 
Roman horizon. And the imperial governors said to 
themselves, " Cffisar is immortal, and the rumours we 
heard were the rumours of nervous and idle people." 
And so passed 'thirty years. Against the prejudices of 
the vulgar there is an efficacious remedy — contempt 
and oblivion. 

But at the end of thirty years the discontented and 
idle begin to find, in new and more extraordinary 
rumours, new food for their idle talk. The Child had 
become man, according to people's' report. On receiving 
on His head the waters of the Jordan, a spirit like a 
dove had descended on Him ; the heavens had opened, 
and a voice was heard- on high saying, "This is my 
beloved Son." In the meantime, he who baptized 
Him, an austere and sombre man, a dweller in the 
desert and an abhorrer of the human race, cried out 
without ceasing to the people, "Do penance;" and 
pointing to the Child made man, gave this testimony of 
Him, "This is the Lamb of God, who taketh away 
the sins of the world." That all this was a miserable 
farce enacted by wretched clowns, was a thing beyond 
all manner of doubt in the eyes of the " strong minds " 
of that age. The Jewish people was always given to 


\vitchcraft and superstition. In past times, when it 
turned its eyes, obscured with weeping, to its abandoned 
temple and its ruined country, in the Babylonic slavery, 
a great conqueror, announced by its prophets, had 
redeemed it from slavery, and restored it at once to its 
temple and its country. It was no way wonderful, then, 
but quite natural, that it should await a new redemption 
and a new redeemer, who should strike from its neck 
the heavy chain of Rome. 

If there had been no more than this, the unprejudiced 
and enlightened people of that age would probably have 
allowed these rumours to pass, as they had the others, 
till time, the great minister of human reason, had dis- 
sipated them ; but some evil spirit arranged things 
otherwise ; for it happened that Jesus, (this was the 
name of the Person of whom those great wonders were 
told), commenced to teach a new doctrine, and work 
extraordinary things. His audacity, or His madness, 
went so far as to call the hypocrites and the proud, 
proud and hypocrites, and whitewashed sepulchres 
those who were whitewashed sepulchres. The hardness 
of His heart was so great, that He advised the poor to 
be patient, and then mocking them, proclaimed their 
happiness. To be revenged on the rich, who always 
despised Him, He said to them, "Be merciful." He 
condemned fornication and adultery, and He ate the 
bread of fornicators and adulterers. He despised — so 
great was His envy — the doctors and the sages, and con- 
versed — so low were His instincts — with the gross and 
rude. He was so filled with pride, that He called 


Himself lord of the earth, the sea, and the heavens ; 
and He was such an adept in the arts of hypocrisy, that 
Jle washed the feet of a few miserable fishermen. In 
spite of His studied austerity, He said His doctrine was 
love; He condemned labour in Martha, and sanctified 
idleness in Mary; He had a secret compact with the 
infernal spirits, and received the gift' of miracles in price 
for His soul. Crowds followed Him, and the multitude 
adored Him. 

It is evident, in spite of their good intentions, the 
guardians of the holy things and of the imperial pre- 
rogatives, responsible as they were, in virtue of their 
offices, for the majesty of religion and the peace of the 
empire, could no longer remain impassible. What prin- 
cipally urged them to take active measures was the 
report they had on one hand that a great multitude 
had been on the point of proclaiming Him King of the 
Jews, and on the other, that He had called himself Son 
of God, and had tried to prevent people from paying 

He who had said and done such things must die for 
the people. It only remained to prove the charges and 
clearly establish the fact. As to the tribute, when He 
was once questioned on the point, He gave that cele- 
brated answer, which disconcerted the curious — "Give 
to God what belongs to God, and to Caasar what 
belongs to Csesar ; " which was the same as — " I leave 
you your Caesar, and I rob you of your Jupiter." When 
questioned by Pilate and by the high priest, He ratified 
what He had said, and proclaimed that He was the Son 


of God ; but that His kingdom was not of this world. 
Then Caiphas said, " This man is guilty, and should 
die;" and Pilate, on the contrary, "Set Him free, for 
He is innocent." 

Caiphas, the high priest, regarded the question in the 
religious point of view. Pilate, a layman, regarded it in 
the political point of view. Pilate could not comprehend 
what the state had to do with religion, Caesar with 
Jupiter, politics with theology. Caiphas, on the contrary, 
thought that every new religion must disturb the state, 
every new god dethrone Csesar, and that the political was 
involved in the theological question. The mob instinc- 
tively thought with Caiphas, and in its hoarse murmurs 
called Pilate the enemy of Tiberius. In this state the 
question remained for the moment. 

Pilate, immortal type of corrupt judges, sacrificed the 
Just One. to fear, and delivered up J^sus to the popular 
fury, and tried to purify his conscience by washing his 
hands. The Son of God mounted the cross amid 
mockery and insults; there were raised against Him 
the hands and tongues of the rich and the poor, the 
hypocrites and the proud, the priests and the sages, of 
women of bad life and of men of evil conscience, of the 
adulterers and fornicators. The Son expired on the 
cross, praying for His executioners, and commending 
His spirit to His Father. 

Everything was at rest for a moment ; but then were 
seen things never before seen by the eyes of men. The 
abomination of desolation in the temple; the matrons 
pf Sion cursing their fecundity ; the sepulchres yawning 


open ; Jerusalem without inhabitants ; her walls levelled 
with the ground; her people dispersed through the 
world, and the world in arms. The eagles of Rome 
were heard screaming wildly. Rome was seen without 
Caesars and without gods ; the cities depopulated and 
the deserts peopled ; as the governors of nations, men 
who did not know how to read, and were clad in skins ; 
the multitudes obeying the voice of him who said at 
the Jordan, " Do penance," and of the other who said, 
" He who wishes to be perfect, let him leave all thingSj 
take up his cross, and follow me ; " and kings adoring 
the Cross, and the Cross raised on high in all places. 

What is the cause of these great changes and trans- 
formations ? What is the cause of this great desolation 
and universal cataclysm ? What has occurred "i No- 
thing ; only some new theologians are going about 
through the world announcing a new theology. 


Of society under the empire of Catholic theology. 

That new theology is called Catholicity. Catholicity 
is a complete s ystem of civilisation, so complete, that 
in its immerisity it embraces eve rything— the science 
of God, the science of .the angel, th e science of the 
universCj^and the sc ience of m an. The infidel falls 
into ecstasy at sight of its inconceivable extravagance. 


and the believer at sight of its wonderful grandeur. 
If there be any one who, on beholding it, passes by 
with a smile, people, more astounded at such an 
amount of stupid indifference than at that colossal 
grandeur and that inconceivable extravagance, raise 
their voice, and say, " Let the fool pass." All 
humanity has studied for the space of eighteen cen- 
turies in the school of its theologians and its doctors ; 
and at the end of so much application, and the end 
of so much study, up to to-day the abyss of its science 
has not been sounded. There, it learns how and when 
all things and times are to end, and when and how 
they had their beginning : there, are discovered secrets 
which were ever hidden from the speculations of the 
philosophers of the Gentiles, and the understanding of 
their sages : there, are revealed the final causes of all 
things, the concerted movement of everything human, 
the nature of bodies and the essence of spirits, the 
ways by which men walk, the term to which they go, 
the point from which they come, the mystery of their 
peregrination and the line of their journey, the enigma 
of their tears, and the secret of life and death. Chil- 
dren suckled at its prolific breasts, know to-day more 
than Aristotle and Plato, the luminaries of Athens. 
And yet the doctors who teach these things, and rise 
to such sublimity, are humble. It was given to the 
Catholic world alone to present a spectacle on earth 
reserved formerly to the angels in heaven — the spec- 
tacle of science bent in humility before the divine 


This theology is called Catholic, because it is uni- 
versal ; and it is so in every sense, and under every 
aspect. It is universal because it embraces all truths ; 
because it embraces all that all truths contain ; because 
its nature is destined to extend through all space and 
to be prolonged through all time. It is universal in its 
God, and in its dogmas. 

God was unity in India, dualism in Persia, variety in 
Greece, multitude in Rome. The living God is one in 
substance, like the Indian god ; multiple in person, like 
the Persian ; like the Greek gods, He is various in His 
attributes, and in the multitude of spirits (gods) which 
serve Him. He is multitude, like the Roman gods ; 
He is universal cause, infinite and impalpable sub- 
stance, eternal repose, and author of all motion; He 
is supreme intelligence, sovereign will; He is the 
container, not the contained. It is He drew every- 
thing from nothing, and it is He maintains everything 
in its being, who regulates all things angelic, all things 
human, and all things infernal. He is merciful, just, 
loving, brave, powerful, simple, secret, beautiful, wise. 
The east knows His voice, the west obeys Him; the 
south reverences Him, the north hangs on His nod. 
His word swells creation; the stars veil their face ; the 
seraphim reflect His light on their inflamed wings ; the 
heavens serve Him for a throne, and the earth's globe 
is poised in His hand. When the time came, the 
Catholic God showed His countenance ; this sufficed 
to cast to the earth all idols fabricated by men. And 
it could not be otherwise when we remember that 


human theologies were nothing more than mutilated 
fragments of the Catholic theology ; ._a,n.d that the 
^ods of the Geritiles were nortiing morethan the 
deification of some one of the essential properties of 
the true God the biblical God. 

Catholicity seized on man in his body, in his senses, 
and in his soul. Dogmatic theologians taught him 
what to believe ; moral theologians, what he should 
do; and the mystics, rising above all, taught him to 
ascend on high on the wings of prayer, that ladder 
of Jacob composed of brilliant stones, by which God 
descends to earth and man rises to heaven, till earth 
and heaven, God and man, burning together in the 
flame of an infinite love, are blended in one. ^\ 

Through Catholicity order entered into man, and 
through man into human societies. The moral world 
found on the day of redemption the laws it had lost 
on the day of prevarication and sin. The Catholic 
dogma was the criterion of sciences. Catholic morality 
the criterion of actions, and charity the criterion of 
affections. The human conscience, escaped from its 
hampered state, saw through the interior as well 
as through the exterior darkness, and at the light of 
those three divine criterions, recognised the happiness 
of the peace it had lost. 

Order passed from the religious to the moral world, 
and from the moral to the political world. The 
Catholic God, creator and sustainer of all things, 
subjected them to the government of His Providencej 
and governed them by His vicars. St Paul says in 


his Epistle to the Romans, chap. xiii. — " Non est 
potestas nisi a Deo ; " and Solomon in the Proverbs, 
chap. viii. ver. 15 — " Per me reges regnant et conditores 
legum justa decernunt." The authority of His vicars 
was holy precisely inasmuch as^ jt was foreign, that 
is, divine. The ide a of authority is of Catholic origm. 
The ancient governors of the Gentiles built ffielFsove- 
reignty _on_ huma n foundations ; they g overned / or 
themselves^ and they g overned by force. Catholic 
governors, considering themselves as nothing, were 
no more than the ministers of God, and the servants 
of the people. When man became the child of God, 
he immediately ceased to be the slave of man. There 
is nothing at once more respectable, more august, and 
more solemn, than the words pronounced by the Church 
in the ears of Christian princes at the time of their 
consecration — " Take this wand as an emblem of 
your sacred power, that you may be able to support 
the weak, sustain the vacillating, correct the vicious, 
and lead the good along the path of salvation. Take 
this sceptre as the emblem of divine equity, which 
directs the good and chastises the wicked : learn from 
this to love justice and abhor iniquity." These words 
were in perfect consonance with the idea of legitimate 
authority, revealed to the world by our Lord Jesus 
Christ — "You know that they who seem to rule over 
the Gentiles, lord it over them ; and their princes have 
power over them. But it is not so among you ; but 
whosoever will be greater, shall be your minister, and 
whosoever shall be first among you, shall be the ser- 


vant of all. For the Son of man is not come to be 
ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life 
a redemption for many" (Mark x. 42-45). 

All gained in this fortunate revolution — peoples and 
their governors ; the latter, because having domineered 
formerly over people's bodies by the right of force, 
now they governed bodies and minds, sustained by 
the force of right ; the former, because they passed 
from the obedience of man to the obedience of God, 
and because they passed from forced obedience to 
voluntary obedience. Yet, if all gained, all did not 
gain equally ; for princes, in the mere act of governing 
in the name of God, represented the impotence of 
humanity to constitute a legitimate authority by 
itself, and in its own name ; whilst peoples, from the 
mere fact of only obeying God in the prince, were 
the representatives of the highest and most glorious 
of human prerogatives, which consists in freedom 
from subjection to any yoke but that of divine 
authority. This explains, on the one hand, the 
singular modesty with which the fortunate princes 
whom men call great, and the Church, saints, shine 
in history; and on the other, the singular no- 
bihty and distinction which are marked on the 
brow of all Catholic peoples. A voice of peace, of 
consolation, and of mercy, was raised in the world, 
and had sounded deeply in the human conscience ; 
and that voice had taught nations that the weak 
and the poor are born to be served, because they are 
poor and weak, and that the great and the rich 


are born to serve, because they are rich and great. 
Catholicity, by deifying authority, sanctified obedi- 
ence ; and by sanctifying the one and deifying the 
other, condemned pride in all its most tremendous 
manifestations, in the spirit of domination, and in the 
spirit of rebellion. .There are two things totally 
impossible in a truly Catholic society^ — despotism and 
revolutions. Rousseau, who had sometimes sudden 
and grand illuminations, has written these remarkable 
words — " Modern governments are undoubtedly in- 
debted to Christianity, on one side, for the firmness 
of their authority, and on the other, for the lengthened 
intervals between revolutions. Nor has her influence 
extended to this alone ; for, acting on themselves, 
she has made them more humane. To become con- 
vinced of this, we have only to compare them with 
ancient governments" (Emile 1. 4). And Montesquieu 
has said — " There is no doubt Christianity has created 
among us the political right we recognise in peace, and 
the right of nations we respect in war, for the benefits 
of which the human race shall never be sufficiently 
grateful " (Esprit de Lois, 1. xxix., chap. 3). 

God himself, who is the author and governor of poli- 
tical, is the author and governor of domestic, society. 
In the most hidden, in the highest, in the most serene 
and luminous point, of the heavens, there exists a taber- 
nacle, inaccessible even to the choirs of the angels ; 
in that inaccessible tabernacle is perpetually verified 
the prodigy of prodigies, the mystery of mysteries. 
There is the Catholic God, one and triple ; one in 


essence, triple in persons. The Father eternally begets 
the Son, and from the Father and the Son eternally 
proceeds the Holy Ghost. And the Holy Ghost is 
God, the Son is God and the Father is God ; and God 
has no plural, because there is but one God, triple in 
persons and one in essence. The Holy Ghost is 
God like the Father, but is not the Father — is God 
like the Son, but is not the Son. The Son is God 
like the Holy Ghost, but is not the Holy Ghost — -is 
God like the Father, but is not the Father. The Father 
is God like the Son, but is not the Son — is God like 
the Holy Ghost, but is not the Holy Ghost. The 
Father is omnipotence, the Son, wisdom, the Holy 
Ghost, love ; and the Father and the Son and the Holy 
Ghost are infinite love, supreme power, perfect wisdom. 
There, unity, dilating, eternally begets variety ; and 
variety, condensing, is eternally resolved into unity. 
God is thesis, antithesis, and synthesis; and He' is 
sovereign thesis, perfect antithesis, infinite synthesis. 
Because He is one. He is God ; because He is God', He 
is perfect; because He is perfect. He is prolific; because 
He is prolific. He is variety ; because He is variety, He is 
family.. In His essence are found, in an unutterable and 
incomprehensible manner, the laws of creation and the 
exemplars of all things. All has been made to His 
image, and hence creation is one and various. The 
word universe, signifies unity and variety in one. 

Man was made by God to the image of God ; and not 
only to His image, but also to His likeness : and hence 
man is one in essence, and triple in persons. Eve pro- 


ceeds from Adam ; Abel is begotten by Adam and 
Eve ; and Abel and Eve and Adam are one and the 
same thing — they are man, they are human nature. 
Adam is man the father ; Eve, man the mother ; Abel, 
man the son. Eve is man like Adam, but is not the 
father ; she is man like Abel, but is not the son. 
Adam is man like Abel, but is not the son ; and 
like Eve, but is not the mother. Abel is man like 
Eve, but is not the mother ; like Adam, but is not 
the father. 

All these names are divine, as are divine the functions 
sanctified by them. The idea of paternity, foundation 
of the family, could not have been conceived by the 
human mind. Between the father and the son, there 
is none of those fundamental differences, which afford a 
base sufficiently broad on which to build a right. Priority 
is a fact, and nothing more ; force is a fact, and nothing 
more ; but priority and force cannot constitute, of 
themselves, the right of paternity, although they can 
originate another fact, the fact of slavery. The proper 
name of the father, supposing this fact, is lord, and the 
name of the son is slave. And this truth, which reason 
teaches us, is confirmed by history. In the peoples 
forgetful of the great biblical traditions, paternity was 
never else but the proper name for domestic tyranny. 
If there had existed a people forgetful, on the one hand, 
of those great traditions, and not given, on the other, to 
the worship of ihaterial force, in that people father 
and son would have called themselves, and would really 
have been, brothers. P aternity comes from God, and 


can ^ come from God alo ne, in its name, and in_ its 
essence. If God had permitted the complete oblivion 
of the traditions of Paradise, the human race, with the 
institution, would have forgotten its very name. 

The family, divine in its institution and in its essence, 
has everywhere followed the vicissitudes of Catholic 
civilisation : and this is so certain, that the purity^ or the 
corruption of the former is^ ever- an infalliblejymptom 
of th e_purity_ or^ corruption of the latter, as the. history 
of the various^ vicissitudes jind t ransf orm ations of the 
second, js^ the history oL.the_Jxaxisformations_aiiii.lhe 
vicissitudes_throug-h- which the fi rst has p assed. 

In Catholic ages, the tendency of the family is to 
perfection : from natural it becomes spiritual, and from 
the hearth it passes to the cloister. Whilst the children at 
the hearth prostrate themselves reverently at the feet of 
the father and the mother, the inhabitants of the cloister, 
children more humble a.nd reverent, bathe with tears 
the feet of another father more exalted, and the sacred 
mantle of another mother more tender. When Catholic 
civilisation is conquered, and enters on its period of 
decadence, the family immediately decays, its constitu- 
tion is vitiated, its elements are decomposed, and all its 
bonds relaxed. The father and mother, between whom 
God placed no other intercourse but love, create between 
themselves the intercourse of severe ceremony; whilst 
a sacrilegious familiarity suppresses the distance God 
placed between children and parents, destroying the 
intercourse of reverence. The family, then, debased and 
profaned, is dispersed and lost in the clubs and casinos. 


The history of the family can be given in a few 
lines. The divine family, exemplar and model of the 
human family, is eternal in all its individuals. The 
human spiritual family, after the divine the most per- 
fect of all, exists in its individuals as long as time lasts ; 
the human natural family, between father and mother, 
lasts as long as life, and between father and children, 
many years. The human anti-Gatholic family lasts be- 
tween father and mother some years ; between father 
and children, some months. The artificial family of the 
clubs lasts a day, and of the casino, an instant. Dura- 
tionjs here, as^ in many other things, the measure of per- 
fection. Between the divine, and the hum ,an family of 
the cloister, there is the same ,p.rapQriiQ.n as betw een 
time and eternity : betweenjthe spiritual, family of the 
cloister, the most perfect, and the se nsual of the club , the 
most imperfect, of all human familie s^there isthe same 
proportion as between the brevity^ of a mo ment andjhe 
immensity of time. 


Of society under the empire of the Catholic Church. 

Constituted,- on one side, the criterion of sciences, 
the criterion of affections, and the criterion of actions ; 
constituted, on the other, in society, political authority. 


in the family, domestic authority, it was necessary to 
constitute another authority above all human ones, the 
infallible organ of all dogmas, the august depositary of 
all criterions, that should be at once holy and sancti- 
fying, that should be the v/ord of God incarnate in the 
world, the light of God dancing on all the horizons, the 
divine charity inflaming all souls ; which should treasure 
up in a sublime and hidden tabernacle, to shower them 
on the earth, the infinite treasures of the graces of 
heaven ; which should be the refreshment of fatigued 
men, the refuge of sinful men, the fountain of living 
waters for those who are thirsty, the bread of eternal 
life for those who are hungry, wisdom for the ignorant, 
for the wanderers a way; which should be full of 
warnings and lessons for the powerful, and for the poor 
full of love and mercy ; an authority placed so high 
that it could speak to all with power, and on a rock so 
firm, that it could not be shaken by the waves of this 
restless sea of the world ; an authority founded directly 
by God, and which should not be subject to the fluctua- 
tions of human things; that should be at once ever new 
and ever old, duration and progress, and which God 
should bless with His special assistance. 

That sublime, infallible authority, founded for eternity, 
and in which God feels eternally delighted, is the Holy 
Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church, the mystic body 
of the Lord, the happy spouse of the Word, who teaches 
the world what she learns from the mouth of the Holy 
Ghost ; which, placed as it were in mid-region between 
earth and heaven, exchanges prayers for gifts, and per- 


petually offers the Father, for the sins of the world, the 
precious blood of the Son in perpetual sacrifice, and in 
perfect holocaust. As God makes all things perfect 
and finished, it would not become His infinite wisdom 
to give the truth to the world, and then, entering into 
His perfect repose, leave it exposed to the injuries of 
time, the vain subject of the disputes of men. For this 
reason He eternally conceived the idea of His Church, 
which shone on the world in the plenitude of time, 
beautiful and perfect, with that sublime perfection and 
sovereign beauty she ever had in the divine under- 
standing. Since then she is for us who navigate in this 
sea of the world, boiling in tempests, as a luminous 
beacon placed on a high rock. She knows what saves 
and what ruins us ; our first origin and our last end ; in 
what consists the salvation and in what the damnation 
of men, and she alone knows it ; she rules souls, and 
she alone rules them ; she straightens the will, and she 
alone straightens it ; she purifies and inflames the affec- 
tions, and she alone inflames and purifies them ; she 
moves hearts, and she alone moves them with the grace 
of the Holy Ghost. In her finds ho place, nor sin, nor 
error, nor weakness ; her tunic is without stain ; tribu- 
lations are for her triumphs ; the hurricanes and the 
gentle breezes carry her to port. 

Everything in her is spiritual, supernatural, and 

miraculous : it is spiritual, because her government is 

of intelligences, and because the arms with which she 

defends herself and slays, are spiritual ; it is super- 

. natural, because she ordains everything to a supernatural 


end, and because her duty is to be holy and to sanctify 
men supernaturally ; it is miraculous, because all the 
great mysteries are directed to her miraculous institu- 
tion, and because her existence; her duration, her con- 
quests, are a perpetual miracle. The Father sends the 
Son to earth, the Son sends the apostles to the world, 
and the Holy Ghost to the apostles ; in this way, in 
the plenitude as well as in the beginning of time, in the 
institution of the Church as in the universal creation, 
the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost interfere. 
Twelve sinners pronounce the words which sound 
mysteriously in their ears, and the earth is immediately 
disturbed : an unusual fire burns in the veins of the 
world ; a whirlwind knocks nations out of their equi- 
librium, hurries away peoples, disturbs empires, con- 
founds races. The human race sweats blood under the 
divine pressure, and from all that blood, and from all 
that confusion of nations, and races, and peoples, and 
from those impetuous whirlwinds, and from that fire 
which circulates through all the veins of the earth, the 
world comes out radiant and renovated, lying at the 
feet of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

That mystic city of God has gates looking in all 
directions, to signify the universal calling. " Unam 
omnium Rempiiblicam agnoscimus mundum," says 
Tertulhan. For her there are neither Jews nor Gentiles, 
barbarians nor Greeks. In her find place the Scythian 
and the Roman, the Persian and the Macedonian, those 
who come from the east and from the west, from the 
northern zone and from the regions of the south. Hers 


is the holy ministry of instruction and of doctrine, hers, 
the universal empire and the universal priesthood ; her 
citizens are kings and emperors, her heroes the martyrs 
and the saints. Her invincible militia is composedl>f 
those brave warriors who conquered in themselves all 
the appetites of the flesh and its mad concupiscences. 
God Himself invisibly presides in her austere senate and 
in her holy councils. When her pontiffs speak to the 
world, their infallible word has been already recorded 
in heaven by God himself. That Church placed in the 
world without human foundation, after drawing it from 
an abyss of corruption, withdrew it from the night 
of barbarism. She has always fought the battles of 
the Lord, and though hard pressed in all, came out 
from all victorious. Heretics deny her doctrine, and 
she triumphs over heretics ; all human passions rebel 
against her authority, and she triumphs over all human 
passions. Paganism fights its last battle with her, and 
she brings paganism to her feet. Emperors and kings 
persecute her, and the ferocity of their executioners is 
conquered by the constancy of her martyrs. She only 
fights for her holy liberty, and the world gives her 

Under her p rolific empire, the sciences have flourished, 
morals jiaye been purified, laws perfected^ ^"^d jJl j[reat 
institutions, domestic, political, and social, have flou rishe d 
with rich and spontaneous vegetati on. She has_ bad 
anathemas onl y for impiou s men, for rebellious peo ples 
and tyrannous kings. She has defended liberty ag ginst 
those who aspired to convert authority into t yrann y, 


^^nd . .authority against peoples who aspired to an 
absolute emancipation ;. and against all, the rights of 
God and the inviolability of His commandments. 
There is no truth the Church has not proclaimed, nor 
error she has not anathematised. Liberty, in truth, has 
been in her eyes holy, and in error, as error itself, 
abominable. In her eyes, error is born and lives without 
rights, and for that reason she has sought it out, and 
persecuted it, and extirpated it from the most hidden 
folds of the human intellect. And that perpetual 
illegitimacy, and that perpetual nakedness of error, as 
it has been a religious dogma, so also has it been a 
political dogma, proclaimed in all time by all the 
powers of the world. All have placed beyond discus- 
sion the principle on which they rest; all have called 
the principle which served as its contrast, error, and 
have despoiled it of all legitimacy and of all rights. 
All have declared themselves infallible in that supreme 
qualification; and if they have not condemned all 
political errors, it is not because the conscience of the 
human race recognises the legitimacy of any error, but 
because it has never recognised in human authorities 
the privilege of infallibility in the qualification of errors. 
^Fromjhat ra dical impotence of human authorities to 
designate errors, has sprung the principle of liberty^ of 
discussi on, foundation of modern constitutions. That 
principle does not suppose in society, as might at first 
sight appear, an incomprehensible and culpable impar- 
tiality between truth and error: it is founded on two 
other suppositions, one of which is true, and the other 


false; it is founded, on one hand, on the fact that 
governments are not infallible, which is evident; it is 
founded, on the other, on the infallibility of discussion, 
which is false in every light we view it- ^^Infallibility 
cannot result from discussion unless it^bejreyjpusly in 
those who discuss ; it cannot Jbe in those who discuss 
unless it be at the same t ime in those who gov ern. If 
Tnfaiilbility is an attribute of human nature, it is in the 
former and in the latter : either all are fallible or all 


are infallible. The question, then, consists in ascertain- 
ing whether human nature is fallible or infallible, which 
is necessarily resolved into this other, viz., whether the 
nature of man is sound, or is fallen and infirm ? 

In the first case, infallibility, essential attribute of the 
sound understanding, is the first and greatest of all its 
attributes. From this principle the following conse- 
quences flow : — ^If the understanding of man is infallible 
because it is sound, it cannot err because it is infalHble ; 
if it cannot err because it is infallible, truth exists in 
all men, whether considered in general or individually ; 
if the truth is in all men, isolated or in general, all their 
affirmations and all their negations must necessarily be 
identical ; if all their affirmations and all their negations 
are identical, discussion is inconceivable and absurd. 

In the second case, fallibility, infirmity of the infirm 
intellect, is the first and greatest of human afflictions ; 
and from this principle the following consequences flow: 
— If the understanding of man is fallible because it is 
infirm, it cannot be certain of the truth, because it is 
fallible ; if it cannot be certain of the truth because 


it is fallible, that uncertainty is essentially in all men, 
whether considered in common or individually ; if that 
uncertainty is essentially in all men isolated or united, 
all their affirmations and all their negations are a- con- 
tradiction in terms, because they must necessarily be 
uncertain ; if all their affirmations and negations are 
uncertain, discussion is absurd and inconceivable. 

Catholicity alone has given a satisfactory and legiti- 
mate solution, like all its solutions, to this fearful pro- 
blem. Catholicity teaches the following : — Man comes 
from God, sin from man, ignorance and error, like 
pain and death, from sin, fallibility from ignorance, 
from fallibihty absurdity in discussion. But it adds : — 
Man was redeemed, which, if it does not signify that 
by the act of redemption, and without any effort on his 
part, he escaped from the slavery of sin, it signifies, at 
least, that by redemption he acquired the power of 
breaking those chains, and of converting ignorance, 
error, pain, and death into means of his sanctification 
by the good use of his liberty, ennobled and restored. 
For this end God instituted His immortal, impeccable, 
and infallible Church. The Church represents human 
nature without sin, such as it came from the hands of 
God, full of original justice and of sanctifying grace : 
hence it is infallible, and not subject to death. God 
has placed it on earth, that man, aided by grace, which 
is denied to no one, may become worthy of having 
applied to him the blood shed for him on Calvary, by 
voluntarily submitting to her divine inspirations. With 
his faith he will conquer ignorance, with his patience. 


pain, and with his resignation, death : death, pain, and 
ignorance only exist to be conquered by faith, resigna- 
tion, and patience. 

It follows from this that the Church alone has the 
right to affirm and deny, and that there is no right out- 
side her to affirm what she denies, or to deny what she 
affirms. The day when society, forgetting her doctrinal 
decisions, has asked the press and the tribune, news- 
writers and assemblies, what is truth and what is error, 
on that day error and truth are confounded in all 
intellects, society enters on the regions of shadows, and 
falls under the empire of fictions. Feeling in itself, on 
one hand, the imperious necessity of submitting to 
truth and withdrawing from error, and finding it 
impossible, on the other, to ascertain what error is and 
what truth is, it has formed a catalogue of conventional 
Iruths, and another of imaginary errors, and has said, 
" I will adore the former and condemn the latter ; " 
ignorant — so great is its blindness — that by adoring the 
one and condemning the other, it condemns or adores 
nothing ; or if it condemns or adores anything, it adores 
and condemns itself. 

The doctrinal intolerance of the Church has saved 
the world from chaos. Her doctrinal intolerance has 
placed beyond question political, domestic, social, and 
religious, truths — primitive and holy truths, which are 
not subject to discussion, because they are the founda- 
tion of all discussions ; truths which cannot be called 
into doubt for a moment without the understanding on 
that moment oscillating, lost between truth and error. 


and the clear mirror of human reason becoming soiled 
and obscured. This serves to explain why the Church, 
and the Church alone, has had the holy privilege of 
fruitful and prolific discussions, whilst society, emanci- 
pated from her, has done nothing but lose time in 
ephemeral and barren disputes, which, having their start- 
ing-point in an absolute, could result in nothing but a 
complete, scepticism. The Cartesian theory, according 
to which truth comes from doubt, like Minerva from 
the head of Jupiter, is contrary to that divine law which 
presides at the generation of bodies as well as ideas, 
and in virtue of which contraries perpetually exclude 
their contraries, and like ever begets like. In virtue 
of this law doubt perpetually comes from doubt, and 
scepticism from scepticism, as truth from faith, and 
science from truth. 

To the profound comprehension of this law of the 
intellectual generation of ideas, are due the marvels of 
Catholic civilisation. To that wonderful civilisation 
is due all that we admire and all that we see. Its 
theologians, even considered humanly, put to the blush 
modern and ancient philosophers ; her doctors excite 
wonder by the immensity of their science ; its historians 
by their generalising and comprehensive views, cast 
those of antiquity into the shade. St Augustine's 
" City of God " is, even to-day, the most profound 
book of history which genius, illuminated by the rays 
of Cathohcity, has presented to the astonished eyes of 
men. The acts of her Councils, leaving aside the divine 
inspiration, are the most finished monuments of human 


prudence. The Canonical, excel in wisdom the Roman, 
and the feudal, laws. Who is before St Thomas in 
science, St Augustine in genius, Bossuet in majesty, 
St Paul in power .? Who is greater ■ as a poet than 
Dante } Who is equal to Shakspeare .■' Who surpasses 
Calderon .? Who, like Raffaelle, infused life and inspira- 
tion into the canvas } Place people in sight of the 
pyramids of Egypt, and they will tell you, " Here has 
passed a grand and barbarous civilisation." Place them 
HI sight of the Grecian statues and temples, and they 
will tell you, " Here has passed a graceful, ephemeral, 
and brilliant civilisation." Place them in sight of a 
Roman monument, and they will tell you, " Here has 
passed a great people." Place them in sight of a 
cathedral, and on beholding such majesty united to 
such beauty, such grandeur to such taste, such grace 
to such delicacy, such severe unity to such rich variety, 
such measure to such boldness, such heaviness in the 
stones, with such suavity in their outlines, and such 
wonderful harmony between silence and light, shade 
and colour, they will tell you, " Here has passed the 
greatest people of history, and the most astounding of 
human civilisations : that people must have taken 
grandeur from the Egyptian, brilliancy from the Greek, 
strength from the Roman, and, beyond the strength, the 
brilliancy, and grandeur, something more valuable than 
grandeur, strength, and brilliancy, — immortality and 

If we pass from sciences, letters, and arts, to the study 
of the institutions the Church has vivified with her breath. 


nourished with her substance, maintained with her 
spirit, and sustained with her science, this new spectacle 
will present no less astounding marvels and wonders. 
Catholicity, which ordains and refers all to God, and by 
referring and ordaining all to God, converts supreme 
liberty into a constitutive element of supreme order, 
and infinite variety into constitutive element of infinite 
unity, is, by its nature, the religion of vigorous associa- 
tions, united together by sympathetic affinities. In 
Catholicity man is never alone : to find a man relegated 
to solitary and sombre isolation — supreme personifica- 
tion of egotism and pride — we must leave Catholic 
boundaries. In the immense circle described by those 
immense boundaries, men live grouped together, and 
obey the impulse of their most noble sentiments of 
fraternity. The groups enter one into the other, and 
all into one more universal and comprehensive, in which 
they move with freedom, and obey the law of sovereign 
harmony. The child is born, and lives in the domestic 
association, that divine foundation of human associa- 
tions. Families group together conformably to the 
laws of their origin, and thus grouped, form higher 
groups called classes; the different classes dedicate 
themselves to different functions — some cultivate the 
arts of peace, others the arts of war ; some seek glory, 
others administer justice, and others prosecute indus- 
trial pursuits. Within these natural groups, others are 
spontaneously formed, composed of those who seek 
glory by the same path, of those who dedicate them- 
.^elves to the same industrial pursuits, of those who 


follow the same business ; and all these groups, dis- 
tributed in their classes, and all these classes, hier- 
archically distributed among themselves, constitute the 
State — wide association in which all others move with 

This in the social point of view. In the political, 
families are associated in different groups : each group 
of families constitutes a municipium ; each municipium 
is the participation in common by the families who 
form it of the right of worshipping their God, of 
administering their own affairs, of giving food to the 
living and sepulture to the dead. Hence each muni- 
cipium has a temple, symbol of its religious unity ; and 
a municipal house, symbol of its administrative unity ; 
and a territory, symbol of its jurisdictional and civil 
unity ; and a cemetery, symbol of its right of sepulture. 
All these different unities constitute the municipal 
unity, which has also its symbol, in the right of using 
its coat of arms and unfurling its banner. From the 
variety of the municipia is formed the national unity, 
which, in its turn, is symbolised in a throne, and per- 
sonified in a king. Above all these magnificent 
associations is that of all Catholic nations, with their 
Christian princes, fraternally grouped in the bosom of 
the Church. This perfect and supreme association is 
unity in its head, and variety in its members: it is 
variety in the faithful, scattered over the world, and 
unity in the holy Chair, which shines in Rome, sur- 
rounded by rays of divine light. That eminent Chair is 
the centre of humanity, represented, inasmuch as it is 


various, by the General Councils, and inasmuch as it is 
one, by him who is on earth the common father of the 
faithful and vicar of Jesus Christ. 

That is supreme variety, sublimest unity, and most 
perfect society. All the elements which exist in dis- 
order in human societies move in this harmoniously. 
The pontiff is king both by divine and human right : 
the divine right shines principally in the institution ; 
the human right is apparent principally in the designa- 
tion of the person. And the person desig'nated pon tiif 
by men, is instituted pon tiff by God : and as he unit es 
the human and divine sanction, so also does he un ite 
the advantages of elective and hereditary monarch ies. 
From the on e he has popularity, from the other^ i nviol- 
ability and prestige : like th e former, the pontifi cal 
mona rchy is limited on all sides ; like the latf-pr , the 
limitations come^ from within, not from without, fr om 
its own, not from another's will. The foundation of its 
limitations is in its ardent charity, in its wonderful 
humility, and its infinite prudence. What monarchy is 
this, in which the king, though elected, is venerated, and 
which, though all have the capacity of becoming kings, 
exists eternally, despite the efforts of domestic war and 
civil discord to destroy it .' What monarchy is this i n 
which the king elects the electors, w ho then elect t he 
king, all being elected an d electors ? Who does not se e 
here a deep and hidden mystery— -unity perpetually 
begetting variety, and variety perpetu ally constitu ting 
its unity .',_ Who does not see here represented the 
universal confluence of all things .■" And who does not 


remark that this strange monarchy is the representation 
of Him who, being true God and true man, is divinity 
and humanity, unity and variety, united in one ? The 
occult law which presides at the generation of unity 
and variety must be the highest, most universal, most 
excellent and mysterious of all, as God has subjected 
to it all things, human and divine, created and 
uncreated, visible and invisible. Being one in its 
essence, it is infinite in its manifestations : everything 
that exists appears to exist only to manifest it ; and 
each one of the things that exist, manifests it in a 
different way. It is one way in God, another in God 
made man, another in His Church, another in the 
family, another in the universe ; but it is in all, and in 
each and every part. Here it is an invisible and incom- 
prehensible mystery, and there, without ceasing to be a 
mystery, it is a visible phenomenon and a palpable fact. 
By the side of the king, whose duty it is to reign with 
independent sovereignty, and to govern with absolute 
power, there is a perpetual senate, composed of princes 
who have their princedom from God ; and this per- 
petual and divine senate is a governing one, and though 
a governing one, is so in such a way, that it neither 
impedes, nor diminishes, nor eclipses, the supreme 
power of the monarch. The Church is the only mon- 
archy whj ch ha s preserved intact the plenitude of its 
right, though perpetually in contact with a most powe r- 
f ul oligarchy, and is the only oligarchy which, placed in 
contact with an absolute monarch, h as n ot broken ou t 
into rebellions and seditions. As the princes come 


after the king, after the princes come the priests, 
charged with the holy ministry. In this wonderful 
society, everything is the reverse of what occurs in all 
human associations. In these, the distance between 
those who are at the foot, and those who are at the 
head, of the social hierarchy is so great, that the former 
are tempted by the spirit of rebellion, and the latter fall 
into the temptation of tyranny. 

In the Church things are regulated so, that neither 
tyranny nor rebellion is possible. Here, the dignity of 
the subject is so great, that the prelate's is derived from 
what he has in common with the subject, rather than 
from what he has special and peculiar. The greatest 
dignity of the bishops is not in their being princes, nor 
of the pontiff in his being king ; but in pontiffs and 
bishops being, like their subjects, priests. Their 
incommunicable and highest prerogative is not in 
governing; lit is in the power of making the Son of 
God the slave of their voicej in offering the Son to the 
Father in unbloody sacrifice for the sins of the world, 
in being the channels through which grace is communi- 
cated, and in the supreme and incommunicable power 
of remitting and retaining sin. The highest dignity is 
in what all the dignitaries are, rather than in what only 
some of them are. It is not in the apostolate, nor in 
the pontificate, but in the priesthood. 

If we consider the pontifical dignity isol atedly, the 
C hurch appears an absolute monarchy. If we consid er 
her apos tolic constitution, she appears a powerf ul 

oligarchy. If we consider, on the one hand, the dignity 

— ■"~-™ — ^ ' ' — D 


common to prela tes and ^riestej_aiid>.on_J:he jDther, the 
deep abyss there is between the_ priesthood and the 
people, it appears an ininiense aristoctacy. When we 
fix our eyes on the immense multitude of the faithful 
scattered over the world, and find that the priest- 
hood, and the apostolate, and the pontificate are 
employed in their service, that nothing is ordained in 
this wonderful society for the advantage of those who 
govern, but for the salvation of those who obey ; when 
we consider the consoling dogma of the essential equa- 
lity of souls; when we remember that the Saviour of the 
human race suffered the affronts of the cross for each 
individual and for all men ; when we find the principle 
■proclaimed that the Good Shepherd should lay down 
His life for His flock ; when we reflect t hat the term of 
the action of all the different ministries J^s i n the c on- 

gregation of the faithful,— the Chur ch - a p pears an 

immense democracy, in the glorio us a cceptation of this 
term, or at least, a society instituted for an end ess en- 
tially popular and democ ratic. And the most si ngular 
of all is, that the Church is all she ap pears. In other 
societies, those various forms of government are incom- 
patible with one another, or, if they ever are united, 
they lose many of their essential properties. Monarchy 
cannot be united to oligarchy and aristocracy, without 
the first losing its naturally absolute character, and the 
second, their preponderance. Monarchy, oligarchy, and 
aristocracy cannot live with democracy, without the 
latter losing its absorbent and exclusive character, as 
aristocracy, its influence, oligarchy, its tendency to 


invasion, and monarchy, its absolute character ; so 
that their mutual union becomes their mutual anni- 
hilation. Tnjjie Chnrrh alnne, which is a. supernatur al 
societv^therg_ij ro om for all these governments, ha r- 
monically combined, without losing anything of their 
original purity, ^r their primi tive grandeur. This 
pacific combination of powers in themselves opposed, 
and of governments, whose only law, humanly speaking, 
is war, is the most beautiful spectacle in the annals of 
the world. If the government of the Church fin nlH hp 
defined, it might be called an immense aristocracy, 

"HTrected by an oligarchical power placed in the hands 

of an absolute king, whose d uty it is to perpetually x iff"er 
himself in holocaust for the salvation of the peop le. 
This definition would be the prodigy of definitions, as 
the thing defined is the greatest prodigy of history. 

Summing up in a few words all we have said, we 
may assert without fear of being belied by facts, that 
Catholicity has established order and concert *in all 
things human. That order and that concert, relatively 
to man, signify that, through Catholicity, the body 
became subject to the will, the will to the understand- 
ing, the understanding to reason, reason to faith, and 
all to charity, which has the virtue of transforming man 
into God, purified with an infinite love. Relatively to 
the family, they signify that, through Catholicity, have 
been definitely constituted the three domestic persons, 
united in one with loving bond. Relatively to govern- 
ments, they signify that, through Catholicity, authority 
and obedience have been sanctified, and tyranny and 


revolution for ever condemned. Relatively to society, 
they signify that, through Catholicity, war of castes 
came to an end, and the concerted harmony of all the 
social groups began ; that the spirit of fruitful associa- 
tions took the place of the spirit of egotism and isola- 
tion, and the empire of love of the rule of pride. Rela- 
tively to science,- letters, and arts, they signify that, 
through^ Catholicity, man entered into the possession of 
the true and the beautiful, of the true God and of His 
divine splendours. Finally, it results from all we have 
said, that with Catholicity appeared in the world a 
society, supernatural, excellent, and perfect, founded by 
God, preserved by Him, and directed by Him, which 
perpetually holds in deposit His eternal Word, which 
supplies the world with the bread of life, which can 
neither deceive nor be deceived, which teaches men 
the lessons it learns from its divine Master, and is the 
perfect transcript of the divine perfections, the sublime 
exemplar and finished model of human societies. 

In the following chapters we shall demonstrate that 
neither Christianity nor the Catholic Church, which is 
its absolute expression, has been able to produce its 
great works, its sublime prodigies, and marvellous 
changes, without a supernatural and constant action 
on the part of God, who supernaturally governs society 
with His providence, and man with His grace. 



Catholicity is love. 

Between the Catholic Church and the other societies 
scattered over the world, there is the same distance as 
between the natural and the supernatural; between 
human and divine conceptions. 

In the pagan world, society and the city were one and 
the same thing ; in the Roman, society was Rome ; in 
the Athenian, Athens. Beyond Athens and Rome 
there was nothing but barbarous and uncultivated 
nations, rude and unsociable by nature. Christianity 
revealed to man human society, and, as if this were 
not enough, revealed to him another society, grander 
and more excellent, to the immensity of which it put 
neither limits nor bounds. Its citizens are the saints 
who triumph in heaven, the just who suffer in purga- 
tory, and the Christians who combat on earth. Read 
attentively, one by one, the pages of history, and after 
reading and meditating on them, you shall see with 
astonishment that that gigantic conception is excep- 
tional, and comes without warning, without antecedents ; 
that it comes as a supernatural revelation, communi- 
cated to man supernaturally. The world received it 
unexpectedly, and did not see it come ; for when it saw 
it, it was already come. It saw it with one sole illumi- 
nation and one simple glance. Who but God, who is 
love, could have taught those who combat here that 
they are in communion with those who suffer in purga- 


tory, and with those who triumph in heaven ? Who 

but God could unite with loving link the dead and the 

living, the just, the saint, and the sinner ? Who but God 

could throw a bridge over those immense oceans ? The 

law of unity and variety, that law par excellence, which 

is at once human and divine, without which nothing 

can be explained, and with which everything becomes 

plain, is here displayed in one of its most astounding 

manifestations. There is variety in heaven, because 

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are three 

persons ; and that variety becomes mingled, but not 

confused, in unity, because the Father is God, the Son 

is God, and the Holy Ghost is God, and God is one. 

There is variety in Paradise, because Adam and Eve 

are two different persons, and that variety is mingled, 

but not confused, in unity, because Adam and Eve 

are human nature, and human nature is one. Variety 

is in our Lord Jesus Christ, because in Him concur, on 

the one hand, the divine nature, and on the other, 

corporeal and spiritual, or human, nature ; and the 

corporeal and spiritual and the divine natures are 

mingled without confusion in our Lord Jesus Christ, 

who is one only person. Finally, there is variety in the 

Church, which combats on earth, suffers in purgatory, 

and triumphs in heaven ; and that variety is mingled, 

but not confounded, in our Lord Jesus Christ, only 

Head of the universal Church, who, considered as the 

only Son of the Father, is, like the Father, the symbol 

of the variety of persons in the unity of essence ; as 

in the quality of God-man, He is the symbol of the 


variety of essences in the unity of person ; and when 
considered at once as the God-man and the Son of 
God, the perfect symbol of all possible varieties and of 
infinite unity. 

And as supreme harmony consists in unity, from, and 
in which, all variety springs and is resolved, being 
always found identical in all its manifestations, from 
this it comes that the law, in virtue of which all that is 
various is rendered one, is ever the same. The variety 
of the divine Trinity is one by love : the human 
variety, composed of the father, the mother, and the 
child, is made one by love. The variety of the human 
and divine natures is made one in our Lord Jesus 
Christ by the incarnation of the Word in the womb of 
the Virgin — mystery of love., The variety of the Church 
in combat, in suffering, and in triumph, is made one in 
our Lord Jesus Christ by the prayers of the Christians 
who triumph, which fall, converted into beneficent dew, 
on the Christians who combat, and by the prayers of 
the Christians who combat, which fall in prolific 
showers on the Christians who suff"er ; and perfect prayer 
is the ecstasy of love. " God is charity ; he who is in 
charity is in God, and God in him." If God is charity, 
charity is infinite unity, because God is infinite unity ; 
if he who is in charity is in God, and God in him, God 
can come down to man by charity, and man can rise 
by charity to God ; and all this without confusion, in 
such a way that neither God made man loses His divine 
nature, nor man made God, his human nature; man 
being ever man, although God ; and God ever God 


though man ; and all this by exclusively supernatural, 
that is, by exclusively divine, means. 

The Gentiles had some notio n of this supreme d ogma, 
as they had, more^ or less perfectly, of^alL the Catholic 
dogmas. In every zone, in all times,_ and .a mong all the 
human races, the re has b een preserved an undying b elief 
in a future, transformation, so r adical and sov ereign, 
that it should join in one for ever, the Creator a nd the 
creature, the human and the divine natur es. Long ago, 
in the age of Paradise, the enemy of the human race 
spoke to our first parents of becoming /gods. After the 
prevarication and the fall, men carried this wonderful 
tradition to the ultimate ends of the world. There is 
no man of research who, no matter how little he dives 
into them, does not find it at the bottom of all theo- 
logies. The difference between the pure dogma pre- 
served in the Catholic theology, and the dogma vitiated 
by human traditions, consists in the mode of attaining 
that supreme transformation and sovereign end. The 
angel of darkness did not deceive our first parents when 
he told them that they should be like unto gods ; the 
deceit consisted in hiding from them the supernatural 
path of love, and pointing out the natural road of dis- 
obedience. The error of pagan theologies does not con- 
sist in affirming that the divinity and humanity shall be 
united in one, but in the fact that the pagans regarded 
the divine and human natures as thoroughly identified, 
whilst Catholicity, considering them as essentially dis- 
tinct, reaches the union by the supernatural deification 
of man. That pagan superstition is manifest in the 


divine honours rendered the earth, in quality of im- 
mortal and prolific mother of the gods, and to various 
creatures whom they confounded with the gods them- 
selves. Finally, the diQ'aguand 
Catholicity is notin the one's affirmin^^ and the ot her's 
3enying the deification of man, but in P anthe ism's 
holding that man is by his nature God, whilst Catho- 
licity says tha t he can become so su.Ei£mat-ii rally by 
^graca^..It is in Pantheism's teaching that man, part of 
the aggregate which is God, is completely absorbed by 
the aggregate of which he forms part ; whilst Catholicity 
teaches that man, even after deification, that is, after 
being penetrated by the divine substance, still preserves- 
the inviolable individuality of his own substance. The 
respect God has for human individuality, or, what is the 
same, for the liberty of man, which is what constitutes 
his absolute and inviolable individuality, is such, accord- 
ing to the Catholic dogma, that He has divided with it 
the empire of all associations, which are governed at 
one and the same time, by the liberty of man and the 
counsel of the divinity. 

Love is in itself prolific ; because it is prolific, i t^ beg et s 
all things various, without destro ying it s own unity ; 
and because it is love, it mingles in its unity, withny};^ 
''""^"""'^'"HFf ^^P"^i ''I' things varioyj^. Love, then, is 
infinite variety and infinite unity. It is the sole 
law, the supreme precept, the only road, the ultimate 
end. Catholicity is love, because God is love. 
Only he who loves is a Catholic, and only the 
Catholic learns to love, for it is only the Catholic 


who receives his knowledge from supernatural and 
divine sources. 


Our Lord Jesus Christ has not triumphed overHhe world 
by the sanctity of His doctrine, nor by prophecies and 
miracles, but in spite of all these things. 

The Father is love, and sent the Son through love ; the 
Son is love, and sent the Holy Ghost through love ; the 
Holy Ghost is love, and perpetually infuses His love into 
the Church. The Church is love, and will burn the 
world in love. Those who are ignorant of this, or have 
forgotten it, will be perpetually ignorant of the super- 
natural and secret cause of visible and natural pheno- 
mena, of the invisible cause of all things visible, of the 
bond that subjects the temporal to the eternal, of the 
secret spring of the movements of the soul, of how the 
Holy Ghost works in man, providence, in society, God, 
in history. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ did not conquer the world 
with His marvellous doctrine. If He had been nothing 
but a man of marvellous doctrine, the world would have 
admired Him for a moment, and would then have for- 
gotten both the man and his doctrine. Marvellous and 
all as was His doctrine, it was only followed by a few 
of the lower orders, fell under the contempt of the most 


select of the Jewish people, and during the life of the 
Master was unknown to the human race. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ did not conquer the world 
with His miracles. Of those who saw Him change, by 
an act of His will, the nature of things, walk on the 
waters, quiet the waves, calm the winds, command life 
and death, some called Him God, others a devil, others 
a wizard. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ did not conquer the world 
because the ancient prophecies had been fulfilled in 
Him. The synagogue, which was the depositary of 
them, was not converted, nor were the doctors who knew 
them by heart converted, nor were the multitudes who 
had learned them from the doctors, converted. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ did not conquer the world 
with the truth. The essential truth of Christianity was 
in the Old as well as in the New Testament, as it was 
ever one, eternal, unvarying. That truth, which was 
eternally in the bosom of God, was revealed to man, 
infused into his soul, and deposited in history, from the 
moment the first divine word resounded in the world. 
And yet the Old Testament, as well in its eternal and 
essential, as in its accessory, local, and contingent 
character, in its dogmas as in its rites, never passed the 
boundaries of the predestined people. ' That very people 
often broke out into great rebellions, persecuted its 
prophets, outraged its doctors, committed idolatry after 
the manner of the Gentiles, made nefarious compacts 
with the infernal spirits, gave itself up in body and 


soul to bloody and horrible superstitions ; and the day 
on which the Truth took flesh, it blasphemed, denied, 
and crucified it on Calvary ; and whilst the Truth which 
was hidden in the ancient symbols, represented in the 
ancient figures, announced by the ancient prophets, 
testified to by fearful prodigies and by stupendous 
miracles, was placed on a cross, when it came of its own 
accord to explain by its presence, the cause of those 
stupendous miracles and those fearful prodigies, to 
verify all the prophetic words, and to teach the nations 
what was represented in the ancient symbols, and what 
was hidden in the ancient figures, error had extended 
freely through the world, wide as it is, and had covered 
all its horizons with misty shadows ; and all this with 
a prodigious rapidity, and without the aid of prophets, 
or symbols, or figures, or miracles. Terrible lesson ! 
memorable record 1 for those who believe in the 
hidden and expansive force of truth, and in the radical 
impotence of error to open a way for itself in the 
world ! 

If our Lord Jesus Christ conquered the world, He 
conqpered it in spite of being the truth, in spite of being 
the announced by the ancient prophets, the represented 
in the ancient symbols, the contained in the ancient 
figures. He. conquered it in spite of His prodigies. His 
miracles, and His marvellous doctrine. No other doctrine 
but the evangelical could have triumphed with that 
immense apparatus of clearest testimonies, irresistible 
proofs, and invincible arguments. If Mohammedanism 
spread like a deluge over the African continent, through 


Asia, and through Europe, this consisted in the fact that 
it travelled quickly, and carried on the point of its sword 
all its miracles, all its arguments, and all its testimonies. 

Prevaricating, and fallen man„Kas_npt made for the 
truth, nor was truth inade for prevarica ting' and fallen 
man. ^etween jyi^truth and 1^^ the 
prevarication_af man, God establi shed a lastin g repug- 
nance and an invincible repuls ion. Truth has in itself 

the titles of its sovereig nty, and does not ask leave to 
imp ose its yoke ; whilst man, since he rebelled aga inst 
God, does not to lerate any sove r eignty but his ow n, 
unl ess it first ask his leave and assent. Hence, when 
the truth comes within sight, he immediately begins 
to deny it, and to deny it is to affirm himself in quality 
of independent sovereign. If he cannot deny it, he 
enters into combat with it, and by combating it, he 
combats for his own sovereignty. If he conquers, he 
crucifies it ; if he is conquered, he flies : by flying, he 
thinks he ilies from slavery, and by crucifying it, he 
believes he crucifies his tyrant. 

O n the contrary, between human reason and the 
absurd there is a secret affinity and a close relationghip. 
Sin has united them with_ the bond of_iadiaSQluble 
matrimony. The ab su rd_ t ri u m phs over njan.^ precisely 
becaus e it is de voi d of all rights anterior and_su£erior 
to human reason. Man accepts it precisely because it 
comes naked ; becau s e, being devoid of rights, it has no 
pretensions. His will accepts it because it .is_the_pff"-' 
spring of his understanding, and his understandi ngitakes 
delight in it, because it is its own offspring, its own 


verbum, because it is a living testimon y of its creative 
power. In the act o f its creation man i s like unto G od, 
and calls^lumself_God,_,^Arid if he be God, .lil^__^iito 
God, in man's estimation, all else is nothing. Wh^t 
matters it that the other be the God of truth, if he is the 
God of the absurd .'' At least^ he will be independent 
like Gnd, bp will hf sovereign like God ; b y adorin g 
his own productiorij he will adore himself ; by mg.gnify- 
ing it, he will be the magnifier of himsel f. 

You who aspire to subjugate peoples, to domineer 
over nations, and exercise authority over human reason, 
do not declare yourselves the depositaries of clear and 
evident truths ; and above all, do not produce your 
proofs, if you have any, for the world will never recognise 
you as ijiaster, but will rebel against the brutal yoke of 
your evidence. Announce, on the contrary, that you 
have an argument which upsets a mathematical truth ; 
that you are going to prove that two and two do not 
make four, but five; that God does not exist, or that 
man is God ; that the world up to this has been a 
slave to shameful superstitions ; that the wisdom of 
ages is nothing but pure ignorance ; that revelation is 
an imposture ; that all government is tyranny, and all 
obedience slavery ; that the beautiful is ugly, and the 
ugly, beautiful ; that good is evil, and evil good ; that 
the devil is God, and God is the devil; that beyond 
this world there is neither hell nor paradise ; that the 
world we inhabit is a present hell, and a future para- 
dise ; that liberty, equality, and fraternity are dogmas 
incompatible with the Christian superstition ; that 


robbery is an imprescriptible right, and that property 
is robbery ; that there is no order except in anarchy, 
nor anarchy except in order ; — and be sure that, on the 
bare announcement of all this, the world, astonished at 
your wisdom, and fascinated by your science, will lend 
an attentive and reverend ear to your words. If to the 
good sense of which you have given such ample proofs, 
by announcing the demonstration of all these things, 
you afterwards add the good sense of not demonstrating 
them at all ; or if, as the only demonstration of your 
blasphemies and your affirmations, you give your blas- 
phemies and your affirmations themselves, then the 
human race will extol you to the stars ; particularly 
if you take exquisite care to call the attention of people 
to your good faith, carried to the extreme of present- 
ing yourselves, naked as you are, without appealing 
to the deceptive tricks of stupid reasoning, foolish 
historic antecedents, and vain miracles, thus giving a 
public testimony of your faith in the triumph of truth, 
without extraneous aid ; and if, finally, looking round in 
all directions, you ask, where now are your enemies ? — 
then the world, excited and astonished, will proclaim 
with one voice, your magnanimity, your greatness, and 
your victory, and will call you pious, holy, and trium- 

I know not if there be anything under the sun mor e 
vile and despicable than the h uman rac e outside the 
Catholic lines. 

And in the scale ,of its degradation and vileness, the 
multitudes deceived by sophists and oppressed by 


tyrants, are the vilest and most degraded ; the sophists 
come next ; and the tyrants, who hold the bloody lash 
over the one and the other, are, if we examine it well, 
the least vile, the least degraded, and the least despi- 
cable. The first scarcely come from the hand of God, 
when they fall into those of the Babylonic tyrants. 
Ancient paganism rolls from abyss to abyss, from 
sophist to sophist, and from tyrant to tyrant, till it falls 
into the hands of Caligula, that horrid and shameless 
monster in human form, with insensate passions and 
beastly appetites. The modern begins by adoring itself 
in a prostitute, to fall at the feet of the cynical and 
bloody tyrant Marat, and of Robespierre, supreme 
incarnation of human vanity, with his inexorable and 
ferocious instincts. The last of all is about falling into 
an abyss more deep and obscure ; perhaps even now 
there is wallowing in the filth of the social sinks, the 
man who has to adjust to its neck the yoke of his wild 
and ferocious instincts. 


Our Lord Jesus Christ has triumphed over the world 
by exclusively supernatural means. 

When I shall be placed on high, that is, on the cross, I 
shall draw all things to me : that is, I shall assure my 
dominion and victory over the world. In these words 


solemnly prophetic, the Lord showed His disciples at 
once, of how Jittle avail for the conversion of the world 
were the prophecies which announced His coming, the 
miracles which proclaimed His omnipotence, the sanc- 
tity of His doctrine, which was the testimony of His 
glory, and how powerful for the production of this 
prodigy, was to be His immense love, revealed to the 
earth in His crucifixion and His death. 

"I am come in the name of my Father, and you 
receive me not : if another shall come in his own name, 
him will you receive " (John v. 43). In these words is 
announced the natural triumph of error over truth, of 
evil over good. In them is found the secret of the 
forgetfulness in which all nations held God, of the 
astonishing propagation of pagan errors, of the palpable 
darkness shadowing the world, as also the announce- 
ment of the future extension of human errors, of the 
future diminution of truth amongst men, the tribula- 
tions of the Church, the persecutions of the just, the 
victories of the sophists, and of the popularity of blas- 
phemers. In those words history is contained, with all 
its scandals, with all its heresies, and with all its revolu- 
tions. In them we are told why the Jewish people, 
placed between Barrabas and Jesus, condemns Jesus 
and selects Barrabas ; why the world, placed between 
the Catholic and Socialistic theologies, selects the 
Socialistic in preference to the Catholic ; and why 
human discussions tend to the negation of the evident 
and the proclamation of the absurd. In those word-s, 

truly marvellous, is the secret of all our forefathers saw, 



all that our children shall see, and all that we ourselves 
behold. No ; no one can come to the Son, that is, to the 
truth, unless the Father calls him — profound words, which 
testify at once to the omnipotence of God, and the 
radical, invincible impotence of the human race. 

But the Father will call, and all nations will respond ; 
the Son shall be placed on the cross, and shall draw all 
things to Himself: this is the saving promise of the 
supernatural triumph of truth over error, good over evil; 
a promise which shall be completely fulfilled at the end 
of time. 

"My Father worketh unto now; and I work. As 
the Father, so the Son giveth life to whom He will" 
(John V. 17-21). "It is expedient to you that I go: 
for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you ; 
but if I go, I will send him to you" (John xvi. 7). 
The tongues of all doctors, the pens of all sages, would 
not be capable of explaining all that is contained 
in those words. In them are declared the sovereign 
virtue of grace, and the supernatural, invisible, and 
permanent action of the Holy Ghost. Here is the 
Catholic supernaturalism, with its infinite fecundity and 
its unutterable marvels; there is explained, above all, 
the triumph of the cross, which is the greatest and most 
inconceivable of all wonders. 

In fact. Christianity, humanly speaking, must nec es- 
sarily succu mb : it m ust succumb, first, b ecause it w as 
Jthe truth; secondly, because it Jiad in its su pport m ar- 
vellous miracles, doquent testimonies, and^ ir refragab le 
proofs.^ The human race had always risen and pro- 


tested against these things separately ; and it was not 
probable, nor credible, nor to be imagined, that it 
would not rise up and protest against them united ; 
and de facto it broke into blasphemies, protests, and 

But the Just One mounted the cross through love, 
and shed His blood through love, and gave His life 
through love ; and that infinite love and that precious 
blood merited for the world the coming of the Holy 
Ghost. Then everything was changed, for reason was 
• conquered by faith, and nature by grace. 

How admirable is God in His works, how marvellous 
in His designs, and how sublime in His ideas ! Man and 
truth were at war ; the indomitable pride of the former 
did not square well with the insolent and brutal evidence 
of the latter. God tempered the evidence of the latter 
by placing it in transparent clouds, and sent faith to the 
former, and in sending it to him made the following 
compact with him : — " I will divide my empire with thee. 
I will tell thee what thou hast to believe, and give thee 
strength to believe it ; but I will not oppress thy 
sovereign will with the yoke of evidence. I stretch 
out my hand to save thee, but I leave thee the power of 
damning thee. I will not take from thee what I gave 
thee ; and on the day I drew thee from nothingness, I 
gave thee freewill." And this compact, through the 
grace of God, was freely accepted by man. In this 
way the dogmatic obscurity of Catholicity saved from 
certain shipwreck historical evidence. Faith, more 
adapted than evidence to the understanding of man, 


saved from shipwreck human reason. Truth should be 
proposed by faith if it were to be accepted by man, 
naturally rebellious against the tyranny of evidence. 

And the same spirit that proposes what we have to 
believe, and gives us strength to believe it, tells us what 
we should do, and gives us the desire of doing it, and 
co-operates with us in accomplishing it. So. great is 
the misery of man, so absolute his ignorance, and so 
radical his impotence, that he cannot of himself form 
a good resolution, nor conceive a great design, nor a 
desire of doing anything agreeable to God or advan- 
tageous to the salvation of his soul ; and, on the other 
hand, so elevated is his dignity, so noble his nature, so 
sublime his origin, and so glorious his end, that God 
Himself thinks with his thoughts, sees with his eyes, 
walks with his feet, and operates with his hands. It is 
He who supports him that he may walk, it is He who 
holds him that he may not stumble, and it is He 
who commands His angels to bear him in their hands 
that he may not fall ; and if he happen to fall. He 
raises him Himself; and once raised, makes him desire 
to persevere, and helps him to do so. Hence St 
Augustine says, "No one comes to salvation unless 
God calls him, and no one, after being called, does acts 
calculated to promote this salvation unless He assists 
him." Hence God Himself. says in the Gospel of St 
John (xv. 4, 5), "Abide in me, and I in you. As the 
branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abide in the 
vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me. I am 
the vine ; you the branches : he that abideth in me, and 


I in him, the same beareth much fruit ; for without me 
you can, do nothing." And the apostle in his second 
Epistle to the Corinthians (iii. 4, 5), says, "And such 
confidence we have through Christ towards God ; not 
that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, 
as of ourselves ; but our sufficiency is from God." This 
radical impotence of man in the affair of salvation was 
confessed by Job when he said (chap, xiv.), " Who 
can make him clean that is conceived of unclean seed, 
but Thee, O Lord?" Moses says (Exod. xxxiv.), "No 
man of himself is innocent before Thee'.' St Augustine, 
in that inimitable work, " The Confessions," turning to 
God says, " Lord, give me grace to do what Thou com- 
mandest, and command what Thou pleasest." So that 
as God tells me what I should believe, and gives me 
strength to believe it, in the same way He commands 
what I should do, and gives me grace to do what He 

What understanding can comprehend, what tongue 
can tell, what pen describe, the manner in which 
God works these sovereign prodigies in man, and how 
He carries him along the way of salvation with a 
hand at once merciful and just, gentle and powerful.' 
Who will mark out the boundaries of that spiritual 
empire between the divine will and the free will of man >. 
Who will say how they concur without becoming 
confounded or injured ? I only know one thing, O 
Lord, that, poor and humble as I am, and great and 
powerful as Thou art. Thou respectest me as much as 
Thou lovest me, and lovest me as much as Thou 


respectest me. I know that Thou wilt not abandon me 

to myself, because of myself, I can do nothing but 

forget Thee and be lost; and I know that, when 

tendering me the hand which is to save me, Thou wilt 

tender it so softly, so lovingly, and so sweetly, that I 

shall not feel its touch. Thou art like the delicate 

breath of the ?ephyr in suavity, like the whirlwind 

in strength. I am borne by Thee as by the whirlwind, 

and I move to Thee freely, as if wafted by the breath of 

the zephyr. Thou earnest me as if Thou didst force me, 

but Thou dost not force but solicit me. It is I who move, 

and yet Thou movest in me. Thou comest to my door 

and callest softly ; and if I do not answer. Thou waitest 

at my door and callest again. I know it is in my 

power not to answer Thee, and be lost : I know that I 

can answer Thee, and be saved ; but I know that 

I could not answer Thee if Thou didst not call; 

and when I answer, I answer what thou puttest 

in my mouth. Thine being the call, and Thine and 

mine the answer. I know that I canijot act without 

Thee, and that I act through Thpe, and when I act I 

merit ; but that I only merit, because Thop assistest me 

to merit, as Thou didst assist me to act. I know 

that when Thou rewardest me because I merit, and 

when I nierit because I act. Thou givest me three 

graces— the grace of the preniium with which Thou 

rewardest me; the grace of meriting which Thou 

gayest me, and. which led to my reward; and thp 

grace Thou gavest me of acting with Thy assistance. 

I know that Thou art like the mother, and I like the 


little child, into whom the mother infuses the desire of 
walking, and then gives him her hand that he may- 
walk, and afterwards kisses him because he desired to 
walk, and did walk, with the aid of her hand. I know 
that I write only because Thou inflamest me with the 
desire of writing, and that I write only what Thou 
teachest me or permittest me to write. I believe that 
he who thinks he moves a finger without Thee, neither 
knows Thee nor is a Christian. 

I ask my reader's pardon for entering, though a lay- 
man, on the mysterious and thorny paths of grace. All 
will, however, acknowledge, on a little reflection, that it 
was an imperious necessity when treating of the serious 
subject dealt with in the last chapters, to advance at 
least some length on that slippery path. We were 
trying to discover the legitimate explanation of that 
prodigy, ever ancient, ever new, viz., the powerful 
action Christianity has exercised, and is exercising, on 
the world, and of that mystery, no less stupendous and 
prodigious, viz., the virtue of transformation she dis- 
played when brought into relation and contact with 
human societies. The prodigy of her propagation and 
of her triumph is not in her historical testimonies, nor 
in her prophetic announcements, nor in the sanctity of 
her doctrine — circumstances which, in the state to 
which man was reduced after his prevarication and his 
sin, have been more adapted to keep people from her, 
than to carry her triumphantly to the uttermost endi> 
of the earth. Nor were miracles capable of working 
this prodigy, for though it is true that, considered in 


themselves, they are supernatural, considered as an 
exterior proof, they are a natural one, subject to the 
same conditions as human testimony. The propagation 
and triumph of Christianity is a supernatural fact, as it 
has been propagated and has triumphed in spite of 
being possessed of what should impede its propagation 
and its victory. This supernatural fact could not be 
legitimately explained except by ascending to a cause 
which, supernatural by nature, should operate exteriorly 
in a manner conformable with its nature, that is, super- 
naturally. This cause, supernatural in itself, and super- 
natural in its action, is grace. Grace was merited for us 
by our Lord when He suffered an ignominious death 
on the cross, and the apostles received it when the 
Author of all sanctification and of all grace descended 
on them. The Holy Ghost infused into the apostles 
the grace, the death of the Son, through the mercy of 
the Father, merited for us ; so that in this way the 
Holy Trinity interferes in the ineffable work of our 
redemption, as it did in the creation of the universe. 

This serves to explain two things, which without this 
explanation would be totally inexplicable, viz., how it 
was that the apostles wrought greater miracles than 
their divine Master, and their miracles were more fruit- 
ful than His, as the Lord had foretold them on several 
occasions. This consisted in the fact that the universal 
ransom of the human race, in the whole prolongation 
of ages from the time of Adam to the last day, was to 
be the reward of the bloody tragedy of the cross ; and 
in the fact that, till this tragedy was consummated, the 


divine mansions were to be closed against the children 
of Adam with gates of adamant. 

When the time came, the Holy Ghost descended 
upon the apostles like an impetuous wind in tongues 
of fire. Then it happened that all things were changed 
at once, without transition, by virtue of a supernatural 
and divine action. The first change was wrought in 
the apostles. They did not see, and now they had 
light ; they did not understand, and now they had 
understanding ; they were ignorant, and now they be- 
came sages ; they talked of vulgar things, and now they 
spoke of marvellous things. The malediction of Babel 
came to an end ; since that time every people had 
spoken its own tongue, and now the apostles spoke 
them all without confusion. They were pusillanimous, 
and now they became daring ; they were cowards, and 
now they became brave ; they were lazy, and now they 
became diligent ; they had abandoned their Lord for the 
flesh and the world, and now they abandoned the world 
and the flesh for their Lord ; they had rejected the 
cross for life, and now they gave their life for the cross ; 
they died in their members to live in their spirit ; to 
become transformed into God they cease to be men ; to 
live an angelic life they abandon the human. 

And as the Holy Ghost had transformed the apostles> 
the apostles transformed the world ; not they indeed, 
but the invincible Spirit that was in them. The world 
had seen God, and had not recognised Him ; and now 
that it did not see, it knew Him. It had not beheved 
in His word, and now that He had ceased to speak, it 


believed in His word. It had seen His miracles in vain, 
and now that He who wrought them had gone to His 
Father, it believed in His miracles. It had crucified 
Jesus, and now it adored Him whom it had crucified ; 
it had worshipped idols, and now it burned its idols. 
What it had regarded as vain arguments, it now looked 
on as victorious and inconceivable proofs : it changed 
its profound hatred into immense love. 

As he whojias no jdea of grace has none of Christi- 
anity, so he who hasjiojiqtion_^fJhe_grovidence^of_God 
is in the most complete ignorance of all things. Provi- 
dence, taken in its most general acceptation, is the care 
the Creator has of all things created,. Things existed 
Jpecat^e ^God created them; but they only subsist 
because God watches over them with_a c ontinual care, 
which is an incessant creation. Things which, before 
they were, had not in themselves the reason of their 
being, have not in themselves the reason of their sub- 
sistence after they came to being. God alone is life and 
the reason of life, being and the reason of being, sub- 
sistence and the reason of subsistence. Nothing exists, 
nothing lives, nothing subsists, by its own virtue. 
Beyond God those supreme attributes do not exist in 
any place or thing. God is not like a painter, who, 
when he finishes a picture, abandons and forgets it ; nor 
do the things God created subsist, like the painting, of 
themselves. God made things in a more sovereign 
way, and things depend on God in a more substantial 
and excellent manner. Things of the natural and 
supernatural order, and those which, escaping beyond 


the common natural or supernatural order, are called 
miraculous, without ceasing to be different from one 
another, as they are governed and directed by different 
laws, have all something, and even a great deal, in com- 
mon, which consists in their absolute dependence, on the 
divine will. When we say of the fountains that they flow 
because it is their nature to flow, we do not say all we 
should of them ; nor of the trees, when we say they are 
fruitful, because it is their nature to bear fruit. Their 
nature does not give to things a virtue independent 
of the will of their Creator, but a certain determined 
manner of beipg dependent, in all and every moment 
of their existence, on the will of the sovereign Maker 
and divine Architect. The fountains flow because God 
commands them to flow with an actual commandment ; 
and He commands them to flow because to-day, as in 
the day of their creation. He sees it is good they should 
flow. The trees fructify because God commands them 
to fructify with an actual commandment ; and He gives 
them this commandment because to-day, as in the day 
of their creation, He sees it is good that the trees 
should bear fruit. Hpnce we see how much in error 
are those who seek the explanation of events either in 
secondary causes, which all exist in general and imme- 
diate dependence on God, or in chance, which does not 
exist at all. God alone is the Creator of all that exists, 
the preserver of all that subsists, and the author of all 
that happens, according to the words of Ecclesias- 
ticus (xi. 14), "Good things and evil, life and death, 
poverty and riches, are from God." Hence St Basil says 


that in attributing all to God lies the sum of all Christian 
philosophy, according to the words of our Lord in St 
Matthew (x. 29, 30), " Are not two sparrows sold for a 
farthing ? and not one of them shall fall to the ground 
without your Father. But the very hairs of your head 
are all numbered." 

When we view things from this height, it is clear that 
the natural, the supernatural, and the miraculous, equally 
depend on God. The miraculous, the supernatural, and 
the natural are substantially identical phenomena in 
their origin, which is the will of God — a will which, 
being actual in all, is in all eternal. God willed 
eternally and actually the resurrection of Lazarus, as 
He wills eternally and actually that the trees should 
bear fruit ; and the trees have no reason more 
independent of the divine will for bearing fruit than 
Lazarus for coming forth from the sepulchre after he 
was buried. The difference between these phenomena is 
not in their essence, since one and the other depend on 
the divine will, but in the mode ; because in both cases 
the divine will is executed and fulfilled in two different 
ways, and by virtue of two different laws. One of 
these ways is called, and is, natural, and the other is 
called, and is, miraculous. We call the daily prodigies 
natural, and the intermittent, miraculous. 

Whence we see how great is the madness of those 
who deny the power of working the intermittent to 
Him who works the daily. What else is this but 
to deny the power of doing the less to Him who does 
the more ">. or, what is the same, to deny that that can 


be done once which is done daily ? You who deny the 
resurrection of Lazarus because it is a miraculous act, 
tell me, why do you not deny other greater prodigies ? 
Why do you not deny that sun, which rises in the east, 
and those heavens, so beautiful and brilliant, and their 
eternal luminaries ? Why do you not deny those 
beautiful, murmuring, or restless seas, and that light, 
soft sand kissed by their waves, and their concerted 
harmony or their magnificent turbulence ? Why do 
you not deny those plains, so full of freshness, and 
those woods, so full: of silence, majesty, and obscurity, 
and those immense cataracts, with their glorious rush of 
waters, and even those clear and crystalline waters 
themselves ? And if you do not deny these things, 
how are you so mad, and so palpably inconsistent, as to 
think that the resurrection of a man is impossible, or 
even difficult ? For myself, I may say, that I only deny 
credit to him who, having opened his exterior eyes to 
see what surrounds him, or his interior to see what 
passes within himself, finds anything either within or 
without that is not a miracle. 

It follows hence, that the distinction, on the one 
hand, between natural and supernatural things, and, on 
the other, between ordinary phenomena, as well of the 
natural as the supernatural order, and the miraculous, 
involves no rivalry or occult antagonism between what 
exists by the will of God, and what exists by nature; 
as if God were not the author, and preserver, and 
sovereign governor of all that exists. 
. All those distinctions, carried beyond their dogmatic 


limits, end, as we see, in the deification of matter, and 
the absolute and radical negation of providence and of 

In ^ conclusion, taking up the thread of this discourse , I 
will_saj^_that provide nce is a general grace, by virtue of 
which God maintains in its^ being, and governs by His 
counsel, all tha±_e3dstSj_as_^grace js_a special providence 
by"which God takes care of man. The dogma of provi- 
dence and the dogma of grace reveal to us the existence 
of a supernatural world, in which the reason aiid the 
causes of all that we see substantially reside. Without 
the light which comes thence, all is darkness ; without 
the explanation that comes thence, all is inexplicable ; 
without that explanation, and without that light, all is 
phenomenal, ephemeral, and contingent ; all things are 
smoke which is dissipated, fleeting phantasms, unreal 
shadows, and passing dreams. The supernatural is above 
us, without us, and within us. The supernatural sur- 
rounds the natural, and penetrates through all its pores. 

The knowledge of the supernatural, then, is the 
foundation of all sciences, and particularly of the 
political and moral. In vain shall you try to explain 
man without grace, and society without providence. 
Without providence, and without grace, society and 
man are a perpetual secret to the human race. The 
importance of this demonstration and its sublime 
transcendence will be seen hereafter, when, 'on sketching 
the sad and lamentable picture of our wanderings and 
our errors, they shall be all found to spring from 
the negation of Catholic supernaturalism, as their 


proper source. In the meantime, it suits my purpose 
to say here, that the supernatural action of God on 
society and on man, is the broad and firm foundation 
on which is built the edifice of Catholic doctrine, 
in such a manner that, if you take away that founda- 
tion, the whole magnificent structure on which human 
generations move with ease, comes toppling to the 


The Cathelic Church has triumphed over society in 
spite of the same obstacles, and through the same 
supernatural means, which gave the victory over the 
world to our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The Catholic Church, considered as a religious institu- 
tion, has exercised the same influence on society, that 

Catholicity, considered as a doctrine,__has on the 
world — the saine that our Lord Jesus ^.Christ. has exer- 
cised on man. This consists in the fact that our Lord 
"Jesus XErist, His doctrine, and His Church, are but 
three different manifestations of one and the same 
thing, that is, of the divine action operating superna- 
turally and substantially on man and all his powers, on 
society and all its institutions. Our Lord Jesus Christ, 
Catholicity, and the Catholic Church, are one and the 


same word — the word of God, perpetually resounding on 

That word has had to surmount the same obstacles, 
and has triumphed by the same means, in its different 
incarnations. The prophets of Israel had announced the 
coming of the Lord in the plenitude of time, had written 
His life, lamented with tremendous lamentations His 
tremendous woes, foretold His sorrows, described His 
labours, counted one by one the drops that composed 
the sea of His tears, had seen His torture and His insults, 
and had written the history of His passion and death. 
In spite of all this, the people of Israel knew Him not 
when He came, and fulfilled all the prophecies without 
thinking of the prophets and what they foretold. The 
life of the Lord was holy ; His mouth was the only 
human one which had dared to pronounce in the pre- 
sence of men, these words, either madly blasphemous or 
ineffably divine — "Who will accuse me of sin.'" And in 
spite of those words, which no man had pronounced 
before, and which no man will pronounce again, the world 
did not know Him, and loaded Him with ignominies. 
His doctrine was marvellous and true ; so much so, 
that it perfumed everything with its extreme sweetness, 
and bathed everything with its softened rays. Every 
word that, sweetly fell from His sacred lips was a mar- 
vellous revelation, every revelation a sublime truth, every 
truth a hope or a consolation. And in spite of all this, the 
people of Israel turned its eyes from the light, and closed 
its heart against those marvellous consolations, and those 
sublime hopes. He wrought miracles never seen xyy 


men, nor heard of by the Gentiles ; and in spite of 'all this, 
men turn from Him with horror, as if He were infected 
with leprosy, or as if He bore on His forehead a male- 
diction stamped by divine wrath. Even one of His 
disciples whom He loved, was deaf to the decoying 
allurements of His love, and fell from the eminence of 
the apostolate into the abyss of treason. 

The Church of Jesus Christ was announced by great 
prophets, and represented in symbols and figures from 
the beginning of time. Her divine Founder, on opening 
her immortal foundations, and on modelling in marvel- 
lous mould her divine hierarchy, placed her future 
history before the eyes of the apostles. He there an- 
nounced her great tribulations and unexampled per- 
secutions ; He saw her confessors and her martyrs pass 
before Him, one by one, in bloody procession. He told 
them how the powers of the world and of hell would 
make nefarious compacts, and establish sacrilegious 
alliances against her ; and how she would triumph, 
through His grace, over the powers of the world and of 
hell. He cast His sovereign eye over the prolongation 
of time, and foretold the end of all things, and the 
immortality of His Church, transformed into the celestial 
Jerusalem, clothed with light and with brilliant stones, 
full of glory, and bathed in perfumes of sweetest fra- 
grance. In spite of all this, the world, which ever saw 
her persecuted and ever triumphant, which might have 
counted her victories by her tribulations, perpetually 
gives her new victories in new tribulations, thus blindly 
fulfilling the great prophecy at the very time it turns 


its back on the prophet and what he prophesied. The 
Church is perfect and holy, as her divine Founder was 
perfect and holy. She also, .and she alone, pronounces iii 
presence of the world that word never before heard, 
" Who will accuse me of error ? Who will accuse me of 
sin ? " And in spite of this extraordinary word, which 
she alone pronounces, the world neither believes her, 
nor follows her, except with its insults. Her doctrine 
is marvellous and true, because it is the doctrine taught 
by the great Master of all truth, and the great Worker 
of all wonders ; and yet the world studies in the halls of 
error, and lends an attentive ear to the vain eloquence 
of miserable sophists and obscure clowns. She received 
from her divine Founder the power of working mi- 
racles, and she works them, she herself being z, per- 
petual miracle ; and yet the world calls her a vain and 
shameful superstition, and she is made a spectacle 
to men and nations. Her own children, beloved with 
such love, raise their sacrilegious hands against their 
tender mother, and abandon the holy hearth which pro- 
tected their infancy, and seek in a new family and at 
a new hearth gross delights and impure loves. And 
in this way does she pursue the path of her dolorous 
passion, unknown by the world and ignored by heresi- 

And. what is singular and marvellous in this is, that, 
imitating perfectly our Lord Jesus Christ, she does not 
suffer tribulations in spite of the prodigies she works, of 
the life she lives, of the truth she teaches, and of the in- 
vincible testimonies she produces of the divinity of her 


office ; but, on the contrary, she suffers those tribulations 
on account of those invincible testimonies, of those truths 
she teaches, of that holy life she lives, and of those 
miracles she works. Suppress for a moment in imagi- 
nation that life, those truths, those prodigies, and in- 
vincible testimonies, and you shall have at one stroke 
suppressed all her tribulations, all her tears, all her 
misfortunes, and all her woes. 

In the truths she proclaims lies the rhystery of her 
tribulation ; in the supernatural strength she possesses 
lies the mystery of her victory ; and those two things 
together explain at once her victories and her tribula- 

The supernatural power of grace is perpetually com- 
municated to the faithful by the ministry of the priests 
and through the channel of the sacraments ; and that 
supernatural power, thus communicated to the faithful, 
members at once of civil society and of the Church, is 
what has opened the profound abyss which exists 
between ancient and Catholic societies, even considered 
in the political and social point of view. Between them, 
all well considered, there is no difference but that which 
results from the one being composed of Catholics and 
the other of pagans ; from the one being composed of 
men moved by their natural instincts, and the other of 
men who, more or less completely dead to nature, obey 
more or less perfectly the supernatural and divine 
impulse of grace. This explains the distance there is 
between the political and social institutions of ancient, 
and those which have spontaneously sprung up in 


modern, societies ; as institutions are the social expres- 
sion of ideas in common ; ideas in common the col- 
lective result of individual ideas ; individual ideas the 
intellectual form of the manner of being and feeling of 
man ; and the pagan and Catholic man cease to be and 
to feel in the same manner, the one being the represen- 
tative of prevaricating and disinherited humanity, and 
the other the representative of humanity redeemed. 
Ancie nt and modern institutions are only the expres- 
sion^of two different societies, because they .are the 
expression of two different humanitiej. Hence, when 
Catholic societies prevaricate and fall, paganism imme- 
diately invades them, and ideas, cus_tgms,_institutions, 
and the societies themsel ves, beco rne^pagan. 

If you abstract for a moment from that invisible and 
supernatural power, with which Catholicity has gone 
on gently and silently transforming everything visible 
and natural, by means of a mysterious and secret 
operation, everything becomes obscured, and the 
natural and supernatural, visible and invisible, are 
converted into darkness. All your explanations be- 
come false hypotheses, which explain nothing, and are 
besides inexplicable. 

There is no spectacle more sad than that presented 
by a man of great talents', when he enters on the impos- 
sible and absurd enterprise of explaining visible things 
by the visible, and natural things by the natural ; which, 
as all things visible and natural, inasmuch as they are 
natural and visible, are one and the same thing, is quite 
as absurd as to explain a fact or a thing by itself. Into 


this grave error has fallen an eminent man of great 
gifts, whose writings it is impossible to read without 
profound respect, whose discourses cannot be heard 
without admiration, and whose personal qualities are 
superior even to his writings, his discourses, and his 
talents. M. Guizot surpasses all contemporary writers 
in the art of taking a serene view of most intricate 
questions. His view, generally speaking, is impartial 
and well founded. In expression he is pure, in style 
sober, in the adornments of language, severely modest ; 
his eloquence is subject to his reason ; his eloquence 
is of a high order, but his reason of a higher. No 
matter how elevated a question may be, when M. 
Guizot enters on it, he always looks from the mountain 
to the valley, never from the valley to the mountain. 
When he describes the phenomena he sees, he does not 
appear to describe, but to create, them. If he enters 
on party questions, he displays with refined com- 
placency the erroneous and the true part which cor- 
responds to each one ; and he does not appear to give 
it because it corresponds to him, but it appears to cor- 
respond because he gives it to him. In general, when 
he discusses, he discusses as if he were teaching, and 
he teaches as if he were naturally invested with an 
eminent right to teach. If he happen to speak of 
religion, his language is solemn, ceremonious, and 
austere. If it were possible for him, it is easily seen he 
would go to the limits of reverence. The part he 
assigns the Church in the work of social regeneration 
is great, as becomes the person who assigns, and the 


institution to which he assigns it. No one can say 
whether he considers her the queen and mistress of 
other institutions. What can be said is, that in any case 
she appears in his eyes like an amnestied queen, who, 
even in the day of her glory, preserves the signs of her 
past servitude. 

M. Guizot's special talent lies in seeing well all that 
he sees, and in seeing everything visible, and in seeing 
everything in itself and abstractedly. The weak point 
of his intellect lies in not seeing how those visijale and 
separate things form an hierarchical and harmonious 
whole, animated by an invisible power. Both this 
great defect and that special talent, are nowhere so 
evident as in the book he wrote to fully describe 
European civilisation. M. Guizot has seen all there is 
in that civilisation, as complex as prolific — all, except 
the civilisation itself He who seeks the many and 
various elements which compose it will find them in 
his book, for they are there ; he who seeks the powerful 
unity which constitutes it, the principle of life which 
circulates freely through the healthy members of that 
sound and robust social body, let him seek all these 
things elsewhere, for they are not found in his book. 

M. Guizot has clearly seen all the visible elements of 
that civilisation, and all that is visible in them; and 
those which contain nothing that does not fall under 
the jurisdiction of the senses, have been thoroughly 
examined by him. But there was one at once visible 
and invisible. That element was the Church. The 
Church acted on society in a manner analogous to that 


of the other political and social elements, and, besides, 
in a manner peculiarly her own. Considered as an 
institution born in time and localised in space, her 
influence was visible and limited, like that of other 
institutions localised in space and offsprings of time. 
Considered as a divine institution, she had in her an 
immense supernatural power, which, uninfluenced by 
the laws of time and space, acted on all and in all 
directions at once, quietly, secretly, and supernaturally. 
So true is this, that, in the critical confusion of all social 
elements, the Church gave something exclusively her 
own to all the others, whilst she herself, alone impe- 
netrable to confusion, preserved her absolute identity 
intact. Roman society, on coming into contact with 
her, became, without ceasing to be Roman, something 
it had not been before — it became Catholic. The 
German peoples, without ceasing to be German, became 
something they had not been before — they became 
Catholic. Political and social institutions^ without 
losing their pro per nature, took on e whichjwas-ioreign 
to them — t he Catholic natu re. And Catholicity was 
not a vain form, for it gave no form whatever to any 
institution : it was, on the contrary, something intimate 
and essential, and hence gave them all something pro- 
found and intimate. Catholicity left the forms intact 
and changed the essences ; and at the same time that 
it left intact all the forms and changed all the essences, 
it preserved its own essence intact, and received from 
society all its forms. The Church was feudal, as feuda- 
lism was Catholic ; but the Church did not receive 


an equivalent for what she gave, as she received some- 
thing that was purely external and accidental, whilst 
she gave something internal and intimate, which was to 
endure as an essence. 

It results from this that, in the common mass of 
European civilisation, which, like all other civilisations, 
and more than other civilisations, is unity and variety 
at one and the same time, all other elements combined 
and united constituted it various, whilst the Church 
alone made it one, and, by making it one, gave it its 
essential character^ — gave it that from which is taken 
what i^ most essential in an institution — its name. 
Europea n civilisation was not called German, _or^oman, 
or absolutCj or feudal; it was and is called Catholic 

Catholicity is not, then, solely, as M. Guizot^upposes, 
one of the various elements which entered into the com- 
position of that admirable civilisation : it is more than 
that, muchjnore than that ; it is tha t very civ ilisation 
itself. Strange ! M. Guizot sees everything that occu- 
pies a moment in time, or a circumscribed spot in space, 
and does not see that which extends beyond all space 
and time ; he sees what is here, or there, or farther off, 
and he does not see that which is in all parts. In an 
organised and hving body, he sees the members which 
compose it, but not the life which courses through those 

Abstract for a moment from the divine virtue and the 
supernatural power which are in the Church ; consider 
it as a human institution, which spreads and extends by 


purely human and natural means, and M. Guizot is 
right. The influence of her doctrine cannot pass the 
natural limits he assigns it with his sovereign reason. 
But the difficulty still exists, because it is an evident 
fact that it has passed them. Between history which 
tells us it has passed, and reason which tells us it could 
not pass, them, there is an evident contradiction — a 
contradiction which must be reconciled by a superior 
formula and a supreme conciliation, ' which will har- 
monise facts with principles and reason with history. 
That formula must be sought outside history and 
reason, outside the natural and visible ; and is found in 
the invisible, the supernatural, and the divine of the 
holy Catholic Church. That something supernatural, 
divine, and impalpable, is what has subjugated the 
world to her, surmounted the most invincible obstacles 
for her, brought into subjection to her, rebel intellects 
and proud hearts, elevated her above human vicissi- 
tudes and secured her empire over tribes and nations. 

No one who does not keep in view her sovereign and 
diving virtue will ever comprehend her influence, her 
victories, or her tribulations ; as no one who does not 
comprehend them will ever comprehend what is inti- 
mate, essential, and profound in European civilisation. 





On the free will of man. 

Beyond the action of God there is only the action of 
man ; beyond divine providence there is nothing but 
human liberty. The cqmHnatior^f thisliberty with 
that providence, constitutes the rich and varied course 
of history. 

The free will of man is the masterpiece of creation, 
and the most wonderful, if I may say so, of the divine 
wonders. All things are invariably directed to it, in 
such a way that creation would be inexplicable without 
man, and man inexplicable if he were not free. His 
liberty is at once his own explanation, and the explana- 
tion of all things. But who will explain that sublime, 
inviolable, holy liberty, so holy, so sublime, and so in- 
violable, that He who gave it to him cannot deprive 
him of it, and with which he can resist and conquer Him 


who gave it to him, with an invincible resistance and 
a tremendous victory ? Who will e'xplain how, in that 
victory of man over God, God becomes the conqueror, 
and man the conquered, though the victory of man 
i is a true victory; and the defeat of God a true defeat ? 
What victory is that which is necessarily followed by 
the death of the victor ? And what defeat is that which 
ends in the glorification of the conquered ? How is 
paradise the reward of defeat, and hell the penalty of 
victory ? If my reward be in my defeat, why do I 
naturally reject what will save me ? And if my con- 
demnation be in my victory, why do I naturally seek 
what will damn me ? 

These are questions which occupied all intellects in 
the ages of the great doctors, and are regarded to-day 
with contempt by petulant sophists, who are incapable 
of lifting from the ground the formidable arms those 
holy doctors easily and humbly wielded. To-day it 
appears inexcusable madness to touch with humility, 
and aided by grace, on the deep designs of God in His 
profound mysteries ; as if man could know anything 
without understanding something of those profound 
mysteries and deep designs. All the great questions 
about God appear to-day sterile and superfluous ; as 
if it were possible to treat of God, who is intelligence 
and truth, without gaining in truth and intelligence. 

Coming to the tremendous question which is the 
subject of this chapter, and which I will endeavour to 
confine within the narrowest limits possible, I hold that 
the notion generally entertained of freewill is entirely 


false. Freewill d oe s not , consist, as is generally be- 
lieved, in the faculty of choosing, good or evil, ,which 
solicit it with two contrary solicitations. If freewill 
consisted in that faculty, the following consequences, 
one relative to man, the other to God, and both evidently 
absurd, must necessarily fdlTow. The one relative to 
man consists in the fact that he would be less free the 
more perfect he became, as he cannot increase in per- 
fection without becoming subject to the sway of that 
which solicits him to good, nor become subject to the 
sway of good without proportionately escaping from the 
sway of evil, which, by more or less altering, according 
to the degree of his perfection, the equilibrium between 
those two contrary solicitations, must diminish his liberty, 
that is, his faculty of choosing, in the same degree in 
which the equilibrium is altered. As thehighest per- 
fection consists in the annihilation of one of those t;yo 
contrary solicitations, and as perfect liberty is supposed 
to be the faculty of choosing between them, it is clear, 
tEatTetween the perfection and the liberty of man there 
IS an evident contradiction and an absolute incompati- 
^lity. The absurdity of this consequence consists in 
the fact that man, being free, and bound to aspire to 
perfection, he cannot preserve his liberty without re- 
nouncing his perfection, nor become perfect without 
forfeiting his liberty. 

The consequence relative to God consists in the fact 
tha t, as He is subject to rio~con?fary solicitations, He 
would be totally devoid of liberty, if it consisted in the 
lacultyof choosing between contrary solicitations. For 


God to be free, it were necessary He should be capable 
of choosing between good and evil, sanctity and sin. 
Between the nature of God and liberty, thus defined, 
there is, then, a radical contradiction and an absolute 
incompatibility. And as it is absurd to suppose, on the 
one hand, that God cannot "be free and remain God, nor 
be God and remain free, and, on the other, that man ■ 
cannot attain his perfection without forfeiting his 
liberty, nor be free without renouncing his perfection, 
it follows that the notion of liberty generally enter- 
tained is totally false, contradictory, and absurd. 

The error I^ am refuting, consists in supposing that 
liberty is the faculty of choosing^ when it is only the 
faculty of willing, which supposes the faculty of under- 
standing. Every being gifted with jinderstanding and 
will is free, and its libert^_i?-. "ot something distinct 
from__itsj¥ilL5,nd its understanding, but its w ill and 
understanding taken together. When we say of one 
being that it has understanding and will, and of an other 
that it is free, we say the same thing of both , but 
expres sed in two different w avs. 

If liberty consist in the faculty of understanding and 
wiUing, perfect liberty will consist in understanding and 
willing perfectly ; and as God alone understands and 
wills with all perfection, it follows by necessary con- 
sequence, that God alone is perfectly free. 

If liberty consist in understanding and willing, man 
is free, because he is gifted with will and understanding ; 
but he is not perfectly free, because he is not gifted with 
an infinite and perfect understanding and will. 


The imperfection of his understanding consists, on 
the one hand, in its not understanding all that is to be 
understood, and, on the other, in its being subject to 
error. The imperfection of his will consists, on the 
one hand, in it's not willing all that should be willed, 
and, on the other, in its being liable to be solicited and 
conquered by evil. Whence it follows that the imp er- 
fection of his liberty consists i n the faculty he posses ses 
of pursuing evil and embracing error ; which means, 
"ihat the imperfection of hurnanjiberty consists prec isely 
~ Th that faculty of choosing, which, according to the 
general opinion, constitutes its absolute perfection. 

When man~came from the hands of God, he under- 
stood the good ; and because he understood, he willed, 
it ; and because he willed, he executed, it ; and by 
executing the good his will desired and his intellect 
understood, he was free. That this is the Christian 
signification of liberty is clear from the following words 
of the Gospel : — " You shall know the truth, and the truth 
shall make you free" (John viii. 32). Between his liberty 
and that of God there was, then, no difference but 
that which there is between one thing which can 
be diminished and lost, and another which can suffer 
neither loss nor diminution — between one thing that 
is naturally limited, and another that is by nature 

When the woman lent an attentive and curious ear 
to the voice of the fallen angel, her understanding 
became immediately obscured, and her will weakened ; 
separated from God, who was her support, she fell into 


a moral swoon. On that instant her liberty, which was 
not distinct from her will and understanding, became 
impaired. When she passed from the culpable con- 
templation to the culpable act, her understanding 
suffered a great obscurity — her will, a profound weak- 
ness ; the woman dragged the man with her, and human 
liberty became miserably enfeebled. 

Confounding the notion of liberty with that of 
sovereign independence, some ask why it is said that 
man was a slave when he fell under the jurisdiction of 
the devil, whilst at the same time it is held that he was 
free when placed absolutely in the hands of God } To 
which we answer, that it cannot be said of man that he 
is a slave solely because he does not belong to himself, 
in which case he would never cease to be a slave, 
because he never belongs to himself in an independent > 
and sovereign manner. H e is a sla ve only when he falls 
into the hands^of a usurper, and free only_whenJie obeys 
his leyrtimate master. There is no other slavery but 
subjection to a tyrant, no other tyrant but him who 
exercises usurped power, nor other liberty but that 
which consists in voluntary obedience to legitimate 
authority. Others do not comprehend how the grace 
by which we were placed in liberty, and redeemed, is 
reconciled with that liberty and redemption, thinking 
that, in that mysterious operation, God alone is active 
and man passive ; in which they are totally in error, 
because in this great mystery God and man concur, 
the former acting and the latter co-operating. And for 
this very reason God is accustomed to give, generally 


speaking, only the grace sufficient to move the will with 
gentleness. Fearing to oppress, He contents Himself 
with calling it to Him with alluring accents. Man, on 
his part, when he obeys the gentle call of grace, obeys 
with incomparable suavity and complacency ; and when 
the gentle will of man, which delights in the call, is 
joined with the gentle will of God, who takes delight 
in calling him, and calls him because He takes delight 
in it, then that grace which was only sufficient, becomes 
efficacious, through the concourse of these two gentle 

As_to_those wha_£Qll£eiye liberty only in the absence 
of all soli citation which can move the will of man, I will 
only say that they inadvertently, fall into one of these 
two great absurdities — into that, which supposes that a 
rational being can be moved without some species of 
motive, or into that, which consists in supposing that a 
being which is not rational, can be free. 

If what _we have said be true, the fa culty of choo sing 
given to man, farjro m being the necessary condition , is 
the danger o f liberty, sin ce the possibilit}^ of wandering 
from the good an d falling into error lies in_ it,^as_also 
of renouncing the obedience due to God, and of falling 
into the hands of a tyra nt. All the efforts of man 
should be directed, with the aid of grace, to rendering 
that faculty inoperative, till it is entirely destroyed, or, 
if that be impossible, till it falls into perpetual disuse. 
Only he who loses it understands, wills, and executes, 
the good ; and only he who does this is perfectly free ; 
and only he who is free is perfect ; and only he who is 


perfect is blessed. Hence none of the blessed have it, 
nor God, nor His saints, nor the choirs of His angels. 


V Answers to some questions relative to this dogma. 

If the faculty of choosing does not constitute the per- 
fection, but rather the danger, of the free will of man ; if 
his prevarication and the origin of his fall, took their 
rise in that faculty, and if the secret of sin, damnation, 
and death, lies in it, how can that fearful gift, so pregnant 
with misfortunes and catastrophes, square with the infi- 
nite goodness of an infinite God? How shall I designate 
the hand that gives it to me — a hand of mercy or of 
anger ? If it be a hand of anger, why did it give me 
life } If it be merciful, why did it accompany life with 
such a heavy burden } Shall I call it a just, or only a 
strong, hand.' If it is just, what had I done before 
coming into being to become the object of such rigour? 
And if it be only strong, why does it not crush and 
annihilate me ? If I sinned through use of the gift I 
received, who is the author of my sin ? If in. the end I 
be damned through sin, to which I am inclined through 
the inclination that was given me, who is the author of 
my damnation and my hell ? Mysterious and tremen- 
dous Being, whom I know not whether to bless or to 
curse, shall I fall prostrate at Thy feet, like Thy servant 


Job, and address to Thee my burning supplications 
intensified by my sobs, till I move Thee ; or shall I pile 
mountain on mountain, Pelion on Ossa, and renew 
against Thee the war of the Titans ? Mysterious Sphinx ! 
I know not whether to appease Thee or tiy to conquer 
Thee ; I know not whether to rush into the camp of Thy 
enemies, or to follow the footsteps of Thy servants. I 
do not even know Thy name. If, as they say, Thou art 
omniscient, tell me at least in which of Thy sealed books 
Thy name is written, that I may know how to address 
Thee ; for Thy names are as contradictory as Thyself. 
Those who are saved call Thee God, those who are 
damned, a tyrant. 

Thus speaks the genius of pride and blasphemy, with 
its flaming eyes turned on God. Through an incon- 
ceivable madness or an inexplicable aberration, man, 
the work of the Creator, cites to his tribunal the very 
God who gave him the tribunal in which he sits, the 
reason with which he judges, and the very voice with 
which he cites Him. And blasphemies call to other 
blasphemies, as abyss to abyss ; the blasphemy which 
cites ends in the blasphemy which condemns, or the 
blasphemy which absolves, Him. Whether he absolve, 
or condemn Him, the man who, instead of adoring, 
judges Him, is a blasphemer. Woe to the proud who 
cite Him ! Blessed are the humble who adore Him, for 
He shall come to the one and the other. To the one He 
shall come as cited on the day of the summons ; to the 
other as adored on the day of adoration. He never 
forgets to answer him who calls Him ; the one, however, 


He will answer with His wrath, the other with His 

And let it not be said that this doctrine leads to 
absurdity, as if it led to the negation of all competency 
on the part of human reason to take cognisance of the 
things of God, and hence to the implicit condemnation 
of theologians and the holy doctors, and even of the 
Church herself, who treated of them at large in past ages. 
What this doctrine condemns is the competency of 
human reason, unillumined by faith, to deal with things 
which are matter of revelation and faith, because super- 
natural. When reason interferes in those things with- 
out the aid indicated, it treats of, and with, God, in its 
quality of judge, who does not admit of postponement 
nor appeal against his decisive judgments. In this 
supposition, its decision, whether it condemns or ab- 
solves, is a blasphemy ; and it is so, not so much on 
account of what it affirms or denies of God, as what 
human reason implicitly affirms of itself in it, as both in 
the condemnation and in the absolution, it ever affirms 
the same thing of itself — its own independence and 
sovereignty. When the holy Church affirms or denies 
anything of God, she does nothing but affirm or deny of 
Him what she has heard from God Himself. When 
eminent theologians and the holy doctors penetrate with 
their reason into the obscure abyss of the divine excel- 
lences, they ever enter it with a secret terror, and with 
the lamp of faith illumining their way. They do not ex- 
pect to surprise in God secrets and marvels unknown to 
faith, but add to its light the rays of the lamp of reason, 


to examine a different side of the same marvels and 
secrets ; they do not expect to see new things in God, 
but only to see in Him the same things in two different 
ways ; and these two different ways of knowing, are two 
different ways of adoring, Him. 

For it should be known, that there is no mys tery 
amongst those whic h fai th teaches and the Church p ro- 
poses to us, which does not unite in itself, by an admir- 
able disposition of God, two_ qualities which ordinarily 
exclude each other — obscuritj^jind__evidence.__ Catholic 
mysteries are like bodies at oncejunijnous and opaque, 
in such a way that their shadows can never be brightened 
by their light, nor their light obsciLred by their shad ows, 
remaining perpetually ob scure and perpetually lum in- 
ous^ At the very time they shed their light over crea- 
tion, they keep their shadows for themselves ; they make 
everything clear, and can themselves be made clear by 
nothing. They penetrate everything, and are them- 
selves impenetrable. It appears absurd to admit them, 
and it is more absurd to deny them. To him who admits 
them, there is no obscurity but their own ; to him who 
denies them, day becomes night, and his eyes, deprived 
of light, find nothing but obscurity in all directions. 
And yet men in their great blindness prefer denying, to 
admitting, them ; light appears to them intolerable if it 
happen to come from a sombre region ; and their gigan- 
tic pride condemns their eyes to eternal obscurity, 
regarding the shades found in one sole mystery as 
a greater difficulty than those that extend in all direc- 


Without leaving the deep mysteries which form the 
subject of this chapter, it will be easy to demonstrate all 
we have said. Are you ignorant of the reason why that 
tremendous gift of choosing between good and evil, 
sanctity and sin, life and death, was given to man ? 
Well, deny it for a moment, and on that moment you 
render totally impossible the angelic and human crea- 
tions. If in that faculty of choosi ng lies the imperfection 
of liberty, only r emove that f acu lty, and the^ libgrty is 
perfect ; and perfect liberty is the result of the simul- 
taneous perfection of the will and the i ntellect. That 
simultaneous perfectio n is in God. If you suppose it 
in the creature, God and the creature are one and the 
same : in this way you rush into Pantheism or Atheism, 
which are the same thing expressed in two different 
ways. Imperfection is so natural to the creature, and 
perfection to God, that you cannot deny one or the 
other without an implication in terms, a substantial con- 
tradiction and an evident absurdity. To say of God 
that He is imperfect, is to say He does not exist ; 
to say of the creature that it is perfect, is to say the 
creature does not exist : whence it results, that if the 
mystery is superior, its negation is contrary, to human 
reason ; by abandoning the one for the other, you have 
abandoned the obscure for the impossible. 

As all is false, contradictory, and absurd in the 
rationalistic negation, all is simple, natural, and logical 
in the Catholic affirmation. Catholicity says of God 
that He is absolutely perfect; and of created beings 
that they are perfect with a relative perfection, and 


imperfect with an absolute imperfection ; and are 
perfect and imperfect in so excellent a way, that 
their absolute imperf ec tion, by w hich the^arejnfinitely" 
separated from God, constitutes their relative perfec- 
tion, with which they perfectly fulfil their respective 
missions, and form all together the perfect harmony 
of^the^universe. The absolute perfection of God, in 
our point of view, consists in His being sovereignly 
free, that is, in perfectly understanding the good and 
desiring it with a perfect will. The absolute imper- 
fection of all other intelligent and free beings, consists 
in not understanding and in not desiring the good 
in such way that they cannot understand or desire 
the evil. Their relative perfection consists in that 
same absolute imperfection, to which it is due, on the 
one hand, that they are different from God by nature, 
and, on the other, that they can be united to God, who 
is their end, by an effort of the will aided by grace. 

As intelligent and free beings are distributed in 
hierarchies, they are hierarchically imperfect. They 
are like each other in this, that they are all imperfect ; 
they are unlike in their being imperfect in different 
degrees, if not in a different manner. The 'angel only 
differs from man in the fact that the imperfection 
common to both is greater in man than in the angel, 
as became the different places they occupied in the 
iminense scale of beings. One and the other came 
from the hands of God with the faculty of under- 
standing and desiring evil, and of executing the evil 
they understood : in this lies their similarity. But 


in the angelic nature, this imperfection lasted but 
a moment, whilst in man, it lasts for ever : in this 
lies their difference. For the angel there was a fear- 
fully solemn moment, in which it was given him to 
choose between good and evil. In that tremendous 
instant the angelic phalanxes were divided ; some 
bowed before the divine throne, others rose in tumult 
and became rebels. This supreme and instantaneous 
resolution was followed by an instantaneous and 
supreme judgment : the rebel angels were hurled into 
damnation, and the loyal, confirmed in grace. 

Man, weaker in intellect and will than the angel, 
because he was not, like him, a pure spirit, received 
a weaker and more imperfect liberty, and his imper- 
fection was to last as long as his life. It is here the 
unutterable beauty of the designs of God shines forth 
with infinite splendour. God saw from the beginning 
how beautiful and convenient were hierarchies, and 
He established hierarchies among intelligent and free 
beings. He saw from all eternity, on the other hand, 
how convenient and beautiful it was to have a certain 
sort of equality between the Creator and all His crea- 
tures ; and such was His sovereign skill, that He 
united in one the beauty of equality and the beauty 
of hierarchy. To establish hierarchy He made their 
gifts unequal ; and that the law of equality might be 
observed, He demanded more from him to whom He 
gave more, and less from him to whom He gave less; 
so that the most favoured in gifts would be the most 
pressed in accounts, and the least pressed in accounts, 


the least favoured in gifts. Because the native excel- 
lence of the angel was superior, his fall was without 
hope or remedy, his chastisement instantaneous, and 
his condemnation eternal. Because the native excel- 
lence of man was inferior, he only fell to be lifted, 
he only sinned to be redeemed. The judgment pro- 
nounced on him shall not be without appeal, nor 
his condemnation without remedy, except in that 
moment known to God alone, when the angelic and 
human prevarications weigh equally in the divine 
scales, the one becoming by repetition what the other 
is in magnitude. So man cannot say to God, Why 
did you make me a man, and not an angel .? nor the 
angel, Why did you not make me a man } 

Lord, who is not affrighted at sight of Thy justice ? 
What grandeur can be compared to that of Thy mercy ? 
What scales so faithfully balanced as those Thou 
boldest in Thy hand .? What measure so precise 
as that with which Thou measurest .■■ What mathe- 
matician is acquainted with numbers and their mys- 
terious harmony, like Thee ) How well wrought are 
all the prodigies Thou hast worked ! How well estab- 
lished the things Thou didst establish, and how har- 
monically beautiful when established ! Open, O Lord, 
my intellect, that I may understand something of Thy 
purposes in Thy eternal designs, something of what 
Thou eternally conceivest and eternally executest ; 
for what does he know who knows not Thee.' and 
what is he ignorant of who knows Thee .' 

It man cannot say to God, Why did you not make 


me an angel ? why did you not make me perfect ? can he 
not at least say, Lord, were it not better I had not 
been born ? Why didst Thou make me what I am ? 
If Thou hadst consulted me, I had not received life 
with the faculty of losing it : hell scares me more than 

Of himself man knows only how to blaspheme : when 
he asks a question, he blasphemes, if God Himself, who 
gives the answer, does not put the question in his 
mouth ; when he begs anything, he blasphemes, if 
God Himself, who has to attend to his petition, does 
not tell him what he has to ask, and how he has to ask 
it. Man did not know what to ask nor how to ask it, 
till God Himself, coming to the world and becoming 
man, taught him the " Our Father" that he might learn it 
by heart like a child. 

What does man mean when he says. Were it not 
better I had not been born .' Did he exist before 
he existed .'' And what meaning is there in his ques- 
tion, if before existing he did not exist.? Man can 
form some idea of what exceeds his reason ; hence 
he can form some idea of mysteries : it is only of 
what does not exist he can form no idea whatever ; 
and hence he can form none of nonentity. The suicide 
does not desire to cease to exist ; he desires to cease to 
suffer, by changing his manner of being. Man, then, 
expresses no idea whatever when he says, Why do 
I exist.' He can only express an idea by asking, 
Why do I exist as I am ? This question is resolved 
into this other. Why do I exist with the faculty of 


ruining myself? which is absurd, no matter how we 
view it. In fact, if every creature, because it is a 
creature, is imperfect, and if the faculty of ruining 
themselves constitutes the special imperfection of men, 
he who asks that question asks why man is a creature, 
or, what is the same, why the creature is not the Crea- 
tor; why man is not the God who created man ? Quod 

And if this is not what is meant, if the question 
only means, Why dost Thou not save me in spite 
of my capability of being damned ? the absurdity 
is still clearer ; because, what is the meaning of that 
faculty if the person to whom it is given is never 
to be damned? If man should be saved in all cir- 
cumstances, what would be the final object of life 
in this world ? Why does it not commence and 
become perpetuated in paradise ? Reason cannot 
conceive salvation as at once necessary and future, 
as futurity supposes contingency, and what by its 
nature is necessary is by its very nature present. 

If man should pass without transition from nonentity 
to eternity, and live from the first moment of existence 
the life of glory, — time, space, and the entire creation 
made for man, its lord, must be suppressed. If his 
kingdom were not to be of this world, what would be 
the object of the world ? or of time, if he were not to 
be temporal ? or of space, if he were not to be local ? 
And without time and space, what would be the object 
of things created in space and time ? Whence we see 
that, in this supposition, the absurdity which consists in 


the contradiction there is between the necessity of 
being saved and the faculty of being lost, ends in the 
absurdity which consists in suppressing at one stroke 
time and space, which entails another, that consists in 
the logical suppression of all things created for, and on 
account of, man. Man cannot substitute a human for a 
divine idea without, on the moment, the entire edifice 
of creation falling to the ground and burying him in its 
immense ruins. 

When we view this side of the question, we may say 
that man, in asking for the absolute right of being saved 
whilst retaining the faculty of being lost, asks, if pos- 
sible, for a greater absurdity than when he summoned 
God to his tribunal for giving him the faculty of being 
lost ; because in the latter he struggled to become God, 
whilst in the former he wants to have the privileges of 
the divinity, though remaining man. 

Finally, if we consider this serious matter attentively, 
we shall see that it was not compatible with the divine 
excellences to save the angel, nor man, without anterior 
merit. All is rational in God — His justice as well as His 
goodness, His goodness as well as His mercy ; and if 
He is infinitely just, and good, and merciful, He is also 
infinitely rational. Whence it follows that it is impos- 
sible to attribute to God without blasphemy either a 
goodness, or a mercy, or a justice which is not built on 
sovereign reason, which alone renders goodness true 
goodness, mercy true mercy, and justice true justice. 
The goodness which is not rational is weakness, the 
mercy, debility, the justice, vengeance; and God is good. 


merciful, and just, not weak or vindictive. Supposing 
this, what is meant when He is asked, in the name ot' 
His infinite goodness, for salvation anterior to all merit? 
Who does not see here that what He is asked for is 
unreasonable, because He is asked for an action without 
its corresponding motive, an effect without its cause ? 
Singular contradiction ! man asks from God, in name of 
His infinite goodness, that which He daily condemns in 
man in name of his limited reason ! and he calls that 
in heaven a merciful and just act which on earth he 
daily condemns as the caprice of nervous women or the 
extravagance of tyrants ! 

As regards hell, its existence is absolutely necessary 
to render possible that perfect equilibrium God placed 
in all things, because it exists substantially in His 
divine perfections. Hell, considered as a penalty, is in 
perfect equilibrium with heaven, considered as a reward. 
The faculty of being lost could alone establish in man an 
equilibrium with the faculty of being saved ; and that 
the justice and mercy of God might be equally infinite, 
it was necessary that hell should exist, as the term of 
the former, simultaneously with heaven, as the term of 
the latter. Heaven so supposes hell, that without it, it 
cannot be explained nor conceived. These two things 
suppose each other, as a consequence supposes its prin- 
ciple, and a principle its consequence ; and as he who 
affirms the consequence which is in its principle, and 
the principle which contains its consequence, does not 
m reality affirm two different things, but one and the 
same, so he who affirms helL which is supposed in 


heaven, and heaven, which is supposed in hell, does not 
in reality affirm two different things, but one and the 
same. It is, then, logically necessary to admit those two 
affirmations, or to deny them with an absolute negation; 
but first of all we shall try to see what is denied by their 
negation. What is denied in man are the faculty of 
being saved and that of being lost; in God, His infinite 
justice and mercy. To these negations, which may be 
called personal, is added another, which is real — the 
negation of virtue and sin, good and evil, reward and 
punishment ; and as in these negations is involved that 
of all the laws of the moral world, the negation of hell 
logically involves that of the moral world and all its 
laws. And don't tell me that man could be saved 
without going to heaven, or lost without going to hell ; 
for the exemption from going to heaven or to hell is 
neither penalty nor reward, damnation nor salvation. 
The justice and mercy of God either do not exist, or 
are infinite ; if infinite, they must terminate, on the one 
hand, in hell, and, on the other, in heaven, or they exist 
in vain, which is only another manner of being as if they 
were not. 

Well, now, if this laborious demonstratioa proves, on 
one hand, that the faculty of being saved necessarily sup- 
poses that of being lost, and, on the other, that heaven 
necessarily supposes hell, it will follow that he who blas- 
phemes against God because He made hell, blasphemes 
against Him because He made heaven, and that he who 
asks to be exempt from the faculty of being lost, asks also 
to be exempt from the faculty of being saved. 



Manicheeism of Proudhon. 

Be the explanation given to the free will of man what it 
may, there is no doubt that it will always be one of our 
greatest and most tremendous mysteries. In any case,- 
it must be admitted that the faculty possessed by man 
of drawing evil from good, disorder from order, and of 
disturbing, even if only accidentally, the wonderful har- 
monies established by God in all things created, is a 
tremendous one, and, considered in itself, without relation 
to what limits or restrains it, to a certain degree incon- 
ceivable. The .free will given to man is a gift so 
'sublime and transcendental, that it appears rather an 
abdication on the part of God than a grace. See its 
effects if not. 

Cast your eye over the whole course of time, and you 
shall see how muddy and filthy flow the waters of that 
river on which humanity navigates. Away there, the 
rebellious Adam is at the head of a mutiny, and then 
comes Cain, the fratricide, and after him multitudes of 
people without God or law, blasphemers, fornicators, 
incestuous and adulterous; the few magnifiers of God 
anci His glory in the end forget His glory and magnifi- 
cence, and all tumultuously sail in a capacious ship 
down the muddy stream of the great river, with mad 
and fearful clamour, like a mutinous crew. And they 

know not whither they go, nor whence they came, nor 



the name of the ship which bears, nor the wind which 
impels, them. If now and again a mournfully prophetic 
voice is raised, and cries, Woe to the sailors ! woe to 
the ship ! the ship and sailors pay no attention, and 
the hurricanes increase, and the ship begins to creak, 
and the obscene dances and the splendid feasts, the 
frantic laugh and the mad clamour, are kept up, till in a 
solemn moment all at once cease — the splendid feast, 
the frantic laugh, the obscene dance, the mad clamour, 
the creaking of theship, and the howling of the hurricanes; 
the waters are over all, and silence sits on the waters, 
and the anger of God broods over the silent waters. 

God renews His work, and human liberty begins to 
undo the new divine work. A son is born to Noah 
who puts his father to the blush ; the father curses the 
son, and in him his whole generation, which shall be 
cursed to th.e end of time. After the Deluge the ante- 
diluvian history begins again : the children of God 
renew their battles with the children of men; here 
\% built the divine city, and opposite, the city of the 
world. In one, liberty is worshipped, in the other, 
Providence ; and liberty and. Providence, God and man, 
begin again that gigantic combat, whose thrilling vicissi- 
tudes are the subject of history. The partisans of God 
are everywhere defeated ; even the incommunicable and 
holy name of God sinks into profound oblivion, and 
men, in the frenzy of their victory, conspire to build 
a tower that might reach the heavens. The fire of 
heaven falls on the lofty tower, and God, in His anger, 
confounds the tongues of tribes ; the tribes are dis- 


persed through all the quarters of the world, and in- 
crease and multiply, and people all zones and regions. 
Here are raised great and populous cities, there are 
established gigantic empires, full of pride and pomp ; 
brutal and ferocious hordes wander in idleness through 
immense woods or boundless deserts. And the world 
burns in discords, and is deafened with the loud 
clamours of war. Empires fall on empires, cities on 
cities, nations on nations, races on races, and peoples on 
peoples, till the earth is one universal misfortune and 
conflagration. The abomination of desolation is in the 
world. And where is the God of might.-' What is 
He doing, that He thus abandons the field to human 
liberty, queen and mistress of the earth .■' Why does 
He tolerate that universal rebellion and tumult, and 
those idols which are raised up, and that great carnage, 
and those accumulated ruins .' 

One day He called a just man, .and said to him, " I 
will make thee the father of a posterity as numerous as 
the sands of the sea and the stars of the heavens ; from 
thy chosen race shall one day be born the Saviour of 
nations. I myself will govern it with my providence, and 
I will send my angels to bear it in their hands, that it 
may not fall. I shall be to it all prodigies, and it will 
witness to my omnipotence before the world : " — and His 
acts were in keeping with His words. When His people 
was enslaved, He sent it liberators ; when it had no 
country or home. He miraculously drew it out of Egypt, 
and gave it a home and a country. It suffered hunger, 
and He gave it plenty; it suffered thirst, and in obedience 


to His voice water gushed from the rocks; great 
multitudes of enemies opposed its passage, and the 
anger of God dissipated those great muhitudes Hke 
a cloud. It hung its wailing harps on the willows of 
Babylon, and He ransomed it from its miserable cap- 
tivity, and it again saw with gladdened eye, Jerusalem 
the holy, the predestined, the beautiful. He gave it 
incorruptible judges, who governed it in peace and 
justice ; god-fearing kings, renowned as prudent, glorious 
and wise ; He sent it, as His ambassadors, prophets, to 
discover to it His lofty designs, and make future things 
like the present. And that carnal and hard-hearted 
people buried His miracles in oblivion, rejected His 
warnings, abandoned His temple, broke into blas- 
phemies, fell into idolatry, outraged His incommuni- 
cable name, beheaded His holy prophets, and seethed 
in discords and rebellions. 

In the meantime the prophetic weeks of Daniel were 
completed, and He who was to come, sent by the 
Father for the redemption of the world and the con- 
solation of the nations, appeared on the earth, and see- 
ing Him so poor, so meek and humble, it despised 
His humility, outraged His poverty, mocked His meek- 
ness, became scandalised in Him, clothed Him in a 
fool's garment, and, secretly agitated by the infernal 
furies, made Him drain to the dregs the chalice of 
ignominy on the Cross, after having drained the chalice 
of infamy in Pilate's hall. 

Crucified by the Jews, He called the Gentiles, and the 
Gentiles came ; but after, as before, they carne, the 


world pursued the path of perdition, and sat in the 
shadows of death. His holy Church inherited from her 
divine Founder and Master the privilege of persecution 
and outrage, and was outraged and persecuted by- 
peoples, kings, and emperors. From her own bosom 
sprang those great heresies which surrounded her cradle, 
like monsters ready to devour her. In vain they fell 
prostrate at the feet of the divine Hercules : the 
tremendous battle between the divine and the human 
Hercules, between God and man, begins anew. Equal 
the fury, various are the issues. The field of battle is so 
extensive that on land, it stretches from sea to sea, and 
on sea, from land to land, and in the world, from pole to 
pole. The conquering hosts of Europe are vanquished 
in Asia, and those who succumb in Africa, triumph 
in America. There is no man, let him be aware of it or 
not, who is not a combatant in this hot contest ; no one 
who does not take an active part in the responsibility of 
the defeat or victory. The prisoner in his chains and 
the king on his throne, the poor and the rich, the 
healthy and the infirm, the wise and the ignorant, 
the captive and the free, the old man and the child, 
the civilised and the savage, share equally in the com- 
bat. Every word that is pronounced, is either inspired 
by God or by the world, and necessarily proclaims, 
implicitly or explicitly, but always clearly, the glory of 
the one or the triumph of the other. In this singular 
warfare we all fight through forced enlistment ; here 
the system of substitutes or volunteers finds no place. 
In it is unknown exception of sex or age ; here no 


attention is paid to him who says, I am the son of a 
poor widow ; nor to the mother of the paralytic, nor to 
the wife of the cripple. In this warfare all men born of 
woman are soldiers. 

And don't tell me you don't wish to fight; for the 
moment you tell me that, you are already fighting : nor 
that you don't know which side to join ; for while you are 
saying that, you have already joined a side : nor that 
you wish to remain neutral ; for while you are thinking 
to be so, you are so no longer : nor that you want to be 
indifferent; for I will laugh at you, because on pro- 
nouncing that word you have chosen your party. 
Don't tire yourself in seeking a place of security against 
the chances of the war, for you tire yourself in vain ; 
that war is extended as far as space, and prolonged 
through all time. In eternity alone, the country of the 
just, can you find rest, because there alone there is no 
combat : but do not imagine, however, that the gates 
of eternity shall be opened for you, unless you first 
show the wounds you bear ; those gates are only opened 
for those who gloriously fought here the battles of the 
Lord, and were, like the Lord, crucified. 

On turning his eyes to the spectacle presented by 
history, a man unillumined by_the light ofjf3.ith_neces- 
sarily falls into one of these two Manicheeisms : into the 
ancient, which consists in a"ffirmm"g~t:Tiat~ ther e is"lH ie 
principle of good and another of evil; that^ thQS£__two 
principles are incarnate in two gods, between whom 
there is perpetual war : or into that of Proudhon, which 
consists in affirming that God is the evil and man the 


good, t hat the h uman, and the divine, are two_ri^ 
powers, and that the only, duty , of man.Js-to-£Qiiqueir 
God, the enemy of man. 

Ffom the spectacle of perpetual warfare to which 
the world was condemned, come those two Manichean 
systems, one of which is in more conformity with ancient 
systems, and the other has a closer relation with modern 
doctrines ; and we are forced to tonfess, that when we 
consider the notorious fact of that gigantic combat 
in itself, and abstracting from the wonderful harmony 
formed by human and divine, visible and invisible, 
created and uncreated, things, considered in the aggre- 
gate, that fact is sufficiently explained by either of 
those two systems. 

There is no difficulty in explaining any fact, consi- 
dered in itself. There is no fact which, considered thus, 
cannot be sufficiently explained by a hundred different 
hypotheses. The difficulty consists in fulfilling the 
metaphysical condition of every explanation, which 
requires for the true elucidation of every notorious fact, 
that other notorious and evident facts be not left inex- 
plicable nof unexplained in it. 

Any Manichean system explains whatevef by its 
nature supposes a dualism ; and a battle supposes it ; but 
leaves without explanation what is by nature one ; and 
reason, even unilluminated by faith, is capable of demon- 
strating, either that God does not exist, or if He exists. 
He is one. In any Manichean system the battle is 
explained, but in none the definitive victory ; as the 
definitive victory of evil over good, or of good over evil, 


supposes the definitive suppression of the one or the 
other, and what exists with a substantial and necessary- 
existence, cannot be definitely suppressed. In this 
supposition we find, by way of consequence, that there 
is something inexplicable in the very battle we thought 
sufficiently explained, as every battle is inexplicable in 
which all definitive victory is impossible. 

If from what is generally absurd in every Manichean 
explanation, we pass to what is specially absurd in the 
explanation of Proudhon, we shall clearly see, that to 
the general absurdity of all Manicheeism are here added 
all particular and possible absurdities, and that even 
things are met with in that explanation unworthy the 
majesty of the absurd. In fact, when citizen Proudhon 
calls good evil, and evil good, he does not utter an 
absurdity — the absurd requires higher genius — he is 
only guilty of buffoonery. The absurd is not in uttering 
it, but in uttering it without object. The moment it is 
said that good and evil coexist in man and God, locally 
and substantially, the question which consists in in- 
vestigating in which the evil and in which the good 
exists, is a foolish one. Man will call God the evil and 
himself the good, and God will call Himself the good 
and man the evil. Evil and good will be in all places 
and in no place. The only question, then, lies in 
discovering who will gain the victory. If evil and 
good are, in that supposition, things indifferent, there is 
no necessity for falling into the ridiculous puerility of 
contradicting the common sense of the human race. 
The pecuha'r absurdity of citizen Proudhon consists in 


the fact that his dualism is a dualism of three members, 
constituting an absolute unity ; whence we see that his 
absurdity is a mathematical, rather than a religious, 
one. God is evil, man is good — this is the Manichean 
dualism. But in man, who is the good, there is one power 
essentially instinctive, and another essentially logical. 
By the first he is God, by the second he is man ; whence 
it follows that the two unities are resolved into three, 
without ceasing to be two ; for beyond man and God 
there is no substantial good or evil, no combatants, no 
anything. Let us see now how the two unities, which 
are three, are converted into one, without ceasing to be 
two and three unities. Unity is in God ; for, besides 
being God, by the instinctive power which is in man. He 
is man. Unity is in man ; for, though he is man by his 
logical, he is God by his instinctive, power : whence it 
follows that man is man and God at the same time. 
It results from all this, that dualism, without ceasing to 
be so, is trinity ; that trinity, without ceasing to be so, is 
dualism ; that dualism, and trinity, without ceasing to be 
what they are, are unity ; and that unity which is unity, 
without ceasing to be trinity, and dualism, without 
ceasing to be trinity, is in all places. 

If citizen Proudhon had said of himself what he does 
not say, viz., that he is sent, and then demonstrated, 
what he could not demonstrate, viz., that his mission is 
divine ; the theory I am after explaining should still be 
rejected as absurd and impossible. The personal union 
of evil and good, considered as existing substantially, is 
impossible and absurd, because it involves an evident 


contradiction. In the personal variety and substantial 
unity which constitute the Christian's one and triple 
God, as in the personal unity and substantial variety 
which constitute the Son made man, according to the 
Catholic dogma, there is a profound obscurity ; but 
there is no logical impossibility, however, because there 
is no contradiction in terms. If there be much obscurity, 
there is, however, no essential contradiction in the eyes 
of reason, in saying of three persons that they have the 
same fundamental substance, as there is no contradic- 
tion, though great obscurity, in the eyes of our under- 
standing, in saying that two different substances are 
sustained by the same person. In what there is radical 
impossibility, because there is an evident absurdity, a 
palpable contradiction, is in saying, after asserting the 
substantial existence of good and evil, that evil and 
good, substantially existing, are sustained by the same 
person. Wonderful ! man cannot fly from the Catholic 
obscurity, without condemning himself to grope in one 
more dense, nor escape from that which paralyses his 
reason, without falling into that which denies, because 
it contradicts, it. 

• And don't imagine the world follows the footsteps 
of rationalism, in spite of its absurd contradictions 
and dense obscurity ; it follows them on account of 
that dense obscurity and those absurd contradictions. 
Reason follows error wherever it goes, as a tender 
mother would follow, wherever it went, even if it were 
to the profound abyss, the beloved fruit of her love, and 
offspring of her womb. Error will kill it; but what 


matter if it is a mother, and dies at the hands of its 
offspring ? 


How the dogmas of providence and liberty are saved by 
Catholicity, without falling into the theory of 
rivalry between God and man. 

In nothing does the incomparable beauty of Catholic 

solutions shine with more splendour than in their 

universality, that incommunicable attribute of divine 

solutions. No sooner is a Catholic solution received, 

than all the objects hitherto obscure and cloudy have 

light thrown on them; night becomes day, and order 

springs from chaos. There is none of them which does 

not possess that attribute and that secret virtue, whence 

comes the grand marvel of universal light. In those 

seas of light there is only one dark point, that in which 

lies the solution which penetrates the universe with its 

light. This consists in the fact, that man not being 

God, cannot be in possession of that divine attribute by 

which the Lord sees with ineffable light, all that He 

created. Man is condemned to receive the explanation 

of the light from the darkness, and of the darkness from 

the light. To him there is nothing evident but what 

proceeds from an impenetrable mystery. Between 

mysterious and evident things, however, there is this 

notable difference, that man can obscure the evident, 

but cannot make the mysterious clear. When he rejects, 


for the purpose of entering into the possession of that 
ineffable light which is in God and not in himself, the 
divine solutions as obscure, he falls into the intricate and 
gloomy labyrinth of human solutions. Then what we 
have demonstrated occurs : his solution is particular — as 
particular, incomplete — and as incomplete, false. At 
first sight he appears to solve something ; on farther 
consideration we find he solves nothing he appeared to 
have solved ; and reason, which at first accepted his 
solution as plausible, ends by rejecting it as insufficient, 
contradictory, and absurd. As far as the question we 
are discussing is concerned, this was completely demon- 
strated in the last chapter. After demonstrating the 
evident insufficiency of the human, it only remains to 
demonstrate the supreme efficacy and sublime conveni- 
ence of the Catholic, solution. 
'i^ God, who is the absolute good, is the supreme fabri- 
cator of all good, and all He does is good. It was 
equally impossible for God to give to the creature any- 
thing He had not, as to give him all He had. Two 
things are totally impossible, viz., that He could give to 
anything the evil He does not possess, or the absolute 
good : both impossibilities are evident, as it is impossible 
to conceive that any one can give what he has not, or 
that the Creator could be absorbed in the creature ; and 
He is unable to communicate His own absolute good- 
ness, which would be to communicate Himself, ftor evil, 
which would be to communicate what He has not. He 
communicates relative good, and thereby all He can com- 
municate, viz., something of that which is in Him, and is 


not He himself, establishing between Himself and the 
creature that likeness which testifies to its origin, and 
that difference which proves the distance between them. 
In this way every creature proclaims by its presence 
who its Creator is, and that itself is only His creature. 

God being the Creator of all things created, all things 
created are good, with a relative goodness. Man is 
good inasmuch as he is man, the angel as angel, and 
the tree as tree. Even the prince who flashes like light- 
ning in the abyss, and the abyss in which he flashes, are 
good and excellent things. The prince of the abyss is 
good in himself, because in being what he is, he ceases 
not to be an angel, and God is the Creator of angelic 
nature, which is superior to all things created. Jiie— 
abyss is good in itse lf, because it is ordained to aa^end 
sovereignly good. 

And notwithstanding that all created essences are 
good and excellent, Catholicity says that evil is in the 
world, and its ravages are great and awful. The ques- 
tion then consists in investigating, on the one hand, 
what evil is ; and on the other, in what it has its origin ; 
and finally, how it contributes with its dissonance to 
the universal harmony. 

Evil has its ori gin in the use m an made of_thg..faculty 
of choosing, w hich, as we said, constitutes the imperfec- , 
tion of human liberty. The faculty of choosing was 
coiifihed within certain limits, established by the very 
nature of things. All being good, that faculty could 
not consist in choosing between the good things which 
necessarily existed, and the evil, which did not exist at 


all. It consisted solely in adhering to the g'ood, or in 
separating from the evil ; in affirming it by its union, or 
denying it by its separation. The understanding of man 
withdrew from the divine understanding, which was equi- 
valent to separating from truth; separated from the truth, 
it ceased to understand it. The human will withdrewfrom 
the divine, which was equal to separating from the good ; 
separated from the good, it ceased to will it. Having 
ceased to will, it ceased to execute, it ; and as, on the 
other hand, man could not cease to exercise his intimate 
and permanent faculties, which consisted in understand- 
ing, willing, and acting, he continued to understand, will, 
and act, although what he understood, separated from 
God, was not the truth, which is in God alone, nor what he 
willed, the good, which is in God alone, nor could what 
he did be the good, which he neither understood, nor 
willed, and which, not being understood by his intellect, 
nor accepted by his will, could not be the term of his 
actions. Error, which is the negation of truth, was, then, 
the term of his understanding ; evil, which is the nega- 
tion of the good, of his will ; and the term of his actions 
was sin, which is the simultaneous negation of truth 
and goodness, which are only different manifestations 
of the same thing, considered in two different points of 
view. As sin denies all that God affirms with His 
intellect, which is the truth, and with His will, which 
is the good ; and there being in God no other affir 
mations but that of the good, which is in His will, 
and that of the truth, which is in His understanding; 
and God being only those two affirmations considered 


substantially — it follows that sin, which denies all that 
God affirms, virtually denies God in all His affirmations; 
and by denying Him, and doing nothing but deny Him, 
is the universal and absolute negation — the negation 
par excellence. 

That negation did not, or could not, affect the 
essence of things, which exist independently of the 
human will, and which were after, as well as before, the 
prevarication, not only good in themselves, but even 
perfect and excellent. Still, if sin did not deprive them 
of their excellence, it deprived them of that sovereign 
harmony which their divine Maker established in them, 
and is that delicate bond and that perfect order with 
which they were united one with another, and all with 
Him, when He drew them from chaos, after having 
drawn them from nothingness, by an effect of His 
infinite goodness. Through that perfect order and 
that admirable bond, all things moved directly towards 
God with an irresistible and regulated motion. The 
angel, a pure spirit inflamed with love, gravitated to- 
wards God, the centre of all spirits, with an, amorous and 
vehement gravitation. Man, less perfect, but not less 
amorous, fallowed with his gravitation the movement 
of the angelic gravitation, to become confounded with 
the angel in the bosom of God, the centre of angelic 
and hunaan gravitations. Matter itself, agitated by a 
secret movement of ascension, followed the gravitation 
of spirits towards that supreme Maker who drew all 
things to Him without effort. And as all these things, 
considered in themselves, are the exterior manifesta- 


tions of the essential good which is in God, this manner 
of being is the exterior manifestation of His manner 
of being, perfect and excellent as His essence itself. 
Things were made in such a way, that they had one 
perfection mutable and another necessary and inamis- 
sible. Their inamissible and necessary perfection was 
that essential good which God placed in every creature ; 
their mutable perfection was that manner of being that 
God willed they should have, when He drew them from 
nothingness. God willed they should ever be what 
they are ; He did not, however, will they should neces- 
sarily be in the same manner. He withdrew the 
essences from all jurisdiction but His own ; He placed, 
for a time, the order in which they exist under the 
jurisdiction of those beings which He formed intelli- 
gent and free. Whence it follows that the evil pro- 
duced by the free angelic, or the free human, will, 
could be, and was, nothing but the negation of the 
order which God established in all things created ; 
which negation is involved in the very word that 
signifies it, with which is affirmed the very thing 
that is denied ; that negation is called disorder. Dis- 
order is the negation of order, that is to say, of the 
divine affirmation, relative to the manner of being of all 
things. And as order consists in the union of the 
things which God willed should be united, and the 
separation of those which He willed should be sepa- 
rated ; so disorder consists in uniting the things which 
God willed should be separated, and separating those 
which God willed should be united. 


The disorder caused by the angelic rebellion, con- 
sisted in estrangement on the part of the rebel angel 
from its God, who was its centre, by means of a change 
in its manner of being, which consisted in the con- 
version of its movement of gravitation towards its God, 
into a movement of rotation around itself. 

The disorder caused by the prevarication of man, was 
similar to that caused by the rebellion of the angel, as it 
is impossible to be a rebel and prevaricator in two ways 
essentially different. Man, having ceased to gravitate 
towards his God with his understanding, his willj and his 
works, constituted himself his centre, and was the ulti- 
mate end of his actions, of his will, and of his under- 

The disturbance caused by this prevarication was 
deep and profound. When man had separated from his 
God, all his powers separated at once, one from the 
other, constituting themselves so many divergent 
centres. His understanding lost its authority over his 
will, his will lost its authority over his actions, the flesh 
escaped from the obedience it owed the spirit, and the 
spirit, which had been subject to God, fell into slavery 
to the flesh. All had been previously concord and 
harmony in man ; all was afterwards war, tumult, con- 
tradictions, and discord. His nature was converted from 
sovereignly harmonious, into profoundly antithetical. 

This disorder caused in him by himself, was trans- 
mitted by him to the universe, and to the manner of 
being of all things; all were subject to him, and all 
rebelled against him. When he ceased to be the slav^ 


of God, he ceased to be the prince of the earth ; which 
will not cause us wonder, if we consider that the titles 
of his terrestrial monarchy were founded in his divine 
slavery. The animals, to which he, in token of his 
dominion, had given their names, ceased to hear his 
voice, and to understand his word, and to obey his com- 
mand. The earth was filled with weeds, the heavens 
became leaden, the very flowers armed themselves with 
thorns. Entire nature was, as it were, possessed by 
a mad fury against him : the seas, on beholding him 
approach, tossed their waves wildly, and their abysses 
resounded with awful clamour ; the mountains raised 
their tops to the heavens to stop his path ; the torrents 
rushed over his fields, and over his fragile dwellings 
swept the hurricanes ; the reptiles spat their venom at 
him, the herbs distilled poisons for him ; at every step he 
dreaded an ambuscade, and in every ambuscade, death. 
The Catholic explanation of evil once accepted, 
all that which without it appeared, and was in fact, 
inexplicable, is naturally explained. If the evil do not 
exist in a substantial manner, but rather negatively, it 
cannot serve as matter for a creation, and so the diffi- 
culty which arose from the co-existence of two different 
and simultaneous creations, naturally ceases. That 
difficulty was increasing, the more advance was made 
by that rough road, as the dualism of the creation 
necessarily supposed another dualism, more repugnant 
still ,to human reason — the essential dualism in the 
divinity, which must be conceived as a simple essence. 
Or cannot be conceived at all. With that divine dualism 


comes to the ground the idea of a rivalry at once im- 
possible and necessary — necessary, because two gods 
who contradict each other, and two essences which are 
repugnant, are condemned, by the very nature of things, 
to a perpetual quarrel — impossible, because a definitive 
victory is the final object of every contest (and here the 
definitive victory consists in the suppression of the evil 
by the good, or of the good by the evil), and neither 
one nor the other can be suppressed, because what exists 
in an essential manner, necessarily exists. From the im- 
possibility of the suppression follows the impossibility 
of the victory, and from the impossibility of the victory, 
final object of the contest, the radical impossibility of 
the contest itself. With the divine, in which every 
Manichean system ends, disappears the human, con- 
tradiction, to which the substantial co-existence of 
good and evil in man must lead. That contradiction is 
absurd, and because absurd, inconceivable. To affirm 
of man that he is at one and the same time essentially 
good and essentially bad, is the same as to affirm one of 
these two things : either that man is composed of two 
contrary essences, thus uniting what the Manichean 
system is obliged to separate in the Divinity ; or that 
the essence of man is one, and being one, is good and 
bad at the same time, which is to affirm all that is 
denied, and to deny all that is affirmed, of one and the 
same thing. 

In the Catholic system the evil exists, but it does 
not exist essentially. The evil considered thus, is 
synonymous with disorder ; for it is nothing else, if well 


examined, but the disordered manner in which the 
things are, that have not ceased to be essentially good, 
and which, through some secret and mysterious cause, 
have ceased to be well ordered. The CathoHc system 
points out that secret and mysterious cause, and in the 
assigning of it, if there be much that exceeds, there is 
nothing which contradicts or is repugnant to, reason, as, 
for the explanation of the perturbation of the manner 
of things, which even after being disturbed, preserve 
their essences entire and pure, there is no necessity to 
have recourse to a divine intervention, with which there 
would be no proportion between the effect and the 
cause ; it is enough, to explain the fact sufficiently, to 
have recourse to the anarchical intervention of the 
intelligent and free beings, which if they could not alter, 
in some way, the marvellous order of creation and its 
concerted harmonies, could not be considered either 
as free or as intelligent. Of the evil, considered as 
accidental and ephemeral, these two things can be 
asserted without contradiction and without repugnance 
— first, that as far as it is evil, it could not be the work 
of God ; second, that as far as it is ephemeral and 
accidental, it could be the work of man. In this way 
the affirmations of reason become confounded with the 
Catholic affirmations. 

The Catholic system once supposed, all absurdities 
disappear, and all contradictions are suppressed. In 
this system the creation is one and God is one, with 
which the war of the gods is suppressed with the divine 
dualism. The evil exists, because if it did not exist, 


human liberty could not be conceived ; but the evil 
exists as an accident, not as an essence, for if it were 
an essence and not an accident, it would be the work of 
God, the Creator of all things, which involves a con- 
tradiction, repugnant both to the divine and human 
reason. The evil comes from man and is in man, and 
by coming from and being in him, far from there being 
any contradiction, there is a great convenience. The 
convenience is in this, that as the evil could not be the 
work of God, man could not choose it, if he did not 
create it, and he would not be free if he could not 
choose it. There is no contradiction whatever in it ; 
for when Catholicism affirms of man that he is good in 
his essence and bad by accident, she does not affirm of 
him the same thing she denies of him. To affirm of 
man that he is bad by accident and good by essence, is 
not to say contradictory things of him, but things in 
which there can be no contradiction, because they are 
totally different. 

In fine, the Catholic system being once accepted, the 
blasphemous and impious system, which consists in 
supposing a perpetual rivalry between God and man, 
between the Creator and the creature, falls levelled to 
the ground. Man, author of the evil, accidental and 
transitory of itself, is not on the same standing with 
God, creator, supporter, and governor of all essences, and 
of all things. Between those two beings, separated by 
an infinite distance, there is no imaginable rivalry or 
possible contest. In the Manichean and Proudhonian 
systems, the battle between the Creator of the essential 


good and the creator of the essential evil, was incon- 
ceivable and absurd, because the victory was impossible. 
In the Catholic system there can be no supposition 
of a contest between two parties, one of which must 
necessarily be victorious, and the other necessarily 
vanquished. Two conditions are necessary for the exist- 
ence of a contest : that the victory be possible, and 
that it be uncertain. Every battle is absurd when the 
victory is certain, or when it is impossible ; from which 
it follows, that no matter how they are considered, those 
great battles are absurd, which are entered on for uni- 
versal domination or for supreme power, whether the 
sovereign be one, or the rulers two : in the first case, 
because he who is one will be perfectly alone ; in the 
.second, because the two will never become one, and 
will be two perpetually. Those gigantic combats are 
of such a nature, that either they are decided before 
commenced, or they are not decided after they are 
entered on. 


Secret analogies between the moral and physical per- 
turbations, all derived from the liberty of man. 

How far the ravages of sin have gone, and to what 
extent the whole face of creation has been changed by 
so lamentable a misfortune, is a matter beyond human 
investigations ; but what is above all doubt is, that in 


Adam his spirit and his flesh were conjointly degraded, 
the former by pride, and the latter by concupiscence. 

The cause of the physical and the moral degradation 
being the same, they present wonderful analogies in their 
various manifestations. 

We have said that sin, the primitive cause of all de- 
gradation, was nothing but a disorder ; and as order con- 
sisted in the perfect equilibrium of all things created, and 
that equilibrium in the hierarchical subordination they 
observed one with another, and in the absolute subordi- 
nation they all maintained with their Creator, it follows 
that sin or disorder, which is the same thing, consisted in 
nothing but the relaxation of that hierarchical subordi- 
nation which things had among themselves, and of the 
absolute subordination in which they were with respect to 
the Supreme Being, or what is the same, in the destruc- 
tion of that perfect equilibrium, and of that wonderful 
union in which all things were placed. And as effects 
are always analogous to their causes, all the effects of 
sin became, to a certain extent, what their causes were, a 
disorder, a disunion, a disequilibrium. 

Sin was the disunion of man and God. 

Sin produced a moral and a physical disorder. 

The moral disorder consisted in the ignorance of the 
understanding, and in the weakness of the will. 

The ignorance of the understanding was nothing but 
its disunion from the divine understanding. The 
weakness of the will was in its disunion from the 
supreme will. 

The physical disorder produced by sin, consisted in 


sickness and in death ; well now, sickness is nothing 
but the disorder, the disunion, the disequilibrium of the 
constituent parts of our body. 

Death is nothing but that same disunion, that 
same disorder, that same disequilibrium carried to the 

Therefore the physical and moral disorder, ignorance 
and the weakness of the will on one part, and . sick- 
ness and death on the other, are one and the same 

This will be seen more clearly by merely considering 
that all these disorders, as well physical as moral, take 
the same denomination at the point where they end, and 
the point where they begin. 

The concupiscence of the flesh, and the pride of the 
spirit, are called by the same name — sin ; the definite 
disunion of the soul and God, and that of the body and 
the soul, are called by the same name — death. 

From this we see the connection between the physical 
and the moral world is so close, that it is only in the 
middle their difference can be observed, as they are 
one and the same thing in their end and in their begin- 
ning. And how could it be otherwise if the physical, 
as well as the moral world, comes from God, and ends 
in God; if God is before sin, and after death .' 

For the rest, that close connection between the 
moral and the physical world might be unknown to 
the earth, which is purely corporeal, and to the angels, 
which are pure spirits j but how could that mystery 
be hidden from man, composed of an immortal soul. 


iiud of a corporeal matter, and who is placed by God 
in the confluence of two worlds ? 

Nor did that great perturbation produced by sin 
end here, as not only Adam became subject to sick- 
ness and to death, but the earth was cursed on his 
account, and in his name. 

With regard to that tremendous and, to a certain 
degree, incomprehensible curse, without appearing to 
presume to penetrate mysteries so obscure, and acknow- 
ledging, as we do, that the judgments of God are as 
secret as His works are marvellous, it appears to us, 
nevertheless, that if the mysterious relation which God 
has placed between the moral and the physical world, 
be once confessed, and is practically, though in a certain 
manner inexplicably, visible in man, to a certain degree, 
everything else is of little consequence in this profound 
mystery; for the mystery is in the law of relation, 
rather than in the applications which can be made of 
it by way of consequence. 

It is well to remark here, in proof of what we have 
said, and to make this difficult subject more clear, 
that physical things cannot be considered as endowed 
with an independent existence — as existing in them- 
selves, by themselves, and for themselves, but rather 
as manifestations of spiritual things, which alone have 
in themselves the reason of their existence. God being 
a pure spirit, and the beginning and end of all things, 
it is clear that all things, in- their beginning and in their 
end, are spiritual. This being so, physical things are 
either vain phenomena, and do not ex'st, or if they 

Cornell Catholic 
Union Library. 


exist, exist by God and for God ; which means that 
they exist by the spirit and for the spirit ; from which 
we infer, that whenever there is a disturbance, be it 
what it may, in the spiritual, there must necessarily be 
another analogous in the corporeal, regions ; as it is 
impossible to conceive that things themselves could 
be at rest, when there is a perturbation in what is the 
beginning and end of all things. 

The perturbation, then, produced by sin was and 
should be general, was and should be common to the 
high and to the low regions, to those of all spirits, and 
to those of all bodies. The countenance of God, pre- 
viously placid and serene, was disturbed with anger ; 
His seraphim changed colour, the earth bristled with 
thorns and weeds, and its plants were parched, and its 
trees withered, and its herbs dried up, and its fountains 
ceased , to distil sweet liquor, and it was fruitful in 
poisons, and it covered itself with obscure, impene- 
trable, dreadful forests, and it crowned itself with 
wild mountains, and there was one zone torrid, and 
another deadly cold, and it was consumed by heat 
and nipped with frost, and impetuous whirlwinds sprang 
up on all its horizons, and its four corners were deafened 
with the noise of these hurricanes. 

Man being placed in the centre of this universal 
disorder, at once his work and his chastisement, he 
himself being disordered more deeply and radically 
than the rest of creation, he was exposed, without 
other help than that of the divine mercy, to the 
impetuous current of all the physical ills, and of all 


the moral tortures. His life was all temptation and 
battle, his wisdom ignorance, ■ his will all weakness, 
his flesh all corruption. Every one of his actions was 
accompanied with a regret ; every one of his pleasures 
had bitter dregs, or was followed by acute pain ; his 
griefs were counted by his desires, his illusions by 
his hopes, and his disenchantments by his illusions. 
His memory served as a torture, his prevision as a 
torment ; his imagination only served to throw fringes 
of purple and gold over his nakedness and misery. 
Enamoured of the good to which he was born, he pur- 
sued the path of evil on which he had entered ; feeling 
the necessity of a God, he fell into the unfathomable 
abysses of all superstitions. Condemned to suffer — who 
will be capable of counting his misfortunes } Con- 
demned to labour with fatigue — who knows the number 
of his toils .■• Condemned to perpetual sweat on his 
brow — who will mark the number of drops of sweat that 
have fallen from his brow 'i 

Place man as high as possible, or as low as you wish, 
nowhere will he be exempt from that penalty which 
came to us from our first sin. If calumny does not 
reach him who 'is high, envy reaches him ; if envy does 
not reach him who is low, calumny does. Where is the 
flesh that has not endured pain, or the spirit that has 
not suffered grief .' Who was ever so high that he feared 
not to fall } Who ever believed so firmly in the con- 
stancy of fortune, that he did not fear its reverses ? 
We men, in our birth, in our life, and in our death, are al] 
alike, because we are all culpable, and are all punished. 


If birth, if life, and if death, be not a penalty, how 
is it that we are born, that we live and die as every- 
thing else is born, lives^ and dies ? Why do we die full 
of terrors ? Why do we live full of grief? And why do 
we come to the world, when we are born, with our arms 
crossed on our breast, in a penitent posture ? , And why, 
on opening our eyes to the light, do we open them to 
weep, and our first salute is a sob ? 

Historical facts confirm the dogmas we have just 
expounded, and all their mysterious consequences. 
The Saviour of the world, to the edification and the 
profound dread of the few just men who followed Him, 
and to the scandal of the doctors, blotted out sins by 
curing diseases, and cured diseases by blotting out sins ; 
now suppressing the cause by means of the suppression 
of the effects, and now the effects by means of the sup- 
pression of the cause. When a paralytic was placed in 
His presence, on an occasion when He was surrounded 
by a multitude of doctors and Pharisees, He raised His 
voice and said to him, " Have confidence, my son, I 
remit your sins." Those that were present were scan- 
dalised in their heart, thinking, on one side, that the 
claim to the power of absolving was pride and madness 
in the Nazarene ; and on the other, that it was extrava- 
gant to attempt to cure diseases by absolving from sin. 
And as the Lord saw these culpable thoughts rising in 
the minds of those people. He immediately added, 
"And that they may know that the. Son of man hath 
power on earth to forgive sins, I say to thee. Arise, take 
up thy bed, and go unto thy house ; " and it happened 


as He said ; by which He demonstrated that the power 
of curing, and that of absolving, are one and the same 
power, and that sin and sickness are one and the same 

Before going farther, it may be well to remark here, 
in confirmation of what we have said, two things worth 
remembering; first, that the Lord, before placing the 
heavy weight of the crimes of the world on His shoulders, 
was exempt from all bodily infirmity, or even indisposi- 
tion, because He was exempt from sin; second, that 
when He placed the sins of all nations on His head, He 
voluntarily accepted the effects as He had accepted the 
causes, and the consequences as He accepted the princi- 
ples. He accepted pain, regarding it as the inseparable 
companion of sin, and He sweated blood in the Garden, 
and He felt pain from the blow in the Pretorium, and 
He fainted with the weight of the cross, and He suffered 
thirst on Calvary, and a tremendous agony on the 
shameful wood, and He saw death coming with terror, 
and He groaned deep and mournfully on commending 
His spirit to His blessed Father. 

As regards the wonderful consonance of which we 
spoke, between the disorders of the moral and those of 
the physical world, the human race proclaims it, with 
one voice, without comprehending it, as if a supernatural 
and invincible power obliged it to bear testimony to the 
great mystery : the voice of all traditions, the sentiments 
of all peoples, the vague rumours scattered by the 
winds, the echoes of the whole world, all tell us myste- 
riously of a great physical and moral disorder which 


happened in times anterior to the Aurora of history, in 
consequence of a primitive fault, whose enormity was 
such that it cannot be comprehended by the intellect, 
nor expressed in words. Even yet, if by chance the 
elements become disordered, and there are strange 
phenomena in the celestial spheres, and great chastise- 
ments of discord, of pestilence, of famine visitations,^ — 
if the seasons change the placid course of their har- 
monious rotation, and are confounded, and battle with 
one another, — if the earth is convulsed with earth- 
quakes, and if the winds, freed from the reins that 
curbed their impetuosity, become hurricanes, then rises 
immediately from the womb of peoples, guardians of 
the tremendous tradition, a persistent and tremulous 
voice, which seeks the cause of the unusual disturbance 
in a crinle sufficient to enrage the Divinity, and bring 
on the earth the maledictions of Heaven. 

That these vague rumours are sometimes unfounded, 
and generally the offspring of the ignorance of the laws 
which preside over the cause of natural phenomena, is 
very evident ; but it is no less evident in our eyes that 
the error is in the application and not in the idea, 
in the consequence and not in the principle, in the 
practice and not in the theory. The tradition exists, 
and bears perpetual testimony to the truth in spite of all 
its false applications. The multitudes may err, and do 
err frequently, when they affirm that such a sin is the 
cause of such a disorder ; but they neither err nor can 
err, when they assert that disorder is the offspring of 
sin. And exactly because the tradition, considered in 


its generality, is the manifestation and the visible form 
of an absolute truth, for that very reason it is difficult, 
and almost impossible, to rid people of the concrete 
errors they fall into in its applications. What the tradi- 
tion has of truth gives consistence to what is false in the 
application, and the concrete error lives and grows 
under the protection of the absolute truth. 

Nor is history wanting in remarkable examples, which 
come in support of this universal tradition, transmitted 
from father to son, from family to family, from race to 
race, from people to people, and from region to region, 
through the whole human race, even to the extremities 
of the earth ; for whenever crime has risen to a certain 
level, and has filled its measure, then tremendous 
catastrophes have visited nations, and rude shocks 
disturbed the world. First of all, there occurred that 
universal perversion of which the Holy Scriptures 
tell us, when all men, joined in the same apostacy, 
and in the same forgetfulness of God, lived without other 
good, and without other law, than their criminal desires 
and their frantic passions; and then, when the cup 
of divine wrath was full, that great conflict and that 
portentous inundation of waters swept over the earth, 
burying everything in universal destruction and in 
common ruin, and levelling the mountains with the 
valleys. When the ages afterwards reached the middle 
of their course, it happened, in fulfilment of the ancient 
prophecies and of the ancient promises, that the Desired 
of nations came to the world. The time of His coming 
was remarkable above all for the perversity and mahce 


of men, and for the universal corruption of morals. To 
this was added, that one day, of sad and tearful memory, 
the most tearful and sad of all that had passed since 
the creation, a people, blind and maddened, as if it were 
drunk with wine, raised its countenance, disturbed with 
the frenzy of passion, took its God in its hands, and 
made Him the object of its mockery, accumulated 
all sorts of affronts' on Him, and loaded His meek 
shoulders with all kinds of ignominies, raised Him on 
high, and murdered Him on the cross between two 
thieves. Then again the cup of divine wrath flowed 
over : the sun withdrew his rays, the veil of the temple 
was rent in two, the rocks were split, and the whole 
earth suffered shocks and earthquakes. 

Many other examples might be adduced in confir- 
mation of the mysterious harmony which is observed 
between the moral and physical disturbances, and in sup- 
port of the universal tradition which in all parts testifies 
to and proclaims it ; but on account of the grandeur 
of those we have mentioned, we may regard the subject 
as terminated. 


The. angelic and the human prevarications — Greatness 
and enormity of sin. 

UF to this I have given the Catholic theory about evil, 
the offspring of sin, and about sin, which comes to us 


from human liberty, which moves in a wide field in its 
limited sphere, under the eye and with the consent of 
that sovereign Lord, who, making everything with 
weight, number, and measure, settled matters so well, 
that neither His providence may oppress the free will 
of man, nor the ravages of the latter, great and awful 
as they are, prejudice His glory. Before proceeding 
further, however, it strikes me as in keeping with the 
majesty of the subject, to give a connected account of 
that awful tragedy which commenced in heaven and 
ended in Eden, leaving aside the reflections and objec- 
tions which were disposed of in another place, and 
would only serve to obscure the beauty, at once simple 
and imposing, of this lamentable history. We have 
already seen how the Catholic theory is above all others, 
by the profound adaptibility of all its solutions ; now 
we shall see how the facts on which it is founded 
are superior to all primitive stories, in their grandeur 
and dramatic effect. Up to this we discovered their 
beauty by comparisons and deductions ; now we shall 
admire their beauty in themselves, without permitting 
our eyes to wander to other objects. 

Before the creation of man, and in times removed be- 
yond human investigations, God had created the angels, 
happy and perfect creatures, whom He permitted to 
gaze attentively on the brightest splendours of His face, 
bathed in a sea of unutterable delights, and perpetually 
absorbed in contemplation of Him. The angels were 
pure spirits, and the excellence of their nature was 

greater than that of the nature of man, composed of an 



immortal' soul and of the slime of the earth. By its 
simple nature the angel was connected with God, whilst 
by its intelligence, by its liberty, and by its limited 
wisdom, it had been fornied to be connected with man ; 
as man by his spiritual portion had intercourse with the 
angel, and by his corporeal matter with the physical 
world, which was at the service of his will, and under the 
obedience of his word. And all creatures came into 
being with the inclination and the capacity of being 
transformed, and of ascending by the immense ladder, 
which, beginning in the lowliest beings, ended in that 
sublime Being who is above all beings, and whom the 
heavens and the earth, men and angels, know by a name 
which is above all names. The physical world panted 
to rise and become spiritualised, in a certain way, like 
man ; and man, to become more spiritualised like the 
angel ; and the angel, to assimilate itself more to that 
perfect Being, the source of all life, the Creator of all 
creatures, whose height no rule can measure, and whose 
immensity no bounds can contain. All had come from 
God, and, rising, should return to God, who was their be- 
ginning and their origin ; and as all had come from Him, 
and should return to Him, there was nothing which did 
not contain a spark, more or less resplendent, of His 

In this way the infinite variety was reduced of itself 

to that ample unity which created all things, and placed 

in them a striking concert and a wonderful bond, 

separating those that were confused, and collecting 

■ those that were scattered. From which we see that the 


act of creation was complex, and composed of two 
different acts, namely, of that by which God gave 
existence to what previously had none ; and of that 
other, by means of which He regulated all that He 
had given existence to. By the first of these acts He 
revealed His power of creating all substances which 
sustain all forms ; with the second, the power He had of 
creating all the forms which embellish all substances. 
And as there is no substance beyond those created by 
God, neither is there any beauty beyond what He 
placed in things. For this reason, the universe, which 
signifies everything created by God, is the aggregate 
of all substances ; and order, which signifies the form 
that God placed in things, is the aggregate of all 
beauties. Beyond God there is no creator, beyond 
order there is no beauty, beyond the universe there is 
no creature. 

If all beauty consists in the order established by God 
in the beginning, and if beauty, justice, and goodness are 
the same thing regarded in different lights, it follows 
that beyond the order established by God, there is no 
goodness, nor beauty, nor justice ; and as these three 
things constitute the Supreme Good, the established 
order which contains them all is the Supreme Good. 

There being no sort of good beyond the established 
order, there is nothing beyond the established order that 
is not an evil, nor is there any evil that does not con- 
sist in escaping beyond the established order. For this 
reason, as the established order is the supreme good, 
disorder is the evil par excellence ; beyond disorder 


there is no evil, as beyond the established order there 
is no good. 

We infer from what we have said, that order, or, what 
is the same, the supreme good, consists in all things pre- 
serving that bond which God placed in them when He 
drew them from nothingness ; and that disorder, or, 
which is the same, the evil par excellence, consists in 
breaking that admirable bond, and disturbing that 
sublime concert. 

As this bond could not be broken, nor this concert 
disturbed, except by one who had a will and power, to 
a certain degree, and in the manner that this is possible, 
independent of the will of God, no creature was capable 
of so much but the angels and men, the only ones, 
amongst all, made to the image and likeness of their 
Maker — that is, intelligent and free. Hence it follows 
that only the angels and men could cause disorder, or, 
what is the same, the evil par excellence. 

The angels and men could not disturb the order of 
the universe, except by rebelling against their Maker; 
from which it follows that, to explain evil and disorder, 
it is necessary to suppose the existence of rebel angels 
and men. 

All disobedience and all rebellion against God being 
what is called sin, and all sin being a rebellion and a 
disobedience, it follows that disorder cannot be con- 
ceived in creation, nor evil in the world, without suppos- 
ing the existence of sin. 

If sin is nothing but disobedience and rebellion, nor 
disobedience nor rebellion anything, nor disorder any- 


thing, but evil, it follows that evil, disorder, rebellion, 
disobedience, and sin, are things in which reason 
discovers an absolute identity ; as the good, the esta- 
bHshed order, submission, and obedience, are things in 
which reason discovers a perfect similarity. Whence we 
may conclude that submission to the divine will is the 
supreme good, and sin the evWpar excellence. 

When all the angehc creatures were obedient to the 
voice of their Maker, gazing on His countenance, bathing 
in His splendours, and moving without a stumble, and 
with concerted harmony, at the direction of His word, it 
happened that the most beautiful of the angels lifted 
his eyes from his God to fix them on himself, burying 
himself in his self-adoration, and ravished in presence of 
his beauty. Considering himself self-subsistent, and his 
own ultimate end, he broke that universal and inviolable 
law by which what is divine, has its end and beginning 
in what is one, which, comprehending all, and being 
comprehended by nothing, is the universal container 
of all things, and also the powerful Creator of all 

That rebellion of the angel was the first disorder, the 
first evil, and the first sin, the root of all the sins, of all 
the evils, and of all the disorders which were to befall 
creation, and particularly the human race, in succeeding 

For, when the fallen angel, now without beauty and 
without light, saw the man and the woman in paradise, 
sparkHng and beautiful with the splendours of grace, 
feeling in himself deep sadness at another's good, he 


formed the design of dragging them into his con- 
demnation, now that it was not in his power to become 
equal with them in their glory ; and taking the form of 
a serpent, which in future should be the symbol of craft 
and deceit, the horror of human nature, and the object 
of the divine wrath, he entered by the gates of the ter- 
restrial paradise, and stealing through the fresh and 
fragrant herbs, surrounded the woman with those crafty 
snares into which her innocence fell with the loss of her 

Nothing can surpass the sublime simplicity with 
which the Mosaic history of this sublime tragedy is 
given, whose theatre was the terrestrial paradise, whose 
witness was God, whose actors were, on the one part, the 
king and lord of the abysses, on the other, the rulers 
and lords of the earth — whose victim was to be the human 
race, and whose sad and lamentable catastrophe was to 
be bewailed with perpetual lamentations by the earth in 
its movements, the heavens in their courses, the angels on 
their, thrones, and the unfortunate descendants of those 
unfortunate parents, in these valleys of ours without light. 

Why did God prohibit you from eating the fruit of all 
the trees of paradise ? — In this way the serpent com- 
menced his discourse, and the woman immediately 
felt that vain curiosity, the first cause of her crime, 
awaken in her heart. From this moment, her under- 
standing and her will, overcome by I know not what soft 
weakness, began to separate from the will of God, and 
from the divine understanding. 

The day you eat of that fruit your eyes will be opened, 


and you shall be like gods, knowing good and evil. — 
Under the mischievous influence of these words, the 
woman felt in her heart the first giddiness of pride. 
Fixing her eyes on herself with complacence, the face of 
God was veiled from her on that moment. 

Proud and vain, she turned her eyes to the tree of 
infernal illusions and of divine threats, and she found it 
was beautiful to the sight, and judged it would be sweet 
to the palate, and felt her senses' burn with the hitherto 
unknown fire of corrosive delights ; and the curiosity of 
the eyes, and the delight of the flesh, and the pride of the 
spirit, joined together, destroyed the innocence of the 
first woman, and soon the innocence of the first man, 
and the hopes treasured for their offspring vanished like 
smoke before the wind. 

And immediately the whole universe, great as it is, 
was disturbed ; and the disorder, commenced in the 
highest link of the chain of created beings, was com- 
municated from one to the other, until nothing was left 
in the place in which it was put by its divine Maker. 
That tendency inherent in all creatures to rise and 
ascend to the throne of God, was changed to a tendency 
to sink to I know not what nameless abyss ; for to 
remove the eyes from God, is to seek death and bid 
adieu to life. 

No matter how deep a man may dig in the unfathom- 
able abyss of wisdom, no matter how high he may rise 
in the investigation of the most hidden mysteries, he 
will never rise high enough, he will never dig deep 
enough, to be able to comprehend the great ravages of 


that first crime, in which all subsequent ones are con- 
tained as in a fruitful seed. 

No ; man cannot, the sinner cannot, even conceive the 
greatness and the foulness of sin. To understand how 
great it is, and how terrible and pregnant with disasters, 
it were necessary to cease contemplating it from the 
human, and to consider it from the divine, point of view ; 
for, the Divinity being the good, and sin the evil par 
excellence ; the Divinity being order, and sin disorder ; 
the Divinity being complete affirmation, and sin absolute 
negation ; the Divinity being' the plenitude of existence, 
and sin its. absolute destruction, between the Divinity 
and sin, as between affirmation and negation, between 
order and disorder, between good and evil, and between 
being and nonentity, there is an immeasurable distance, 
a,n invincible contradiction, an infinite repugnance. 

No. catastrophe is capable of creating disturbance in 
the Divinity, and altering the ineff'able rest of God's 
countenance. The universal deluge swept over nations, 
and God beheld the tren^endous inundation, considered 
in itself, and separated from its cause, with serene eye, 
because it was His angels who, in obedience to His com- 
mand, had opened the cataracts of heaven, and because 
it was His voice that commanded the waters to cover 
the mountains and surround the globe. The storms 
gather fpom every point of the horizon, and congregate 
like a sable promontory, and the countenance of God is 
tranquil, because it is His will that makes the storms, it 
is His voice that calls them, and they come, that com- 
mands them to congregate, and they do congregate. It 


is He who sends the winds to carry them over some 
sinful city, and it is He who, if it so suit His designs, 
Gollects and binds up the waters, and detains the light- 
ning in the clouds, and with His delicate breath dissi- 
pates these clouds through the universe. 

His eyes have seen the rise and fall of all empires ; His 
ears have heard the supplications of nations, devastated 
by the sword of conquest, by the scourge of pestilence, 
by slavery, and by famine, and His countenance has 
remained serene and impassible, because it is He who 
makes and unmakes, like vain play-toys, the empires of 
the world ; it is He who places the sword in the right 
hand of the conqueror, and it is He who oppresses the 
nations, decimated by famine and pestilence, when it so 
pleases His sovereign justice. There is a fearful place, 
the object of all horror and of all dread, where there is 
insatiable thirst without alleviation, perpetual hunger 
without satisfaction, where the eyes never see, the ears 
never hear any soothing sound, where all is agitation 
without repose, weeping without intermission, grief with- 
out consolation. There is no door of escape there ; all 
are doors of entrance. On its threshold hope dies, and ' 
memory becomes immortal. The boundaries of that 
place God alone knows ; the duration of those torments 
is of an hour which never ends. Well, now, that cursed 
place, with its nameless torments, altered not the coun- 
tenance of God, for it was He himself placed it where it 
is with His omnipotent hand. God made hell for the 
reprobate, as He made the earth for men and heaven for 
the angels and saints. Hell proclaims His justice, as the 


earth His goodness and heaven His mercy. Wars, in- 
undations, plagues, conquests, famines, hell itself, are a 
good, as all these things are suitably arranged with rela- 
tion to the ultimate end of creation, and all serve as 
principal instruments of the divine justice. 

And because all are good, and because they have 
been made by the Author of all good, none of them can, 
or does, alter the ineffable quiet and the unutterable 
repose of the Maker of all things. Nothing causes Him 
horror but what He has not made ; and as He has made 
all that exists, nothing causes Him horror but the nega- 
tion of what He has made. Hence disorder, which is the 
negation of the order He placed in things, causes Him 
horror ; and disobedience, which is the negation of the 
obedience due to Him. That disobedience and that 
disorder are the supreme evil, as they are the negation 
of the supreme good, in which consists the supreme evil. 
But disobedience and disorder are nothing but sin ; 
whence it follows that sin, the absolute negation on the 
part of man of the absolute affirmation on the part of 
God, is the evil/«r excellence, and the only thing that can 
cause horror to God and His angels. 

Sin covered heaven with mourning, hell with flames, 
and the earth with weeds. It was it brought sickness 
and pestilence, famine and death on the world. It was 
it dug the grave of the most famous and populous cities. 
It was it presided at the destruction of Babylon of the 
magnificent gardens, of Nineveh the exalted, of Persopolis, 
daughter of the Sun, of Memphis of the deep mysteries, 
of Sodom the impure, of Athens the cor-iic, of Jerusalem 


the ungrateful, of Rome the great; because though God 
willed all these things, He willed them only as a chas- 
tisement and reparation of sin. Sin squeezes out all 
the groans that come from human breasts, and all the 
tears that fall, drop by drop, from all the eyes of men ; 
and what is even more, and what no understanding can 
conceive nor words express, it drew tears from the 
sacred eyes of the Son of God, the meek Lamb who 
mounted the cross, charged with the sins of the world. 
Neither the heavens nor the earth, nor men, saw Him 
laugh, and men, and the earth and the heavens saw 
Him weep ; and He wept because He had His eyes 
fixed on sin. He wept at the sepulchre of Lazarus, 
and in the death of His friend He only bewailed the 
death of the sinful soul. He felt sadness and was 
disturbed on entering the Garden, and it was the horror 
of sin that infused into Him that unusual disturbance, 
and that web of sadness. His brow sweated blood, and 
it was the spectre of sin that made that strange sweat 
flow from His brow. He was nailed to the cross, and it 
was sin nailed Him ; it was sin drove Him into agony, 
and it was sin caused His death. 



How God draws good from the angelic and the human 

Of all the mysteries, the most terrible is that of liberty, 
which constitutes man the master of himself, as well as 
associates him with the Divinity, in the ruling and in 
the government of all things human. 

As the imperfect liberty given to the creature, consists 
in the supreme faculty of selecting between obedience 
and rebellion towards his God, to give him this liberty 
is to confer on him the right of staining the iriimaculate 
beauty of the creations of God ; and as the order and 
the harmony of the universe consist in that immaculate 
beauty, to give him the faculty of staining it, is to confer 
on him the right of substituting disorder for order, 
perturbation for harmony, evil for good. 

This right, even confined within the limits which we 
inentioned, is so extraordinary, and this faculty so 
awful, that God himself could not have given it, if He 
had not been certain of converting it into an instrument 
for the accomplishment of His ends, and of curtailing its 
ravages, with His infinite power. 

The supreme reason of existence of the faculty, con- 
ceded to the creature, of converting order into disorder, 
harmony into perturbation, good into evil, is in the 
power which God has of converting disorder into order, 
perturbation into harmony, and evil into good. Sup- 


press this supreme power in God, and it will be logically 
necessary either to suppress that faculty in the creature, 
or to deny at once the divine intelligence and the divine 

If God permits sin, which is the evil and the disorder 
par excellence, this consists in the fact that sin, far from 
impeding His mercy and His justice, serves as an 
occasion for new manifestations of His justice and of 
His mercy. Suppress the rebellious sinner, and you 
will not thereby suppress the divine mercy, and the 
sovereign justice ; one of their special manifestations, 
however, would be suppressed, the one in virtue of which 
they are applied to rebellious sinners. 

As the supreme good of intelligent and free beings 
consists in their union with God, God, in His infinite 
goodness, determined to so unite them, not only with 
the bonds of nature, but also with supernatural bonds : 
and as, on one part, that will might be left unfulfilled by 
the voluntary disunion of intelligent and free beings, and 
on the other, the liberty of the creature could not be 
conceived without the faculty of that voluntary disunion, 
the great problem consisted in reconciling these two, in 
a certain measure, opposite extremes, in such a way, 
that neither the liberty of the creature should cease to 
exist, nor the will of God be unfulfilled. As the 
possibility of disunion, as a testimony of the angelic and 
human liberty, and union, as a testimony of the divine 
will, were necessary, the question consists in discovering 
how the will of God and the liberty of the creature, the 
union which the former desires, and the disunion which 


the latter selects, can be reconciled, that the creature 
may not cease to be free, nor God cease to be Sovereign. 
For this, it was required that the disunion should be 
real in one point of view, and apparent in another ; that 
is, that the creature could separate from God, but in 
such a way, that in separating from Him, it should be 
united to Him in another manner. Intelligent and free 
beings came into existence united to. God by an effect of 
His grace. By sin they were really disunited from God, 
because they broke the bond of grace, really and truly, 
by which they bore testimony to themselves, in quality 
of intelligent and free creatures. Yet that disunion was 
nothing, if well examined, but a new manner of union, 
as on separating from Him, by the voluntary renunciation 
of His grace, they approached Him, by falling into the 
handsof His justice, or becoming the object of His mercy. 
In this way the union and disunion, which, at first 
sight, appear incompatible, are in reality perfectly recon- 
cilable ; and in such a way, that the disunion becomes 
a special manner of union, and all union is a special 
manner of disunion. The creature was not united to 
God inasmuch as He is grace, but because it was 
separated from Him inasmuch as He is mercy and 
justice. The creature which falls into His hands inas- 
much as He is justice, does not fall into them except 
because it is separated from Him inasmuch as He is 
grace and mercy ; and it is the object of God inasmuch 
as He is mercy, only because it was separated, from 
Him inasmuch as He is grace, in such a way, that it 
was also separated from Him inasmuch as He is justice. 


The liberty of the creature, then, consists in the faculty 
of designating the sort of union which it prefers, by the 
disunion which it chooses ; just as the sovereignty of 
God consists in making the disunion selected by the 
creature, no matter what it may be, conclude- in union. 
Creation is Hke a circle. God is, in one point of view, 
its circumference, in another, its centre ; as centre. 
He attracts creation, as circumference, He contains it. 
There is nothing beyond that universal container : every- 
thing obeys that irresistible attraction. The liberty of 
intelligent and free beings lies in flying from the circum- 
ference, which is God, to meet with God, who is the 
centre ; and in flying from the centre, whicR is God, to 
meet with God, who is the circumference. No one, 
however, is able to escape beyond the circumference, 
nor to penetrate beyond the ' centre. What angel so 
powerful, what man so presumptuous, as to endeavour 
to break that great circle which God traced with His 
finger .■' What creature will dare to upset those' mathe- 
matically inflexible laws, which the Divine Intellect 
placed in things from all eternity .' What means the 
centre of that inexorable circle, but all things infinitely 
collected in God .■' What is that circular circumference, 
but those things infinitely dilated in God ? And what 
dilation is there greater than infinite dilation .'' What 
collection greater than infinite collection ? For this 
reason St Augustin, the most beautiful of geniuses and 
the greatest of doctors, the man in whom the spirit of 
the Church became incarnate, the saint ravished with 
love, and inundated with the sublime aids of grace, 


astonished and almost beside himself on beholding all 
things in God and God in all things, and man desiring 
to fly, and not knowing whither, now from the centre 
which attracts him, now from the circumference which 
involves him, wrung this expression, like a sublime sob, 
from his hsax^-^-Poor mortal, do you wish to fly from 
God? Cast yourself into His arms. Never did human 
lips pronounce an expression so amorously sublime, and 
so sublimely tender. It is God, then, who marks the 
term of all things ; the creature selects the path. By 
marking the term where all paths end, God is omni- 
potently Sovereign ; as by selecting the path by which 
he has to go to the term marked for him, the creature 
is intelligently free. And let it not be said, that the 
liberty which consists in selecting one of the thousand 
paths, which end in the necessary term, is small, unless 
we consider that liberty which consists in selecting 
between salvation and damnation as insignificant ; for 
those thousand paths which end in God, the necessary 
term of all things, are all reduced to two — hell and 
heaven. If the creature has not sufficient liberty, with 
the faculty which has been given him, of going to God 
by the one or by the other, what liberty could satisfy 
his hunger to be free .-1 

Beyond this explanation there is no possible recon- 
ciliation between things which cannot be even imagined, 
except as reconciled in an absolute manner ; whilst 
with it we discover the secret causes of the most pro- 
found mysteries, and of the loftiest designs. With it 
we reach the cause of l/^e human and of the angelic 


varication of the angel, it was because God knew the 
occult way of reconciling the angelic disorder with the 
divine order, just as the angel knew how to draw the 
angelic disorder from the divine order. The angel con- 
verted order into disorder, by transforming union into 
disunion. God drew order from disorder, by transform- 
ing the momentary disunion into indissoluble union. 
The angel did not choose to be united to God by reward, 
and he found himself united to Him eternally by pun- 
ishment. He closed his ears to the soft call of God's 
grace, and his closed ears heard, in spite of them, the 
terrible thunder of His justice. Wishing to fly abso- 
lutely from God, the angel only succeeded in separating 
from Him in one way, to be united to Him in another. 
He separated from God the clement, and he was united 
with God the just. He separated from Him in heaven, 
and he was united to Him in hell. The order placed in 
things does not consist in their being united to God in 
a given way, but in their being united to God; as true 
disorder does not consist in separating from God on one 
side to be united to Him on the other, but in separating 
from God absolutely. Whence it follows that true order 
never ceases to exist, and that true disorder exists not 
at all. Sin is a negation, so radical, so absolute, that it 
not only denies order, but disorder; after denying all 
affirnlations, it denies its own negations, and even denies 
itself. Sin is negation of negation, shade of shade, 
phantom of phaijtom. If God permitted the prevarica- 
tion of man, which, as we said, was less radical and 

culpable than the angelic prevarication, this was because 



God knew from all eternity the profound manner of 
reconciling the human disorder with the divine order. 
Man converted order into disorder by separating what 
God joined with a loving link. God drew order from 
disorder by rejoining what man separated, with a softer 
and more loving link. Man did not wish to be united 
to God with the bond of original justice and of sanctify- 
ing grace, and he found himself united to Him with the 
bond of infinite mercy. If God permitted his prevarica- 
tion, this was because He had in reserve the Saviour of 
the world, who was to come in the plenitude of time ; — 
that supreme evil was necessary for the supreme good, 
and for this great blessing, was necessary that great 
catastrophe. Man sinned, because God had determined 
to become man; and when He became man without 
ceasing to be God, He had enough blood in His veins, 
and more than sufficient virtue in His blood, to wash 
out sin. Man vacillated, because God had strength to 
sustain him ; he fell, because God had strength to raise 
him ; he wept, because He who had power to dry the 
earth when soaked with the waters of the Deluge, had 
also enough to dry the valley watered with our tears ; 
he felt pains in his members, because God could remove 
his pains ; he suffered great misfortunes, because God 
had greater rewards reserved for him. He strayed from 
Eden, he became subject to death, and he was laid in 
the grave, because God had strength to conquer death, 
to remove him from the grave, and to raise him to 

As the angelic and the human prevarications enter as 


elements into the universal order, by an effect of a 
wonderful divine operation, so also the liberty of the 
angel and the liberty of man, in which these two pre- 
varications have their origin, enter as necessary elements 
of that supreme universal law, to which all things, all 
creations, the moral, the material, and the divine world, 
are subject. According to that law, the absolute unity, 
in its infinite fecundity, perpetually produces from its 
womb diversity, which perpetually returns to the pro- 
lific womb from which it came — the bosom of God, who 
is the absolute unity. 

God, considered as the Father, eternally produced the 
Son by way of generation, the Holy Ghost by way of 
procession, and in this way they eternally constitute the 
Divinity. The Son and the Holy Ghost are eternally 
identified with the Father, and eternally constitute with 
Him the indestructible unity. 

Considered as the Creator, He drew all things from 
nothingness by an act of His will, and so constituted the 
physical diversity ; He immediately subjected all things 
to certain eternal laws, and to an immutable order ; 
and so diversity itself was nothing in the physical 
world but the exterior manifestation of His absolute 

Considered as Lord and as Legislator, He gave to the 
angel and to man a liberty distinct from His own, and 
so constituted diversity in the moral world ; He im- 
mediately imposed on that liberty certain inviolable 
laws and a necessary term, and the necessity of that 
term, and the inviolability of those laws, made the 


human and the angehc liberty enter into the broad 
unity of His marvellous designs. 

The divine will, which is the absolute unity, is in the 
precept given to Adam in paradise when God said to 
him, Thou shalt not eat ; the human liberty, with the 
annexed imperfection of the faculty of choosing, which 
is the diversity, is in the condition — and if thou eatest ; 
the diversity returns to the unity from which it proceeds, 
first, by the threat when God said to man — thou wilt be 
subject to death ; and again, by the promise when He told 
the woman that there would be born from her One who 
should crush the head of the serpent, with which threat, 
and with which promise, God announced the two ways 
by which the diversity which comes from unity, returns 
to the unity from which it comes ; the way of justice and 
the way of mercy. 

If the precept were suppressed, the exterior manifesta- 
tion of the absolute unity would be suppressed. 

If the condition were suppressed, the diversity which 
consists in human liberty, would be suppressed in its 
exterior manifestation. 

If the threat on one side, and the promise on the 
other, were suppressed, the ways by which the diversity, 
if it is not to be subversive, has to return to the unity 
from which it comes, would beeflfaced. 

As there is no unity between the physical creation 
and the Creator, except because the former is eternally 
subject to fixed and immutable laws, perpetual manir 
festations of the Sovereign Will ; in the same way, there 
is no unity between God and man, except because man, 


separated from God by his crime, returns to the God of 
justice if impenitent, or as purified to the God of mercy. 

If, after having considered the angelic and the human 
prevarications separately, and found that each, though a 
perturbation by accident, is a harmony by essence, we 
fix our attention on both prevarications at the same 
time, we will be astonished to see how their dissonance 
is converted into wonderful harmony, by the irresistible 
virtue of the divine Wonder-worker. 

On arriving here, and before proceeding farther, it is 
well to observe that every beauty of creation consists 
in the fact, that everything is in itself a reflex, as it were, 
of some of the divine perfections, so that all together are 
a faithful translation of God's sovereign beauty. For 
this reason all creatures, each in its own way, from the 
brilliant globe which illumines space to the humble lily 
which is forgotten in the valley, and from far below the 
valleys crowned with lilies, to as far above the firma- 
ment where the orbs of heaven shine, bear witness, each 
in its own way, to His ineffable perfections, and sing with 
an endless song His excellence and His glory. The 
heavens sing of His omnipotence, the seas of His great- 
ness, the earth of His fecundity, the clouds, with their 
lofty promontories, represent the footstool on which His 
foot rests. The lightning is His will, the thunder His 
voice. He is in the abysses with His silence, with His 
sublime wrath in the loud hurricanes, and in the tem- 
pestuous whirlwinds. He painted us, say the flowers 
of the plains. He gave me, say the heavens, my splendid 
arches. And the stars, We are the sparks that drop 


from his resplendent robe. And the angel and man 
On passing before us, His beautiful, and glorious, and per- 
fect figure was stamped on us. 

In this way some things represented His grandeur, 
others His majesty, others His omnipotence; and the 
angel, and man especially, the treasures of His goodness, 
the marvels of His grace, and the splendour of His 
beauty. God, however, is not only marvellous and per- 
fect by His beauty, and by His grace, and by His good- 
ness, and by His omnipotence; He is, besides these 
things and above all these things, if there were measure 
in His perfections, infinitely just and infinitely merciful. 
It follows from this that the supreme act of the creation 
could not be considered consummate and perfect, except 
after His infinite justice and His infinite mercy were 
realised in all their manifestations. And as neither the 
special justice nor the special mercy of God which are 
applied to sinners, could be exercised without the pre- 
varication of the intelligent and free beings, we may 
conclude that the prevarication itself was the occasion 
of the greatest and the most beautiful of all harmonies. 

When all the intelligent and free beings prevaricated, 
God shone forth in the midst of creation with renewed 
and increased splendour. The universe in general was 
the perfect reflex of His omnipotence ; the terrestrial 
paradise was specially the reflex of His grace ; heaven 
was specially the reflex of His mercy, hell the reflex 
of His justice only, and the earth, placed between these 
two poles of creation, was at once the reflex of His 
justice and of His mercy. When with the angelic and 


human prevarication there was no perfection in God 
that was not manifested exteriorly, by something besides 
that which was afterwards to be manifested on Calvary, 
all things were in order. The deeper one dives into 
these awful dogmas, the more the sovereign convenience, 
and the perfect connection, and the marvellous concert 
of the Christian mysteries become apparent. The 
science of the mysteries, if well considered, is nothing 
else but the science of all solutions. 


Solutions of the Liberal school relative to these problems. 

Before bringing this book to a conclusion, I think it 
right to ask the Liberal, as well as the Socialistic school, 
what they think about evil and good, about man and 
God — fearful questions, on which human reason neces- 
sarily stumbles, on rendering itself account of the great 
religious, political, and social problems.* 

As regards the Liberal school, I will merely say of it, 
that in its profound ignorance it despises theology, and 
not because it is not theological in its way, but because, 
though it is, it does not know it. This school has not 
yet comprehended, and probably will never comprehend, 
the close link that unites divine and human things, the 
great relationship which political, have with social and 
religious, questions, and the dependence which all pro- 

♦ The author refers to Continental Liberalism, which, in politics, logically 
leads to Socialism, as Protestantism in religion does to Infidelity. The 
last four of the condemned propositions of the Syllabus belong to the doc- 
trines of this school. 


blems relative to government, have on those others 
which refer to God, the Supreme Legislator of all human 

The Liberal school is the only one which has no 
theologian among its doctors and masters; the Abso- 
lutist school had them, often raised them to the dignity 
of governors of peoples, and the peoples increased dur- 
ing their government in importance and power. France 
will never forget the government of Cardinal Richelieu, 
famous and glorious among the most glorious and fam- 
ous of the French monarchy. The lustre of the great 
cardinal is so unstained, that it puts that of many kings 
to the blush ; and his splendour so sovereign, that it did 
not suffer eclipse by the advent to the throne of that 
glorious and powerful king, whom France in her enthu- 
siasm, and Europe in her astonishment, called the Great 
Ximinez de Cisneros and Alberoni, the two greatest 
ministers of the Spanish monarchy, were cardinals and 
theologians. The name of the former is gloriously and 
perpetually associated with that of the most renowned 
queen and illustrious woman of Spain, famous among 
nations for its illustrious women and its renowned queens. 
The latter is great in Europe by the grandeur of his 
designs, and by the acuteness and sagacity of his pro- 
digious intellect. The former, appearing in those happy 
days when the great acts of this nation raised her above 
the dignity of history, elevating her to epic altitude and 
grandeur, governed the great ship of state with a firm 
hand, and silencing the turbulent crew which went in 
her, carried her through rough seas to others more quiet 


and tranquil, where the ship and the pilot found peace 
and calm. The other, coming in those miserable times 
when the majesty of the Spanish monarchy was dis- 
appearing, was on the point of restoring her ancient 
grandeurs and power, by making her weigh heavily in 
the political balance of European peoples. 

The science of God gives him who possesses it, 
sagacity and force, because it sharpens, and at the same 
time expands, the intellect. What appears to me most 
wonderful in the lives of the saints, and particularly 
of the fathers of the desert, is a circumstance which has 
not been yet duly appreciated. I know no man accus- 
tomed to converse with God, and to exercise himself in 
divine speculations, who, in equality of circumstances, is 
not superior to all others, either by the enlightenment and 
vigour of his reason, or by the soundness of his judg- 
ment, or by the penetration and acuteness of his intellect ; 
and above all, I know none who, in equal circumstances, 
has not the advantage of all others in practical and 
prudent common sense. If the human race were not 
condemned to see things reversely, it would select for 
its counsellors theologians amongst the generality of 
men, and the mystics among theologians, and amongst 
the mystics, those who have lived a life most apart from 
business and the world. Amongst the persons whom I 
know, and I know many, the only ones in whom I have 
recognised an unshaken common sense, and a prodigious 
sagacity, and an amazing aptitude to give a practical 
and prudent solution to the most difficult problems, and 
to discover a means of escape in the most trying circum- 


stances, are those who have lived a contemplative and 
retired life ; and, on the contrary, I have not yet dis- 
covered, and I do not expect ever to discover, one of 
those who are called men of business, despisers of all 
spiritual, and, above all, divine speculations, who would 
be capable of understanding any business. To this 
numerous class belong those who look on it as their 
office to deceive others, and who only deceive themselves. 
It is here that man is astonished at the sublime judg- 
ments of God ; for if God had not condemned those who 
despise or ignore Him, deceivers by profession, to be 
perpetually stupid — or if He had not limited the power 
of those who are prodigiously sagacious, human societies 
could not have resisted either the sagacity of the one 
or the malice of the other. The power of contemplative 
men, and the stupidity of worldlings, are the only things 
which maintain the world in its being and its perfect 
equilibrium. There is only one being in creation which 
possesses all the sagacity of spiritual and contemplative 
people, and all the malice of those who ignore or despise 
God, together with all spiritual speculations. That 
being is the devil. The devil has the sagacity of the 
one, without their virtue, and the malice of the others, 
without their stupidity, and precisely from this comes all 
his destructive force, and all his immense power. As 
regards the Liberal school, considered in general, it is not 
theological, except in the degree in which all schools 
necessarily are. Never giving an explicit exposition of 
its faith, nor declaring its opinion about God and man, 
about good and evil, and about the order or disorder 


which are found in all things created ; and proclaiming, 
on the contrary, that it regards these profound specula- 
tions as trifles, it may be said of it, that it believes in an 
abstract and absolute god, served by the philosophers 
in the government of human things, and by certain laws 
which he instituted in the beginning of time in the 
universal government of the world. Although the god 
of this school is king of creation, he is perpetually igno- 
rant, with an august ignorance, of the manner in which 
his kingdoms are governed and ruled. When he deputed 
the ministers who should govern in his name, he deposited 
in them the plenitude of his sovereignty, and declared 
them perpetual and inviolable. From that time to this 
people owe him worship, but not obedience. 

With regard to evil, the Liberal school denies it in 
physical, and admits it in human, things. With this 
school all the questions relative to good or evil are 
resolved into a question of government, and every 
question of government is a question of legitimacy ; so 
that when the government is legitimate, evil is impos- 
sible ; and on the contrary, when the government is 
illegitimate, eyil is inevitable. The question of good 
and evil, then, is reduced to investigating on one side 
which are the legitimate governments, and which the 

The Liberal school calls the governments established 
by God legitimate, and illegitimate, those which have 
not their origin in the divine delegation. God wished 
that material things should be subject to certain physi- 
cal laws, which He instituted in the beginning, once for 


ever, and that societies should be governed by reason, 
entrusted in a general way to the well-to-do classes, 
and in a special way to the philosophers who teach and 
direct it ; whence it follows by necessary consequence, 
that there are but two legitimate governments — the 
government of human reason, incarnate in a general 
way in the middle classes, and in a special way in the 
philosophers ; and the government of divine reason, per- 
petually incarnate in certain laws, to which material 
things are subject from the beginning. 

This derivation of the Liberal legitimacy of divine 
right will appear strange to my readers, and above all, 
to my Liberal readers ; and yet nothing appears more 
evident to me. The Liberal school is not atheistical in 
its dogmas, although, not being Catholic, it leads, with- 
out knowing and without desiring it, from consequence 
to consequence, to the confines of Atheism. Recognis- 
ing the existence of a God, the Creator of all creatures, it 
cannot deny in the God whom it recognises and affirms, 
the original plenitude of all rights, or the constituent 
sovereignty, which is the same thing in the language of 
the school. He who recognises in God the constituent 
and the actual sovereignty, is a Catholic; he who 
denies the actual, and recognises in Him the constituent, 
sovereignty, a deist ; he who denies all sovereignty 
in Him, because he denies His existence, is an atheist. 
This being the case, the liberal school, inasmuch as it 
is deistical, cannot proclaim the actual sovereignty of 
reason, without proclaiming at the same time the con- 
stituted sovereignty of God, in which the former, which 


is always delegated, has its beginning and origin. The 
theory of the constituent sovereignty of the people 
does not exist in the Liberal school, except as Atheism 
exists in Deism, in quality of remote but inevitable 
consequence. Hence proceed the two great divisions of 
the Liberal school, the democratic and the liberal, pro- 
perly so called ; the latter more timid, the former more 
consistent. The democratic party, carried by an inflexi- 
ble logic, has been lost in these latter times, as rivers are 
lost in the sea, in the schools at once atheistical and 
socialistic ; the liberal party struggles to be at rest on 
the high promontory it has raised for itself, situate be- 
tween two seas, whose waves are ascending, and will 
cover its top — the Socialistic and the Catholic. Of this 
party only we shall speak here, and we say that, not 
being able to recognise the constituent sovereignty of 
the people without being democratic, socialistic, and 
atheistical, nor the actual sovereignty of God without 
being monarchical and Catholic, it recognises, on one 
hand, the original and constituent sovereignty of God, 
and on the other, the actual sovereignty of human 
reason. And so we were right in saying the Liberal 
school does not proclaim human, but as originally 
derived from divine, right. 

In the eyes of this school there is no other evil but that 
which proceeds from the government's not being where 
God placed it in the beginning ; and as material things 
are perpetually subject to the physical laws which were 
contemporaneous with creation, the Liberal school denies 
evil in the universality of things ; and on the contrary, 


as it happens that the government of society is not 
settled and fixed in the philosophic dynasties, in which 
the exclusive right of governing human things resides 
by divine delegation, the Liberal school admits social 
evil whenever the government slips from the hands of 
the philosophers and middle classes, to fall into the 
hands of kings, or to pass to the popular masses. 

Of all the schools this is the most sterile, because the 
least learned and the most egotistical. As we have 
seen, it knows nothing of the nature of good or evil ; it 
has scarcely any notion of God, and it has no notion of 
man whatever. Impotent for good, because devoid of 
all dogmatic affirmation, and for evil, because all intrepid 
and absolute negation horrifies it, it is condemned, without 
knowing it, to embark in the ship whose fortune carries 
it to the Catholic port, or to the Socialistic reefs. This 
school only becomes dominant where society is on the 
wane ; the period of its domination is that transitory 
and fugitive time when the world does not know whether 
to go with Barrabas or with Jesus, and is in a state of 
suspense between a dogmatic affirmation and a supreme 
negation. Society then willingly allows itself to be 
governed by a school which never says, T affirm, or, 
/ deny, and which ever says, T distinguish. The 
supreme interest of that school is .in preventing the 
arrival of the day of radical negations or of sovereign 
affirmations; and that it may not arrive, it confounds 
by means of discussion all notions, and propagates 
scepticism, knowing as it does, that a people which 
perpetually hears in the mouth of its sophists the pro 


and the contra of everything, ends by not knowing 
which side to take, and by asking itself whether truth 
and error, injustice and justice, stupidity and honesty, 
are things opposed among themselves, or are only the 
same things regarded from different points of view. 
This trying period, no matter how long it may last, is 
always short ; man was born to act, and perpetual dis- 
cussion, being as it is, the enemy of action, contradicts 
human nature. The peoples pressed by all their in- 
stincts, a day comes when they flow through the squares 
and the streets resolutely calling for Barrabas or Jesus, 
and levelling with the dust the chairs of the sophists. 

The Socialistic schools, prescinding from the barbarous 
multitudes which follow them, and considered in their 
doctors and masters, are far superior to the Liberal school, 
just because they go straight to all the great problems 
and questions, and because they always propose a per- 
emptory and decisive solution. Socialism is strong, only 
because it is a theology; and it is destructive, only 
because it is a satanic theology. The Socialistic schools, 
inasmuch as they are theological, will prevail over the 
Liberal school, inasmuch as it is anti-theological and 
sceptical ; and inasmuch as they are satanic, they will 
succumb before the Catholic school, which is at once 
theological and divine. Their instincts must be in 
accord with our assertions, if we consider that they 
treasure up their hatred for Catholicism, while they have 
only contempt for Liberalism. 

Democratic Socialism is right when it says to Liberal- 
ism, What God is that you offer to my adoration, and 


who must be inferior to you, for He has no will, nor even 
personality ? I deny the Catholic God ; but while deny- 
ing, I conceive Him. What I cannot conceive is a god 
without the divine attributes. Everything inclines me 
to believe that you have only given Him existence that 
He may give you the legitimacy which you want : your 
legitimacy and His existence are a fiction which rests oh 
a shadow. I have come to the world to dissipate all 
shadows, and to put an end to all fictions. The distinc- 
tion between the actual and the constituent sovereignty 
has all the appearance of an invention of people, who, 
not daring to embrace both, desire to retain one at least. 
The sovereign is like God — he is one, or he does not 
exist. Sovereignty is like the Divinity — it either does 
not exist, or it is indivisible and incommunicable. Legiti- 
macy of reason are two words, the latter of which desig- 
nates the subject, and the former the attribute. I deny 
the attribute and the subject. What is legitimacy, and 
what is reason } And in case they be something, how 
do you know that something is in Liberalism and not 
in Socialism, in you and not in me, in the middle classes 
and not in the people .' I deny your legitimacy, and 
you deny mine ; you deny my reason, and I deny yours. 
When you provoke me to discussion, I pardon you, 
because you know not what you do. Dissolvent, uni- 
versal discussion, whose secret virtue you know not, 
destroyed your adversaries already, and is now going 
to destroy yourself; as far as I am concerned, I am 
firmly resolved to carry it with a high hand, by murder- 
ing it that it may not murder me. Discussion is the 


spiritual sword the spirit wields with eyes blindfold ; 
against it neither caution nor armour avails. Discussion 
is the title under which Death travels when he seeks to 
avoid recognition and goes incognito. Rome, the pru- 
dent, recognised him, in spite of his mask, when he 
entered her gates dressed as a sophist; wherefore she 
wisely objected to his passport. Man, according to the 
Catholic, Was lost only when he entered into discussion 
with the devil. Later, they tell us, this same demon 
appeared to Jesus in the desert, provoking him to a 
spiritual combat, or, as we may call it, a discussion. 
But it would appear he had then somebody very 
different to treat with, who said to him — Begone, Satan, 
with which he put an end at once to discussion and dia- 
bolical tricks. It must be confessed the Catholics have 
the special gift of presenting great truths with a bold 
front, and investing them with ingenious trappings. 
Antiquity would have unanimously condemned who- 
ever were mad enough to call into discussion divine and 
human things, religious and social institutions, the 
magistrates and the gods. Socrates, Plato, and Aris- 
totle would have joined in deciding against him ; in the 
great duel he would have the Cynics and the Sophists 
on his side. 

As regards the evil, it is either in the universe or it 
does not exist. The forms of governments are a small 
thing to engender it. If society is healthy- and well- 
constituted, it will be able to resist all possible forms of 
government ; and if it does not resist them, it is because 

it is badly constituted and sickly. Evil cannot be con- 



ceived except as an organic vice of society, or as a con- 
stitutional vice of human nature ; and in this case the 
remedy is not in a change of government, but in chang- 
ing the social organisation or the constitution of man. 

The fundamental error of Liberalism consists in giving 
importance to nothing but questions of government, 
which, compared with social and religious order, have 
no importance whatever. This serves to explain why 
Liberalism is totally eclipsed from the moment that 
Socialists and Catholics propose to the world, their tre- 
mendous problems and their contradictory solutions. 
When Catholicism asserts that the evil comes from sin, 
that sin corrupted human nature in the first man, and 
that nevertheless the good prevails over the evil, order 
over disorder, because the one is human, the other 
divine, there is no doubt, even before it is examined ; it 
satisfies reason in a certain manner, by proportioning 
the grandeur of the causes to the greatness of the effects, 
and by equalling the greatness of what it tries to 
explain, by the greatness of the explanations. When 
Socialism says the nature of man is sound and society 
unhealthy ; when it places the former at open war with 
the latter, to extirpate the evil which is in it, through the 
good which is in the other ; when it convokes and calls 
on all men to rise up in rebellion against all social insti- 
tutions, — there is no doubt that in this way of proposing 
and solving the question, though there is much that is 
false, there is something gigantic and grand, worthy of 
the terrible majesty of the subject ; but when Liberalism 
explains the evil and the good, order and disorder, by 


the various forms of government, all ephemeral and 
transitory ; when, prescinding, on one side, from all 
social, and, on the other, from all religious, problems, it 
brings into discussion its political problems as the 
only ones worthy by their elevation of occupying 
the statesman, — there are no words in any language 
capable of describing the profound incapacity and 
radical impotence of this school, not only to solve, but 
even to enunciate, these awful questions. The Liberal 
school, enemy at once of the darkness and of the light, 
has selected I know not what twilight between the 
luminous and dark regions, between the eternal shades 
and the divine aurora. Placed in this nameless region, 
it has aimed at governing without a people and without 
a God. Extravagant and impossible enterprise ! . Its 
days are numbered ; for on one side of the horizon 
appears God, and on the other, the people. No one 
will be able to say where it is on the tremendous day 
of battle, when the plain shall be covered with the 
Catholic and Socialistic phalanxes. 


Socialistic solutions. 

The Socialistic schools are superior to the Liberal school, 
as well on account of the nature of the problems which 
they aim at solving, as in the manner of proposing and 


solving them. Their masters appear familiarised to a 
certain degree, with those daring speculations which 
have God and His nature, man and his constitution, 
society and its institutions, the universe and its laws, 
for their object. From this inclination to generalise, to 
consider things in the aggregate, to observe the general 
discrepancies and harmonies, comes the great aptitude 
they have to enter, and to find an exit from, without losing 
themselves, the intricate labyrinth of rationalistic logic. 
If in the great contest which, as it were, keeps the world 
in suspense, there were no other combatants but Socialists 
and Liberals, neither would the battle be long, nor the 
victory doubtful. 

All the Socialistic schools are, in the philosophic 
point of view, rationalistic ; in the political, republican ; 
in the religious, atheistical. As far as they are ration- 
alistic, they resemble the Liberal school, and they are 
distinguished from it inasmuch as they are atheistical and 
republican. The question lies in investigating whether 
rationalism logically leads to the point where the Liberal 
school stops, or to the term in which the Socialistic 
schools settle down. Reserving for a future occasion 
the examination of this question in the political, we 
shall here principally occupy ourselves with the religious, 
point of view. 

Considering the question under this aspect, it is clear 
that the system, in virtue of which a total sufficiency of 
solving by itself, and without the aid of God, all ques- 
tions relative to the political, the religious, the social, and 
the human, orders, is conceded to reason, supposes in it 


a complete sovereignty and an absolute independence. 
This system carries with it three simultaneous nega- 
tions — the negation of revelation, the negation of grace, 
and the negation of providence. The negation of revela- 
tion, because revelation contradicts the total sufficiency 
of human reason ; the negation of grace, because grace 
contradicts its absolute independence ; the negation of 
providence, because providence is the contradiction of 
its independent sovereignty. But these three negations, 
if well examined, are resolved into one — the negation of 
all link between God and man ; for if man is not united 
to God by revelation, by providence, and by grace, he is 
not united to God at all. 

Well, now, to affirm this of God and to deny Him, are 
one and the same thing. To affirm Him dogmatically, 
after having dogmatically despoiled Him of all His 
attributes, is a contradiction reserved for the Liberal 
school, the most contradictory among the rationalistic 
schools. Besides, this contradiction, far from being 
accidental, is essential in this school, which, no matter 
how you view it, is an exotic compound of obvious 
contradictions. What it does with God in the religious, 
it does also in the political, order with the king and 
with the people. The office of the Liberal school is to 
proclaim the existences it annuls, and to annul the 
existences it proclaims. There is none of its principles 
which is not accompanied by a counter principle which 
destroys it. Thus, for example, it proclaims monarchy, 
and immediately ministerial responsibility, and conse- 
quently the omnipotence of the responsible ministry, 


which is contradictory of monarchy. It proclaims minis- 
terial responsibility, and immediately the sovereign in- 
tervention in matters of government, of the deliberative 
assemblies, which is contradictory of the omnipotence 
of the ministers. It proclaims the sovereign interven- 
tion in the affairs of state, of the political assemblies, 
and immediately, the right of the electoral districts to 
decide on the last appeal, which is contradictory of the 
sovereign intervention of the assemblies. It proclaims 
the right of supreme arbitration, which resides in the 
electors, and immediately it accepts, more or less 
explicitly, the supreme right of insurrection, which is 
contradictory of that pacific and supreme arbitration. 
It proclaims the right of insurrection of the multitude, 
which is to proclaim its sovereign omnipotence, and 
immediately, it establishes the laws of electoral eligi- 
bility, which is to ostracise the sovereign multitude. 
And with all these principles and counter principles it 
aims at one thing — to discover, through artifice and 
industry, an equilibrium which it never discovers, 
because it contradicts the nature of society and the 
nature of man. There is only one power for which the 
Liberal school has not sought its corresponding equi- 
librium — the power of corruption. Corruption is the 
god of the school, and as a god, it is at one and the 
same time, in all places. In such a way has the 
Liberal school combined things, that when it prevails, 
all have necessarily to be corrupters or corrupted ; for 
where there is no man who cannot be Caesar, or vote 
for Cassar, or proclaim Cassar, all must be Caesars or 


prsetorians. For this reason all the societies which fall 
under the domination of this school die the same 
death — all die gangrened. The kings corrupt the 
ministers, by promising them eternity ; the ministers 
the kings, by promising them an expansion of their 
prerogative. The ministers corrupt the representatives 
of the people, by placing all the dignities of the state at 
their feet; the assemblies corrupt the ministers. The 
members traffic with their power, the electors with their 
influence; all corrupt the masses with their promises, 
and the masses corrupt all with their clamour and 

Returning to the thread of this discourse, I say that 
when the Socialistic schools deny the existence of God, 
which the Liberal school asserts, they are more logical 
and consistent than it ; and, nevertheless, they are far 
from being as logical and consistent in their line, as the 
Catholic school in its. The Catholic school affirms God 
with all His attributes, with a dogmatic and sovereign 
affirmation. The Socialistic schools, on the contrary, 
though they end in denying Him definitely, do not all 
deny Him in the same way, nor deny Him for the same 
reasons, nor deny Him resolutely. This consists in the 
fact that the most daring man is filled with dread in 
affirming in an absolute way, that there is no God. One 
would say that, arriving here, man fears he cannot pass for- 
ward, and that the heavens are falling on the blasphemer 
and his blasphemy. Some deny Him by saying : All 
that exists is God, and God is all that exists ; others, 
by affirming that humanity and God are identical; 


between these there are others who assure us that in 
humanity there is a dualism of powers and energies, and 
that man is the representative of that dualism. Those 
who are of this opinion distinguish in man the reflective 
powers and the spontaneous energies : true humanity is 
In the former, and true divinity in the latter. Accord- 
ing to this system, God is neither all that exists, nor 
humanity — God is the half of man. Others are of 
another opinion, and deny that God is man, or part of 
man, humanity, or the universe ; and they incline to 
believe that He is a being subject to different and suc- 
cessive incarnations ; that wherever there is a great 
influence or a grand domination, there God is incarnate. 
God was incarnate in Cyrus, and in Alexander, and 
in Caesar, and in Charlemagne, and in Napoleon. He 
became successively incarnate in the great Asiatic 
empires, and then in the Macedonian, and afterwards 
in the Roman. In the beginning, He was the East, and 
afterwards the West. The world changes its appearance 
in each of these divine incarnations, and moves a step 
in the path of progress. Each time it puts on a new 
appearance in consequence of a new incarnation. 

All these contradictory and absurd systems have 
become incarnate in one man, come to the world in these 
fatter times to be the personification of all rationalistic 
Contradictions. This man is M. Proudhon, whom we 
have already mentioned, and whom we shall mention 
often in the course of this work. M. Proudhon passes 
for the most learned and consistent of modern Socialists. 
As far as his doctrine is concerned, there is no doubt it 


is superior to that of contemporaneous rationalists ; as 
regards his consistency, our readers may form a proper 
notion by the specimens we here give relative to the 
problems which are the subject of this book. 

In the " Confessions of a Revolutionist," M. Proudhon 
defines God in the following manner : — " God is the 
universal power, penetrated with intelligence, which 
produces by the infinite consciousness which it has of 
itself, the beings of every kingdom, from the ineffable 
fluid to man, and which only in man attains to a recogni- 
tion of itself, and says : — Our Lord God, far from being 
the subject of our investigations, how have the wonder- 
workers dared to convert Him into a personal being, 
absolute king betimes, like the God of the Jews and of 
the Christians, and constitutional betimes, like the God 
of the deists, and whose incomprehensible providence 
appears perpetually and solely occupied in confusing 
our reason ? " 

Here there are three things — ist, The affirmation of a 
universal, intelligent, and divine power, which is pan- 
theism ; 2d, More excellent incarnation of God in 
humanity, which is humanism ; 3d, Negation of a per- 
sonal God and of His providence, which is deism. 

In the work which he called the " System of Econo- 
mical Contradictions," chap, viii., he says : — " I will pre- 
scind from the pantheistical hypothesis, which has ever 
appeared to me hypocrisy or cowardice. God is per- 
sonal or He does not exist." Here is asserted all that is 
denied in the former text, and denied all that the former 
text asserts. There a pantheistical and impersonal 


God was affirmed ; here are denied, as two things equally 
absurd, the impersonality of God and pantheism. 

Further on in the same chapter he adds : — " I think 
the true remedy against fanaticism is not in identifying 
humanity with the divinity, which is nothing else but 
to assert commission in political economy, and in philo- 
sophy, mysticism, and the statu quo. The true remedy 
is in demonstrating to humanity that God, if He exists, 
is its enemy." After having upset his pantheism and 
his impersonal God, he here destroys humanism, which 
is contained in the definition of the text. On the other 
hand, the theory of the rivalry between God and man, 
of which we have already spoken in another chapter of 
this book, commences to invest itself with a concrete 

The condemnation of humanism, and the theory of 
rivalry, appear more clearly in the ninth chapter of the 
same work, where we find the following : — " For my part' 
- — and I am sorry to have to confess it, certain as I am 
that this declaration will separate me from the most 
intelligent among the Socialists — the more I think on it, 
the more impossible it becomes for me to subscribe to 
this deification of our species, which, on consideration, 
is nothing else in the atheists of our days but the last 
echo of religious terror ; and which, by rehabilitating 
and consecrating mysticism under the name of human- 
ism, again places the sciences under the rule of pre- 
occupations, morality under the rule of habit, social 
economy under the rule of communism, or, which is 
the same, of debility and misejy ; and finally, logic itself 


under the rule of the absurd and the absolute. And 
precisely because I find myself obliged to repudiate 
.... this religion, in union with all those which pre- 
ceded it, is why I am still obliged to admit as plausible 
the hypothesis of an infinite being, , . , . against which 
I should struggle even to death, like Israel against 
Jehovah, for that is my destiny." 

Nothing remains of the definition of God, but the 
negation of providence, and even that negation dis- 
appears with this contradictory affirmation: — "And 
behold how we journey by chance, conducted by pro- 
vidence, which never warns us but where it wounds" 
(" Syst^me des Contradictions," chap, iii.) 

From the above we see that M. Proudhon, embracing 
all the rationalistic contradictions, is now pantheist, 
again humanist, then manichean ; that he believes in 
an impersonal god, and again declares as absurd and 
monstrous the idea of a god, if that god be not a 
person ; and finally, that he affirms and denies provi- 
dence at the same time. In one of our former chapters, 
we saw how, in the manichean theory of rivalry between 
God and man, the Proudhonian god was representative 
of evil ; now we shall see, according to Proudhon himself, 
how all this system comes to the ground. 

In the second chapter of the work already quoted, he 
explains himself in this way : — " Nature, or the Divinity, 
has distrusted our hearts, and has not created in them 
love of man for his kind. All the discoveries of the 
sciences about the designs of Providence regarding 
social evolutions, to the shame of the human conscience 


be it said, and to our happiness be it known, bear testi- 
mony to a profound misanthropy on the part of God. 
God gives us aid, not through goodness, but because 
order constitutes His essence. If He procures the good 
of the world, it is not because He judges it worthy of 
good, but because He is obhged to it by the religion of 
His supreme wisdom. And whilst the vulgar call Him 
by the tender name of Father, neither the historian nor 
the philosophical economist find motives for believing 
in the possibility of His esteeming us or loving us." 

With these words the Proudhonian manicheism 
comes to the ground. Man is not the rival, but the 
despised slave of God ; he is not the good nor the evil, 
he is a creature possessed of the gross and servile 
instincts which slavery engenders. God is I know not 
what union of severe, inflexible, and mathematical laws. 
He does good without being good ; and His misanthropy 
proves He would be wicked if, He could. The Proud- 
honian god here displays an evident relationship with 
the Fatum of the ancients. Fatalism is discovered still 
more clearly in these words : — " Being come to the 
second station of our Calvary, in place of resigning 
ourselves to sterile contemplations, what we should do, 
is to lend an increasingly attentive ear to the teaching 
of destiny. The surety of our liberty is precisely, in the 
progress of our punishment. 

" On the heels of the fatalist comes the atheist What 
is God .'' Where is He "i Into how many gods is He 
multiplied } What is His will "i How far does His 
power go ? What promises does He make us } And 


when we take the lamp of analysis in our hand to 
discover all these things, on the moment all the divinities 
of heaven, of earth, and of hell, are converted into a 
something incorporeal, impassible, immoveable, incom- 
prehensible, indefinable, and, to say it once for all, into 
a negation of all the attributes of existence. In fact, 
let man put a spirit or a special genius behind every 
object, or let him conceive the universe as governed by 
one only power, in either of these suppositions he does 
nothing more than affirm the hypothesis of an uncondi- 
tional, that is, an impossible, entity, to draw from it an 
explanation tolerably satisfactory, of the phenomena 
which he cannot conceive otherwise. Deep and pro- 
found mystery ! To make the object of his idolatry 
more and more rational, the believer strips it succes- 
sively of all that could constitute its reality ; and after 
prodigious efforts of logic and genius, we come to the 
fact that the attributes of the being par excellence are 
confounded and identified with those of nothingness. 
This evolution is fatal and inevitable. Atheism is at 
the bottom of all theodicy " (" Syst^me des Contradic- 
tions," Prologue). 

Once arrived at this supreme conclusion, and at this 
cloudy abyss, it would appear the Furies enter into 
possession of the atheist. Blasphemies swell his heart, 
squeeze his throat, burn his lips, and when he endea- 
vours to raise them into a pyramid to, the throne of God, 
placing one on top of another, he sees with astonieh- 
ment that, borne down by their specific gravity, instead 
of rising with light wing, they fall heavy and dead into 

igo ^■.S-^^ YS ON CA THOLICISM, 

the abyss which is their centre. His tongue can find 
no words that are not sarcastic or contemptuous, nor 
appellations that are not stupid or the offspring of anger, 
nor fits which are not frantic. His style is at once 
impetuous and muddy, eloquent without ornament, and 
cynically gross. Here he exclaims : — " What is the use 
of adoring that phantom of Divinity .■' And what does 
He want of us by means of that gang of inspired people 
who persecute us everywhere with their sermons?" 
(" Syst^me des Contradictions, chap, iii.") And further on 
he allows tliese cynical expressions to drop from him : — 
" With regard to God, I know Him not. God is nothing 
but pure mysticism. If you desire me to listen to you, 
begin by suppressing that word in your discourses ; for, 
from the experience of three thousand years, I have 
become convinced that every one that talks to me of 
God, wishes to rob me of my liberty or my purse. 
How much do you owe me.' How much do I owe 
you.' Behold my religion and my God" (chap, vi.) 
Having come to the paroxysm of rage, he breaks out 
in Chapter VHI. in the following words: — "This I say, 
the first duty of an intelligent and free man is to tear 
immediately the idea of God from his mind and con- 
science ; for God, if He exists, is essentially hostile to 
our nature, and we depend on Him for nothing. . . . 
With what right could God yet say to me. Be holy as I 
am holy.' Deceptive spirit! I would answer Him, 
imbecile God I your kingdom is now at an end : seek 
for other victims among the brute creation. I know I 
am not, and cannot ever be, holy ; and as for you, how 


can you be so, if you and I resemble each other ? Eter- 
nal Father, Jupiter., or Jehovah, as you may desire to be 
called, learn from me that now we know you. You are, 
you were, and you will be, perpetually the rival of Adam, 
the tyrant of Prometheus " (chap, viii.) And further on 
in the same chapter, apostrophising the Divinity which 
he denies, he says : — " You triumph, and no one dared 
to contradict you, when, after tormenting Job, the just 
figure of our humanity, in body and soul, you insulted 
his candid piety and his discreet and respectful ignor- 
ance. We were all as it were nothing in presence of 
your invisible majesty, to which we gave the heavens as 
■ a seat, and the earth as a footstool. Times are now 
changed : b'ehold you are beaten and dethroned. Your 
name, in other times the compendium and sum of all 
wisdom, the only sanction of the judge, the only power 
of the prince, the hope of the poor, the refuge of the re- 
pentant sinner ; that incommunicable name, handed over 
to execration and contempt, will be henceforth despised 
by the nations. God is nothing else but stupidity and 
fear, hypocrisy and deceit, tyranny and misery. God is 
the evil. As long as humanity bends before an altar, 
the slave of kings and of priests, it will be reprobated ; 
as long as one single man receives in God's name, an oath 
•from another man, society will be founded on perjury, 
and peace and love will be exiled from the earth. Retire, 
Jehovah ; for henceforth, cured of the fear of God, and 
having attained true wisdom, I am ready to swear with 
my hand raised towards heaven, that you are only the 
murderer of my reason and the spectre of my conscience." 


It is himself has said it — God is the spectre of his 
conscience. No one can deny God without condemning 
himself; no one can fly from God without flying from 
himself. That wretch, without leaving earth, is already 
in hell. Those muscular, violent, and impotent contrac- 
tions, this cynical phrenzy, that mad rage, that violent 
and tempestuous wrath, are already the contractions, 
the phrenzy, the rage, and the wrath of the reprobate. 
Without charity and without faith, he has lost the last 
blessing of man — hope ! And yet, occasionally, when 
speaking of Catholicism, he feels, without knowing it, its 
serene and sanctifying influence. Then his martyrdom 
ceases, as it were by enchantment ; a gentle and refresh- 
ing breeze from heaven reaches his brow, dries up the 
sweat and suspends the fit of epileptic convulsions. 
Then he softly lets fall these words : — "Ah ! how much 
more prudent has Catholicism proved itself, and how 
superior it is to all, sansimonians, republicans, univer- 
sitarians, economists, in the knowledge of society and of 
man ! The priest knows that our life is only a pere- 
grination, and that all complete perfection is denied us 
in this world ; and because he knows this, he is content 
with commencing on earth an education, which can only 
be completed in heaven. The man who has grown up 
under the auspices of religion, satisfied with knowing, 
doing, and obtaining, what is sufficient for the temporal 
life, will never be an obstacle to the powers of earth ; 
he would sooner prefer martyrdom. Oh, beloved 
religion 1 By what inconceivable error of reason 
does it happen that those who have most, need of 


you, are precisely the very persons who know you 
least ? " 

I spoke before en passant of M. Proudhon's char- 
acter for consistency ; now I think it right, and even 
necessary, to say something more on a subject which is 
much more transfcendent than would appear at first 
sight. With regard to the character, it is a public, 
notorious, and consequently evident, fact, and yet that 
fact is totally inexplicable if we consider that M. 
Proudhon has adopted, one after another, all the sys- 
tems relative to the Divinity, and that there is no one 
among the Sociahsts so full of contradictions : whence it 
results, that his character for consistency is a fact con- 
tradictory of the fact which occasions it. By what sub- 
terranean paths, by what illation of subtle and knotty 
deductions, starting from the notorious fact of ProuS- 
honian contradictions, has the world come to call 
those contradictions precisely by the name which con- 
tradicts them, that is, by the name of consistency ? 
There are here a great problem to be solved, and a great 
mystery to be cleared up. 

The solution of that problem, and the clearing up of 
that mystery, are in the fact, that in the theories of M. 
Proudhon there are at the same time contradiction and 
consistency — the latter real, and the former apparent 
If all the fragments I have just transcribed, be examined 
one by one, and if they be considered in themselves, 
without looking further, each of them is the contradiction 
of the one that precedes and the one that follows it, and 

they are all contradictory among themselves ; but if we 



fix our eyes on the rationalistic theory, in which all others 
have their origin, it will be seen that rationalism, amongst 
all sins the most like original sin, is, like it, an actual 
error, and all errors in posse; and consequently, that with 
its wide unity it comprehends and embraces all errors, to 
whose union with it, it is no obstacle,' they being contra- 
dictory amongst themselves, for even contradictions are 
susceptible of a certain kind of peace and a certain kind 
of union, where there is a supreme contradiction which 
involves them all. In the present case, rationalism is 
that contradiction which resolves all other contradic- 
tions in its supreme unity. In fact, rationalism is at 
once deism, pantheism, humanism, manicheism, fatal- 
ism, scepticism, atheism ; and amongst rationalists the 
most consistent is he who is at once deist, pantheist, 
humanist, manichean, fatalist, sceptic, and atheist. 

These considerations, which serve to explain the two 
facts, apparently contradictory, mentioned above, also 
satisfactorily explain why, instead of giving one by one 
the various systems of the Socialistic doctors about the 
Divinity, we have preferred considering them all in the 
writings of M. Proudhon, where they can be seen in their 
variety and in the aggregate. 

Having seen what the Socialists think of the Divinity, 
it remains to be seen what they think of man, and how 
they solve the awful problems of good and evil, con- 
sidered in general, which is the subject of this book. 



Continuation of the same subject — Conclusion of this book. 

There has never been a man so mad as to dare deny 
the good and the evil, and their co-existence in history. 
Philosophers dispute about the mode or form in which 
they exist and co-exist; they all, however, decidedly 
admit their existence and co-existence as a settled 
point ; they all likewise agree, that in the contest which 
exists between the good and the evil, the former must 
obtain a definite victory over the latter. Leaving these 
points as undoubted and settled, in all else there are 
diversity of opinions, contradiction of systems, and end- 
less contests. 

The Liberal school regards it as certain, that there 
is no other evil but what is in the political institutions 
which we have inherited from time to time, and that the 
supreme good consists in levelling those institutions in 
the dust. The greater part of Socialists look upon it as 
settled, that there is no other evil but what is in society, 
and that the grand remedy is in the complete destruc- 
tion of social institutions. All agree that the evil comes 
to us from times past ; the Liberals affirm that the good 
can be realised at the present time, and the Socialists 
that the golden age cannot commence till the future. 

The supreme good consisting, according to one and 
the other, in a supreme disarrangement, which, accord- 
ing to the Liberal school, must be realised in the poli- 
tical, and according to the Socialists, in the social, 


regions, the one and the other agree in the substantial 
and intrinsic goodness of man, who is to be the intel- 
ligent and free agent of both disarrangements. This 
conclusion has been explicitly enunciated by the Social- 
istic schools, and is implicitly involved in the theory 
which the Liberal schools hold. That conclusion follows 
from their theory, in such a way, that if the conclusion 
be denied, the theory itself comes to the ground. In 
fact, the theory, according to which the evil is in man 
and proceeds from man, is contradictory of the other, 
according to which, the evil is in the social or political 
institutions, and proceeds from the political and social 
institutions. Supposing the former, what logically 
follows is, to extirpate the evil in man, with which its 
extirpation in society and in government must neces- 
sarily be secured. Supposing the latter, what logically 
follows is, to extirpate the evil directly in society or in 
government, in which are its centre and its origin. From 
which we see that the Catholic, and the rationalistic, 
theories are not only incompatible, but even contradic- 
tory. By the Catholic, disturbance, whether political or 
social, is condemned as mad and useless. The rational- 
istic theories condemn all moral reform of man as use- 
less and mad. And the one and the other are consis- 
tent in their condemnations ; for if the evil be not in 
government or in society, why will you disturb society 
or government ? And on the contrary, if the evil is 
not in individuals, nor proceeds from individuals, why 
will you attempt an interior reform of man ? 

The Socialistic schools feel no inconvenience in ac- 


cepting the question, presented in this way. The 
Liberal school, on the contrary, sees in its acceptation, 
and not without reason, serious inconvenience. Accept- 
ing the question as it presents itself of its own accord, 
the Liberal school finds itself in the dire necessity of 
denying with a radical negation, the Catholic theory 
considered in itself and in all its consequences, and this 
is exactly what the Liberal school resolutely refuses to 
do. The friend of all principles, and of their counter- 
principles, it does not wish to be separated from the one 
nor the other, and is perpetually occupied in reconciling 
all contradictory theories and all human contradictions. 
Moral reforms do not appear ill in its eyes, but political 
disarrangements appear excellent, without adverting 
that these things are incompatible; for man, purified 
interiorly, cannot be the agent of disturbance ; and the 
agents of disturbance, by the very fact of being so, declare 
that they are not interiorly purified. On this occasion, 
as on all others, the balance between Catholicism and 
Socialism is absolutely impossible; for — one of two 
things — either man is not to be purified, or disturbances 
are not , to be realised. If unpurified man takes on 
himself the duty of disturber, political, are only the 
preclude of social, disturbances ; and if man relinquishes 
the ofifice of political disturber, to become the reformer 
of himself, neither social nor political disturbances are 
possible. So in the one as in the other case, the Liberal 
school has necessarily to abdicate in favour of the 
Socialistic, or in favour of the Catholic, schools. 

It follows that the Socialistic schools have logic and 
reason on their side, when they maintain against the 


Liberal school, that if the evil is essentially in society 
or in government, there is nothing to be done but to 
disturb government or society, without its being either 
necessary or convenient, but on the contrary, pernicious 
and absurd, to attempt the reform of man. 

Suppose the innate and absolute goodness of man, 
man is at once the universal reformer and irreformable 
himself, which is equal to transforming man into God— 
his essence ceases to be human to become divine. He 
is absolutely good in himself, and produces the absolute 
good outside himself by his disturbances. Supreme 
good, and the cause of all good, he is most excellent, 
most wise, and most potent. Adoration is a necessity 
so imperious, that the Socialists, being atheists, and 
not adoring God, make gods of men, that they may 
adore something, in some way. 

These being the ruling ideas of the Socialistic schools 
about man, it is clear the Socialist denies his anti- 
thetical nature as a pure invention of the Catholic school. 
Hence Sansimonianism, and Fourrierism do not admit 
that man is so constituted that his understanding leads 
him one way, and his will another, nor do they grant 
there is any sort of contradiction between the spirit and 
the flesh. The supreme end of Sansimonianism is to 
demonstrate practically the conciliation and the unity 
of those two powerful energies ; this supreme concilia- 
tion was symbolised in the Sansimonian priest, whose 
office was to satisfy the spirit by means of the flesh, 
and the flesh by means of the spirit. The principle 
common to all Socialists, which consists in giving ill- 
constituted society a construction analogous to that of 


man, who is constructed in an excellent manner, led the 
Sansimonians to deny all species of political, scientific, 
and social dualism, the negation of which was necessary, 
supposing the negation of the antithetical nature of 
man. The pacification between the spirit and the 
flesh once proclaimed, it was logical to proclaim the 
universal pacification and reconciliation of all things ; 
and as things are not pacified or reconciled except 
by unity, universal unity was a logical consequence of 
human unity ; and hence the religious, political, and 
social pantheism, which constitutes the ideal despotism 
to which all the Socialistic schools aspire with an im- 
mense aspiration. The common father of the school, 
Saint Simon, and the patriarch of the school, Fourrier, 
are its august and glorious personifications. 

Returning to the nature of man, which is our special 
object at present, supposing, on one side, its unity, and 
on the other, its absolute goodness, it was logical to 
proclaim man holy and divine, not only in his unity, 
but also in all and in each of the elements which consti- 
tute it; and hence the proclamation of the sanctity 
a:nd divinity of the passions. For this reason all the 
Socialistic schools, some implicitly, others expHcitly, 
proclaim the passions divine and holy. Supposing the 
sanctity and the divinity of the passions, it was logical 
to explicitly condemn all repressive and penal systems, 
and above all, to condemn virtue, whose office it is to 
impede their march, prevent their explosion, and repress 
their impetuosity. And in fact, all these things, which 
are at once the consequence of anterior principles, and 


principles of more remote consequences, are taught and 
proclaimed with more or less cynicism in all the Social- 
istic schools, amongst which the Sansimonian and 
Fourrierian schools shine forth, like two suns in a star- 
spangled firmament. That is what is signified by the 
rehabilitation of woman and the pacification of the 
flesh. That is what is signified by Fourrier's theory 
about attractions. Fourrier says : — " Duty proceeds from 
man (understand society), and attraction from God." 
Madame de Coeslin, quoted by M. Louis de Rayband, 
in his " Studies on Contemporaneous Reformists," has 
expressed this same thought with greater exactness by 
saying : — " The passions are of divine institution, the 
virtues of human institution ; " which means, supposing 
the principles of the school, that the virtues are perni- 
cious, and the passions salutary. For this reason the 
supreme end of Socialism is to create a new social 
atmosphere, in which the passions may move freely, 
commencing by destroying the political, religious, and 
social institutions which oppress them. The golden age 
announced by the poets and expected by the nations, 
will begin in the world when that great event occurs, 
and that magnificent aurora appears on the horizon. 
The earth will then be a paradise, and that paradise with 
gates to the four winds, will not be, like the Catholic 
paradise, guarded by an angel' The evil will have dis- 
appeared from the world, which heretofore has been, but 
shall no longer be, condemned to be a valley of tears. 

This is what Socialism thinks of good and of evil, of 
God and man. My readers will not certainly require 


me to follow the Socialistic schools step by step, on the 
broken path of their mischievous extravagances. Much 
less will they require me to do so, when they consider, 
that they were virtually refuted from the moment I 
placed before their eyes, the majesty of the Catholic 
doctrine relative to these great questions, in its simple 
and august magnificence. Nevertheless, I consider it an 
iraprescindible and holy duty to level with the ground 
that edifice of error ; and for this, I have but to employ 
one sole argument and one single word, enough, and 
more than enough, to effect my purpose. 

Society can be considered in two different points of 
view, the Catholic and the pantheistical. Considered 
in the Catholic point of view, it is nothing but the 
reunion of a multitude of men, who all live under the 
rule and protection of the same laws, and of the same 
institutions. Considered in the pantheistical point of 
view, it is an organism which exists with an individual, 
concrete, and necessary existence. In the first supposi- 
tion, it is clear that, as society does not exist indepen- 
dently of the individuals who constitute it, there can be 
nothing in the society which is not previously in the 
individuals; whence it follows, by necessary conse- 
quence, that the evil and the good which are in it, come 
to it from man. Considered from this point of view, it 
is absurd to endeavour to extirpate the evil from the 
society in which it exists by incidence only, without 
touching the individuals in whom it was originally and 
essentially. In the second supposition, according to 
which, society is a being which exists of itself with a 


concrete, individual, and necessary existence, those who 
admit it are obliged to solve in a satisfactory way, the 
very questions which, with respect to man, the ration- 
alists propose to Catholics, viz., Whether is society 
essentially or accidentally evil ? — if the former, what 
way, in what circumstances, and on what occasion, has 
the social harmony been disturbed with that mischievous 
incidence ? We have seen how Catholics untie all these 
knots, in what way they solve all these difficulties, and 
in what manner they answer all these questions relative 
to the existence of evil, considered as a consequence of 
the human prevarication. What we have not yet seen, 
and what we shall never see, is the manner and the force 
of the Socialistic solutions of those same difficulties re- 
lative to the existence of evil, considered as existing 
solely in social institutions. 

This sole consideration would authorise me in saying 
that the Socialistic theory is a theory of mountebanks, 
and that Socialism is nothing but the social reason of a 
company of buffiaons. To be as sober as I purposed, 
I will end this argumentation by placing Socialism in 
this dilemma : — The evil which is in society is an 
essence or an accident. If it be an essence, to extirpate 
it, it is not enough to upset social institutions ; it is 
necessary besides to destroy society itself, which is the 
essence that sustains all forms. If the evil be acci- 
dental, then you are obliged to do what you have not 
done, what you do not do, what you cannot do : you 
are obHged to explain to me at what time, by what 
cause, in what way, and in what form, that accident has 


supervened, and then, by what series of deductions 
you come to constitute man the redeemer of society, 
giving him power to cleanse its stains and to wash away 
its sins. It will be useful to warn the incautious here, 
that rationalism, which furiously attacks all the Catholic 
mysteries, afterwards proclaims, in another way, and for 
another purpose, those very mysteries. Catholicism 
affirms two things — the evil and the redemption ; 
rationalistic Socialism comprehends in the symbol of 
its faith, the same affirmations. Between Socialists 
and Catholics there is no more than this difference — 
the latter affirm the evil of man, and the redemption on 
the part of God ; the former affirm the evil of society, 
and the redemption on the part of man. The Catholic, 
with his two affirmations, does nothing but affirm two 
simple and natural things — that man is man, and exe- 
cutes human works, that God is God, and executes 
things divine. Socialism, with its two affirmations, does 
nothing more than affirm, that man undertakes and 
accomplishes the enterprises of a God, and that society 
executes the works belonging to man. What does 
human reason gain by abandoning Catholicism for 
Socialism, except to leave what is at once evident and 
mysterious, for what is at once mysterious and absurd .'' 

Our refutation of the Socialistic theories would not 
be complete, if we had not recourse to the arsenal of 
M. Proudhon, now full of reason, and now full of elo- 
quence and sarcasm, when he combats and pulverises 
his companions in arms. 

See here what M. Proudhon thinks of the harmonical 


nature of man, proclaimed by St Simon and by Fourrier, 
and of the future transformation of the earth into a 
garden of delights, announced by all the Socialists : — 
" But man, considered in the aggregate of his manifesta- 
tions, and when all his antinomies appear exhausted, 
presents one still, which, referring to nothing that exists 
on earth, remains here below, without solution of any 
sort. This serves to explain why, no matter how per- 
fect order may be in society, it is never so perfect as to 
exile bitterness and weariness. Felicity in this world 
is an ideal we are condemned to be ever aiming at, and 
which the invincible antagonism of nature and the spirit 
perpetually places beyond our reach" ("Systeme des 
Contradictions," chap, x.) Pay attention now to the fol- 
lowing sarcasm against the native goodness of man : — 
" The greatest obstacle equality has to surmount, is not 
in the aristocratic pride of the rich, but in the indis- 
pensable egotism of the poor ; and do you dare, in spite 
of that, to count on his innate goodness to reform at 
once, the spontaneity and the premeditation of his 
malice .'' " (" Systfeme des Contradictions," chap, viii.) 
The sarcasm becomes intensified in the following words, 
taken from the same work and from the same chapter: 
— " The logic of Socialism is truly marvellous : man is 
good, they tell us, but it is necessary to disinterest 
him in the evil, that he may abstain from it : man is 
good, they repeat, but it is necessary to interest him in 
the good, that he may reduce it to practice ; for if the 
interest of his passions carry him to evil, he will do the 
evil ; and if he is disinterested in the good, he will not 


execute it. In this case, society will have no right to 
upbraid him for attending to his passions, for it was its 
obligation to conduct him by means of his passions. 
What an excellent nature was that of Nero, and how 
marvellously enriched with gifts ! What an artistic 
soul was that of Heliogabalus, who organised prostitu- 
tion 1 And as regards Tiberius, what a powerful and 
grand character his was ! And, on the contrary, where 
shall we find words sufficient to blame the society which 
produced those divine souls, and, nevertheless, gave 
being to Tacitus and Marcus Aurelius .■■ And this is 
what we Socialists call innate goodness of man, and 
sanctity of his passions ! A Sappho, full of wrinkles 
and abandoned by her lovers, submits her neck to the 
yoke of matrimony ; disinterested in love, she resigns 
herself to Hymen. And they call that woman holy ! 
It is a pity this word has not in French the double 
meaning it has in the Hebrew tongue ! The whole 
world would then agree about the sanctity of Sappho." 
The sarcasm is invested with that form, eloquently 
brutal, which might be called the Proudhonian form, in 
the twelfth chapter of the same work, where M. Proudhon 
says : — " Let us pass rapidly by the side of those St 
Simonian and Fourrierian constitutions, and above all 
others of the same stamp, whose authors go about the 
streets and squares, promising to unite with happy link, 
free love with the purest modesty, delicacy, and spiritu- 
ality; sad illusion of an abject Socialism, last dream 
of delirious debauch. Give wings to passion through 
inconstancy, and immediately the flesh will tyrannise 


over the spirit ; lovers will be nothing to each 'other but 
the vile instruments of pleasure; the longing of the 
senses will succeed the fusion of hearts, and .... to 
form a judgment of such things it is not necessary to 
have passed, like St Simon, through the custom-house 
of the popular Venus." 

After having given, and refuted in general, the Social- 
istic theories relative to the problems which are the 
subject of this book, it only remains to explain and 
refute M. Proudhon's theory relative to the same pro- 
blems, to bring this long and complicated debate to a 
conclusion. M. Proudhon compendiously but satis- 
factorily lays down his doctrine in Chapter viii. of the 
work we have just quoted, in the following words : — 
"The education of liberty, the subjection of our 
interests, the rescue or the redemption of our soul, this 
is what the Christian mystery, properly interpreted, 
signifies, as Lessing has demonstrated. This education 
will last as long as our life, and that of the human race. 
Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Zoroaster, were all apostles 
of expiation, and living symbols of penance. Man is by 
nature a sinner, which does not mean precisely that he 
is bad, but rather that he is badly made. His destiny 
is to be perpetually occupied in endeavouring to create 
his proper ideal within himself." 

In this profession of faith there is something of the 
Catholic theory, something of the Socialistic theory, and 
something which is neither the one nor the other, and 
thereby constitutes the individuality of the Proud- 
honian theory. 


What there is here of the Catholic theory consists in 
the acknowledgment of the existence of evil and of sin, 
in the confession that sin is in man and not in society, 
and that the evil does not come from society but 
from man ; and finally, there is here belonging to the 
Catholic theory the explicit acknowledgment of the 
necessity of redemption and penance. 

What there is of the Socialistic theory, is in the affir- 
mation that man is the redeemer. What constitutes the 
individuality of the Proudhonian theory consists, on one 
side, in the following theory contradictory of the Social- 
istic theory, viz., that man the redeemer does not redeem 
society, but redeems himself; and in this other, contradic- 
tory of the Catholic theory, that man has not made himself 
bad, but on the contrary, that he has been badly made. 

Leaving aside what in this theory is in conformity with 
the Catholic on one hand, and with the Socialistic theory, 
on the other, I will confine myself to that solely which 
renders it different from the others, and in virtue of 
which, it is neither Socialistic nor Catholic, but exclu- 
sively Proudhonian. 

The individuality of this theory consists in affirming 
that man is a sinner only because he has been badly 
made. Under this supposition M. Proudhon has given 
a remarkable proof of sound reason and good logic, in 
seeking the redeemer outside the Creator, as it is clear 
we could not be well redeemed by him by whom we 
were badly made. As God could not be the redeemer, 
and a redeemer being necessary, either man or an angel 
should be it. Being doubtful of the existence of the 


angels, and certain of the necessity of the redemption, 
having no one else to intrust it to, he gave it to man, 
who is at once a sinner and the redeemer of his sins. 
All these propositions are well connected and knit 
together. Where they are all weak is in the fact which 
serves them as foundation and basis ; for man has been 
either well made or badly made. In the first case, the 
theory falls to the ground ; and in the second, the 
following argumentation occurs : — If man is badly made, 
and is his own redeemer, there is a manifest contradic- 
tion between his nature and his attribute ; for if man, 
no matter how badly made he may be, is made in such 
a way as to be able to amend the work of his Maker, 
even to the degree of redeeming himself, far from being 
a creature badly made, he is a most perfect creature ; 
for what greater perfection can be imagined, than what 
consists in the faculty of blotting out all his sins, of 
amending all his imperfections, and, to say it in a word, 
of redeeming himself .'' Well now, if in the fact of his 
being his own redeemer, no matter what his imperfec- 
tions may be besides, man is a most perfect being, to 
say of him at one and the same time, that he has been 
badly made, and that he is his own redeemer, is to 
affirm what is denied, and to deny what is affirmed, 
because it is to affirm that he has been made most 
perfect, and that he has been badly made. And let it 
not be said his imperfections come to him from God, 
and the great perfection of redemption from himself; 
for to this we will answer, that man could never become 
his own redeemer, if he had not been made with the 


faculty of reaching to such a great height, or, at least, 
with the faculty of acquiring that faculty in the course 
of time. It is necessary to grant some of these things, 
and to grant anything here, is to grant all ; for if when 
he was made he was his redeemer in posse, before being 
so actually, that posse, in spite of all his imperfections, 
constituted him most perfect. Hence the Proudhonian 
theory is nothing less than a contradiction in terms. 

The conclusion of all that has been said is, that there 
is no school which does not recognise the simultaneous 
existence of good and evil, and the Catholic alone 
satisfactorily explains the nature and the origin of the 
one and the other, and their various and complicated 
effects. It teaches us that there is no good whatever, 
that does not come from God, and that all that pro- 
ceeds from God is good ; it tells us how the evil com- 
menced with the first error of the angelic and the 
human liberty, which from being obedient and sub- 
missive, became rebellious and prevaricating, and how, 
and to what degree, those two great prevarications 
change all things with their influence and ravages. It 
tells us, in fine, that the good is de se eternal, because it 
is de se essential, and that the evil is a transitory thing 
because it is an accident : whence it follows the good 
is not subject to falls or changes, and the evil can be 
removed and the sinner redeemed. Reserving for a 
future occasion the explanation of those great and 
sovereign mysteries, thfough whose prodigious virtue 
the evil was extirpated in its origin, we have limited 
ourselves to place in relief the sovereign industry and 


the wonderful artifice with which God converts the 
effects of the primitive fall, into constituent elements of 
a superior good and of a more excellent order ; hence 
we explained in what manner the good springs from 
the evil, by the virtue of God, after having explained in 
what way the evil springs from the good, by the fault 
of man, without the human action or the divine reaction 
implying rivalry of any sort, between beings which are 
separated by an infinite distance. 

As regards the Rationalistic schools, the examination 
of their systems serves to demonstrate their 
profound ignorance of all that relates to these deep 
questions. As regards the Liberal school, its ignorance 
is proverbial among the learned ; in quality of laical 
school, it is essentially antitheological ; and in quality of 
antitheological, it is impotent to give a great impulse to 
civilization, which is ever the reflex of a theology. Its 
proper office is to falsify all principles, by combining 
them capriciously and absurdly, with those that con- 
tradict them : by this means it expects to arrive at an 
equilibrium, and it only arrives at confusion ; it thinks 
it is advancing to truth, and it is only going to war. 
But as it is impossible to withdraw one's self entirely from 
the authority of theological science, the Liberal school is 
less laical than it believes, and more theological than 
would appear at first sight. The question of good and 
evil, the most essentially theological of all that can be 
imagined, is proposed and solved by its doctors, though it 
is seen immediately they are not acquainted with the art 
of proposing, and the manner of solving, it. In the first 


place, they prescind from the question relative to evil 
in itself, to the evil far excellence, to occupy themselves 
solely with a certain sort of evil, as if it were possible 
for one who is ignorant of what evil is, to know what 
particular evils are ; in the second place, particularising 
the remedy, as they particularised the evil, they dis- 
cover it solely in certain political forms, forgetting that 
those forms are perfectly indifferent, as reason tells us, 
and history demonstrates. Pointing out the evil where 
it does not exist, and the remedy where it is not to be 
fourirf; the Liberal school has placed the question outside 
its proper point of view, by which it has introduced 
confusion and disorder into the intellectual regions. 
Its ephemeral domination has proved mischievous to 
human societies, and diiring its transitory reign the dis- 
solvent principle of discussion has impaired the com- 
mon sense of nations. In this state of society there is 
no disturbance which may not be feared, nor catas- 
trophe which may not happen, nor revolution which 
may not be inevitable. 

As regards the Socialistic schools, by merely con- 
sidering the manner in which they propose the ques- 
tions, we discover their superiority over the Liberal 
school, which is not in a position to oppose any kind 
of resistance to them. Being, as they are, essentially 
theological, they measure the abysses in all their pro- 
fundity, and are not wanting in a certain grandeur in 
the manner of proposing the problems and solving them. 
Considered, however, more attentively, and on entering 
into the intricate labyrinth of their contradictory solu- 


tions, their radical weakness, hidden under a grand 
appearance, is immediately discovered. The Socialistic 
sectaries are like the pagan philosophers, whose theolo- 
gical and cosmogonical systems formed a monstrous 
union, on one side, of disfigured and incomplete biblical 
traditions, and on the other, of unsustainable and false 
hypotheses. Their grandeur comes to them from the 
atmosphere which surrounds them, all impregnated with 
Catholic emanations, and their contradictions and their 
weakness, from their ignorance of dogma, from their 
neglect of tradition, and from their contempt for the 
Church, the universal depositary of Catholic dogmas and 
of Christian traditions. Like our dramatic writers of 
another age, who, confounding everything grotesquely, 
though ingeniously, used to put in the mouth of Caesar 
discourses becoming the Cid, and expressions worthy of 
the knights of Christendom in the mouth of Moorish 
warriors, the Socialists of our times are perpetually 
occupied in giving a rationalistic sense to Catholic words, 
giving fewer proofs of ingenuity than of candour, and 
proving themselves occasionally less malicious than 

There is nothing less Catholic, nor more rationalistic, 
than to enter forcibly the rationalistic citadel and the 
Catholic citadel, taking from the former the ideas, with 
all their contradictions, and from the latter the garments, 
with all their magnificence. Catholicism, for its part, 
will not consent to those scandalous intrigues, nor to 
that shameful confusion, nor to those stupid spoils. 
Catholicism is in a position to show, that it along 


possesses the regular index of all political, religious, and 
social problems ; that it alone has the secret of great 
solutions ; that it will not do to admit it by halves, nor 
to take its words to cover with them the nakedness of 
other doctrines ; that there is no other evil nor other 
good but the good and the evil which it points out ; 
that things cannot be explained except as it explains 
them ; that the God alone whom it proclaims, is the true 
God ; that the man alone whom it defines, is the true 
man ; that humanity is what it says it is, and nothing 
else; that when it has said to men that they are 
brothers, equal and free, it has said at the same time 
how they are so, -in what manner they are so, and 
to what degree they are so ; that its words have been 
made to the measure of its ideas, and its ideas to sustain 
its words; that it is necessary to proclaim Catholic 
liberty, equality, and fraternity, or to deny at once all 
those things and all those names ; that the dogma of 
the redemption exclusively belongs to it ; that it alone 
tells us the cause, and the object, of the redemption, and 
how the Redeemer and the redeemed are called ; that 
to accept its dogma to disfigure it, is the part of a 
mountebank, and a malicious buffoonery ; that he who is 
not with it is against it ; that it is the affirmation par 
excellence, and that against it there can be nothing given 
but an absolute negation. 

In this way does the question stand between Ration- 
alists and Catholics. Man is sovereignly free ; and being 
free, he can accept the purely Catholic, or the purely 
rationalistic, solutions ; he can affirm all or deny all ; he 


can be saved or lost. What man cannot do, is to change 
with his will the nature of things, which is immutable. 
What man cannot do, is to find repose and rest in the 
Liberal or Socialistic eclecticism. Socialists and Liberals 
are under the obligation of denying all, to have the right 
of denying anything. Catholicism, humanly considered, 
is great, only because it is the union of all possible 
affirmations ; Liberalism and Socialism are weak, only 
because they unite in one various Catholic affirmations 
and various rationalistic negations, and because, instead 
of being schools contradictory of Catholicism, they are 
only two different schools. The Socialists do not 
appear daring in their negations, except when compared 
with the Liberals, who see a rock in every affirmation, 
and a danger in every negation. Their timidity, how- 
ever, strikes the view when they are compared with the 
Catholic school ; it is only then we discover the boldness 
with which it affirms, and the timidity with which they 
deny. How ! you call yourselves apostles of a new 
gospel, and you tell us of evil and sin, of redemption 
and grace, things of which the old gospel is full ! You 
call yourselves the depositaries of a new political, social; 
and religious science, and you talk to us about liberty, 
equality, and fraternity, things as old as Catholicism, 
which is as old as the world ! He who said He would 
exalt humility and lower pride, fulfils His word in you 
He condemns you to be only stupid commentators of 
His immortal Gospel, by the very fact of your aspiring 
with wanton and mad ambition, to promulgate a new 
law from a new Sinai, if not from a New Calvary. 







Transmission of sin, dogma of imputation. 

With the sin of our first parents are sufficiently ex- 
plained that great disorder and that formidable con- 
fusion which things suffered soon after their creation, 
which confusion and disorder were converted, as we saw, 
without ceasing to be what they were, into elements of 
a more excellent order and a greater harmony, by that 
secret and incommunicable virtue which is in God, of 
drawing order from disorder, from confusion concert, 
and good from evil, by a most simple act of His sove- 
reign will. What that sin by itself alone does not 
explain, is the perpetuity and constancy of that primi- 
tive confusion, which subsists yet in all things, and 
particularly in man. To explain satisfactorily this 
subsistence, it is necessary to suppose the subsistence of 
the cause, and to explain the subsistence of the cause, 


we are obliged to suppose the perpetual transmission of 

The dogma of the transrhission of sin, with all its 
consequences, is one of the most fearful, most incom- 
prehensible and obscure, of all the mysteries that have 
been taught us by divine revelation. That sentence of 
condemnation uttered on the head of Adam against all 
generations of men, as well those that have been, and 
those that are at present, as those that will be in future 
to the consummation of time, does not at first sight 
square well in the human intellect with the justice of God, 
and much less with His inexhaustible mercy. One would 
say, on considering it lightly and for the first time, that 
it is a dogma taken from those inexorable and sombre 
religions of the East, whose idols have ears to hear only 
laments, eyes to see only blood, and a voice to utter 
only anathemas and to demand vengeance. The living 
God, in the act of revealing that tremendous dogma, 
appears, rather than the mild and clement God of the' 
Ciifistians, the Moloch of the idolaters, increased in 
greatness and barbarity, who, not content now with 
tender flesh to appease his devouring hunger, buries 
human generations one after another in the caverns of 
his belly. Why are we punished, all nations say, 
turning to God, if we were not culpable 1 

Entering fully and directly into the body of the 
iquestion, it will not be a difficult task to demonstrate 
the deep convenience of this profound mystery. Before 
all, we should observe that the very persons who deny 
the transmission of sin as a revealed dogma, are obliged 


to acknowledge, that even making complete abstraction 
from what we hold as faith, when considering this 
matter, we ever come to the same term by different 
ways. Let us grant that sin and punishment, being 
personal of themselves, are of themselves intransmis- 
sible ; and after making this concession, we will yet 
evidently demonstrate that with or without it, what the 
dogma teaches is still untouched. 

In fact, no matter how we consider this subject, we 
shall always find, that sin can produce in him who com- 
mits it, such destructions, and changes so great, as to be 
capable of altering, physically and morally, his primitive 
constitution : when this occurs, man, who transmits all 
that he constitutionally possesses, transmits to his children 
by generation his constitutional conditions. When a 
•great explosion of anger produces an infirmity in the 
enraged, and this infirmity which it produces in him 
becomes constitutional and organic, it is very simple and 
natural that he should transmit to his children, by way 
of generation, the constitutional and organic evil which 
he suiTers. That constitutional and organic evil, con- 
sidered in its physical aspect, is reduced to a real 
infirmity, and, considered in its moral aspect, to a pre- 
disposition of the flesh to subjugate the spirit, with that 
same passion which produced, when it was actual, those 
terrible ravages. It is beyond all doubt that the 
prevarication of Adam, being the greatest of all pos- 
sible prevarications, should and did alter his moral 
and physical constitution in a radical manner ; and this 
being so, it is clear he should transmit to us, with his 


blood, the ravages of his sin, and the predisposition to 
commit it actually. 

It follows from what we have said, that in reality 
those who deny the dogma of the transmission of sin 
effect nothing, if they do not at the same time deny 
what cannot be denied without evident foolishness and 
madness — ^viz., that a fault, when it is great, leaves behind 
it a trail in the constitution and in the organism of man, 
and that organic and constitutional trail is transmitted 
from one generation to another, corrupting them all 
in their constitutional and organic essence. 

Nor is there more progress made by those who, deny- 
ing the transmissibility of sin, deny the dogma of impu- 
tation or the transmission of the penalty ; for the very 
thing which they remove from themselves in quality of 
penalty, comes down on them with another name — with 
the name of misfortune. Let us grant the misfortunes 
which we suffer, are not a penalty which carries with it 
the idea of a voluntary determination on the part of him 
who inflicts it. It will still always result, that in every 
supposition our great misfortunes are equally inevit- 
able and certain : those who do not admit them as a 
legitimate consequence of sin, are obliged to admit them 
as a natural consequence of the necessary relations which 
exist between causes and their effects. According to 
this system, the radical corruption of their nature was a 
penalty on our first parents, voluntary sinners. Their 
voluntary disobedience deserved the penalty of the cor- 
ruption which was imposed on them by an incorruptible 
Judge. That same corruption is in us a misfortune, as 


it is not imposed on us as a penalty, but comes to us in our 
quality of heirs of a nature radically corrupted. And 
that misfortune is so lamentable, that God himself 
could not decree our exemption, without altering the 
law of causality which is in things, by means of a por- 
tentous miracle. That miracle was wrought in the 
plenitude of time in a manner so convenient and so 
elevated, by ways so secret, by means so supernatural, 
and by counsel so sublime, that the unutterable work of 
God should be scandal for some and madness for others. 
The transmission of the consequences of sin, explains 
itself without any kind of contradiction or violence. 
The first man came on the world adorned with inestim- 
able privileges : his flesh was subject to his will, his 
will to his understanding, which received its light from 
the Divine Understanding. If our first parents had pro- 
created before they sinned, their children would have 
participated, by way of generation, of their uncorrupt 
nature. To prevent things happening thus, a miracle 
would have been necessary on the part of God, as that 
transmission could not be impeded, except by changing 
the law, in virtue of which everything transmits what it 
has to another, in virtue of which a being could only 
transmit what precisely it has not. Having fallen into 
miserable rebellion, our first parents were justly de- 
spoiled of all their privileges, and their spiritual union with 
God, with whom they were united. Their wisdom was 
converted into ignorance, all their power into weakness. 
As regards the original justice and grace in which they 
were created, they were completely removed from them, 


their flesh rebelled against their will, their will against 
their understanding, their understanding against their 
will, their will against the flesh, and their flesh, their 
will, and their understanding against that magnificent 
God, who had placed them in such magnificence. In 
this state it is clear the father could only transmit by 
generation what he possessed, and that the son should 
be born ignorant from ignorant, weak from weak, cor- 
rupted from corrupted, separated from God from sepa- 
rated from God, infirm from infirm, mortal from mortal, 
rebel from rebel. To have him born wise from igno- 
rant, strong from weak, united to God from separated 
from God, healthy from infirm, immortal from mortal 
submissive from rebel, it were necessary to change the 
law in virtue of which like engenders like, into another 
in virtue of which contraries should engender contraries. 
It is easily seen, from what we have said, that natural 
reason reaches the same term as the dogma, though 
by a different route. There are speculative differences 
between , them, there are no practical differences : to 
measure the immense distance there is between the 
natural and supernatural explanation of the fact we 
are considering, it is absolutely necessary to extend 
the view beyond that fact. It is then we discover the 
sterility of the human explanation, and the extraordi- 
nary fecundity of the divine explanation. This fecun- 
dity will be seen farther on with the glare of evidence ; 
at present my duty is to expound and demonstrate 
the dogma of transmission, which, without invalidating 
whatever truth there is in the natural explanation of 


the fact of transmission, rectifies whatever is false and 
incomplete in it. 

Natural reason calls what is transmitted to us mis- 
fortune. The dogma calls it by three names — fault, 
penalty, and misfortune : it is a misfortune, inasmuch as 
it is inevitable ; it is a penalty, inasmuch as it is volun- 
tary on the part of God ; it is a fault, inasmuch as it 
is voluntary on the part of men. The marvel is in its 
being a true misfortune, in such a way that it is con- 
verted into a blessing ; in its being truly a penalty, in 
such a way that it is also a remedy, and in its being 
a true fault, in such a way that it is also a blessed 
fault. In this great design of God, more than in His 
other designs, if possible, shines forth that sovereign 
virtue by which He reconciles what appears irrecon- 
cilable, and by means of which He resolves into a 
magnificent synthesis all antinomies, and all contra- 

As far as regards the fault, the whole question con- 
sists in this difficult problem — How can I be a sinner, 
when I do not sin } How can I sin when an infant? 

To solve it, it is right to observe, that our first father 
was, at one and the same time, an individual and a 
species, variety and unity joined in one ; and as it is a 
fundamental and primitive law that the variety which 
is in the unity, should leave the unity in which it is, 
to be separately constituted, with the necessity of 
returning in its ultimate evolution to the unity in 
which it originally resided, hence it was that the species 
which was in Adam, left Adam by generation to 


become separately constituted. But as Adam was. an 
individual at the same time that he was a species, it 
necessarily resulted that Adam was in the species in 
the same way he was in the individual. When the 
individual and the species were one and the same thing, 
Adam was that very thing; when the individual and 
the species were separated to constitute unity and 
variety, Adam was those two things separated, in the 
same way as he had been those two things joined in 
one. There was then an Adam individual and an 
Adam species ; and as the sin took place before the 
separation, and as Adam sinned conjointly with his 
individual nature and with his collective nature, it 
resulted that one and the other were sinners. Well 
now, if the individual Adam died, the collective Adam 
has not died, and not having died, he preserves his sin. 
As the collective Adam and human nature are one and 
the same thing, human nature is perpetually culpable, 
because it is perpetually sinful. 

Applying these principles to the case in question, we 
see clearly that human nature, being in every individual, 
Adam, who is that same human nature, lives perpe- 
tually in every man, and lives in him with what consti- 
tutes Adam's lasting life — sin. Now we can more easily 
comprehend how sin can exist in the child just born. 

When I am born, I am a sinner, in spite of being a 
child, because I am Adam ; I am a sinner, not because 
I sin now, but because I sinned actually, when I was 
called Adam, and was an adult before I was a child, 
and had the name I have. When Adam came from 


the hands of God I was in him, and he is in me now, 

when I come from the womb of my mother. Not 

being able to separate myself from his person, I cannot 

separate myself from his sin ; and yet I am not Adam 

in such a way as to be confounded with him in an 

absolute manner. There is something in me which is 

not in him, something by which I am distinguished 

from him, something which constitutes my individual 

unity, and which distinguishes me from what I am most 

like ; and that which constitutes me individual variety, 

relatively to the common unity, is what I have received 

and have from the father who engendered me, and from 

the mother who had me in her womb. They have not 

given me the human nature, which comes to me from 

God, through Adam, but they have put the family seal 

and stamped their figure on it ; they have not given me 

my being, but the manner in which I am, adding the 

less to the greater, that is, what distinguishes me from 

others, to that which assimilates me to others — the 

particular to the common, the individual to the human ; 

and as that which is human and which assimilates me 

to others is what is essential in him, and what is 

individual and distinctive is no more than an accident, 

it follows that having from God, through Adam, what 

constitutes his essence, and from God, through his 

father, what constitutes his form, there is no man who, 

considered on the whole, is not more like Adam than 

his own father. 

With regard to the penalty, the question is solved of 

itself from the moment it is ascertained that the fault 



is transmitted to me, as the one cannot be conceived 
without the other. It is just that I should be punished, 
if it is certain that I am culpable; and as in these 
matters what is just is necessary, it follows that the 
misfortune which I suffer, without ceasing to be a mis- 
fortune, is necessarily a penalty. Penalty and mis- 
fortune, which are different things in the human, are 
identical in the divine point of view. Man gives the 
name of misfortune to the evil produced in quality of 
inevitable effect of a secondary cause, and penalty to 
the evil which a free being voluntarily imposes on 
another in punishment of a voluntary fault ; and as 
everything that happens necessarily happens by the 
will of God, at the same time that everything happening 
by His will happens necessarily, it follows that God is 
the Supreme equation between the necessary and the 
voluntary, which, though distinct for man, are in Him 
one and the same. You see how in the divine point of 
view every misfortune is always a penalty, and every 
penalty a misfortune. 

From what we have already said, we see how great is 
the error of those who, without marvelling at the mys- 
terious analogies and the secret affinities which God has 
established between fathers and their- children, wonder 
at those same affinities and those selfsame mysterious 
analogies, established by God between the rebel 
Adam and his miserable descendants. No intellect 
can understand, nor reason reach, nor imagination 
dream of, the strength of the link and the lightness 
of the bond placed by that same God between all 


men and that one man, at once unity and collection, 
singular and plural, individual and species, who dies 
and survives, who is real and symbolical, figure and 
essence, body and shadow, who had us all in him, and 
who is in us all ; awful sphinx, who presents a new diffi- 
culty from every point of view. And as man cannot 
fathom with his reason, nor with his imagination, nor 
with his intellect, what there is singularly complex and 
mysteriously obscure in that nature, neither can he 
measure, though he bring all the powers of his soul into 
play, the immense distance that exists between our 
sins and the sin of that man unique, like him, in its pro- 
found malice and in its incomparable greatness. After 
Adam no one has sinned like Adam, and no one will 
sin like him to the end of time. His sin, participating 
of the nature of the sinner, was at once one and various, 
because it was a single sin in reality, and all sins in 
posse ; with it Adam left a stain on what no man can 
stain again, on the pure whiteness of his purest inno- 
cence. We who sin now, do nothing more by heaping 
sins on top of sins, than place stains on top of stains ; 
Adam alone could obscure the snowy plain. Our 
damaged nature being a great evil, and our sins a 
greater evil, that compound is not wanting in a certain 
beauty of relation, which springs from that secret har- 
mony which there is between the peculiar foulness of 
sin, and the peculiar foulness of the nature of man. 
Foul things can be harmonised among themselves as 
well as beautiful things , and when this happens, there 
is no doubt but that' what is essentially foul in things, is 


tempered in some measure by what is harmonious and 
concerted in them. This undoubtedly must be the 
reason why physical ugliness always appears to diminish 
with years. Old age is not a thing that sits badly on 
ugliness, as ugliness loses what is repugnant in it, when 
harmonised with wrinkles. Nothing, on the contrary, is 
more sad to behold, and nothing more horrible to 
imagine, than old age painted on the face of an angel, 
or ugliness wedded to the spring-time of life. Women 
who were handsome, and who when grown old preserve 
a relic of what they were, have always appeared to me 
horrible ; there is something in me which keeps scream- 
ing, Who was the wretch that dared to unite for the 
first time the things which God made to be separated .'' 
No ; God has not made beauty for old age, nor old age 
for beauty ; Lucifer is the only one amongst the angels, 
and Adam among men, who united all that was 
decrepid and foul, with all that was resplendent and 


How God draws good from sin and penalty, and from the 
purifying action of pciin, freely accepted. 

Reason, which rebels against the penalty and the sin 
transmitted to us, accepts, though not without repug- 
nance, all that was transmitted, if it drops its own proper 
name, and takes that of inevitable misfortune. And yet 


it were not difficult to demonstrate to evidence, that this 
misfortune could not become converted into a blessing 
except on condition of its being a penalty ; and hence 
we have the necessary consequence, that in its definitive 
result the rationalistic is less acceptable than the dog- 
matic solution. 

Considering our present corruption as merely the 
physical and necessary effect of primitive corruption, 
and that the effect lasts as long as the cause, it is clear 
that if there be no means of removing the cause, neither 
is there of removing the effect. Primitive corruption — 
cause of our present corruption — being an accomplished 
fact, our present corruption is a definitive fact that con- 
stitutes us in a perpetual misfortune. 

Considering, on the otherhand, that there can be no 
union between the corrupt and incorruptible, it follows 
that in the rationalistic explanation, all union between 
man and God, not only in the present, but in all future 
time, is totally impossible. If human corruption is 
indelible and perpetual, and if God is eternally incor- 
ruptible, between the incorruptibility of God and the 
perpetual corruption of man, there is an invincible re- 
pugnance — an absolute contradiction. In this system, 
then, man is perpetually shut out from God. 

And do not answer that man could be redeemed, for 
the logical consequence of this system is precisely the 
impossibility of human redemption. There is no re- 
demption for misfortune, except inasmuch as it is 
regarded as the penalty of sin. Suppress the sin, and 
the suppression of the penalty follows ; and with the sup- 


pression of the sin and the penalty, there is no remedy 
for the misfortune. 

The free will of man is totally inexplicable in this 
system. In fact, if man is born in necessary separation 
from God, if he lives in necessary separation from God, 
and if he dies in necessary separation from God, what 
signifies the free will of man "i 

If there be no transmission of sin and penalty, the 
dogma of the redemption, that of man's free will, and 
with them all others, fall to the ground immediately; 
for if man is not free, he has not the dominion of the 
earth ; if he has not the dominion of the earth, the earth 
is not united to God through man ; and if it be not 
united to God through man, it is not united to Him in 
any way. Man himself, if he have not liberty, does not 
separate from God in one way, to return to Him in 
another ; he separates from Him absolutely. God does 
not reach him with His goodness, nor with His justice, nor 
with His mercy. AH the harmonies of creation vanish, 
all its bonds are broken ; chaos is in all things, and all 
things in chaos. So far as God is concerned. He ceases 
to be the Catholic — the living God ; God is up on high, 
creatures are here below, and neither God troubles Him- 
self about creatures, nor creatures about God. 

The divine consonance of the Catholic dogmas shines 
forth in nothing more resplendehtly, than in the admir- 
able union they have among themselves^a union so 
marvellous and so intimate, that human reason cannot 
conceive a greater, and finds itself placed in the tremen- 
dous alternative of accepting or of denying them all. 


And this consists in the fact that each of them does not 
contain a different truth, but one and the same, the 
number of dogmas corresponding exactly to the number 
of its aspects. 

Nor have we yet exhausted all the consequences that 
necessarily follow from considering the lamentable mis- 
fortune of the human race, abstracting absolutely from 
the penalty. If its misfortune is not at the same time a 
penalty also, if it is only an inevitable effect of a 
necessary cause, the little that Adam preserved, and 
which we preserve, from the primitive state, remains 
without explanation whatever, it being worthy of re- 
mark, in contradiction of what would appear at first 
sight, that not justice, but on the contrary mercy, it is, 
which gleams in that solemn condemnation which 
followed immediately on sin. If God had abstained 
from intervening in the tremendous catastrophe with 
His condemnation ; if, when He saw man separated from 
Him, He had turned His back, and entered into His tran- 
quil repose — in a word, if, instead of condemning him. 
He had delivered him over to the inevitable consequences 
of his voluntary disunion and of his voluntary separation, 
his fall would have been irremediable and his perdition 
infallible. That his fall might have a remedy, it was 
necessary that God should approach man, by uniting 
Himself to him in some way, with merciful bond. 
Penalty was the new bond of union between the Creator 
and His creature, and mercy and justice were mysteri- 
ously united in it — mercy because it is a bond, justice 
because it is a penalty. 


If you remove from sufferings and pains the idea of 
penalty, you not only destroy the bond between the 
Creator and the creature, but you also destroy the puri- 
fying and expiatory influence their action has on man. 
If pain is not a penalty, it is an evil without admixture 
of good whatever ; if it is a penalty, though it be an 
evil from its origin, which is sin, yet it is a great good, 
by the purification of sinners. The universality of sin 
necessitates the universality of purification, which in its 
turn requires pain to be universal, that the whole human 
race may be purified in its mysterious waters. This ex- 
plains why all men born suffer from their birth to their 
death. Pain is the inseparable companion of life in 
this obscure valley, filled with our sighs, deafened with 
our lamentations, and moistened with our tears. Every 
man is a suffering being, and everything not painful is 
strange to him. If he fixes his eyes on the past, he 
grieves to see it vanished ; if on the present, he bewails 
the past as bitter ; if on the future, he feels perturbation, 
because the future is full of shadows and mysteries. 
How little soever he considers, he discovers that the 
past and present and future are all, and all is nothing — 
the past is gone, the present is rapidly going, and the 
future has not come. The poor are loaded with fatigue, 
the rich with indigestion, the powerful with pride, the 
lazy with weariness, the lowly with envy, and the mighty 
with disdain. The conquerors who drive the nations, 
are themselves driven by furies, and only stumble on 
others because they are flying from themselves. Lust 
consumes the flesh of the youth with its impure flames ; 


ambition takes the youth, made man, from the hands of 
lust, and burns him in other flames, and drives him into 
other conflagrations ; avarice seizes him when lust re- 
jects and ambition abandons him ; she gives him an 
artificial life called sleepless ; old misers only live be- 
cause they do not sleep — their life is nothing but the 
absence of sleep. 

Travel the length and breadth of the land, cast your 
eyes behind and before you, devour space and time, 
and you shall find nothing in the dominion of men, but 
what is stated here — a pain which never abates, and an 
increasing lamentation. And this pain, voluntarily ac- 
cepted, is the measure of all greatness, because there is 
no greatness without sacrifice, and sacrifice is merely 
pain voluntarily accepted. Those whom the world calls 
heroes, are they who, when transfixed with a sword of 
pain, voluntarily accepted the pain with its sword. 
Those whom the Church calls saints, are they who 
accepted all pains, those of the spirit as well as those 
of the flesh. The saints are those who, when beseiged 
by avarice, laid aside all the treasures of the world ; 
who, when solicited by gluttony, remained sober ; who, 
when burned by lust, holily accepted the combat, and 
were chaste ; who, when entering on the battle, were 
assailed by filthy thoughts, and remained pure ; who 
rose so high by humility that they conquered pride ; 
who, when saddened by another's prosperity, made such 
an effort, as to convert their base sadness into holy joy ; 
who flung to earth the ambition which raised them to 
the stars ; who changed their idleness into diligence ; 


who, when weighed down by sadness, gave a bill of 
divorce to their sadness, and rose by a generous effort 
to spiritual joy ; who, when enamoured of themselves, 
renounced their self-love for love of others, and with 
heroic abnegation offered their hfe for them in perfect 

The human race has been unanijnous in acknowledg- 
ing the sanctifying virtue of pain. Hence we find that 
man in all times, in all countries, and among all nations, 
has always paid worship and homage to great misfor- 
tunes. CEdipus is grander in the day of his misfortune 
than in the period of his glory ; the world would have 
forgotten his name if the divine wrath had not hurled 
him from his throne. The melancholy beauty in the 
countenance of Germanicus comes from the misfortune 
which overtook him in the spring-time of life, and from 
that beautiful death. he died, far from his beloved country 
and the atmosphere of Rome. Marius, who is no more 
than a cruel man when elevated by victory, is sublime 
when he falls from his lofty eminence into the mud 
of the marshes. Mithridates appears grander than 
Pompey, and Hannibal than Scipio. Man, without 
knowing why, always inclines to the side of the con- 
quered — misfortune appears to him more beautiful than 
victory. Socrates is less grand by the life he lived 
than by the death he died ; immortality comes to him, 
not from having known how to live, but from having 
died heroically — he owes less to philosophy than to his 
hemlock. The human race would have been indignant 
with Rome if she had permitted Cassar to die like other 


men — his glory was so great that he deserved to be 
crowned by some great misfortune. To die tranquilly 
in one's bed, invested with sovereign power, is a thing 
scarcely allowed to a Cromwell. Napoleon should have 
died some other way — he should have died conquered 
in Waterloo : proscribed by Europe, he should have 
l)een placed in a tomb fabricated for him by God from 
the beginning of all time ; a wide trench should separate 
him from the world — wide enough for the ocean to flow 
in it. 

Pain establishes a certain equality between all those 
who suffer, which is to establish it between all men, for 
all suffer : by pleasure we are separated, by pain united 
in fraternal bonds. Pain removes the superfluous, and 
gives us what we want, and establishes a most perfect 
equilibrium in man : the proud man does not suffer 
without losing some of his pride, nor the ambitious 
man some of his ambition, nor the passionate man some 
of his anger, nor the impure man some of his impurity. 
Pain is sovereign in extinguishing the fires of the pas- 
sions. At the same time that it removes what injures 
us, it gives us what ennobles us — the hard-hearted do 
not suffer without feeling themselves more inclined to 
compassion, nor the disdainful without feeling more 
humble, nor the voluptuous without feeling more chaste. 
The violent become tamed, the weak fortified. No one 
comes out of that furnace of pain worse than he entered : 
the greater number come out with sublime virtues they 
knew not of. One goes in impious, and comes out 
religious ; another avaricious, and comes out an alms- 


giver; another without ever having wept, and comes 
out with the gift of tears ; another heart-hardened, and 
comes out merciful. In pain there is a something 
fortifying, manly, and profound, which is the origin of 
all heroism and of all greatness ; no one has felt its 
mysterious contact without improving : the child ac- 
quires by pain the vitality of youth, youth the maturity 
and gravity of men, men the bravery of heroes, heroes 
the sanctity of saints. 

On the contrary, whoever abandons pain for delights, 
at once commences to descend with a rapid and conti- 
nuous progress. From the eminence of sanctity he 
sinks into the abyss of sin, from glory to infamy. His 
heroism is converted into weakness — from the habit of 
yielding, he even forgets all about effort ; from the 
habit of falling, he loses even the faculty of rising. In 
delights he loses his vitality, all the powers of the soul 
their energy, and all the muscles of the body their 
strength. In delight there is something corrupting and 
enervating, which brings with it silent and hidden death. 
Woe to him who does not resist its perfidious though 
sweet voice, like unto that of the ancient syrens ! Woe 
to him who does not retreat and fly, when it invites him 
with its fragrance and flowers, before he falls, over- 
come, into that trance, akin to death, which it communi- 
cates to the senses with the aroma of its flowers and the 
scent of its fragrance ! 

When this happens, he either miserably succumbs, or 
comes out totally transformed : the child that passes 
through it never becomes a youth, on the youth grow 


grey hairs, and the old man perishes. Man leaves there 
as spoils the strength of his will, the virility of his intel- 
lect, and loses his instinct for great things. Cynically 
egotistical and extravagantly cruel, he feels nameless 
passions boil in his blood : if you place him in a humble 
grade, he will fall into the hands of justice and the exe- 
cutioner ; if in an eminent position, you will be shocked 
to see him give loose rein to his voracious appetites and 
his ferocious instincts. When God wishes to chastise a 
people for their sins, He enchains them at the feet of 
voluptuous rulers. Their senses are besotted with the 
opium of delights, and nothing can rouse them from 
their stupid state but the smell of blood. All those 
monsters whom the pretorian guard saluted in imperial 
Rome with the title of Emperor, were voluptuous and 
effeminate. France at the same time worshipped pro- 
stitution and death — prostitution in her temples and on 
her altars, death in her squares and on her scaffolds. 

There is, then, something hurtful and corrosive in 
pleasure, as there is something purifying and divine in 
pain. Let it not be believed, however, that these two 
things, which are opposed to each other, are not in a 
certain way united ; for as it happens that he who freely 
accepts pain feels in himself a certain spiritual delight, 
which fortifies and elevates him, so also he who resigns 
himself to delights experiences a pain which, instead of 
fortifying, enervates and depresses him. Pain is that 
universal penalty to which we are all subject by sin. 
Whithersoever man turns his eyes, he discovers pain 
like a mute and melancholy statue, which he has 


always before him. Pain has something in common 
with the Divinity, which surrounds us like a circle. We 
approach it, whether we gravitate to the centre or rush 
to the circumference ; and to rush from or gravitate to it, 
is to rush and gravitate to God, to whom we rush at 
every step, arid to whom we gravitate in all our gravita- 
tions. The difference is this, that some pains lead us 
to the God of goodness and clemency, others to the 
God of justice and anger, and others again to the God 
of pardon and mercy. By pleasure we approach the 
pain which is penalty, and by resignation and sacrifice 
the pain which is medicine. See, then, the madness of 
the children of Adam, who, unable to escape from pain, 
fly from that which is medicine, to fall into that which is 
penalty ! 

How marvellous is God in all His designs, and how 
admirable in that divine art of drawing good from evil, 
order from disorder, and all kinds of harmony from all 
sorts of discordance I From human liberty comes the 
discordance of sin, from sin the degradation of the 
species, from the degradation of the species pain, and 
pain is at the same time a misfortune in the corrupt and 
a penalty in the sinful species. As far as it is a misfor- 
tune, it is inevitable ; as far as a penalty, it is redeemable ; 
and as grace is in the redemption, grace is also in the 
penalty. In this way the most tremendous act of the 
justice of God, becomes the greatest act of His mercy. 
Through it man can, when aided by God, rise superior 
to himself, by accepting pain with a voluntary accepta- 
tion, and that sublime acceptation instantly turns the 


penalty into a medicine of incomparable virtue. Every 
negation of this doctrine establishes the disorder intro- 
duced into humanity by sin, as it necessarily, and at once, 
leads to the negation of some of the essential attributes 
of God, and to the radical negation of human liberty. 

If the question, considered in this point of view, 
concerns the universal order of creation, in the same 
way, and for the same reasons, as the question relative 
to the human and angelic prevarication ; considered in 
a more restricted point of view it concerns, directly and 
fundamentally, the special order established by God in 
the various elements of which human nature is com- 
posed. The voluntary acceptation of pain produces 
those great prodigies of which we speak, only because it 
has the power of radically changing the whole economy 
of our being. By it is subdued the rebeUion of the 
flesh, which again subjects itself to the will ; by it the 
will is overcome, and subjects itself to the yoke of the 
intellect; by it the rebellion of the intellect is sup- 
pressed, and it subjects itself to the dominion of duty ; 
by the fulfilment of duty man returns to the obedience 
and worship of God, from whom he was separated by 
sin. All these prodigies are accomplished by him who, 
with generous impulse,, heroically turns against himself, 
and does violence to the flesh to subject it to the will, 
and to the will to subject it to the intellect, and to the 
intellect to make it operate in God and for God, united 
to Him by the bond of duty. 

This is not the occasion to mention the conditions 
and assistance with which the human will can rise to 


an effort so supernatural and sublime. What here 
concerns us is to establish the fact, that without this 
elevation on the part of the will, manifested in the 
voluntary acceptance of pain, that sovereign harmony 
and that wonderful concert, that God established in man, 
and in all his powers, could not be restored. 


Dogma of solidarity — Contradictions of the Liberal 


Every one of the Catholic dogmas is a marvel, prolific 
in marvels. The human intellect passes from one to 
another as from one to another evident proposition, as 
from a principle to its legitimate consequence, united 
together by a bond of most rigorous deduction. And 
every new dogma discovers to us a new world, and in 
each new world the eye rests on new and extensive 
horizons ; and at sight of those most extensive horizons, , 
the mind is astounded at the extent of the magnificence 
it discovers. 

The Catholic dogmas explain by their universality all 
universal facts, and these very facts, in their turn, 
explain the Catholic dogmas. In this way what is 
various is explained by what is one, and what is one by 
what is various, the contained by the container, and the 
container by the contained. The dogma of the wisdom 
and providence of God explains the order and marvel- 


lous concert of all things created, and this order and 
concert give the explanation of the Catholic dogma. 
The dogma of human liberty serves to explain the 
primitive prevarication, and this same prevarication, 
attested by all traditions, serves as a demonstration of 
the dogma. The prevarication of Adam — a divine 
dogma as well as a traditional fact — fully explains the 
great disorders which disturb the beauty and harmony 
of things ; and those very disorders, in their evident 
manifestations, are a perpetual demonstration of the 
prevarication of Adam. The dogma teaches that evil 
is a negation and good an affirmation, and reason tells 
us there is no evil which does not resolve itself into a 
negation of a divine affirmation. The dogma proclaims 
that evil is accidental and good substantial, and facts 
demonstrate that there is no evil which does not consist 
in a certain vicious and disordered manner of being, and 
no substance which is not relatively perfect. The 
dogma affirms that God draws universal good from 
universal evil, and perfect order from absolute disorder, 
and we have seen how all things tend to God, though 
in different ways, and by their union with God con- 
stitute the universal and supreme order. 

Passing from the universal to the human order, the 
connection and harmony, on the one side, of the dogmas 
among themsefves, and on the other, of the dogmas 
with the facts, are no less evident. The dogma which 
teaches the simultaneous corruption in Adam of the 
individual and of the species, explains to us the trans- 
mission by generation of the sin and its effects ; and the 



antithetical, contradictory, and disordered nature which 
we all see in man, leads us from induction to induction, 
first to the dogma of a general corruption of the whole 
human species, then to the dogma of a corruption trans- 
mitted by blood, and lastly, to the dogma of primitive 
prevarication, which, connecting itself with the dogma of 
human liberty given to man, and that of the Providence 
which gave him that liberty, becomes the point of con- 
junction of the dogmas which serve to explain the order 
and concert in which human things were established, 
with those other more universal and sublime ones which 
explain the weight and number and measure with which 
all creatures were made by the Creator. 

If we follow up the dogmas relative to human order, we 
shall see those general laws of humanity, which astonish 
us by their wisdom and astound us by their grandeur, 
spring from them, as from a most prolific source. 

From the dogma of the concentration of human 
nature in Adam, united to the dogma of the trans- 
mission of that human nature to all men, springs the 
dogma of the substantial unity of the human race, as a 
consequence from its principle ; the human race being 
one, should be also various, according to that law, the 
most universal of all laws, by virtue of which everything 
that is one is resolved into what is various, and every- 
thing various into what is one. The human race is one 
by the substance which constitutes it, and various by 
the persons who compose it : whence it follows that it 
is one and various at the same time. In the same way, 
each one of the individuals who compose humanity, 


being separated from the rest by what constitutes it an 
individual, and united to them by what constitutes it an 
individual of the species — that is, substantially — be- 
comes, like the human race, one and various at the 
same time. The dogma of actual sin is correlative of 
the dogma of variety in the species, that of original sin 
and its imputation of the dogma which proclaims the 
substantial unity of the human race ; and as a conse- 
quence of one and the other, comes the dogma which 
teaches that man is subject to a responsibility peculiarly 
his own, and another which he shares in common with 
all men. 

That responsibility in common, which is called soli- 
darity, is one of the most beautiful and august revela- 
tions of Catholic dogma. By solidarity, man, elevated 
to a superior dignity and a more sublime sphere, living 
before and surviving himself, is prolonged as long as 
time, and extended as far as space. It consolidates, and 
to a certain degree creates, humanity, — a word which 
was void of meaning in ancient societies, but now signi- 
fies the substantial unity of human nature, and the close 
relationship all men have with each other. 

We see at once that what human nature gains in this 
dogma in grandeur, the same does man gain in nobility, 
which is the reverse of what happens in the communist 
theory of solidarity, of which we shall speak hereafter. 
According to that theory, humanity is not solidarious 
in the vast aggregate of all men who are by nature one, 
but in the sense that it is an organic and living unity 
which absorbs all men, who serve, instead of constituting. 


it. The dignity to which the species is raised by the 
CathoHc dogma reaches individuals. Catholicity does 
not elevate its lofty level on one side to lower it on the 
other, nor has it discovered humanity's titles of nobility 
to humble man, but one and the other are conjointly 
elevated to the divine grandeur and its sublime heights. 
When I fix my eyes on what I am, and regard myself 
as in communication with the first and with the last of 
men, and when I view my work, and see my action 
survive me, and in its perpetual prolongation become 
the cause of other and other actions, which in their turn 
survive and are multiplied to the end of time ; when I 
think that all those joint actions, which have their origin 
in my action, take body and a voice, and raise that 
voice which they take to acclaim me, not only for 
what I did, but for what others did through me, as either 
worthy of reward or deserving of death ; when I con- 
sider all these things, I must say for myself that I throw 
myself in spirit at the feet of God, unable to compre- 
hend or measure all the immensity of my grandeur. 

Who but God could raise so harmoniously and evenly 
the level of all things ? When man wishes to raise any- 
thing, he can never do so without depressing what he 
does not raise. In the sphere of religion he cannot 
raise himself without depressing God, nor God without 
depressing himself; in politics he is unable to render 
homage to liberty, without denying it to authority ; in 
social spheres he knows nothing beyond sacrificing 
society to the individual, or individuals to society, as 
we have seen, perpetually fluctuating between com- 


munist despotism and the anarchy of Proudhon. If he 
has ever attempted to maintain all in their proper level, 
by establishing a certain amount of peace and justice 
between them, the balance in which he weighed them 
has immediately fallen in fragments to the earth, as if 
there were an irremediable want of proportion between 
the weight in the scales and the weakness of man. It 
would appear as if God, when constituting him lord of 
the sciences, withdrew one alone from his jurisdiction — 
the science of equilibrium. 

This might serve to explain the absolute impotence 
to which all equilibrist parties appear to be condemned 
in history, and why the grand problem of the harmo- 
nising of the rights of the State with those of individuals, 
and of order with liberty, is still a problem, as it was 
when associations were first formed. Man cannot keep 
things in equilibrium without preserving their being, 
nor preserve their being without abstaining from putting 
his hand to them. Placed and firmly fixed by God in 
their proper positions, every change in their manner of 
being, placed and fixed, is necessarily a disequilibrium. 
The only peoples who have been at once respectful and 
free, the only governments that have been at once 
moderate and strong, are those in which the hand of 
man is not seen, and whose institutions were formed 
with that slow and progressive vegetation, with which 
everything stable in the dominions of time and history 

That grand power which has been exceptionally 
denied to man, resides in God in a special and primitive 


manner. Hence everything that comes from His hand 
comes from it in perfect equilibrium, and everything 
that is where God placed it, is maintained perfectly 
poised. Without recourse to examples foreign to the 
question, the very subject we are treating and en- 
deavouring to solve is quite sufficient to place this 
truth beyond all doubt. 

The law of solidarity is so universal, that it is mani- 
fested in all human associations ; and to such a degree 
too, that as often as man associates, he falls under 
the jurisdiction of that inexorable law. Through his 
ancestors he is in solidarious union with times past, and 
by the succession of his own actions, and through his 
descendants, he enters into communion with future 
times ; as an individual of a domestic society, he falls 
under the law of the solidarity of the family ; as a 
priest or magistrate he is in communion of rights and 
duties, of merits and demerits with the magistracy or with 
the priesthood ; as member of the political association, 
he falls under the law of national solidarity ; and finally, 
in quality of man he is reached by human solidarity. 
And nevertheless, though responsible under so many 
heads, he preserves whole and intact his personal re- 
sponsibility, which none other diminishes, none other 
restricts, none other absorbs. He may be a saint 
though an individual of a sinful family, incorrupt and 
incorruptible though member of a corrupt society, pre- 
varicator though member of a pure magistracy, and a 
reprobate though member of a most holy priesthood. 
And on the contrary, that supreme power conferred on 


him of withdrawing from solidarity by an effort of 
his sovereign will, in no way alters the principle, that as 
a general rule, and leaving his liberty intact, a man is 
what the family is in which he is born, and the society 
in which he lives and breathes. 

In all the prolongation of historic time this has been 
the universal belief of all nations, which, even after they 
had lost the track of the divine traditions, retained a 
knowledge of this law of solidarity. Although they did 
not raise their mind to the contemplation of all its 
grandeur, they instinctively knew this law, but were 
totally ignorant of where it had its deep roots and its 
broad foundations. As the dogma of the unity of the 
human race was known only to the people of God, the 
others could have no idea of humanity, one and soli- 
darious ; however, if they were unable to make application 
of this law to the human race with which they were 
unacquainted, they acknowledged and even exaggerated 
it in all their political and domestic associations. 

The idea of the mysterious transmission by blood, 
not only of the physical, but even of those other 
qualities which exist exclusively in the soul, is in itself 
sufificient to explain all the institutions of the ancients, 
as well domestic as political and social. This is the 
very idea of solidarity, inasmuch as all that is trans- 
mitted to many in common, constitutes the unity of 
those to whom it is transmitted ; and to say of many 
that they are in communion among themselves, is the 
same as to say they are solidarious. When the idea of 
the transmission of physical and moral qualities prevails 


among a people, their institutions are necessarily 
aristocratic. Hence all ancient peoples in whom the 
exclusiveness of the idea, when applied to certain social 
groups, was not tempered by its general, and we might 
say democratic, character, when applied to all men, were 
aristocratically constituted. The more glorious races 
conquered and reduced to slavery the inferior races ; and 
among the families which composed the constitutive 
groups of a race, power was seized on by the one which 
boasted the most glorious ancestors. The heroes, 
before entering on the fight, raised to the skies the glory 
of their illustrious lineage. Cities founded their right to 
domination in their genealogical tree. Aristotle, with 
all antiquity, believed some men were born to command, 
and with the necessary qualities, and received that right 
and these qualities conjointly by hereditary transmis- 
sion. Correlative with this common belief was another 
that there were races cursed and disinherited, incapable 
of transmitting by generation any quality or any right, 
and consequently condemned to legitimate and per- 
petual slavery. The democracy of Athens was no 
more than an insolent and tumultuous aristocracy, 
served by enslaved multitudes. The Iliad of Homer — 
encyclopaedic monument of pagan wisdom — is the history 
of the genealogies of the gods and heroes : considered 
thus, it is nothing but the most splendid of all peerage 

This idea of solidarity among the ancients was 
only disastrous inasmuch as it was incomplete. The 
various social, political, and domestic solidarities, not 


being hierarchically subordinated to the human soli- 
darity, which regulates and limits, because it embraces, 
all, could produce nothing but wars, perturbations, con- 
flagrations, and disasters. Under the rule of pagan soli- 
darity, the human race was constituted in a state of 
universal and permanent war ; and hence antiquity pre- 
sents no other spectacle to our view but the destruction 
of nations by nations, kingdoms by kingdoms, races by 
races, families by families, and cities by cities. The 
gods combat with gods, men with men, and often one 
and the other sound the note of war, and men and the 
immortal gods come to blows. Within the walls of the 
same city there is no solidarious association which does 
not aspire to exercise a domineering and absorbing 
action, first over its own individuals, and then over 
other associations. In the domestic association the 
personality of the child is absorbed by that of the 
father, and that of the wife by the husband : the child 
is converted into a thing ; the wife, subject to perpetual 
tutelage, sinks into perpetual infamy ; and the father, 
master of the child and of the wife, converts his power 
into tyranny. Above the tyranny of the father is the 
tyranny of the State, which embraces in a common 
absorption the wife, the child, and the father, de facto 
annihilating the domestic society. Even patriotism 
among the ancients is nothing more than a declaration 
of war made on the whole human race by a caste con- 
stituted into a nation. 

Coming now from past ages to the present, we shall 
see, on one side, the perpetuity of the idea contained in 


the dogma, and on the other, the perpetuity of its 
ravages whenever it wanders entirely, or in part from, 
the Catholic dogma. 

The Liberal and Rationalist school at one and the 
same time denies and admits solidarity, and is ever 
absurd whether it admits or denies it. In the first place, 
it denies human solidarity in the religious and political 
orders — in the religious order, by denying the hereditary 
transmission of the penalty and the sin, which is the 
exclusive foundation of this dogma ; and in the political 
order, by proclaiming maxims which contradict the 
solidarity of peoples; amongst others especially the 
maxim of non-intervention and its correlative, that 
every one should take care of himself, and have no 
solicitude for the affairs of his neighbour. These 
maxims, which are one and the same, are nothing but 
pagan egotism, without the virility of its hatred. A 
people indoctrinated with the enervating maxims of this 
school, will call others strangers, because they have not 
the courage to call them enemies. 

The Liberal and Rationalist school denies family 
solidarity, inasmuch as it proclaims the principle of 
the legal aptitude of all men to attain all public offices 
and all the dignities of the State, which is a denial of 
the action of ancestors on descendants, and the com- 
munication of the qualities of the former to the latter, 
by hereditary transmission. But at the very time it 
denies that transmission, it acknowledges it in two 
different ways — first, by proclaiming the perpetual 
identity of nations ; and second, by proclaiming the 


hereditary principle in monarchy. The principle of 
national identity either signifies nothing, or it means 
there is a community of merits and demerits, of glories 
and disasters, of talents and aptitude between past gene- 
rations and the present, the present and the future ; 
and this community is totally inexplicable, unless con- 
sidered as the result of hereditary transmission. On 
the other hand, hereditary monarchy, considered as the 
fundamental institution of the State, is a contradictory 
and absurd institution whenever the principle of the 
virtue of transmission by blood, which is the constitutive 
principle of all historical aristocracies, is denied. Finally, 
the Liberal and Rationalist school, in its repugnant 
materialism, gives to riches communicated the virtue 
it denies to the transmission by blood ! The rule of 
the millionaires appears to it more legitimate than the 
rule of the nobles ! 

At the heels of this ephemeral and contradictory 
school come the Socialist schools, which, while granting 
all its principles, deny all its consequences. The 
Socialists take from the Liberal and Rationalist schools 
the negation of human solidarity in the political and 
religious orders. Denying it in the religious order, they 
deny the transmission of the sin and the penalty, and, 
moreover, the sin and the penalty themselves ; denying 
it in the political order, they take from the Socialist and 
Liberal school the principle of the equal aptitude of all 
men for the offices and dignities of the State ; but, 
advancing further, they demonstrate to the Liberal 
school that this principle logically carries with it the 


suppression of hereditary monarchy, and this entails the 
suppression of all monarchy, which, if not hereditary, is a 
useless and embarrassing institution. Then they show, 
without much effort, that supposing the natural equality 
of man, that equality carries with it the suppression of 
all aristocratic distinctions, and consequently the sup- 
pression of the electoral vote, in which they do not 
acknowledge the mysterious virtue of conferring sove- 
reign attributes denied to blood. The people, according 
to the Socialists, have not come out from the slavery of 
the Pharaohs to fall into that of the Assyrians and 
Babylonians, nor are they so devoid of rights and 
power, as to drop into the hands of the rapacious rich 
after escaping from the insolent nobles. Nor does it 
appear to them less absurd to deny the solidarity of the 
family, and establish the solidarity of a nation. Ac- 
cepting the former of these principles, they absolutely 
deny the latter, as contradictory of it ; and as they pro- 
claim the perfect equality of all men, so do they also 
proclaim the perfect equality of all peoples. 

The following consequences flow from this. Men 
being perfectly equal among themselves, it is absurd to 
divide them into groups, as such partition has no 
other foundation but the solidarity of the groups — a 
solidarity denied by the Liberal school as the origin of 
perpetual inequahty among men. If this be so, what 
logically follows is the dissolution of the family. This 
dissolution follows from the Liberal principles and 
theories, in such a way, that without it, those principles 
cannot be realised in political associations. In vain will 


you proclaim the idea of equality ; this idea cannot take 
body as long as the family remains. The family is a 
tree, which with prodigious fecundity perpetually pro- 
duces the idea of nobility. 

But the suppression of the family carries with it the 
suppression of property as a necessary consequence. 
Man, considered in himself, cannot be the proprietor 
of the earth, for a very simple reason : proprietorship of 
a thing cannot be conceived without a certain manner 
of proportion between the proprietor and the thing 
possessed, and between the earth and man there is no 
proportion whatever. To demonstrate this thoroughly, 
it will be sufficient to observe that man is a transitory 
being, and the earth a thing which never dies or passes 
away. This being so, it is contrary to reason that the 
earth should fall under the proprietorship of men, con- 
sidered individually. The institution of property is absurd 
without the institution of the family : the reason of its 
existence is in it or in something similar, such as the 
religious orders. The earth, which never dies, can fall 
only under the proprietorship of a religious or family 
association, which never passes away ; therefore, on the 
implicit suppression of the domestic association, and 
the explicit of the religious, or, at least, of the monastic 
association, by the Liberal school, the suppression of the 
proprietorship of the earth follows like a logical sequence 
from its principles. That suppression is so identified 
with the principles of the Liberal school, that the latter 
has ever inaugurated the period of its domination by 
seizing on the property of the Church, by the suppres- 


sion of the religious orders, and of entail, without ad- 
verting that by seizing on the one and suppressing the 
others, it did little as far as its principles were con- 
cerned ; as to its interests, in quality of proprietor, it did 
too much. The Liberal school, which is anything but 
learned, has never comprehended that as it is necessary 
for the earth, in order to become susceptible of appropri- 
ation, to fall into the hands of some one that could per- 
petually preserve its proprietorship, the suppression of 
entail, and the spoliation of the Church, with the clause 
that it can never again acquire property, is equivalent to 
condemning property with an irrevocable condemnation. 
That school has never comprehended that the earth, 
speaking logically, can be the object, not of individual, 
but of social appropriation ; and can only be so under the 
monastic or the family form of entail, which, as regards 
perpetuity, are identical, as both one and the other subsist 
perpetually. The ecclesiastical and civil abolishment of 
property, tumultuously proclaimed by Liberalism, carries 
with it, in some time more or less proximate, but not 
very distant, considering the pace of modern events, 
universal spoliation. Then it will know what it is 
now ignorant of : that property has no reason of exist- 
ence except in the hands of the dead, as the earth, of 
itself perpetual, cannot be matter of appropriation by the 
living, who pass away, but by the dead, who ever live. 

When the Socialists, after denying the family as an 
explicit consequence of the Liberal school, and the 
faculty of acquiring property in the Church, a principle 
equally recognised by the Liberals as well as by the 


Socialists, deny property as an ultimate consequence of 
all these principles, they do nothing more than crown the 
work ingeniously commenced by the doctors of Liberal- 
ism. Finally, when after suppressing individual pro- 
perty, communism proclaims that the State is universal 
and absolute proprietor of all land, although it is evi- 
dently absurd in other conceptions, it is not so in our 
actual point of view. To be convinced of this, we have 
only to consider that the dissolution of the family in 
the name of the principles of the Liberal school once 
consummated, the question of property lay between 
individuals and the State alone. Well now, when the 
matter is put thus, it is beyond all doubt that the titles 
of the State are superior to those of individuals, as the 
former is by nature perpetual, and the latter cannot be 
perpetuated except in the family. 

From the perfect equality of all peoples, logically 
deduced from the principles of the Liberal school, the 
Socialists, or rather I, in their name, draw the following 
consequences : — As from the perfect equality of all the 
families which compose the State the Liberal school 
draws in necessary consequence, the non-existence of 
solidarity in domestic society, in the same way and for 
the same reason, from the perfect equality of all peoples 
in the bosom of humanity results the negation of poli- 
tical solidarity. If the nation is not solidarious, we must 
necessarily deny it all that which is naturally denied the 
family, in the supposition that it is not solidarious. In 
the non-solidarious family was denied, first, that secret 
and mysterious bond which unites it iii the present time 


with the past and the future ; and as a consequence of 
this negation, are denied, secondly, its imprescriptable 
right of participating in the glories of its ancestors, and 
its virtue of communicating to its descendants some 
reflex of its own glory. Arguing in the same way, it is 
necessary to deny of a non-solidarious nation what is 
denied of a non-solidarious family; whence it follows, that 
with regard to it we must deny, on the one hand, that it 
has any relation with past or future time, and on the 
other, that it has any right to claim a part of past or 
future glory. What is denied of the family, logically, 
results in the destruction in man of that attachment to 
the hearth which constitutes the happiness of domestic 
society ; by identity of reason, what is denied of the 
nation necessarily results in the radical destruction of 
that love of country, which, raising man above himself, 
impels him to daringly undertake the most heroic enter- 

Whence we see that from these negations are drawn, 
for domestic and for political society, the following con- 
sequences : — The solution of continuity in time and 
glory, the suppression of love of family and of patriot- 
ism, which is the love of country, and finally, the dis- 
solution of domestic and political society, which cannot 
exist nor be conceived without that continuity of time 
and communion of glory, and without being founded on 
those great loves. 

The Socialistic schools, which, though more logical 
than the Liberal, are not quite as much so as appears at 
first sight, do not advance from consequence to conse- 


quence to our ultimate conclusion, which is, however, 
supposing their premises, not only logical, but absolutely- 
necessary. The proof of it is in the fact that Socialists, 
pressed by logic, are in practice what they do not wish 
to be in theory. In practice they are yet Frenchmen, 
Italians, Germans ; in theory they are citizens of the 
world, and like the world, their country is without 
frontiers. Madmen ! they know not that where there 
are no frontiers there is no country, and where there is 
no country there are no men, although perhaps there may 
be Socialists. 

Of the parties contending for domination, the right 
of victory belongs to the most logical ; this is at once a 
true principle and an universal and constant fact. 
Humanly speaking, Catholicity owes her triumphs to 
her logic. Even if God did not lead her by the hand, 
her logic would triumphantly carry her to the ultimate 
ends of the earth, as will appear more clearly in the 
following chapter. 


Continuation of the same subject — Socialistic 

If there be any truth demonstrated in our last chapter, 
it consists in the affirmation that the Liberal school has 
done nothing but establish premises which end in 
Socialistic consequences, and the Socialistic schools, 


nothing but draw the consequences contained in the 
Liberal premises. Those two schools differ not in ideas, 
but. in daring : when the question thus stands between 
them, it is clear the victory belongs by right to the 
more daring, and the more daring without any doubt 
is that which, without stopping midway, accepts their 
consequences with the principles. If this be so, there 
is no doubt, as was sufficiently demonstrated in our last 
chapter, that Socialism has the best of the battle, and 
that hers is the palm of victory. 

From the force of logic paraded by it in its contests 
with the Liberal, the Socialistic school has acquired a 
certain character of being logical and consistent, which, 
though, to a certain degree, is not, however, sufficiently 
justified ; in being more logical than the most illogical 
and contradictory of all the schools, the Socialistic does 
not effect very much, or rather nothing at all : and to 
deserve its character it is obliged to do more : on the 
one hand, it is obliged to demonstrate that it is not 
only logical and consistent in a relative, but also in an 
absolute manner, and then, that it is logical and con- 
sistent absolutely in the truth : for if it be only so in 
error, its logic and consistency is only a special manner 
of being illogical and inconsistent. There is no true 
consistency nor logic except in absolute truth. 

Well, now. Socialism is wanting in these two con- 
ditions : on the one hand, it is contradictory, because 
it is not one, as is proved by the variety of its schools, 
symbol of the variety of its doctrines : on the other, 
it is not consistent, because, like the Liberal school, it 


refuses to accept, although not to the same degree, all 
the consequences of its own principles : and finally, its 
principles are false, and its consequences absurd. 

That it does not accept all the consequences of its 
own principles, we saw in the former chapter, when we 
remarked that the dissolution of political society being 
a logical consequence of its negation of all solidarity, it 
was content with accepting the dissolution of domestic 
society. There are those who believe that Socialism 
will be ruined because it asks and demands too much ; 
but I am of opinion that the contrary is the case, and 
its destruction will arise from its asking and demand- 
ing too little. In fact, what would be logical in the 
present case was to begin by asking that people should 
change their name every succeeding generation. In 
the system of solidarity, I can well conceive that the 
national name should be one, as the nation is one, in the 
whole course of history. That France should be called 
the nation governed by Louis Philippe and Clovis, is con- 
ceivable — not only conceivable, but natural — and not 
only natural, but necessary, supposing the system which 
upholds French solidarity, and communion of disasters 
and glories of past and present, of present and future 
generations. But it is inconceivable and contrary to the 
nature of things, in the system which cuts the thread 
of glory and time at every generation. In this system 
there are as many families and peoples as there are 
generations, and logic requires in this case, that as the 
representative names follow the vicissitudes of the things 
represented, with every change of generation there should 


be a corresponding change in the names of peoples and 
families. That the absurd competes here with the gro- 
tesque, no one can deny ; but that the grotesque and 
the absurd are rigorously logical, no one can question, 
and these are precisely the two things which should 
be invincibly demonstrated. Socialism must freely ac- 
cept the death it has to die, choosing between the il- 
logical and absurd. 

The Socialistic, demonstrated without much effort 
against the Liberal, school, that the family, political, and 
religious solidarity once denied, national or monarchi- 
cal solidarity could not be admitted ; and on the con- 
trary, that it was absolutely necessary to suppress in the 
national public code the institution of monarchy, and 
in the public international code the constitutive differ- 
ences of peoples. But those same Socialistic schools, 
with a contradiction of which there is no example in 
the Liberal school, contradictory and absurd as it is, 
immediately recognise the highest, the most universal, 
humanly speaking, the most inconceivable, of all soli- 
darities, viz., the human solidarity. The banner of liberty, 
equality, and fraternity, as the common patrimony of all 
men, either signifies nothing, or that all men are soli- 
darious. The recognition of that solidarity, separated 
from the others and from the religious dogma which 
teaches and explains it to us, is an act of faith so super- 
natural and heroic, that I myself cannot conceive it, 
accustomed as I am to believe what I do not compre- 
hend, as a Catholic. 

To believe in the equality pf all men, when we see 


theiri all unequal ; to believe in liberty, when we see 
slavery established in all parts ; to believe that all men 
are brothers, when history tells all are enemies ; to believe 
that there is a common mass of misfortunes and of glories 
for all men born, when I see nothing but individual 
glories and misfortunes; to. believe I am referred to 
humanity, when I know humanity is referred to me ; to 
believe that humanity is my centre, when I constituted 
myself the centre of all ; and finally, to believe that I 
should believe these things, when they are proposed to 
me by those who tell me that I should believe only 
my own reason, which contradicts all those things they 
propose to me, is an absurdity so stupendous, an abbera- 
tion so inconceivable, that I stand mute and astounded 
in its presence. 

My astonishment increases when I observe that those 
who affirm human solidarity, deny that of the family, which 
is to affirm that enemies are brothers, and that brothers 
should not be brothers ; that those who affirm human 
solidarity are the same who a little before denied the 
political, which is to affirm I have nothing in common 
with my own, and all in common with strangers ; that 
those who affirm human solidarity deny religion, though 
the former cannot be explained without the latter ; and 
from all this I deduce in legitimate consequence that the 
Socialistic schools are at once illogical and absurd — 
illogical, because after demonstrating against the Liberal 
school that some solidarities cannot be accepted while 
others are rejected, they fall into the same error, accept- 
ing one amongst all, and rejecting the remainder — absurd. 


because precisely the one they proposed to me is not 
a point of reason but of faith, and because this proposal 
comes to me from those who deny faith and proclaim 
the imprescriptable right of reason to empire and 

The Socialistic schools would be astounded, if, on call- 
ing their dogmas into question, the idea occurred to us 
of demanding from them a categorical answer to this 
categorical question : — Whence do you draw the conclu- 
sion that men are solidarious, brothers, equal and free ? 
And yet this question, which is valid against Catho- 
licity, obliged as it is to answer everything that is 
asked it, is more valid still against the most ration- 
alistic of all schools. Those abstract forms have not 
certainly been drawn from history. If history lends 
some support to any philosophical system, it is not 
certainly to that which proclaims the solidarity, the 
liberty, the equality and fraternity of the human race, 
but rather to that one nervously articulated by Hobbes, 
according to which universal, incessant, and simultaneous 
war is the natural state of man. 

Man is scarcely born when he appears to have come 
to the world through the mysterious power of a malicious 
conjuror, and charged with the load of an inexorable 
condemnation. All things raise their hands against him 
and he raises his angry hand against all things. The 
first breath of air that blows on him, or the first ray of 
light that strikes him, is the first declaration of war by 
external things. All his vital powers rebel against the 
pressure of pain, and his whole existence is concentrated 


in a sob. The greater number do not exceed this, for at 
this point and moment death seizes them ; the minority 
who sucessfully resist, begin to tread the way of their 
dolorous passion, and after continual war and various 
issues, stumble into the ultimate catastrophe, faint from 
their efforts and broken down by their sorrows. The 
earth is to them avaricious and cruel ; it demands from 
them that sweat which is their life, and in exchange for 
the life it takes, scarcely distils a drop of water from its 
fountains to assuage their thirst, and a mouthful of food 
from its stores to appease their hunger. It prolongs 
their life, not that they may live, but that they may 
continue their sweats. Tyrants prolong the life of their 
slaves only because life is necessary to prolong their 
services. Wherever men gather together, the weak fall 
under the tyranny of the strong. 

A woman, remarkable for her talents, desiring to give 
proof of her ingenuity, began to think one day what 
would be the greatest of strange paradoxes, and she 
found none greater than that which affirms with calm- 
ness that slavery is a thing of modern, and liberty of 
ancient date. Whether she came to believe it herself 
through force of repetition, I know not : there is no 
manner of doubt, however, that the world believed it 
from her, and what was more, was very worthy of 
believing it. As regards equality, we know not, 
although it is possible — what is not possible to a ration- 
alistic philosopher — ^whether this idea derives its histori- 
cal and philosophical affiliation from the division of the 
human race into castes, of which some there be whose 


office it is to command, and others to obey, and all to 
break out into wars and rebellion. The idea of frater- 
nity comes undoubtedly from those long periods of 
peace and calm which form the golden link of history. 
And as regards the idea of solidarity, who does not see 
whence it comes >. Who is ignorant of the fact that the 
Romans, in whom all antiquity is condensed, called 
foreigners and enemies by the same name, which, I 
suppose, was symbolical of human solidarity .' 

If those ideas cannot come to us from history, which 
condemns and belies them in all its pages, filled with 
sighs and written in blood, they must come to us either 
from events which happened in that primitive age 
which precedes all historic time, or directly from pure 
reason. As regards this latter source, I will merely say, 
without fear of contradiction, that pure reason is only 
exercised on things of pure reason ; and that, treating 
here of investigating the constituent elements of human 
nature, we are not dealing with a matter of pure reason, 
but with a fact, which, existing obscure with respect to 
us, requires to be more closely observed and have light 
thrown on it, that its obscurity may be converted into 
clearness. As regards that primitive age which pre- 
cedes all historic time, it is clear we cannot know it if it 
be not revealed to us. Supposing this, I feel myselt 
authorised to ask the following question : — If you have 
not what you affirm, from reason, which is ignorant of, 
nor from history, which you know contradicts it, nor 
from an age anterior to all historic time, which is un- 
known to you, because you go on the supposition that 

liberalism; and socialism. 265 

it has not been revealed, whence have you it ? And if 
you have it from no one, why do you afifirm it ? Shake- 
speare has told us what your theories are : they are 
words, words, and nothing but words ; . . . . but words, 
I add, which inflict death on him who pronounces and 
on him who listens to them. 

This powerful virtue they have from the fact that they 
are not rationalistic words, which in themselves have 
no virtue whatever, but Catholic words, which have the 
privilege of giving life and taking it away, of slaying 
the living and resuscitating the dead. Those words are 
never pronounced in vain, and ever infuse terror, because 
no one knows whether they are going to give life or 
inflict death, although all know how great is their 
omnipotence. One day, when the shades of evening 
■ were falling on the serene and peaceful waters, the Lord 
entered into a fragile bark, followed by His disciples, 
and when the Lord closed His eyes, overcome by sleep, 
an impetuous tempest excited the waves, and the 
disciples began to pray, thinking they were about to 
perish. The Lord opened His eyes, and pronounced a 
few words, which the sea and winds heard with rever- 
ence : the sea became calm, and the wind ceased to 
blow. And then turning to His disciples. He uttered 
other words in their ears, and His disciples were filled 
with great fear : — Et timuerunt timore magna. The 
tempest was to them less terrific than the word of the 
Saviour. Another day, when two men tormented by 
devils came to the Lord and implored His grace, the 
Lord said to the devils. Go ; and the devils, obeying 


His voice, left the men free, and sought an asylum in 
unclean animals, who cast themselves into the sea, and 
were buried in its waters. Those who cared the herd, 
full of dread, through virtue of the divine word, sought 
safety in flight, and communicating their terror to the 
people of that region, they all went to the Lord and 
besought Him to leave their territory: — "And they 
that kept them fled, and coming into the city, told 
everything, and concerning them that had been pos- 
sessed by the devils. And behold the whole city went 
out to meet Jesus ; and when they saw Him, they 
besought Him that He would depart from their 
coasts" (Matt. viii. 33, 34). The omnipotence of the 
divine word was more terrible to the people than the 
malevolence of the infernal spirits. 

When I hear a divine, that is a Catholic, word pro- 
nounced, I immediately look round to see what has 
happened, for I am certain that something must happen, 
and that what must happen must necessarily be a 
miracle of divine justice, or a prodigy of mercy. If it 
be the Church that pronounces it, I look for salvation ; 
if some one else pronounces it, I look for death. Ask 
the world why it is filled with terror and dread, why the 
air is full of sad and sinister rumours, why all societies 
are disturbed, and hang in suspense like one who dreams 
he is about to lose his foothold and fall into an abyss. 
To ask the world, this is the same as to ask why one 
trembles when he sees a malefactor or a madman enter 
a store of powder with a lighted candle, the one igno- 
rant of, the other knowing too well, the virtue of the 


candle. What has saved the world up to this is that 
the Church was in past times sufficiently powerful to 
extirpate heresies, which, consisting principally in teach- 
ing a doctrine different from that of the Church in the 
words the Church employs, would have long since 
hurried the world to its ultimate catastrophe, if they 
had not been extirpated. The real danger to human 
societies commenced on the day the great heresy of the 
sixteenth century acquired the right of citizenship in 
Europe. Since that, there is no revolution which does 
not involve for society a danger of death. This con- 
sists in the fact, that as they are all founded on the 
Protestant heresy, they are all fundamentally heretical. 
See, if not, how they all establish and legitimise them- 
selves with words and maxims taken from the gospel. 
The Sanculotism of the first French revolution sought 
its historic antecedents and titles of nobility in the 
humble nakedness of the meek Lamb ; nor were there 
wanting those who recognised the Messias in Marat, and 
called Robespierre his apostle. From the revolution 
of 1830 sprang the Sansimonian doctrine, whose mystic 
extravagances formed, I know not what new gospel 
emended and improved. From the revolution of 1848 
sprang impetuously and copiously all the Socialistic 
doctrines expressed in evangelical words. Men had 
seen nothing of this before the sixteenth century. I do 
not -wish to say by this that the Catholic world had not 
suffered great agonies, nor that ancient societies had not 
passed through great changes and transformations ; I 
merely wish to say that those changes were not capable 


of bringing society to the ground, nor those agonies 
of depriving it of life. To-day everything happens the 
reverse ; a battle lost by society in the streets of Paris 
suffices to bring European society to the ground, as if 
suddenly struck by a thunderbolt ; i cadde come corpo 
morto cade. 

Who does not see in modern revolutions compared 
with ancient an invincible power of destruction, which 
not being divine, must necessarily be Satanic ? Before 
leaving this subject, I think it opportune to make an 
important observation here, which I will leave to the 
reflection of my readers. We have a faithful report of 
two of the speeches of the angel of darkness ; the first 
is that he made to Eve in paradise, the second to our 
Lord in the desert. In the first he used the words of 
God, disfigured to suit his purpose ; in the second he 
quoted Scripture, interpreted in his own way. Would 
it be rash to believe, that as the word of God, taken in 
its true sense, is the only one which has the power of 
life, is also the only one, when disfigured, that has the 
power of death t If this were so, it would be sufficiently 
explained why modern revolutions, in which the word 
of God is more or less disfigured, possess that destruc- 
tive virtue. 

Returning now to the Socialistic contradictions, I will 
say that it is not sufficient to have denied one after 
another religious, domestic, and political solidarity, if, 
as I have proved, human solidarity is not also denied, 
and with it liberty, equality, and fraternity, principles 
all which can only find in it at once their reason and 


their origin ; and as the negation of these foundations 
of all Socialistic doctrines brings the whole edifice to 
the ground, it follows that Socialism cannot be consis- 
tent^ if, beginning with the negation of Catholicism, it 
does not end in the negation of itself. I know that 
when Sociahsts profess the dogma of human sohdarity, 
they do not thereby profess the Catholic doctrine. I 
know that between the one dogma and the other 
there is an essential difference, scarcely veiled by the 
identity of name. Humanity, which in the eyes of the 
Catholic only exists in the individuals which constitute 
it, exists in the eyes of the Socialist individually and 
concretely : whence it results, that when Socialists and 
Catholics say that humanity is solidarious, although 
they appear to . say the same thing, in reality they say 
different things. Notwithstanding this, the Socialistic 
contradiction is evident, and placed beyoijd all doubt. 
Although humanity be the universal intelligence served 
by special groups which bear the name of peoples and 
families, logic requires that they should all obey in it 
and through it the same law, and that the groups be 
solidarious if it be solidarious. Hence the necessity 
of denying human solidarity, or of affirming it at once 
in individuals, in families, and in the State. Well, now, 
if there be one thing evident, it is that Socialism is 
incompatible with that radical negation and this abso- 
lute affirmation. To deny human solidarity is to deny 
itself, and to affirm the solidarity of the social group 
is to deny itself in another way. The world cannot 


become subject to Socialistic law without renouncing 
the sway of reason. 

Hence we see how far its most famous doctors, and 
above all, he who amongst those who compose its 
apostlate enjoys the greatest renown and fame, are 
from deserving the character of being consistent. M. 
Proudhon, in his contests with those partisans of the 
new gospel who desire the extinction of all individual 
rights, and the concentration in the State of all 
domestic, civil, political, social, and religious, rights, 
did not require to make great efforts to demonstrate 
that communism, that is, governmentalism elevated to 
the extreme, was extravagant and absurd in the prin- 
ciples common to the new sectaries. In fact, com- 
munism, conceiving the State as an absolute unity 
which concentrates in itself all rights and absorbs all 
individuals, conceives it as highly and powerfully soli- 
darious, as unity and solidarity are one and the same 
thing considered in two different points of view. Catho- 
licity, depositary of the dogma of solidarity, derives it 
from unity, which makes it possible and necessary. 
Well, now, as the fundamental point of Socialism is 
precisely the negation of that dogma, it is clear that 
communism contradicts itself when it denies it in theory 
and recognises it in practice, when it denies it in its prin- 
ciples and affirms it in its applications. If the negatior 
of the family solidarity carries with it that of the family 
itself, the negation of political solidarity carries with it 
that of all government. That negation proceeds equally 


from the notions Socialists form of the equality and the 
liberty common to all men, as that equality and liberty 
cannot be conceived as limited by a government, but 
simply and naturally by the free action and reaction of 
individuals on each other. M. Proudhon is then con- 
sistent when he says in his " Confessions of a Revolu- 
tionist : " — " All men are equal and free. Society is 
then, as well by its nature as by the functions of its 
destiny, antinomical, which means ungovernable. The 
sphere of activity of each citizen being the result, on 
the one hand, of the natural division of labour, and on 
the other, of the election he makes of a profession, and 
the social functions being constituted in such a manner 
as to produce an harmonic effect, order becomes the 
result of the free action of all ; whence I draw the 
absolute negation of government : every one who puts 
his hand on me to govern me is a tyrant and a usurper, 
and I proclaim him my enemy." 

But if M. Proudhon is consistent in denying govern- 
ment, he is only so by halves when he indicates this 
negation as the last of those which are involved in these 
Socialistic doctrines. With the family is denied domestic 
solidarity, with government political solidarity ; but in 
the very place he denies those two solidarities, he afSrms, 
with inconceivable contradiction, the human, which 
serves them for foundation. We already demonstrated 
that to affirm equality and liberty is the same as to 
affirm human solidarity. Nor does the contradiction 
stop here ; for at the same time that he affirms equality 
and liberty in his " Confessions of a Revolutionist," he 


denies fraternity in Chap. vi. of his book of " Economical 
Contradictions," in these words :— " Do you speak to 
me of fraternity ? We shall be brothers if you insist on 
it, provided that I be the eldest brother, and you come 
after me on this condition :— that society, our common 
mother, respect my primogeniture and my services by 
giving me double portion ; you tell me you will attend 
to my necessities proportionately to my resources, and 
I on the contrary require you to attend to them pro- 
portionately to my labour ; otherwise I cease to labour." 

Whence we see the contradiction is double, for if, 
on one hand, there is contradiction in affirming human 
solidarity when the domestic and political are denied, 
there is still greater contradiction in denying fraternity 
when the principle of liberty and equality among men 
is proclaimed. Equality, liberty, and fraternity are 
principles which mutually suppose each other, and are 
resolved one in the other, as the human, the political, 
and the domestic solidarities are dogmas which are re- 
solved in and mutually suppose each other. To accept 
some and reject others is to accept what is rejected 
and reject what is accepted; is at one and the same 
time to deny what is affirmed and affirm what is denied. 

As regards the question relative to government, the 
negation of all government on the part of M. Proudhon 
is only an apparent contradiction. If the idea of govern- 
ment is not in contradiction with the Socialistic idea, 
there is no necessity to deny it ; if there is contradiction 
between these two ideas, it is a notorious inconsistency to 
proclaim in another form the government he denies. M. 


Proudhon, who denies government, symbol of unity and 
of political solidarity, recognises it in another manner 
and form, when he recognises and proclaims social unity 
and solidarity in the following words : — " Only society, 
that is, the collective being, can follow its inclination 
and abandon itself to its free will without fear of abso- 
lute and immediate error. This superior reason which 
is in it, and which slowly escapes from it through the 
manifestations of the multitude and the reflections of 
individuals, always puts it right in the end. The philo- 
sopher is incapable of discovering the truth by intuition ; 
and if he attempt to direct society, he runs a great risk 
of establishing his own ideas, inefficient and insufficient 
ever, in place of the eternal laws of order, and thus 
hurrying society to the abyss. The philosopher requires 
something to direct him. What else can that something 
be but the law of progress, and that logic which resides in 
humanity as in its centre } " (" Confessions of a Revo- 

Here three things are supposed — unity, solidarity, 
and, in a word, social infallibility, precisely the selfsame 
things which communism affirms or supposes in the 
State ; and these others are denied, the capacity and com- 
petence of individuals to govern nations, the very thing 
denied in them by communism. Whence it follows that 
the followers of Proudhon and the communists reach 
the same term by different roads : the one and the other 
affirm government, and with it the unity and solidarity of 
human societies. Government is for one and the other 

infallible — that is to say, omnipotent ; and being so, 



excludes all idea of liberty in individuals, who, when 
placed under the jurisdiction of an omnipotent and in- 
fallible government, can be nothing but slaves. Let 
government reside in the State, symbol of political unity, 
or in society, considered as a solidarious being, it will 
ever result that government is the condensation of all 
social rights, as well in the first as in the second of these 
suppositions. Whence follows, for the individual consi- 
dered isolatedly, the most complete slavery. 

M. Proudhon, then, does the contrary of what he says, 
and is altogether contrary to what he appears ; he pro- 
claims liberty and equality, and constitutes tyranny ; 
he, denies solidarity, and yet supposes it ; he calls him- 
self an anarchist, and has a hunger and thirst for govern- 
ment. He is timid, and appears daring ; the daring is 
in his phrases, the timidity in his ideas. He appears 
dogmatical, and he is sceptical ; he is sceptical in sub- 
stance and dogmatical in form. He solemnly announces 
that he is going to proclaim new and strange truths, 
and he does nothing but makes himself the echo of 
ancient and discredited errors. 

That apothegm of his, that property is robbery, has 
captivated the French by its originality and ingenuity. 
It will be well for our neighbours to know that this 
apothegm is of ancient date this side of the Pyrenees. 
From Viriatus to our own days, every robber that takes 
to the road, on presenting his gun at the breast of the 
traveller, calls him a robber, and takes from him all that 
he has because he is a robber. M. Proudhon has done 
nothing but steal his apothegm from the Spanish 


robbers, as they rob the traveller of his purse. As he 
presents himself in spectacle to the nations as original, 
when he is only a plagiarist, so when only apostle of 
the past, he calls himself the prophet of the future. His 
principal artifice consists in expressing the idea he 
affirms in words which contradict it. Every one calls 
despotism despotism, but M. Proudhon calls it anarchy ; 
and when he has given its contradictory name to the 
thing affirmed, he makes war on his friends with the 
name, and on his enemies with the thing. With the 
communistic dictatorship which is at the bottom of his 
system, he scares capital, and with the word anarchy he 
alarms and drives away his friends the communists; and 
when he turns his eyes in all directions, and sees the 
one without power to fly, and the other already in shame- 
ful flight, he bursts into a loud laugh. Another of his 
artifices consists in taking from each system what, 
though not sufficient to confound him with those who 
sustain it, is quite enough to excite the anger of those 
who contradict it ; he has whole pages which might be 
subscribed by all partisans of order — these pages are 
directed to the turbulent ; and others which might be 
subscribed by the most fanatical democrats — these are 
directed to the friends of order. In some he makes a 
show of the most filthy atheism, and when writing them 
he intends them for Catholics ; and others, in fine, might 
be accepted by the most fervent Catholic, and these he 
destines for the ears of materialists and atheists. The 
man's greatest pleasure is to raise his hand against 
every one, and oblige every one to raise his hand against 


him. When he says that he regards as an enemy 
whoever wishes to govern him, he reveals only the half 
of his secret ; the other half consists in affirming that 
every one who follows and obeys him is his enemy. If 
the world once became Proudhonian, he, in opposition 
to the world, would cease to be Proudhonian ; and if 
the world followed his example in that, he would hang 
himself from the first tree he met on the road. I know 
not if after the misfortune of not being able to love, 
which is the satanic misfortune par excellence, there be 
a greater than not desiring to be loved, which is the 
Proudhonian misfortune. And yet that man, the tre- 
mendous object of divine wrath, preserves away there, 
in the most hidden recess of his obscure and darkened 
being, something of light and love, something which 
distinguishes him from the infernal spirits ; although he 
is involved in shadows which are rapidly condensing, he 
is not all hatred and darkness. Declared enemy of all 
literary as well, as all moral beauty, he is beautiful 
without knowing it, literarily and morally, in the few 
pages he consecrates to the bashful suavity of modesty, 
to pure and chaste love, and to Catholic harmony and 
magnificence. His style then rises to the level of the 
majesty and pomp of his subject, or assumes the soft 
and pleasing form of freshest idyls. 

Considered isolatedly, M. Proudhon is inexplicable and 
inconceivable. M. Proudhon is not a person, although 
he appears so : he is a personification. Though con- 
tradictory and illogical as he is, the world calls him 
consistent, because he is a consistency ; he is the con- 


sistency of all the exotic ideas, of all the contra- 
dictory principles, and of all the absurd premises, 
modern Rationalism has established for the last three 
hundred years; and as the consequence contains its 
premises, and the premises their consequence, those 
three centuries necessarily contain M. Proudhon, as M. 
Proudhon necessarily involves them. For this reason, 
the examination of the one and of the other gives the 
same result. All the Proudhonian contradictions are in 
the last three hundred years, and in M. Proudhon are 
the contradictions of the last three centuries, and both 
contradictions are concentrated in that, in a certain way, 
most notable work of the present age, the " System of 
Economical Contradictions." Between this work and 
its author, and those rationalistic centuries, there is an 
absolute identity : the only difference is in the names 
and forms; the thing represented in common takes here 
the name of book, there the form of man, and farther 
on that of time. This explains why M. Proudhon is 
condemned to never be, and to always appear to be, 
original. He is condemned to never be original, be- 
cause, supposing the premises, what is there less original 
than the consequence .'' He is condemned to always 
appear so, because what can appear more original thar 
the concentration, in one sole person, of all the contradic- 
tions of three contradictory centuries .■' 

This does not mean that M. Proudhon does not seek 
after true originality. M. Proudhon wishes to be truly 
original when he aspires to formulate the synthesis of 
all antinomies, and to discover the supreme equation of 


all contradictions ; but it is precisely here, where lies 
the manifestation of his individual personality, that we 
discover his impotence. His equation is only the begin- 
ning of a new series of contradictions, and his synthesis 
of a new series of antinomies. Placed between property, 
which is the thesis, and communism, which is the anti- 
thesis, he seeks the synthesis in non-hereditary property, 
without remarking that non-hereditary property is not 
property, and consequently his synthesis is no synthesis, 
because it does not suppress the contradiction, but only 
a new manner of denying the conquered thesis, and 
affirming the victorious antithesis. When, to formulate 
the synthesis — which is to comprehend on one hand 
authority, which is the thesis, and liberty, which is the 
antithesis — he denies government and proclaims anarchy ; 
if by this he wishes to say that there is to be no govern- 
ment, his synthesis is nothing but the negation of the 
thesis, which is authority, and the affirmation of the 
antithesis, which is human liberty ; and on the contrary, 
if he means that dictatorial and' absolute government is 
not to reside in the State, but in society, in that case 
he does nothing, but deny the antithesis and affirm the 
thesis, deny liberty and affirm communistic omnipotence. 
In either case, where is the reconciliation i" — where the 
synthesis .' M. Proudhon is strong only when he is con- 
tent with being the personification of modern Rational- 
ism, by nature absurd and contradictory ; and he is weak 
only when he manifests his individual personality, when 
he is converted from a personification into a person. 
If after examining him in his various aspects, I were 


asked what is the dominant trait of his spiritual physi- 
ognomy, I would answer that it is the contempt of God 
and men. Never did man sin so grievously against 
humanity and the Holy Ghost. When that chord of 
his heart is struck, it ever sounds with eloquent and 
sonorous echo. It is not he who speaks then ; no, it is 
another who is in him, who holds him in his bonds, who 
has possession of him, and throws him into epileptic con- 
vulsions ; it is another who is greater than he, and keeps 
up a perpetual dialogue with him. What he says some- 
times is so strange, and he says it in such a strange way, 
that the mind hangs in suspense, and knows not if it be 
a man or a devil who speaks, or whether he speaks seri- 
ously or in jest. As regards himself, if he could arrange 
things according to his caprice, he would prefer to be 
taken for a devil rather than for a man. Man or devil, 
whichever he be, it is certain that three centuries of dam- 
nation press on his shoulders with crushing weight. 


Continuation of the same subject. 

The most consistent of modern Socialists, in the point 
of view from which we have been treating the question, 
appears to me to be Robert Owen, when, breaking into 
open and cynical rebellion against all religion, deposi- 
taries of religious and moral dogmas, he denied duty at 


one stroke, by denying not only collective responsibility, 
which constitutes the dogma of solidarity, but also in- 
dividual responsibility, which rests on the dogma of 
the free will of man. Having denied free will, Robert 
Owen denies sin, and the transmission of sin. So far, 
no one can doubt that there is logic and consistency in 
all these deductions ; but where the contradiction and 
extravagances commence, is when Owen, having denied 
sin and free will, afifirms and distinguishes moral good 
and evil, and when affirming and distinguishing these, 
he denies the penalty which is their necessary conse- 

Man, according to Robert Owen, acts in consequence 
of invincible convictions. These convictions come to 
him, on one side, from his special organisation, and on 
the other, from the circumstances which surround him ; 
and as he is not the author, either of that organisation, 
or of those circumstances, it follows that the former, as 
well as the latter, act in him fatally and necessarily. 

All this is logical and consistent, but it is all illogical 
and contradictory and absurd to affirm good and evil 
when human liberty is denied. The absurd reaches the 
inconceivable and the monstrous, when our author at- 
tempts to found a society and a government in juxta- 
position with irresponsible beings. The idea of govern- 
ment and that of society are correlative of the idea of 
human liberty. Deny one, and the negation of the 
others logically follows ; and when you either deny or 
affirm all, you do no more than affirm and deny the 
same thing, and at one and the same time. I know 


not if there be in human annals a more striking proof 
of blindness, of inconsistency, and of madness, than that 
which Owen gives, when, not satisfied with the extrava- 
gance of affirming society and government, after having 
denied individual responsibility and liberty, he yet goes 
further, and falls into the inconceivable extravagance 
of recommending benevolence, justice, and charity to 
those who, not being responsible or free, cannot love, 
nor be just, nor be benevolent. The limits which I 
imposed on myself on commencing this work, prevent 
me from advancing as far as might be desirable in the 
wide field of Socialistic contradictions. Those that we 
have given are sufficient, and more than sufficient, to 
establish beyond all doubt the incontrovertible fact 
that Socialism, from whatever point of view we may 
consider it, is a stupid contradiction, and nothing but 
chaos can come from its contradictory schools. Their 
contradiction is so palpable, that it will not be difficult 
for us to place it in relief, even in these points on which 
all those sectaries appear to be united and agreed. If 
there be any negation which is common to them, it is 
certainly the negation of the solidarity of the family, 
and of nobility. Once arrived here, all the revolu- 
tionary and Socialistic doctors raised their voices to 
deny that community of glories and of misfortunes, of 
merit and of demerit, which the human race has ever 
recognised as a fact, between ancestors and descendants 
in all ages. 

Very well, those same revolutionists and Socialists 
affirm of themselves in practice the very thing they 


have been denying of others in theory. When the 
French Revolution, bloody and destructive, trampled 
on all the national glories ; when, intoxicated with its 
triumphs, it believed itself sure of final victory, I know 
not what aristocratic pride of race seized it, which was 
in direct opposition with all its dogmas. Then it was 
that the most famous revolutionists, presenting them- 
selves to the view of men, like ancient feudal barons, 
commenced to be very scrupulous and careful in giving 
letters of naturalisation in their noble family. My 
readers will remember that famous question put by the 
doctors of the new law, to those who presented them- 
selves to them in the white robes of candidature — What 
crime have you committed .' Unfortunate the man who 
had committed no crime, for he would never see the 
gates of the capital open for him, in which the revolu- 
tionary demigod flashed in awful majesty ! The human 
race had instituted the nobility of virtue, the revolution 
instituted that of crime. When after the revolution of 
February, we have seen the Socialists and Republicans 
divide themselves into categories separated one from 
the other by formidable abysses ; when one party 
with the title of republicans of the eve, showered con- 
tempt and ridicule on the other who had only been 
republicans of the day following ; when, more fortunate, 
and consequently more arrogant than others, some 
proudly said, The coast is all ours, for republicanism 
is natural in us, and comes to us with the blood — what 
is this but proclaiming in full tide republicanism all 
the prejudices of solidarity? Examine one by one all 


its schools, each and all struggle to constitute them- 
selves a family, and to lay claim to the most noble 
descent. In this family group the ancestor is Saint 
Simon the noble ; in that, Fourrier the illustrious ; in 
the atheist group, Babeuf the patriot. In all there is a 
common chief, a common patriotism, a common glory, 
a common mission ; and all the groups and all the 
families, united by a close solidarity, seek in past ages 
some personality so noble, so lofty, so exalted, that it 
may serve all as a bond of union and centre. Some fix 
their eyes on Plato, the glorious personification of ancient 
wisdom ; others, carrying their mad ambition to the high- 
est pitch of blasphemy, fix them on the Redeemer of 
the human race. Perhaps they might despise Him, being 
humble ; but in their insolent pride they do not forget 
that, humble and poor and wretched as He was. He was 
a king, and felt the noble blood of kings flowing in His 
veins. As regards M. Proudhon, the perfect type of 
Socialistic, which is, in its turn, the perfect type of 
human, pride — going back on the wings of his arrogance 
to ages more remote, he seeks his ancestors in those 
times that bordered on the creation, when the Mosaic 
institution flourished amongst the Hebrews. On a more 
opportune occasion I will satisfactorily demonstrate, as 
regards M. Proudhon, his nobility is so ancient, and his 
descent so illustrious, that to discover its origin it is 
necessary to go still farther, even to times removed be- 
yond the wide circle of history, and to beings in perfec- 
tion and dignity incomparably superior to man. At 
present, it is sufficient for my purpose to say that the 


Socialistic schools are condemned in an irrevocable 
manner ; that every one of their principles is contra- 
dictory of the one that precedes it, and of the one that 
follows it ; that their conduct is the complete condemna- 
tion of all their theories, and their theories the radical 
condemnation of their conduct. 

It only remains for us to form a proximate idea of 
what the Socialistic edifice would be without those 
defects of proportion, which deform and prevent it from 
coming under any regular style of architecture. Having 
seen what present Socialism is in its contradictory 
dogmas, it may be useful that we briefly examine what 
future Socialism must be when age has stripped it of its 
contradictions and its inconsistency. Here the method 
is to take as starting-point, any of the propositions 
affirmed in common by all the schools, arid to deduce 
from it, one by one, the consequences which it contains. 

The fundamental negation of Socialism is the negation 
of sin, that grand affirmation which is, as it were, the 
centre of the Catholic affirmations. That negation 
carries with it, by way of consequence, a series of nega- 
tions, some relative to the divine, others to the human, 
and others to the social, being. To go over that whole 
series would be a thing impossible, and foreign to our 
purpose : what we have to do is, simply to point out the 
more fundamental of these negations. 

The Socialists not only deny sin, but the possibility 
of sin. The fact, and the possibility of the fact, being 
denied, the negation of human liberty follows, which 
cannot be conceived without sin, or, at least, without the ' 


power in human nature of converting its innocence into 

Liberty being denied, the responsibility of man must 
be denied. The negation of responsibility carries with 
it the negation of penalty ; this once denied, the negation 
of divine government follows on the one hand, and the 
negation of human government on the other. There- 
fore, with regard to the question of government, the 
negation of sin ends in nihilism. 

Individual responsibility being denied, responsibility 
in common must be denied. What is denied of the indi- 
vidual cannot be affirmed of the species, which signifies 
that human responsibility does not exist. As we cannot 
affirm of some what, on one hand, we deny of each 
individually, and, on the other, of all collectively, it 
follows that once denying the responsibility of the 
individual, and that of the species, we must deny the 
responsibility of all associations. This signifies that 
there is no social, political, or domestic responsibility. 
Therefore, with regard to the question of responsibility, 
the negation of sin ends in nihilism. 

Individual, domestic, political, and human responsi- 
bility being denied, the negation of solidarity in the 
individual, in the family, in the State, and in the species 
follows, as solidarity signifies nothing more than respon- 
sibility in common. Therefore, as regards solidarity, 
the negation of sin ends in nihilism. 

Solidarity in man, in the family, in the State, and iia 
the species being denied, we must deny unity in the 
species, in the State, in the family, and in man, as the 


identity between solidarity and unity is so complete, that 
what is one cannot be conceived, unless as being soli- 
darious, nor what is solidarious unless as being one. 

Therefore, as tegards the question of unity, the 
negation of sin ends in nihilism. 

Unity being absolutely denied, the following negations 
follow — that of humanity, that of the family, that of 
society, and that of man. The fact is, nothing exists 
but under the condition of being one, and therefore it 
cannot be affirmed that the family, society, and humanity 
exist, but on condition of affirming domestic, political, 
and human unity ; these three unities being denied, the 
negation of these three things must follow. To affirm 
these existences and deny their unity, is to be guilty 
of a contradiction in terms. Each of these things must 
be one, or cannot be at all; therefore if they are 
not one, they do not exist ; their very name is absurd, 
for it is a name which does not represent nor designate 

With regard to the individual man, his negation 
follows in a different way. The individual man is the 
only one can exist to a certain degree, without being one 
and solidarious ; what is denied by denying his unity 
and solidarity, is that in different moments of his life he 
is one and the same person. If there be no bond of 
union between the past and the present, and between 
the present and the future, what follows is that man 
only exists in the present moment. But in this supposi- 
tion it is clear that his existence is more phenomenal 
than real. If I do not live in the past, because it is past, 


and because there is no unity between the present and 
the past ; if I do not live in the future, because the 
future does not exist, and because when it will exist it 
v/ill not be future ; if I only live in the present, and the 
present does not exist, because when I am about to 
afErm it exists it has already past, the result is that my 
existence is more theoretical than practical ; for in reality, 
if I do not exist at all times, I do not exist at any 
time. I do not conceive time except in its three forms 
united, and I cannot conceive it when I separate them. 
What is the past, but something that is not now ? What 
is the future, but something that does not yet exist ? 
And who can detain the present a sufficient time to 
affirm it, after it has escaped from the future, and before 
it is converted into the past .' Therefore to affirm the 
existence of man, denying the unity of time, is nothing 
else than to give him the speculative existence of a ma- 
thematical point. Therefore the negation of sin ends in 
nihilism, as well in regard to the existence of humanity, 
of society, and of the family, as in regard to the exist- 
ence of man. Therefore all the Socialistic, or to speak 
with more exactness, all the Rationalistic doctrines 
necessarily end in nihilism ; and there is nothing more 
natural and more logical, if we examine it well, than that 
those who separate from God should end in nothing, as 
there is nothing beyond God. 

Supposing this, I am authorised in accusing present 
Sociahsm of being timid and contradictory ; to deny the 
Christian God to affirm another god ; to deny humanity 
under one aspect, to affirm it in a different point of 


view ; to deny society with certain forms, to come to 
subsequently affirm it with different forms ; to deny the 
family on one hand, and to affirm it on the other ; to 
deny man in a certain way, to afterwards affirm him in 
a different or contrary way : all this 'is to enter on the 
path of timid, contradictory, and cowardly transactions. 
Present Socialism is a semi-Catholicism, and nothing 
more. If the limits of this work permitted, it would not 
be difficult for me to demonstrate that in the most 
advanced of its doctors, there is a greater number of 
Catholic affirmations than Socialistic negations, which 
produces an absurd Catholicism and a contradictory 
Socialism. If we affirm a god, we must fall into the 
hands of the God of Catholics ; if we affirm humanity, 
we come to the humanity, one and solidarious, of the 
Christian dogma; if we affirm society, we must sooner 
or later come to the Catholic affirmation about social 
institutions ; if we affirm the family, we must afterwards 
affirm, one way or another, all that Catholicism affirms, 
and all that Socialism denies ; in fine, every affirmation 
of man, no matter how it is made, is finally resolved 
into the affirmation of Adam the man of Genesis. 
Catholicism is like those formidable cylinders through 
which if a part pass, the whole must go. Through that 
formidable cylinder shall pass, without leaving a track 
behind, unless it change its course, Socialism with all 
its pontiffs, and with all its doctors. 

M. Proudhon, who is not usually ridiculous, is so, 
however, when, establishing as a formula the negation of 
government as the last of all negations, he goes about 


in the sublimity of his audacity, with almost august ges- 
ture, demanding of the people the first place amongst 
Socialists. Socialists in presence of Catholics, are like 
Greeks in presence of the priests of the East — children 
who appear men. The negation of all government, far 
from being the last of possible negations, is nothing but 
a preliminary negation, which future Nihilists will set 
down in the last of their axioms. Not going beyond 
that, M. Proudhon will have to pass, like the rest, 
through the Catholic cyhnder ; everything but nothing- 
ness passes through it. He must then affirm nothings, 
or pass through that cylinder with all his negations, 
with all his affirmations, with his whole soul, and with 
his whole body. Whilst M. Proudhon does not valiantly 
choose his party, he authorises me to accuse him before 
future Rationalists, as suspected of latent Catholicism. 
Catholicism is not a thesis, and not being so, cannot be 
combated by an antithesis ; it is a synthesis which em- 
braces all, which contains all, and which explains all, 
which cannot be, I will not say conquered, but even 
combated, except by a synthesis of the same species, 
which, like it, should embrace, contain, and explain all 
things. In the Catholic synthesis all human theses and 
antitheses have convenient room. 

It attracts and condenses all in itself, with the invin- 
cible force of an incommunicable virtue. Those who 
think they are outside Catholicism, are in it, because it 
is, as it were, the atmosphere of intelligences ; the 
Socialists, like the rest, after gigantic efforts to separate 
themselves from it, have done no more than become bad 
Catholics. T 



Dogmas correlative of that of solidarity — Bloody sacrir- 
jices — Theories of the Rationalistic Schools about 
Capital Punishment. 

As Socialism is an incoherent compound of thesis and 
antithesis, which contradict and destroy each other, the 
grand Catholic synthesis resolves all these things into 
unity, by infusing into them all its sovereign harmony. 
It may be said of its dogmas, that without ceasing to be 
various, they are one only. In such a way do those which 
precede merge into those which follow, and those which 
follow into those which precede, that it cannot be 
determined which is the first or which the last in that 
divine circle. That virtue possessed by all, of penetrat- 
ing one another in their most intimate essence, prevents 
any of them from being affirmed or denied by itself, 
and renders it necessary for all to be affirmed or denied 
together; and as in its dogmatic affirmations all pos- 
sible affirmations are exhausted, it follows that against 
Catholicism there can be no affirmation of any sort, and 
no particular negation against its prodigious synthesis : 
there can be nothing but an absolute negation. Well, 
now, God, who' is so manifest in the Catholic expression, 
has disposed things in such a way that that supreme 
negation, logically necessary to form a contrast to the 
divine expression, is totally impossible, as a person 
must, in order to deny all, commence by denying him- 


self, and if he deny himself, he can deny nothing else 
afterwards. Hence it follows that the Catholic expres- 
sion, being invincible, is eternal ; from the first day of 
creation it comes expanding in space and resounding in 
time, with an immense force of expansion, and with an - 
infinite power of resonance. The sovereign virtue has 
not yet diminished ; and when the hours cease to roll, 
and space is annihilated, that expression will be eternally 
resounding in the highest heavens. Everything in this 
world below is passing — men with their sciences, which 
are nothing but ignorance, empires with their glories, 
which are nothing but smoke; that resounding expression 
is alone at rest and in its proper being, affirming all with 
one sole affirmation which is ever consistent with itself. 
The dogma of solidarity, confounding itself with that of 
unity, constitutes with it one sole dogma; considered in 
itself, it is resolved into two, which, like that of solidarity 
and that of unity, are one and the same in essence, and 
two in their manifestations. 

The solidarity, and the unity, of all men amongst 
themselves, carry with them the idea of a responsibility 
in common, and this responsibility supposes in its turn, 
that the deserts of the one can injure or be of advantage 
to the other. When it is the evil that is communicated, 
the dogma preserves its generic name of solidarity, and 
it changes it for reversibility, when it is the advantage 
that is communicated. Thus we say that we all sinned 
in Adam, because we have all solidarity in him ; and we 
were all saved by Jesus Christ, because His merits were 
reversible to us. 


And we see the difference is here only in the names, 
and does not at all alter the thing signified. The same 
happens with the dogmas of imputation and of substitu- 
tion — they are both nothing but those same dogmas 
considered in their application. By virtue of the 
dogma of imputation we all suffer Adam's penalty, 
and by the dogma of substitution the Lord suffered for 
us all. But as we here see, there is substantially ques- 
tion but of one dogma. The principle in virtue of 
which we have been saved in the Lord, is identical with 
that by which we were all culpable, and punished in 
Adam. That principle of solidarity, by which are 
explained the two great mysteries of our redemption 
and of the transmission of sin, is in its turn explained 
by that same transmission, and by the human redemp- 
tion. Without solidarity you cannot even conceive 
a prevaricating and redeemed humanity ; and on the 
other hand, it is evident that if humanity has not been 
redeemed by Jesus Christ, nor has fallen in Adam, it 
cannot be conceived as being one and solidarious. 

As by this dogma, joined to that of the prevarication 
of Adam, is revealed to us the true nature of man, God 
has not permitted that it should fall into oblivion 
amongst the nations. This serves to explain why all 
the peoples of the world bear clearest testimonies to it, 
and why those testimonies are recorded, eloquently in 
history. There is no people so civilised nor tribe so 
uncultivated, that has not believed these two things, that 
the sins of some can bring down the anger of God on 
the heads of all, and that all can be saved from the 


penalty, and from sin transmitted, by the offering of 
a victim in perfect holocaust. For the sin of Adam 
God condemned the human race, and saved it through 
the merits of His beloved Son. Noah, inspired by God, 
condemns in Canaan his whole race ; God blesses in 
Abraham, and afterwards in Isaac, and then in Jacob, 
the whole Hebrew race. Sometimes He saves culpable 
children through the merits of their ancestors ; at other 
times He chastises, even in their last generation, the sins 
of culpable ancestors ; and none of these things, which 
reason regards as incredible, has caused astonishment 
or repugnance in the human race, which has believed 
them with a firm and lasting faith. CEdipus sins, and 
the gods pour out the cup of their displeasure on 
Thebes. CEdipus is the object of the Divine wrath, and 
the merits of his expiation are- reversible to Thebes. 
On the greatest and most solemn day of creation, when 
God himself Made Man was about to proclaim by His 
death the truth of all these dogmas. He desired that 
they should be first proclaimed and confessed by the 
deicide people itself, who, vociferating with supernatural 
and sinister clamour, let these words fall from its lips — 
" His blood be upon us and upon our children ! " It 
would- appear that God permitted both times and 
dogmas to be here condensed. On the same day, the 
sanie people, by putting Him to death, imputes to One, 
and chastises in Him, the sins of all; and demands the 
application of the same dogma to itself, by declaring its 
children participators in its sin. On that same day on 
which this was proclaimed by a whole people, God 


himself proclaims the same dogma by making Him- 
self solidarious with man ; and the dogma of reversi- 
bility by asking the Father, in reward of His suffering 
for the pardon of His enemies; and the dogma of satis- 
faction by dying for them ; and that of redemption, the 
consequence of all the others, by which the sinner was 
redeemed ; for the substitute, who suffered death in vir- 
tue of the dogma of solidarity, was accepted in virtue of 
that of reversibility. 

All these dogmas, proclaimed on the same day by a 
people, and by a God, and fulfilled, after being pro- 
claimed, in the person of a God, and in the generations 
of a people, were being proclaimed and fulfilled, though 
imperfectly, from the beginning of the world, and were 
symbolised in an institution before they were fulfilled in 
a person. The institution in which they were symbol- 
ised, was that of bloody sacrifices. That mysterious and, 
humanly speaking, inconceivable institution, is a fact so 
universal and constant, that it exists in all peoples and 
in all regions. So that amongst social institutions, the 
most universal is precisely the most inconceivable, and 
appears the most absurd, it being here worthy of note, 
that universality is an attribute common to the institu- 
tion in which those dogmas are symbolised, to the Per- 
son in whom they were fulfilled, and to the dogmas 
themselves which were symbolised in that institution, 
and fulfilled in that person. Imagination itself cannot 
conceive other dogmas, Person, or institution more 
universal. Those dogmas contain all the laws by 
which human things are governed ; that Person contains 


the divinity and humanity joined in one ; and that 
institution is, on one side, commemorative of what those 
dogmas contain of universal, on the other, symbolical of 
that one Person in whom universality par excellence 
exists, whilst on another side, considered in itself, it 
reaches to the confines of the world, and extends 
beyond the limits of history. 

Abel is the first man that offered to God a bloody sacri- 
fice after the great tragedy of paradise ; and that sacri- 
fice, inasmuch as it was bloody, was acceptable in the 
eyes of God, who rejected that of Cain, which consisted 
of the fruits of the earth. And what is here singular 
and mysterious is, that he who had shed blood in ex- 
piatory sacrifice, conceives a hatred of blood, and dies 
sooner than shed that of his enemy ; whilst he who 
refuses to shed it as the sign of expiation, becomes so 
brutal as to shed the blood of his brother. How does 
it happen that when shed in one way it removes, and 
in another impresses, stains ? How is it that all shed 
it in a different manner .' 

From that first effusion of blood it ceased not to run, and 
it never ran without condemning some and purifying 
others, ever preserving intact its condemnatory and its 
purifying virtue. All the men that come after Abel the 
just, and Cain, the fratricide resembled more or less one 
of those two types of those two cities which are governed 
by contrary laws and different governors, and are called 
the city of God aad the city of the world ; which are 
not opposed because the one sheds blood and the other 
does not, but because in the one it is shed by love, and 


in the other by vengeance ; in the one it is offered to 
man, and in the other to God, in expiatory sacrifice and 
acceptable holocaust. 

The human race, in which the breath of the biblical 
traditions was never totally extinguished, has ever 
believed with an invincible faith these three things : 
that it is necessary blood should be shed ; and when 
shed in one way it purifies, and in another maddens. 
Of these truths clear testimony is given by history, 
full of the accounts of cruel episodes, bloody conquests, 
the subversion and destruction of famous cities, atro- 
cious deaths, pure victims placed on smoking altars, of 
brothers rising against brothers, the rich against the 
poor, parents against their children, the entire earth 
being like a lake which neither the winds cool nor the 
sun warms with his powerful rays. They are no lesp 
clearly witnessed to by the bloody sacrifices offered to 
God on all the altars of the world, and finally, by the 
legislation of all peoples, which excommunicates him 
who takes life, and deprives him of his own. 

In the tragedy of " Orestes," Euripides puts in the 
mouth of Apollo these words : — " Helen is not culpable 
of the war of Troy ; her beauty was only the instrument 
of which the gods availed themselves to enkindle war 
between two peoples, and cause to flow the blood 
which was to purify the earth stained with a multitude 
of crimes." Whence we see that the poet, echo at once 
of the human and the popular traditions, attributes to 
blood a secret virtue of purification which is myste- 
riously hidden in it. 


As sacrifice depends on the existence of that cause and 
that virtue, it is clear that blood must have acquired this 
virtue under the empire of that cause, in an epoch anterior 
to bloody sacrifices ; and as these saicrifices have been 
instituted since the time of Abel, it is beyond all doubt 
that the cause and virtue we speak of are anterior to 
Abel, and contemporaneous with the great event of 
paradise in which that virtue and its cause must neces- 
sarily have their beginning. That great event is the pre- 
varication of Adam. As the flesh of Adam was culpable, 
and in the flesh of Adam that of the whole species, it was 
necessary, that the penalty might bear proportion with 
the crime, it should fall on all flesh, like the crime itself. 
Hence the necessity of the perpetual effusion of human 
blood. The crime of Adam had been followed, however, 
by a promise of a Redeemer ; and that promise, substitut- 
ing the Redeemer for the culprit, was capable of sus- 
pending the sentence of condemnation till He who was 
to come should appear. This explains why Abel, depo- 
sitary for Adam at once of the sentence of condemnation, 
and of its suspension till the Substitute who was to 
suffer the penalty for the culprit should come, instituted 
the only sacrifice which could be acceptable in the eyes 
of God — the commemorative and symbolic sacrifice. 

The sacrifice of Abel was so perfect that it contained 
in itself, in a wonderful manner, all the Catholic dogmas : 
as far as it was a sacrifice in general, it was an act of 
devotion and adoration towards the omnipotent and 
sovereign God ; as far as it was a bloody sacrifice, it was 
the proclamation of the dogmas of the prevarication of 


Adam, and of the liberty of the prevaricator, who 
would not have been culpable without free will ; and of 
the transmission of the sin and the penalty, without 
which Adam alone should be offered in sacrifice ; and 
of solidarity, without which Abel would not have 
inherited sin. At the same time, it was, with respect 
to God, an acknowledgment of His justice, and of the 
care He has of all human things. Considering it with 
reference to the victims offered to the Lord, it was at 
once a commemoration of the promise He gave of 
removing the penalty from the true culprit, and of the 
reversibility, by virtue of which those punished for the sin 
of Adam were to be saved by the merits of Another, and 
of the substitution, by virtue of which One who was to 
come should be offered in sacrifice for the whole human 
race. Finally, as the victims were first born lambs with- 
out spot, the sacrifice of Abel was symbolical of the 
true sacrifice, in which the meek and spotless Lamb, 
only Son of the Father, was to be offered in holiest 
sacrifice for the sins of the world. la this way Catholi- 
city, which explains and contains all things by a miracle 
of condensation, is completely contained and explained 
in the first bloody sacrifice offered to God by man. 
What virtue is that possessed by the Catholic religion, 
which allows her to dilate and become condensed with 
an infinite dilation and condensation .' What wonders 
are those which with their immense variety find room in 
a symbol ? And what symbol is that so comprehensive 
and perfect as to contain so many things of such a nature.' 
Such sublime consonance and harmony, perfections so 


sovereign and beautiful, hang over man, that they sur- 
pass not only our understanding, but all we could desire 
or fancy. 

Passing from Father to Son, the tradition began to 
be slowly but surely obscured and blotted out from 
the memory and intellect of men. God in His infinite 
wisdom did not allow the grand echoes of the biblical 
traditions to be totally effaced from the earth, but in 
the midst of the tumults of peoples, precipitated one on 
the other, and all debased by idolatry, those echoes 
were so changed and weakened, that they lost their 
magnificent richness of sound, and became vague, inter- 
mittent, and confused. Then it was that men drew from 
the vague idea of a primitive fault infecting the blood, 
the consequence, that it was necessary to ofifer to God 
in sacrifice the blood of man himself. The sacrifice 
ceased to be symbolical when it became real ; and as 
it was part of the divine intention to bestow efficacy 
and virtue on the sacrifice of the Redeemer alone, 
human sacrifices were wanting in virtue and efficacy. 
But even as it was, those imperfect and inefficacious 
sacrifices virtually contained in themselves, on one side, 
the dogmas of original sin, of its transmission and of soli- 
darity; and on the other, of reversibility and of sub- 
stitution, although unable to symboHse either the true 
substitution or substitute. 

When the ancients sought an innocent victim free 
from all spot, and conducted it to the altar crowned 
with flowers, that it might by its death appease the 
divine wrath and satisfy for the debt of the people, they 


were in a great measure right, and wrong only in some 
things. They were right in affirming that the divine 
justice should be appeased ; that it could not be so, 
except by the shedding of blood ; that one could satisfy 
for the debt of all, and that the redeeming victim should 
be innocent. They were right in all these things, 
because all these things were only the explicit affirma- 
tion of great Catholic dogmas. They erred exclusively 
in believing that a man could be so innocent and just, 
as to be efficaciously offered in sacrifice for the sins of 
the people, in quality of redeeming victim. This one 
error, this sole forgetfulness of one Catholic dogma, con- 
verted the world into a sea of blood. If there were 
no others, it would of itself have been sufficient to 
impede the coming of all true civilisation. Barbarism — 
ferocious and sanguinary barbarism — is the legitimate 
and necessary consequence of forgetting any Christian 

The error I am pointing out, was an error only in one 
conception and in one point of view : the blood of man 
cannot be expiatory of original sin, which is the sin of 
the species, the human sin par excellence ; but it can 
be, and is, expiatory of certain individual sins. Whence 
follow, not only the legitimacy, but also the necessity 
and convenience, of the penalty of death. The universa- 
lity of its institution proves the universality of the belief 
of the human race in the purifying efficacy of blood, 
shed in a certain way, and in its expiatory virtue when 
it is shed in that way. Without shedding of blood there 
is no remission (Heb. ix. 22). Without the blood shed 


by the Redeemer, the common debt the human race in 
Adam contracted with God would never have been 
extinguished. Wherever the penalty of death has been 
abolished, society has distilled blood from all its pores. 
On its suppression in Saxony followed that terrible 
and bloody battle of May, which drove the State into 
the trance of death, so that it was obliged to appeal to 
foreign intervention. The very principle of its suppres- 
sion, proclaimed in Frankfort in name of the common 
country, threw the affairs of Germany into greater dis- 
order than ever before in its troubled history. On 
its suppression by the Provisional Government of the 
French Republic, followed those tremendous days of 
June, which shall eternally live, with all their horror, in 
the memory of men. These would have been followed 
by others in fearful and rapid succession, if a holy and 
acceptable victim had not intervened between the anger 
of God and the crimes of that culpable government and 
of that sinful city. No one can know nor tell how far the 
virtue of that august and innocent blood might extend ; 
but, humanly speaking, we may say, without fear of being 
belied by the facts, that blood will run again in abun- 
dant streams, at least until France enters again under 
the jurisdiction of that providential law, which no people 
ever transgressed with impunity. 

I will not end this chapter without making a reflec- 
tion which appears to me of the utmost importance : if 
such effects have been produced by the suppression of 
the penalty of death in political crimes, how far would 
its ravages reach if the suppression were extended to 


common crimes ? Well, now, if there be one thing evident 
to me, it is, that the suppression of the one involves the 
suppression of the other at some time more or less 
distant, and I also think it beyond all doubt, that the 
suppression of the penalty of death, in both conceptions, 
leads to the suppression of all human penalties. To 
suppress the highest penalty in the crimes which attack 
the security of the State, and with it of the members who 
compose it, and retain it in those perpetrated only 
against individuals, appears to me a monstrous incon- 
sistency, which cannot long resist the logical evolution 
of human events. On the other hand, to suppress as 
excessive the penalty of death in the one and the other, 
is the same as to suppress all kind of penalty for inferior 
crimes ; for when a penalty less than that of death is 
applied to the former, any that may be applied to the 
latter must be wanting to the laws of just proportion, 
and will be resisted as oppressive and unjust. 

If the suppression of the penalty of death in political 
crimes is founded on the negation of political crime, and 
this negation on the fallibility of the State in these 
matters, it is clear that every system of penalty falls to 
the ground ; for fallibility in political things supposes 
fallibility in all moral things, and fallibility in the one 
and in the other carries with it the radical incompetence 
of the State to qualify any human action as a crime. 

Well, now, as this fallibility is a fact, it follows that 
in this matter of penalty all governments are incom- 
petent, because all are fallible. 

One can only be accused of crime by him who can 


accuse him of sin, and he only can impose penalties for 
the one, who can impose them for the other. Govern- 
ments are not competent to impose a penalty on man, 
except in quality of delegates of God ; and human law 
has power only when it is the commentary of the divine 
law. The negation of God and of His law on the part 
of governments, is equal to the negation of themselves. 
To deny the divine and affirm the human law, to affirm 
crime and deny sin, to deny God and affirm any govern- 
ment whatever, is to affirm what is denied ; and to deny 
what is affirmed is to fall into a palpable and evident 
contradiction. Then the blast of revolutions begins to 
blow, which will soon restore the empire of logic which 
presides at the evolution of events, suppressing human 
contradictions with an absolute and inexorable affirma- 
tion, or with an absolute and peremptory negation. 

The Atheism of the law and of the State — or what in 
the end is the same, but expressed in a different manner, 
the complete secularisation of the State and of the law — 
is a theory which does not square well with that of 
penalty, the one coming from man in his state of sepa- 
ration from God, and the other from God in his state of 
union with man. 

It would appear that governments know, by means of 
infallible instinct, that only in the name of God can they 
be just and strong. And so it happens that when they 
begin to be secularised, or to separate from God, they 
immediately relax in their penalties, as if they felt their 
right diminished. The lax theories of modern criminal 
jurists are contemporaneous with religious decadence, 


and their rule in modern codes with the complete secu- 
larisation of political powers. Since then the criminal 
has been so transformed in our eyes, that the children 
regard as an object of pity what was a subject of horror to 
their parents. He who yesterday was called a criminal, 
is to-day called eccentric or mad. Modern Rationalists 
call crime misfortune. The day shall come when the 
government will pass into the hands of the unfortunate, 
and then there will be no other crime but innocence. 
The theories on penalty held in absolute monarchies 
in their days of decay, were followed by those of the 
Liberal schools, who brought them to the present pass. 
After the Liberal come the Socialistic schools, with 
their theory of holy insurrections and heroic crimes. Nor 
shall these be last ; for away there on the far-off horizon 
new and more bloody auroras begin to dawn. The new 
gospel of the world is perhaps being written in a prison ; 
the world will only get what it deserves, when it is evan- 
gelised by the new apostles. 

Those who made people believe that the earth can be 
a paradise, have made them more easily believe it can 
be a paradise without blood. The evil is not in the 
illusion ; it is in the fact that, precisely on the moment 
and hour the illusion would be believed by all, blood 
would flow even from the hard rocks, and earth would be 
transformed into hell. In this obscure and lowly valley 
man cannot aspire to an impossible happiness, without 
incurring the misfortune of losing the little he has. 



Recapitulation — Inefficacy of all the proposed solutions — 
Necessity of a more profound solution. 

Up to this we have seen in what manner the liberty of 
man and that of the angel, with the faculty of choosing 
which constitutes their imperfection and their danger, 
was a thing not only justified, but also convenient. We 
have also seen how, from the exercise of that constituted 
liberty, evil came with sin, which profoundly disturbed 
the order established by God in all things, and the very 
suitable manner of being of all creatures. Farther 
on, after having marked the disorders of creation, we 
proposed to ourselves to demonstrate, and we did 
demonstrate perfectly, we think, that as to the angel 
and to man, gifted with the tremendous power of draw- 
ing evil from good, and of corrupting all things, the one 
with his rebellion, the other with his disobedience, and 
both with sin, God, to establish a contrast to that 
destructive liberty, reserved to himself the power of 
drawing good from evil, and order from disorder, making 
large and convenient use of it, so as to place things in a 
more regulated manner of being, than they would have 
attained without rebellious angels and sinful men. As 
it was impossible to avoid evil without suppressing the 
angelical and the human liberty, which were a great 
good, God, in His infinite wisdom, succeeded in trans- 
forming evil without suppressing it, so as to make it 



serve in His omnipotent hand as the instrument of 
greater convenience, and of more sublime perfections. 

To demonstrate what suited our purpose, we observed 
that the general end of things was to manifest, each in 
its own way, the sublime perfections of God, and to be 
like sparks of His beauty and reflexes of His magni- 
ficent glory. Constituted in the point of view of this 
universal end, we had no difficulty in demonstrating 
that from the human disobedience and the angelical 
rebelHon incomparable good flowed, and that the one as 
well as the other served to make creatures, which pre- 
viously reflected only the divine goodness and the divine 
magnificence, also reflect all the sublimity of His mercy 
and all the grandeur of His justice. Order was not 
universal and absolute, except when creatures had in 
them all these splendid reflexes. 

From the problems relative to the universal order of 
things, we passed to those which refer to the general 
order of human things : wandering through this wide 
field, we saw evil propagate in humanity with sin ; there 
we saw how humanity was in Adam, and the sinful 
species in the individual. As sin, considered in itself, 
was powerful enough to disturb the order of the universe, 
it was also powerful enough, and with more reason, to 
infuse disorder into all human things. In order to un- 
derstand what we said before, and what we shall repeat 
again, it is well to remark here, that as the universal 
end of all things is to manifest the divine perfections, 
the particular end of man is to preserve his union with 
God, the seat of his joy and of his rest. Sin disordered 


things, by separating man from that union which con- 
stitutes his special end ; and from that moment the 
problem, as far as regards humanity, consists in deter- 
mining how evil can be conquered in its effects and in 
its cause — in its effects, that is to say, in the corruption 
of the individual and of the species, in all its conse- 
quences ; in its cause, that is to say, in sin. 

God who is most simple in His works because He is 
most perfect in His essence, conquers evil in its cause and 
in its effects, by one sole transformation ; but this trans- 
formation is so radical and extraordinary, that through 
it all that was evil is transformed into good, and all that 
was imperfection into sovereign perfection. Up to this 
we have been explaining the manner and the form in 
which God transforms into instruments of good the very 
effects of evil and sin. Proceeding all from a primitive 
corruption of the individual and of the species, they 
are nothing else in the species or in the individual, 
considered in themselves, but a lamentable misfortune. 
Misfortune means necejsary effect ; and if the cause 
from which the effect flows is one of those which act 
constantly, misfortune then is by its nature invincible. 
By imposing the misfortune as a penalty, God made its ' 
transformation possible, by means of its voluntary ac- 
ceptation on the part of man. When man, aided by 
God, heroically accepted his misfortune as a penalty, 
his misfortune did not change its nature, considered in 
itself, which would be totally impossible ; but it acquired 
a new and strange virtue, the virtue of expiation and 
purification. Ever preserving its invincible identity, it 


produces effects which naturally are not in it, whenever 
it combines in a supernatural way with voluntary ac- 
ceptation. This consoling and sublime doctrine comes 
to us, at one and the same time, from God, from reason, 
and from history, constituting a rational, historical, and 
dogmatic truth. 

The dogma of the transmission of sin and of penalty, 
and that of the purifying action of the latter when freely 
accepted, led us, as it were by the hand, to the examina- 
tion of the organic laws of humanity, by which all its 
historic evolutions and all its movements are sufficiently 
explained. The aggregate of those laws constitutes 
human order, and constitutes it in such a way that it 
cannot be even imagined otherwise. 

After having given the Catholic solutions about these 
deep and dreadful problems, of which some relate to 
the universal order, and others to the human order, we 
proposed the solutions invented by the Liberal school and 
by modern Socialists, and we demonstrated, on one side, 
the sublime harmony, and consonance of the Catholic 
dogmas, and on the other the extravagant contradiction 
of the Rationalistic schools. The radical impotence of 
reason to discover a suitable solution for these funda- 
mental problems, serves to explain the incoherence and 
the contradiction which are observed in human solutions ; 
and those incoherent contradictions serve in their turn 
to demonstrate how impossible it is for man, abandoned 
to himself, to mount on his own wings to those lofty 
and serene heights where God has placed the secret laws 
of all things. From this examination, to a certain ex- 


tent prolix, if we consider the narrow limits of this work, 
it is evidently demonstrated — first, that all negation of 
a Catholic dogma carries with it the negation of all the 
other dogmas, and on the contrary, that the affirmation 
of one dogma carries with it the affirmation of all the 
Catholic dogmas, which is an invincible demonstration 
that Catholicism is an immense synthesis, placed beyond 
the laws of space and of time ; second, that no Rational- 
istic school denies all the Catholic dogmas at once, from 
which it follows that they are all condemned to incon- 
sistency, and to the absurd ; and third, that it is not 
possible to escape from the absurd, and from inconsis- 
tency, without accepting all Catholic affirmations with 
an absolute acceptation, or denying them all with nega- 
tion so radical that it borders on Nihilism. 

In fine, after examining one by one those dogmas 
which refer to the universal order and to the human 
order, we considered their harmonious and magnificent 
aggregate in the institution of bloody sacrifices, which 
takes its origin from that primitive age which immedi- 
ately followed the great catastrophe of Eden. There 
we saw that that mysterious institution is, on one hand, 
the commemoration of that great tragedy, and of the 
promise of a Redeemer made by God to our first 
parents ; on the other, the incarnation of the dogmas 
of solidarity, of reversibility, of imputation, and of sub- 
stitution ; and finally, the perfect symbol of the future 
sacrifice, such as we were to see it realised in the pleni- 
tude of time. When the biblical traditions fell into 
oblivion amongst the nations, the world forgot the 


proper signification of that religious institution which 
was being corrupted in all parts ; by its corruption is 
explained the universal institution of human sacrifices, 
which bear testimony to the truth of the tradition, 
although they depart from it on these points in which 
it had fallen into oblivion with the nations. With this 
motive we pointed out the great error and the great 
teaching which are found in that institution, which at 
first sight appears inexplicable, inasmuch as it is pro- 
foundly mysterious. Its great error is in attributing to 
man the expiatory virtue of Him who was to be his 
substitute, when the proper time should come, according 
to the voice of the ancient prophecies and of the ancient 
traditions ; its great teaching is in attributing to blood the 
virtue of appeasing in a certain way, and to a certain de- 
gree, the divine wrath. By the concatination and connec- 
tion of these deductions, we came to the examination of 
punishment by death, universally instituted throughout 
the world as a profession of faith in the virtue which is in 
blood, made at all times by the whole human race. With 
this motive we interrogated the Rationalistic schools on 
this difficult subject ; and on this point, as on all others, 
their answers and their solutions appeared to us contradic- 
tory and absurd. Following them from contradiction to 
contradiction, we gave them the alternative of selecting 
between the acceptation of punishment by death for 
political as well as for common crimes, or the radical and 
absolute negation of the crime and of the punishment. 

Having come to this point of the discussion, it only 
remains for us, in order to finish it, to approach with 


holy terror, and mute and extatic reverence, the 
mystery of mysteries, the sacrifice of sacrifices, the 
dogma of dogmas. Up to this we have seen, on one 
hand, the marvels of the divine order, on the other, 
the harmony of universal order, and finally, the pro- 
found convenience of the human order ; now we have to 
rise to a higher point still, which overlooks and com- 
mands all the Catholic heights. There is seated in all 
His majesty, merciful and tremendous, meek and terrible, 
He who was to come, and did come, and, coming, drew 
all things and united them to Himself, with strong and 
loving bond. He is the solution of all problems, the 
subject of all prophecies, the prefigured in all figures, 
the end of all dogmas, the confluence of the divine, the 
universal, and the human orders ; the key to all secrets, 
the light of all enigmas, the promised of God, the desired 
of the patriarchs, the expected of the nations, the father 
of the afflicted, the reverenced of the choirs of angels, 
the Alpha and Omega of all things. 

Universal order consists in all being harmoniously 
ordained to that supreme end which God imposed on 
the universality of things. The supreme end of things 
consists in the exterior manifestations of the divine per- 
fections. All creatures sing the goodness and magni- 
ficence and omnipotence of God. The just proclaim 
His mercy, the reprobate His justice. Every single 
creature of creation celebrates His love in some special 
manner, as the reprobate His justice and the just His 
mercy. And if this be so, is it not clearly of the highest 
convenience that there should be raised in the universe 


formed to manifest His divine perfections, a universal 
voice, to proclaim the divine love, that finishing touch 
of the divine perfections ? 

The human order consists in the union of man with 
God : that union cannot be realised in our actual con- 
dition of separation, without a gigantic effort to raise us 
to Him. But who asks a great effort from the weak ? 
and who commands him who has fallen in the valley, 
and carries on his shoulders the weight of his sin, to 
rise and ascend the highest peak of a mountain ? I 
know that the heroic and voluntary acceptance of my 
pain and my cross would raise me above myself. But 
how am I voluntarily to love that which I naturally 
abhor, and abhor what I naturally love .'' They tell me 
to love God, and I feel the corrosive love of the flesh 
careering through my veins. They tell me to walk, and 
I am a prisoner. With my sin on my head I cannot 
merit, and I cannot escape from my sin which clutches 
me, if they do not remove it from me. No one can 
remove it from me, if he do not entertain for me an infi- 
nite love anterior to all merit, and no one loves me with 
that infinite love. I am the laughing-stock of God, and 
the toy of the universe ; in vain shall I travel round the 
world, for whithersoever I go my misfortune goeth with 
me ; and in vain shall I raise my eyes to that metallic 
heaven which never yet illumined my brow with a ray of 

If all this be so, it is clear the Catholic edifice we have 
been laboriously building up comes to the ground, for 
want of that splendid cupola which should serve as a 


secure finish. New tower of Babel as it must be, 
fabricated by pride and built on faithless and moving 
quicksands, it will be the play-toy of the tempest and 
the laughing-stock of the winds. The human order, the 
divine order, are nothing but airy words ; and all those 
fearful problems which make humanity pensive and sad, 
continue to exist involved in invincible obscurity, in spite 
of the vain apparatus of Catholic solutions. Though 
better linked together than the solutions of the Ration- 
alist schools, their connection, however, is not so perfect 
that it can resist the impulse of human reason. If 
Catholicity says, or teaches, or contains no more than is 
said, contained, and taught in those solutions. Catholicity 
is no more than a philosophical system, more perfect 
than past, but in all probability less than future systems. 
Even to-day she may be accused of notorious impotence 
to solve the great problems which refer to God, the 
universe, and to man. God is not perfect, if He do not 
love in an infinite manner ; order does not exist in the 
universe, if there is nothing in it to manifest that love ; 
and as regards man, the disorder in which he is placed is 
so invincible, that he cannot be saved unless infinitely 

And don't tell me that God is infinitely good and in- 
finitely merciful, and that love is supposed, and as it 
were hidden, in His infinite goodness and mercy ; for love 
is of itself a thing so important, that when it exists, it 
rules and lords it over all. Love is not the contained, 
but the container; it does not hide, but manifest itself; 
it is of such a nature that it cannot exist in any part 


without appearing to be alone, and to rule all. It is not 
naturally ordained to any end, but ordains all things to 
itself. He who loves, if he love properly, must appear 
mad ; and love, to be infinite, must appear an infinite 

There is a voice in my heart, and it is my heart itself, 
which is within me and is my very self, and which says 
to me, If you want to know the true God, look for 
Him who loves you to madness, and helps you to love 
Him to madness, and that is the true God ; for in God 
is blessedness, and blessedness is nothing else but to 
love and to suffer swoons of love, and to swoon thus per- 
petually. Let no one call me to him who does not love 
me, for I will not answer his call. But if the voice I 
hear is the voice of love, Here I am, I shall say at once, 
and I will follow my beloved, without asking Him 
whither He goes, nor to what part He is taking me; for 
whithersoever Hetaketh me, and whithersoever He goeth, 
He and I and our love must be there ; and our love, He, 
and I are heaven. I would wish to love thus, and I know 
I cannot thus love, .and have no one to love in this 
manner, and on this account torment myself to no pur- 
pose. Who will withdraw me from this narrow circle in 
which I am suffocated, and give me wings of the dove 
to ascend to higher and more sublime regions ? 



The Incarnation of the Son of God, and the redemption of 
the human race. 

We said these were two problems which should be 
solved before order, either universal or human, could be 
properly constituted. God drew good from the primi- 
tive prevarication, which served as occasion for the 
manifestation of two of His greatest perfections — His 
infinite justice and mercy. This, however, was not 
enough : it was requisite besides, for the existence in the 
things of creation, and particularly human things, of that 
order and concert which witness the presence of God in 
all His works, that the sin of the prevarication itself 
should be blotted out ; as, no matter what good God 
drew from it, as long as it subsisted, the evil par excel- 
lence existed, and defied, as it were, the divine power. 
Besides, nothing so becomes the infinite mercy of God, 
as to assist with strong but clement hand the invincible 
weakness of man, that he might rise above his miserable 
condition, so that the consequences of his sin might be 
converted into an instrument of his salvation. To blot 
out sin, and fortify the sinner, so that when fallen he 
might rise freely and meritoriously — this is the great 
problem which must be solved, even when all others are 
disposed of, if Catholicity is to be anything more than 
one of the laboriously imperfect systems which testify 
to the profound and radical impotence of human reason. 


Catholicity solves these two great problems by the 
highest, most ineffable, most incomprehensible and 
glorious of all her mysteries : in that great mystery are 
united all the divine perfections. God is in it with His 
astounding omnipotence, His perfect wisdom, His mar- 
vellous goodness, His terrible justice. His sublime 
mercy, and above all, with that ineffable love which 
crowns alL His other perfections, which authoritatively 
commands His mercy to be merciful, His justice to be 
just, His goodness good, His wisdom wise, and His 
omnipotence omnipotent ; for God is not omnipotence, 
nor wisdom, nor goodness, nor justice, nor mercy : God 
is love, and nothing but love ; but that love is of itself 
omnipotent, wise, good, just, and merciful. 

It was love commanded His mercy to give hope to 
prevaricating and fallen man, with that divine promise 
of a future Redeemer, who should come to the world to 
take on Himself and conquer sin. It was love promised 
in paradise, love which sent Him to earth, and love 
which came ; it was love took human flesh and lived a 
mortal life, and died on the cross, and rose again in the 
flesh and in glory. It was by love we sinners were 

The glorious mystery of the incarnation of the Son 
of God, is the only title of nobility the human race 
possesses. Far from wondering at the contempt modern 
Rationalists display for man, if there be anything I 
cannot explain nor conceive, it is the guarded prudence 
and the timid conduct they manifest in this matter. 
Taking man fallen from that primitive state of original 


justice and sanctifying grace in which God placed him, 
examining his imperfect and contradictory interior 
organic constitution, and considering the bhndness of 
his understanding, the weakness of his will, the gross 
inclinations of his flesh, the ardour of his concupis- 
cence, and the perversity of his inclinations, I cannot 
conceive nor explain that parsimony of epithets and 
that measured contempt. If God has not taken human 
nature, and, taking, raised it to Himself, and raising it, 
has not impressed on it a ray of His divine nobility, we 
must confess that to express human vileness words 
cannot be found in the tongues of all nations. I can 
say for myself, that if my God had not taken flesh in 
the womb of a woman, nor died on the cross for the 
whole human race, the reptile I tread on would be less 
despicable in my eyes than man. Even as it is, the 
point of faith which weighs heaviest on my reason is 
that of the nobility and dignity of the human species, a 
dignity -and nobility I wish to understand, and cannot — 
I desire to fathom, and cannot In vain do I turn my 
eyes, filled with sickening horror, from the annals of 
crime, to raise them to higher spheres and more serene 
regions. In vain do I bring to mind the lofty virtues of 
those whom men call heroes, and who fill history with 
their names ; for my conscience raises its voice, and tells 
me those heroic virtues are resolved into heroic vices, 
which in their turn are resolved into blind pride or mad 
ambition. The" human race appears to me like an 
immense crowd lying under the feet of its heroes, who 
are its idols ; and the heroes, like idols, who adore 


themselves. To believe in the nobility of those stupid 
crowds,' it was necessary for God to reveal it to me. 
No one can deny that revelation, and believe in his own 
nobihty. How does he know he is noble, if God has 
not told him .' There is one thing exceeds my reason, 
and confounds me — that there should be any one who 
thinks it requires less faith to believe in the incompre- 
hensible mystery of human dignity, than in the adorable 
mystery of a God-Made Man, by virtue of the Holy 
Ghost, in the womb of a virgin. This proves that man 
always lives subject to faith ; and when he thinks he 
abandons faith for his own reason, he only abandons 
faith in the divinely mysterious, for faith in the myste- 
riously absurd. 

The incarnation of the Son of God was most conve- 
nient, not only in quality of sovereign manifestation of 
His infinite love, in which, if we may say so, lies the 
perfection of the divine perfections, but also in virtue 
of other profound and sublime consequences. The 
supreme order of things cannot be conceived, if all things 
are not resolved in absolute unity. Well, now, without 
that prodigious mystery creation was double, and the 
universe a dualism, symbol of perpetual antagonism, 
contradictory of order. On one side was God, universal 
thesis; and on the other creatures, His universal anti- 
thesis. Supreme order required a synthesis so powerful 
and broad, that it would be capable of reconciling, by 
means of union, the thesis and antithesis of the Creator 
and creatures. That this is one of the fundamental 
laws of universal order, is seen clearly when we consider 


that this very mystery which we wonder at in God, is 
evident in man without causing any astonishment. 
Man, considered in this point of view, is nothing but a 
synthesis composed of an incorporeal essence, which is 
the thesis, and of a corporeal substance, which is the 
antithesis. The very being, which, considered as a 
compound of spirit and matter, is a synthesis, is no 
more than an antithesis, which it is necessary to reduce 
to unity by means of a superior synthesis, together with 
the thesis which contradicts it, when considered in 
quality of creature. The law of the reduction of variety 
to unity, or what is the same, of all theses with their 
antitheses, to a supreme synthesis, is a visible and im- 
mutable law. The only difficulty here is in finding that 
supreme synthesis. God being on one side, and all 
things created on the other, it is evident the reconciling 
synthesis cannot be sought outside these terms, beyond 
which there is nothing imaginable, being; as they are, 
universal and absolute. The synthesis, then, must be 
found either in creatures or in God, in the antithesis or 
the thesis, or rather in one and the other simultaneously 
or successively. 

If man had quietly persevered in that excellent state 
and noble condition in which he was placed by God, 
variety would have been lost in unity, and the created 
antithesis would have been united to the creative 
thesis in supreme synthesis, by the deification of man. 
He was disposed by God for this deification, when He 
adorned him with original justice and sanctifying grace. 
Man, in use of his sovereign liberty, was despoiled of 


that grace, and renounced that justice, and, deprived of 
both, raised an impediment to the divine will by volun- 
tarily renouncing his deification. But human liberty, 
though capable of impeding the fulfilment of the will 
of God relatively, cannot impede its realisation abso- 
lutely. The reduction of variety to unity was what was 
absolute in the divine will ; its reduction exclusively 
through the deification of man, was what was relative 
and contingent ; which means that God willed the end 
with an absolute, and the means of attaining that end 
with a relative, will ; and in this, as in all things, the 
wisdom of God .shines forth with ineffable splendour. 
In fact, without what was absolute in His divine will, 
God would not have been sovereign, and without what 
was relative in it, human liberty would not have been 
possible ; on the contrary, through what was absolute 
and relative, contingent and necessary, in His will, the 
sovereignty of God and the liberty of man could and 
did exist. In quality of sovereign God decreed what 
was to be ; in virtue of His freedom, that what was to 
be, should be in a certain way. 

Then it happened that the universal order desired by 
God with an absolute will should be realised by the 
immediate humanisation of God, since it could not be 
realised by the immediate deification of man, which was 
totally impossible, with a relative impossibility on 
account of his will, and afterwards with an absolute 
impossibility on account of his sin. 

On another occasion I demonstrated the great reach 
and universality of the divine solutions, which, contrary 


to what we observe in human ones, do not suppress one 
obstacle to create a greater, nor solve one difficulty to 
fall into another, nor a problem in one point of view, to 
make it more obscure than ever in another ; but on the 
contrary, surmount all obstacles at once, and solve all 
difficulties and problems at one simple stroke. And 
this peculiarity which belongs to all divine solutions, is 
more particularly observed in this adorable mystery of 
the incarnation of the Son of God ; for it was at once 
the sovereign means of reducing all to unity, divine 
condition of order in the universe, and the marvellous 
one of restoring order in fallen humanity. The radical 
impossibility of man of returning by himself, to the 
friendship and grace of God after sin, is confessed even 
by those who deny the greater part of the dogmas of 
Catholicity. M. Proudhon, the most learned of the 
Socialists, does not hesitate to say, that supposing sin, 
the redemption of man, by the labours and merits of 
God, was absolutely necessary, because sinful man 
could not be otherwise redeemed. We Catholics do not 
go so far : we only say that this manner of redemption, 
without being either absolutely necessary, nor the only 
one possible, is- nevertheless adorable and convenient. ' 
We see from all this that God laboured to surmount, by 
one sole act of His industry, the obstacle opposed to the 
realisation of universal order, and that which impeded 
human order. By becoming man without ceasing to be 
God, He synthetically united God and man; and as 
spiritual essence and corporeal substance were already 
synthetically united in man, it results that God Made 


Man united in Himself, through sublinne process, on one 
side corporeal substances and spiritual essences, and on 
the other the Creator of all with all His creatures. At 
the same time, by voluntarily suffering and dying for 
man. He took on Himself, removing it from man, that 
primitive sin, through which his whole race in Adam fell 
into corruption, and was condemned to death. 

No matter in what point of view this grand mystery 
may be viewed, it presents to the eye of the attentive 
observer the same marvellous conveniences. If the 
whole human race suffered condemnation in Adam, it 
was reasonable and just it should be saved in another 
more perfect Adam. As we had been condemned by 
the law of solidarity, which was the law of justice, it 
was right and proper we should be saved by the law of 
reversibility, which is a law of mercy. To suffer for the 
sins of a representative would not be just and conve- 
nient, if we had not been allowed to merit through the 
merits of a substitute. Nothing was more conformable 
to reason than that, as the sins of the former were im- 
putable, the merits of the latter should be reversible 
to us. And this we can answer those who, full of 
arrogant pride, blame God for the condemnation of all 
in the person of our first parent ; for even supposing 
we had not been all sinners in our first parents, with 
what right can we complain of being condemned in a 
representative, who were saved in a substitute.' To 
rise against God on account of the law of the imputa- 
tion of sin, without remembering that other which com- 
pletes and explains it, through which another's merits 


are reversible to us, is great timerity, for it is bad 
faith or gross ignorance, and in any case unqualified 

Order being established in the universe by the union 
of all things in God, and in humanity as far as it was 
impeded by sin, it only remains to completely re-estab- 
lish the latter, on one hand, to place man in the capacity 
of rising above himself to the degree of accepting tribu- 
lations with a voluntary acceptance, and on the other, 
to give to that acceptance a meritorious virtue. To both 
things God attended in this divine mystery, fruitful in 
consequences and admirable in itself. The precious 
blood shed on Calvary not only blotted out our sin 
and satisfied the penalty, but through its inestimable 
value placed us in the capacity, when applied to us, of 
meriting crowns ; in it were given us two joint graces — 
that which consists in accepting tribulation, and that in 
virtue of which this acceptance, gladly effected in the 
Lord and through Him, acquires meritorious virtue. In 
this lies the sum of the Catholic religion — in believing 
with firm faith that we can naturally do nothing, but 
can do all in Him and through Him who strengthens us. 
All other dogmas without this are pure abstractions, 
denuded of all virtue and efficacy. The Catholic God is 
not an abstract nor dead God ; He is a living and per^ 
sonal God, who perpetually operates within and with- 
out us ; who, while contained within us, surrounds and 
contains us. The mystery which merited grace for us, 
without which we walked in error and darkness, is the 
mystery /«r excellence ; all others are adorable, elevated, 


and sublime; this one alone the sublime, because 
beyond it there is no more sublimity ; the elevated, 
because beyond it there are no more heights ; and the 
adorable, because beyond it there is nothing worthy of 

The day, eternally joyous and sad, the Son of God 
Made Man was placed on a cross, all things at once were 
restored to order, and in that divine order the cross was 
raised above all things created. Some of these mani- 
fested the goodness of God, some His mercy, others His 
justice. The cross alone was the symbol of His love 
and the pledge of His grace. Through it the confessors 
confessed, and the virgins were chaste, and the fathers 
of the desert led angelic lives, and the martyrs were firm 
witnesses who laid down their lives with manly and 
unshaken constancy. From the sacrifice of the cross 
proceeded that marvellous energy with which the weak 
astounded the strong, the proscribed and disarmed 
ascended the Capitol, and some poor fishermen con- 
quered the world. Through the cross all who conquer 
gain victory ; all who combat, strength ; all who seek 
it, mercy ; the unprotected, protection ; those who are 
sad, joy ; and consolation, all who weep. Since the cross 
was raised in the air there is no man who cannot live in 
heaven before his mortal remains are consigned to the 
'-v^arth ; for if he live here in tribulation, he lives there 
in hope. 



Contiimation of the same subject — Conclusion of this book. 

This is that singular sacrifice of inestimable value, to 
which all others mentioned in history and fable are 
referred. This was the sacrifice the Jewish people and 
the Gentiles desired to signify in their bloody holocausts, 
and Abel represented in a perfect and acceptable form, 
when he offered to God the first-born and purest of 
his lambs. The true altar was to be a cross, and the 
true victim a God, and the true priest that same God, 
at once God and man, august pontiff, everlasting priest, 
perpetual and holy, who came to fulfil in the plenitude 
of time the promise made to Adam in paradise, the faith- 
ful fulfiller of His promise, and keeper of His word ; 
for as He does not threaten in vain, neither does He 
promise vainly. He threatened to disinherit free man, 
and He did disinherit free and culpable man ; He then 
promised him a redeemer, and He himself came to 
redeem him. 

With His presence all mysteries are cleared, all 
dogmas explained, and all laws fulfilled. That the law 
of solidarity might be fulfilled. He takes on Himself 
all human pains ; to fulfil the law of reversibility. He 
showers on the world copious floods of the divine graces 
won by His passion and death. In Him God becomes 
man in so perfect a manner, that all the impetuous 
anger of God fell on Him ; and man becomes in Him 
so perfect and divine, that all the divine mercies, like a 


soft and gentle shower, fall on him. That pain might 
become holy, by suffering He sanctified pain ; and 
that its acceptance might be meritorious, He accepted 
it with a voluntary acceptance. Who would dare to 
offer to God his will in holocaust, if He had not first laid 
aside his own to perform that of his heavenly Father ? 
Who could have mounted to the summit of humility, 
if the patient and humble Lamb had not first trod the 
secret paths of that thorny summit .' And who with 
more daring flight could have ascended rugged moun- 
tains on rugged mountains, till he reached the pinnacle 
of divine love, if He had not first ascended them one by 
one, reddening their sides with His purple blood, and 
lacerating on their thorns His pure flesh, whiter than 
the snow .'' Who but Him could have told men that on 
the other side of those abrupt and giant mountains lay 
bright and cheerful meadows, where the air is benign, 
the heavens serene, the waters pure and limpid, the 
harmony ineffable, and the freshness perpetual ; where 
life is true life, which never ends, and pleasure true 
pleasure, which never ceases, and love true love, which 
is never extinguished ; where there is perpetual rest 
without idleness, everlasting repose without fatigue, 
and where are sublimely confounded the sweetness of 
possession and the beauty of hope .' 

The Son of God, Made Man, and placed on the cross 
by man, is at once the realisation of all things perfect, 
represented in all symbols, and typified in all figures, 
and the universal figure and symbol of all perfections. 
The Son of God, Made Man, as He is at once God and 
man, is ideality and reality united. Natural reason 


tells us, and daily experience proves, that man cannot 
attain in any act, or in anything whatever, that relative 
perfection it is possible for him to reach, if he have 
not before his eyes a finished model of still higher 
perfection. For the people of Athens to acquire that 
admirable instinct, of discovering with a single glance 
what was beautiful in literature, or artistically sublime, 
or what was heroic in the actions of men, it was abso- 
lutely necessary they should have before their eyes the 
statues of their wonderful artists, the verses of their sub- 
lime poets, and the heroic actions of their great captains. 
The people of Athens, as we find it, necessarily supposes 
its artists, poets, and captains, as we find them ; and 
these in their turn did not reach such daring heights 
without fixing their eyes on something still higher. All 
the Greek captains attained their great eminence because 
they fixed their eyes on Achilles, who reached the highest 
pinnacle of glory. All those great artists and eminent 
poets became great and eminent because they fixed 
their eyes on the " Iliad " and the " Odyssey,'' immortal 
types of artistic and literary beauty. The one and the 
other would never have existed if they had not fixed 
their gaze on Homer, magnificent personification of 
artistic, literary, and heroic grace. 

This law, by virtue of which all that is in the multi- 
tude is in a more perfect manner in an aristocracy, and 
in an incomparably higher and more perfect manner 
still in one person, is so universal, that it might be 
reasonably considered the law of history. This law is 
in its turn subject to certain conditions as necessary as 


itself. Thus, for example, it is a necessary condition of 
all those heroic personifications, that they belong at the 
same time to the special association they personify, and 
to another more general and superior personified in 
them. Achilles, Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, Homer, 
Virgil, and Dante, are all at the same time citizens of 
two different cities, one of which is local, the other 
general, one inferior, the other superior : in the superior 
they live together with a certain equality, in the inferior 
each one rules with absolute sway ; in the superior they 
are citizens, in the inferior emperors. That superior 
city, in which all have equal rights of citizenship, is 
called humanity; and the inferior, in which they rule, is 
called here Paris, there Athens, elsewhere Rome. 

Well now, as like peoples, those inferior cities are 
condensed in one person, in whom their perfections and 
virtues stand out in relief, so it was right that the 
universal law of typical personification should be fulfilled 
with respect to the superior city, which bears the name 
of the human race. The excellences of this city, ex- 
cellent above all, had the advantage of a personification 
superior to all others, as it was superior to all other 
cities, and should consequently be subhme and perfect. 
Nor was this enough ; for, that the law might be fulfilled 
in every iota, it was right that the person in whom 
humanity were condensed, should unite two different 
natures in his personal unity — by the one he should be 
God, by the other man, for God alone is superior to 
man. And don't tell me that for the fulfilment of this 
law the incarnation of an angel were sufficient ; as man, 


considered as a compound of a spiritual soul and a cor- 
poreal body, participated at once in the physical and 
angelic natures, and was, as it were, the confluence of 
all things created ; whence it follows, that being, inas- 
much as he was man, all creation, he must be God to 
be at the same time something beyond the created. 
Finally, that the law we are explaining might be fulfilled 
in all, it was necessary for the person who ruled with 
authority in the inferior city to be a citizen, and nothing 
more in the superior ; hence God, Made Man, is single in 
the empire of all things created, whilst in the tabernacle 
inhabited by the divine essence is the person of the Son, 
in all things equal to the Father and the Holy Ghost. 

Great would be the error of those who should believe 
that I look on this line of argument as invincible, and 
these analogies as perfect. To suppose that man can see 
clearly through these deep mysteries would be unmiti- 
gated blindness ; and the mere endeavour to remove 
the divine veils which cover them appears to me foolish 
arrogance and madness. No ray of light is capable of 
illumining what God has hidden in the impenetrable 
tabernacle defended by divine obscurity. My only design 
here is to demonstrate, with a vigorous demonstration, 
that far from what God commands us to beheve being 
incredible, it is not only credible but reasonable. I 
believe the demonstration may be carried to the limits 
of evidence, as long as it is confined to proving the 
following truth — that he who abandons faith falls into 
the absurd, and the divine is less obscure than human 
darkness. There is no Catholic dogma nor mystery 


which does not comply with these two conditions, 
necessary for rendering a belief reasonable — first, to 
explain everything satisfactorily when it is once ad- 
mitted ; second, to be itself capable to a certain degree 
cbf explanation and comprehension. There is no man of 
sound sense and straightforward mind, who does not 
feel satisfied, on the one hand, of his radical incapacity 
to discover revealed truths, and on the other, of his 
marvellous aptitude to explain them all satisfactorily in 
a relative way. This would show that reason was given 
to man, not to discover the truth, but to see and .explain 
it when placed before him. So great his misery, and so 
lamentable is his intellectual indigence, that up to the 
present day he is not certain of the first thing he should 
have investigated, if it had entered into the divine 
plan to allow him to investigate anything. Tell me, if 
not, if there be one man who has discovered with 
certainty what his reason is, why he received it, for what 
it serves, and how far it reaches. And when I see, on one 
hand, that this is the A of this alphabet, and on the 
other, that six thousand years has passed since it was 
first lisped, and. it has not yet been properly pro- 
nounced, I feel authorised to say that this alphabet 
was not made for man to pronounce, nor man, to pro- 
nounce it. 

Taking up the thread of this discourse, I will say it 
was an excellent and convenient thing, for humanity 
to have before it a universal model of universal and in- 
finite perfection, as the various political associations 
have ever had one, from which they drew, as from their 


proper source, these special gifts and excellences in 
which they surpassed in the glorious periods of their 
history. In the absence of other reasons, this would be 
sufBcient of itself to explain the great mystery we are 
treating, as God alone could serve as the finished 
exemplar and perfect model for all tribes and nations. 
His presence among men, His marvellous doctrine. His 
life of holiness. His tribulations without number, His 
passion, full of opprobrium and ignominy, and His cruel 
death, which perfects and crowns all, are the only things 
can explain the prodigious height and sublime level 
reached by human virtues. In the societies lying on the 
other side of the cross, there were heroes, in the great 
Catholic society, saints ; and the pagan heroes are to the 
saints of Catholicity, of course in the proper proportion, 
and with the necessary reservations, what the various 
personifications of nations are to the absolute personifi- 
cation of humanity, in the person of a God, Made Man, 
through love of men. Between those various personifi- 
cations and this absolute one there is an immense, 
between the heroes and the saints an immeasurable, 
distance ; nothing more natural than when the first was 
infinite, the second should be immeasurable. 

The heroes were men who, through the aid of a carnal 
passion excited to its utmost, did extraordinary things. 
The saints are men who, subduing all carnal passions, 
courageously stem, unaided by any carnal asssistance, 
the tide of all sorrows. The heroes, exciting to 
feverish ebullition their own powers, attacked all who 
opposed them. The saints always began by distrusting 
their own powers, and, unaided by, and deprived of, all 


help from them, entered on the contest at once with 
themselves, and all the powers of earth and hell. The 
heroes proposed to attain high glory and great renown 
among nations. The saints regarded the vain talk of 
human generations as nothing, cared not for renown and 
glory, and leaving aside their own will, as something 
vile, placed themselves and their all in the hands of God, 
regarding it as excellent and glorious to put on the 
livery of His servants. This is what the heroes and 
saints were : the one and the other attained the 
opposite of what they intended ; for the heroes, who 
thought to fill the earth with the glory of their name, 
have fallen into profound oblivion among all peoples, 
whilst the saints, who only fixed their eyes on heaven, 
are honoured and reverenced here below by peoples, 
emperors, pontiffs, and kings. How great is God in His 
works, and how marvellous in His designs 1 Man thinks 
it is himself goes, and it is only God that bears him. 
He thinks he is descending into a valley, and without 
knowing how, he finds himself on a mountain. This one 
thinks he is gaining glory, and he falls into oblivion ; that 
one seeks refuge and rest in oblivion, and he is suddenly 
deafened by the clamour of nations proclaiming his glory. 
The one sacrificed everything to their name, and no one 
is called after them : their name ended with themselves. 
Their names were the first thing the others offered on 
the altar of their sacrifice, so far even as to blot them 
from their own memory. Well, those names they forgot 
and despised, are handed down from father to son, from 
generation to generation, as a glorious relic and a rich 
inheritance : there is no Catholic who is not called 


after a saint. Thus is daily fulfilled that divine expres- 
sion which announced the humiliation of the proud and 
the exaltation of the humble. 

As between God, Made Man, and the rulers of the 
human intelligence there is an infinite, and between the 
heroes and saints an immeasurable, distance, so between 
the Catholic and Gentile multitudes, and those who lead 
and guide them, there is an immense distance, as all 
copies are moulded on their originals. The Divinity, by 
His presence, produces sanctity ; the sanctity of the 
most exalted, in its turn, is the cause, on one hand, of 
the virtue of the less, and on the other, the common 
sense of the least exalted. Hence we observe that 
there is no people which has not common sense, if 
Catholic, nor. Gentile people which has what is called 
common sense, and consists in that sound reason which 
with a simple glance sees everything in its own place. 
This will cause him no surprise who considers that 
Catholicity being the absolute order, the infinite truth 
and the finished perfection, it is only in it and through 
it things are seen in their intimate essence, in their 
proper place, in the importance they have, and in the 
marvellous order in which they are placed. Without 
Catholicity there is no common sense in the least 
exalted, nor virtue in the less, nor sanctity in the most 
exalted ; for common sense, virtue, and sanctity on 
earth suppose a God, Made Man, occupied in teaching 
sanctity to heroic souls, virtue to the firm, and in direcf:- 
ing the reason of the wandering multitudes involved in 
the darkness and shadows of death. 


That Divine Master is the universal ordainerwho acts 
as the centre of all things ; for this reason, no matter 
what side you view Him, nor in what aspect you con- 
sider Him, you always find Him in the centre. Con- 
sidered as God and man at the same time, He is that 
centre-point in which are united the creative essence 
and the created substances. Considered solely as God 
the Son of God is the second person, that is, the centre 
of the three divine Persons. Considered solely as man, 
He is that centre-point in which human nature is con- 
densed with mysterious condensation. Considered as 
Redeemer, He is that central person on whom fall at 
once all the divine graces and rigours. The redemp- 
tion is the grand synthesis in which are united and 
reconciled the divine justice and mercy. Considered 
at once as the Lord of heaven and earth, and as born in 
a stable, and living a hidden life, and suffering death on 
a cross, He is that centre-point in which all theses and 
antitheses, with their perpetual contradiction and infinite 
variety, are united and reconciled in a superior syn- 
thesis. He is the poorest of the poor, and the richest 
of the rich ; the slave and the king, the servant and the 
lord ; He is naked, and clothed with resplendent robes ; 
He obeys man, and commands the heavens ; He has not 
wherewith to satisfy His hunger nor assuage His thirst, 
and He commands the rocks to distil water and the 
loaves to multiply, that the people might live and the 
crowds have plenty. Men insult and the seraphim 
adore Him ; at the same moment obedient and in- 
vested with power, He dies because ordered to die, and 


He commands the veil of the temple to be rent, the 
sepulchres to open, the dead to rise, the good thief to 
follow Him, all nature to be disturbed, and the sun to 
hide his rays. He comes in the middle of time, He 
walks amid His disciples, He is born in the centre-point 
of two great seas and three immense continents. He 
is citizen of a nation which observes the just medium 
between those which are entirely independent and 
thoroughly enslaved ; He calls Himself the Way, and 
every way is a centre ; the Truth, and truth is in the 
middle ; the Life, and life, which is the present, is 
between the past and the future ; He spends His life 
amid applause and insult, and He dies between two 

And hence He was at once a scandal to the Jews and 
a madness to the Gentiles. The one and the other had 
naturally an idea of the divine thesis and the human 
antithesis; they imagined, however, and in this, humanly 
speaking, they were not far astray, that this thesis and 
antithesis were totally irreconcilable and contradictory ; 
human intelligence could not rise to their reconciliation 
by means of a supreme synthesis. The world had ever 
seen rich and poor ; but it could not conceive the union 
in one person of the greatest indigence and opulence. 
But this very thing, which appears absurd to reason, is 
not so when the person in whom these things are united, 
is divine, who either had not to be or to come,, or had to 
be or to come in that manner. His coming was the 
sign for the universal reconciliation of all things, and 
for universal peace among men ; the poor and the rich, 


the humble and the powerful, the happy and the 
afflicted — all were one in Him, and in Him alone ; 
for only He was at once opulent and indigent, power- 
ful and humble, happy and afflicted. This is that 
pacific fraternity He taught all those who opened 
their understandings and ears to His divine word. 
This is that evangelical fraternity preached with per- 
petual and unwearied preaching by all Catholic doctors, 
one after another. Deny our Lord Jesus Christ, and 
immediately partisanship and partialities, and great 
tumults and proud rebellions, and sinister cries and 
mad discords and implacable rancours, and endless 
wars and bloody battles, begin. The poor raise their 
standard against the rich, the unfortunate against the 
fortunate, aristocracies against kings, the multitudes 
against the aristocracy, and one against the other, the 
disturbed and barbarous multitudes, like two immense 
oceans which meet at the mouth of the abyss. 

True humanity is in no man : it was in the Son of 
God, and it is there is revealed to us the secret of its 
contradictory nature, for on one side it is sublime and 
excellent, and on the other the sum of all indignity and 
baseness. On one side it is so excellent, that God made 
it His own by uniting it with the Word ; and so sublime, 
that it was from the beginning, and before He came, 
promised by God, silently adored by the patriarchs, 
announced from time to time by the prophets, revealed 
to the world even by false oracles, and represented in 
all the sacrifices and figures. An angel announced it to 
a virgin, and the Holy Ghost formed it by His virtue in 


her virginal womb, and God entered into, and united it 
to Himself for ever ; and thus perpetually united to 
God, that sacred humanity was celebrated in its birth 
by the voice of angels, proclaimed by the stars, visited 
by shepherds, and adored by kings ; and when God, 
united to this humanity, desired to be baptized, the 
heavens opened, and the Holy Ghost was seen to 
descend on Him in figure of a dove, and a voice was 
heard on high, which said : — This is my beloved Son in 
whom I am well pleased." And then when He com- 
menced to preach, He wrought such wonders, curing 
the sick, consoling the afflicted, raising the dead to life, 
commanding the winds and the waves, revealing hidden 
and announcing future things, that He caused wonder 
and astonishment to heaven and earth, angels and men. 
Nor did the prodigies cease here, for that humanity was 
to-day seen dead by all, and in three days resuscitated 
and glorious, victor over time and death ; and silently 
cleaving the air, was seen to ascend on high like a divine 

And this same humanity, on one side so glorious, 
was on the other, exemplar of all baseness, predestined 
by God, without itself being culpable, to suffer as a sub- 
stitute the penalty of sin. Hence He, on whose divine 
countenance the angels loved to look, went through the 
world so lowly; hence is so sad and sorrowful He in 
whose eyes the heavens find their delight ; hence is 
naked in this valley He who on the hills of heaven is 
clothed with a garment of stars ; hence walks like a 
sinner, among sinners, He who is the saint of saints : 


here He converses with a blasphemer, there talks with 
an adulteress, or discourses with a miser. To , Judas 
He gives a kiss of peace, and to a robber offers His 
paradise ; and when He converses with sinners. He 
speaks with such love, that tears fill their eyes.' This 
man should be profoundly acquainted with sorrow, when 
He thus pities the miserable, and with suffering, when 
He thus melts for the afflicted. Under the sun there 
.never was man so unblessed with orphanage and want 
of protection. An entire people curse Him ; one of His 
disciples betrays, another denies, and all abandon Him; 
nor has He a drop of water to moisten His lips, nor a 
mouthful of bread to satisfy His hunger, nor a pillow on 
which to rest His head. No agony was ever equal to 
what He suffered in the Garden, when all His pores 
sweated blood ; then His face was stricken with blows, 
His body covered with a purple garment in mockery, 
and His brow crowned with thorns; He bore the weight 
of His cross, and fell to the ground many times, and 
ascended the side of Golgotha, followed by maddened 
crowds, who filled the air with their sinister vocifera- 
' tions ; when He was raised on high, His abandonment 
so increased that His very Father turned His eyes from 
Him, and the angels who obeyed Him, shaded their 
alarmed faces with their wings, that they might not be- 
hold Him ; even the superior part of His soul aban- 
doned His humanity in that terrible moment of death, 
remaining serene and indifferent to all. And the crowds 
shook their heads, and said : If Thou be the Son of 
God, come down from that cross. 


How could they believe, without a special grace of 
God, in the divinity of Him who is nailed to the 
cross in that state ? How not look on His words as a 
scandal and madness ? And yet that man, suffering 
mortal agony without alleviation, subjected the world 
to His law, carrying it as it were by storm, through the 
efforts of some poor fishermen, like Him, abandoned by 
all, and miserable strangers in the land. Through Him 
men changed their course of life, for Him they abandoned 
their property, for His love they took up their cross, and 
left the city, and peopled the deserts, and rejected 
sensual pleasures, and believed in the sanctifying virtue 
of suffering, and led a pure, spiritual life, and chastised 
their flesh without mercy, subjecting it for ever ; and 
besides all this, believed soon after His death stupendous 
and incredible things ; for they believed that He who 
had been crucified was the only Son of God, and God 
Himself ; that He had been conceived in the womb of a 
virgin by the operation of the Holy Ghost ; that He 
who had been born in a stable and wrapjjed in swad- 
dling clothes, was the Lord of heaven and earth ; that 
when He died, He descended to hell, and released the 
pure and upright souls of the ancient patriarchs ; that 
He afterwards resumed His body, and raised it glorious 
from the grave, and bore it through the air, transfigured 
and resplendent ; that the woman, who had borne Him 
in her womb, was at once loving mother and immaculate 
virgin ; that she was carried by angels to heaven, and 
there proclaimed by the angelic choirs and a sovereign 
edict, queen of creation, mother of the afflicted, inter- 


cesser of the just, refuge of sinners, mother of the Son 
and spouse of the Holy Ghost ; that all things visible 
are of less value than the secret and invisible, and only 
worthy to be despised when compared with them ; that 
there is no other good but that which consists in under- 
going labour, accepting sorrow, tolerating afflictions, and 
living in perpetual tribulation ; nor other evil but sin 
and pleasure; that the waters of baptism purify, confes- 
sion cleanses from sin, bread and wine are converted 
into God, and God is within and without us in all direc- 
tions ; that He has counted all the hairs of our 
head, and none grows without His ordination nor 
falls without His permission or command ; that if 
man thinks, it is He puts the thoughts before him ; 
that if his will incline, it is He moves it ; that it is He 
who fortifies him when he is strong, and that he stumbles 
and falls if His aid is removed from him ; that the dead 
shall rise and come to judgment; that there are a 
heaven and a hell, eternal punishment and everlasting 
glory ; that all this was to be believed by the world 
in opposition to all the powers of the world, and this 
marvellous doctrine was to invincibly open a way for 
itself against the will and in spite of the power of princes, 
kings and emperors ; that innumerable crowds of illus- 
trious confessors, eminent doctors, delicate and bashful 
virgins and glorious martyrs were to give their lives for it ; 
and that the madness of Calvary was to be so contagious, 
as to turn the heads of people as far as the sun's rays 
reach and the earth extends. 

All thgse incredible things were believed by men, 


when that grand tragedy of the three hours represented on 
Calvary to the dread of the sun and the shaking of the 
earth in all her members, came to an end. Thus was 
fulfilled the word pronounced by God in Osee : — / will 
draw them with the cords of Adam, with the bands of love 
(chap, xi., ver. 4). Man is of such condition, that he 
rebels against omnipotence and justice and resists 
mercy ; but he is softened and filled with love to the 
very marrow of his bones, if he hear the sad and afflicted 
voice of Him who dies for him, and in dying, proves 
His love for him. Why persecutest thou me .■" This is 
that fearful but loving voice, which continually sounds 
in the ears of sinners ; and that loving and soft accent 
of gentle complaint is what goes straight to the soul, 
and transforms and changes and converts it all to God, 
and obliges it to seek Him in the city and the desert, in 
the rugged mountain and in the plains, by the high 
roads and by-paths. It is that voice which inflames 
the soul with the chaste love of the Spouse, and carries 
it, almost beside itself, in pursuit of His intoxicating per- 
fumes, as thirst brings the stag to the beautiful springs 
of living waters. God came to the world to cast fire on 
the earth, and immediately the earth began to smoke 
and burn in all its four quarters, and the powerful flames 
of those divine conflagrations are daily extended through 
all regions. Love explains the inexplicable, and man 
believes through love what appears incredible, and 
does what appears impossible to do, for love smoothes 
and makes everything possible. 

When those apostles who saw the Lord, before His 


passion, transfigured and clothed in white garments, 
more shining than the sun, and purer than the snow, 
said in ecstasy, Let us remain here, they had not yet 
any idea of divine love, nor its ineffable delights ; hence 
the great apostle, master of the art of love, afterwards 
said : — One thing alone I desire to understand, Jesus 
Christ, and Him crucified ; which was the same as : — I 
want to know all, and to know all, I want only to know 
Jesus Christ ; for in Him are united all knowledge and 
all things ; and then he added : — And Him crucified : 
he did not say, transfigured nor glorious ; for it avails 
little to know Him in His omnipotence, assisting in 
thought at the marvellous work of universal creation, 
nor does it suffice to know Him in His glory when His 
countenance glitters with uncreated light, and the 
powers of heaven are absorbed in admiration before the 
divine throne ; nor is it enough to see Him pronounce 
the unappealable decrees of His justice, surrounded by 
angels and seraphim. Nor is the soul completely satis- 
fied when it witnesses the profound wonders of . His 
infinite mercy. The apostle with an unassuagable 
thirst, unsatisfied hunger, and invincible desire, longs 
and asks for more, and mounts higher in daring thought ; 
for he is only content with knowing Christ crucified, that 
is, as He prefers to be known ; in the highest and most 
excellent manner in which reason can conceive, or 
imagination imagine, or the will desire ; for it is to know 
Him in the act of His incomprehensible and infinite love. 
That is what the apostle wishes to signify, when he says : 
— I only want to know Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 
Him only did those privileged men want to know. 


who took up their cross, and marched on, carefully lay- 
ing down their foot whenever they saw the bloody and 
glorious track of His footsteps, Him only those fathers 
who converted the desert wastes into gardens of para- 
dise, wanted to know. Him only did those chaste vir- 
gins, miracles of fortitude, want to know, who laying 
all concupiscence at His feet, took Him for spouse, and 
consecrated their pure and virginal thoughts to Him, 
Him alone all those want to know who, turning their 
eyes into fountains, have received tribulations with 
heart-felt joy, and have firmly ascended the rugged 
mount of penance. 

Among the wonders of creation, a soul in charity is 
the most marvellously wonderful, not only because its 
state is the highest and most excellent that can be 
imagined on this earth below, but because it proclaims 
with loud voice, the prodigies wrought by divine love, 
which was capable not only of blotting out our sin, and 
thereby disorder and the cause of all disorder, but also 
of inchning us to voluntarily desire the deification we 
formerly rejected, and rendering us capable of attaining 
what we desired, by accepting the assistance of the grace 
we merited in the Lord and through the Lord, when He 
shed His blood on Calvary to merit it for us, and that 
we might merit it. All these things are signified by 
those memorable words pronounced by Jesus Christ, 
when about expiring : — It is consummated : which was 
equal to saying, I effected with my love what I could 
not with my justice, nor my mercy, nor my wisdom, nor 
my omnipotence ; for I blotted out sin which obscured 
the divine majesty and human beauty, freed humanity 


from its shameful captivity, and restored to man the 
power of being saved, which he had lost through sin. 
Now my spirit can descend to fortify, embellish, and 
deify man, for I have drawn him and united him to me 
with a powerful and loving bond. 

When those memorable words were pronounced by 
the Son of God on expiring on the cross, all things 
became marvellously ordained and perfect in order. 

Every one of the dogmas contained as well in this as 
in the former book, is a law of the moral world ; every 
one of those laws is of itself permanent and perpetual : 
all together compose the code of laws which constitute 
moral order in humanity and the universe ; and united 
to the physical, to which the material are subject, form 
the supreme law of order, which directs and governs all 
things created. 

To such a degree is it necessary that all things be in 
perfect order, that man, though turning everything into 
disorder, cannot conceive disorder; hence every revolu- 
tion, when destroying ancient institutions, rejects them 
as absurd and injurious ; and when substituting others 
of individual invention, says they constitute excellent 
order. This is the signification of the phrase conse- 
crated among revolutionists of all times, when they call 
the perturbation they sanctify, a new order of things. 
Even M. Proudhon, the most daring of all, only defends 
his anarchy in quality of the rational expression of per- 
fect, that is, absolute order. 

From the perpetual necessity of order, flows the per- 
petual necessity of the physical and moral laws which 


constitute it ; for this reason they were all created and 
proclaimed by God alone from the beginning of time. 
When He drew the world from nothingness, formed 
man from the slime of the earth, made the woman from 
his rib, and constituted the first family, God established 
once for ever the physical and moral laws which consti-- 
tute order in humanity and the universe, withdrawing 
them from the jurisdiction of man, and placing them 
beyond the reach of his mad speculations and vain 
caprices. Even the dogmas of the incarnation of the 
Son of God, and of the redemption of the human race, 
were revealed by God in paradise, when He made that 
merciful promise to our first parents, with which He 
tempered the rigour of His justice. 

In vain has the world denied those laws: aspiring 
to emancipate itself from their yoke by denying them, 
it has done nothing but increase its burden by mean; 
of catastrophes ever proportioned to the negations, 
this law of proportion being one of the constitutives of 

God left a free and wide field to human opinions ; 
broad were the dominions He left to the empire of the 
free will of man, to whom was given authority over sea 
and land, the right of rebelling against his Creator, 
making war on heaven, entering into treaties and 
alliances with the infernal spirits, deafening the world 
with the noise of battle, burning cities with conflagra- 
tions and discords, astounding them with the tremendous 
shocks of revolutions, closing his understanding to the 
truth, and his eyes to the light, and opening them 


to error and darkness with delight ; of founding and 
raising empires, estabHshing and destroying republics, 
and of tiring of republics, empires and monarchies ; of 
rejecting what he before desired, returning to what he 
abandoned, of affirming everything, even the absurd : 
of denying everything, even evidence ; of saying there is 
no God, and I am God; of proclaiming his independence 
of all powers, and of adoring the sun which gives him 
light, the tyrant who oppresses him, the reptile that 
creeps on the ground, the hurricane which roars, the 
lightning which flashes, the rumbling thunder, and the 
passing cloud. 

All this and much more was given to man; but 
notwithstanding his possession of all this, the stars 
perpetually pursue their course, in regulated rotation, 
and the seasons succeed each other in harmonious circle, 
without ever overtaking or becoming confounded one 
with the other, and the earth is clothed with grass and 
trees and bending harvests, as it ever was from the day 
it received from on high the virtue of fructifying ; and 
all things physical fulfil to-day as they did yesterday 
and shall to-morrow, the divine commands, moving in 
perpetual peace and harmony, without infringing in the 
slightest the laws of their powerful Maker, who with 
sovereign hand, regulates their steps, restrains their 
impetuosity, or gives them loose rein. 

All that and much more was given to man ; but not- 
withstanding he could not prevent punishment following 
on the heels of his sin, chastisement on his crime, death 
on his first transgression, damnation on his obstinacy. 


justice on his liberty, mercy on his repentance, separa- 
tion on his scandals, and catastrophes on his rebellions. 
To man it has been given to bring society lacerated 
by discords to his feet, to level the strongest walls, sack 
opulent cities, destroy extensive and renowned empires, 
bury in fearful ruin the highest civilizations, enveloping 
their splendours in the dense cloud of barbarism ; what 
has not been given him is, to suspend for one day, for a 
single hour, for one sole instant, the infallible fulfilment 
of the fundamental laws of the physical and moral world, 
constitutives of order in humanity and the universe : what 
the world has never and shall never see is, that the man 
who flies from order by the door of sin, returns not by 
the door of penalty, that herald of God who bears His 
messages to all. 


Cornell Catholic 
Union Library. 

Printed by M. H. Gill * Son, 30, Upper SacXviUe-st. Dublin,