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Full text of "Sermons of the Rev. Francis A. Baker, priest of the Congregation of St. Paul : with a memoir of his life"

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fO>N, 








SERMONS 



OF THE 



KEY, FRANCIS A, BAIER, 



PRIEST OF THE CONGKEGATION OF ST. PAUL. 



WITH A 



MEMOIE OF HIS LIFE 



BY 

KEY. A, F. HEWIT. 






FOUKTH EDITION. 



NEW YORK: 
LAWRENCE KEHOE, 145 NASSAU STREET. 

1867. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865. 
BY A. F. HEWIT, 

In the Clerk s Office of the District Court of the United States for the 
Southern District of New York. 



NOV 1 6 1954 



PREFACE. 



IN offering the Memoir and Sermons of this volume to 
the friends of F. Baker, and to the public, propriety re 
quires of me a few words of explanation. The number 
of those who have been more or less interested in the 
events touched upon in the sketch of his life and labors 
is very great, and composed of many different classes of 
persons in various places, and of more than one religious 
communion. I cannot suppose that all of them will read 
these pages, but it is likely that many will ; and there 
fore a word is due to those who are more particularly 
interested, as well as to the general class of readers. 

I have to ask the indulgence of all my readers for 
having interwoven so much of my own history and my 
own reflections on the topics and events of the period 
included witMn the limits of the narrative. They 
have woven themselves in spontaneously, without 
any intention on my part, and on account of the close 
connexion between myself and the one whose career I 
have been describing ; and I have been unable to unravel 
them from the texture of the narrative without breaking 
its threads. 

I have simply transferred to paper that picture of the 
past, long forgotten amid the occupations of an active 



4 PREFACE. 

life, which came up again, unbidden and with greafc 
vividness, before the eye of memory, during the hours 
while the remains of my "brother and dearest friend lay 
robed in violet, waiting for the last solemn rites of the 
requiem to be fulfilled. If I have succeeded, I cannot 
but think that the picture will have something of the 
same interest for others that it has for myself. Those 
who knew and loved the original, will, I hope, prize it 
for his sake ; and their own recollections will diffuse the 
coloring and animation of life over that which in itself 
is but a pale and indistinct sketch. For their sakes 
chiefly I have prepared it, so far as the mere personal 
motive of perpetuating the memory of a revered and be 
loved individual is concerned. But I have had a higher 
motive as my chief reason for undertaking the task : a 
desire to promote the glory of God, by preserving and 
extending the memory of the graces and virtues with 
which He adorned one of His most faithful children. I 
have wished to place before the world the example of 
one of the most signal conversions to the Catholic faith 
which has taken place in our country, as a lesson to all 

v 

to imitate the pure and disinterested devotion to truth 
and conscience which it presents to them. 

Let me not be misunderstood. I do not present the 
example of his conversion, or that of the great number 
of persons of similar character who have embraced the 
Catholic religion, as a proof sufficient by itself of the 
truth of that religion. I propose it as a specimen of 
many instances in which the power of the Catholic 
religion to draw intelligent minds and upright hearts to 



PREFACE. 5 

itself, and to inspire them with a pure and noble spirit 
of self-sacrifice in the cause of God and humanity, is 
exhibited. This is surely a sufficient motive for examin 
ing carefully the reasons and evidences on which their 
submission to the Church was grounded ; and an incent 
ive to seek for the truth, with an equally sincere inten 
tion to embrace it, at whatever cost or struggle it may 
demand. 

It may appear to the casual reader that I have drawn 
in this narrative an ideal portrait which exaggerates the 
reality. I do not think I have done so ; and I believe 
the most competent judges will attest my strict fidelity 
to the truth of nature. If I have represented my subject 
as a most perfect and beautiful character, the model of a 
man, a Christian, and a priest of God, I have not ex 
ceeded the sober judgment of the most impartial wit 
nesses. A Protestant Episcopal clergyman, of remark 
able honesty and generosity of nature, said of him to a 
Catholic friend: "You have one perfect man among 
your converts. 1 Another, a Catholic clergyman, whose 
coolness of judgment and reticence of praise are remark 
able traits in his character, said, on hearing of his 
decease: "The best priest in New York is dead." I 
have no doubt that more than one would have been 
willing to give their own lives in place of his, if he 
could have been saved by the sacrifice. 

In narrating events connected with F. Baker s varied 
career, I have simply related those things of which I 
have had either personal knowledge, or the evidence fur 
nished by his own correspondence with a very dear 



6 PREFACE. 

friend, aided by the information which that friend has 
furnished me. I have to thank this very kind and 
valued friend, the Rev. Dwight E. Lyman, for the aid 
he has given me in this way, which has increased so 
much the completeness and interest of the Memoir. I 
am also indebted to another, still dearer to the departed, 
for information concerning his early history and family. 

I trust that those readers who are not members of the 
Catholic communion, especially such as have been the 
friends of the subject and the author of this memoir, 
will find nothing here to jar unnecessarily upon their 
sentiments and feelings. Fidelity to the deceased has 
required me not to conceal his conviction of the exclu 
sive truth and authority of the doctrine and communion 
of the holy, Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church. The 
same fidelity would prevent me, if my own principles did 
not do so, from mixing up with religious questions any 
thing savoring of personal arrogance, or directed to the 
vindication of private feelings, and retaliation upon in 
dividuals with whom religious conflicts have brought us 
into collision. I wish those who still retain their friend 
ship for the dead, and whose minds will recur with 
interest to scenes of this narrative, in which they were 
concerned with him, to be assured of that lasting senti 
ment of regard which he carried with him to the grave, 
and which survives in the heart of the writer of these 
lines. 

In the history of F. Baker s missionary career, I have 
endeavored to select from the materials on hand such 
portions of the details of particular missions as would 



PEEFACE. 7 

make the nature of the work in "which he was engaged 
intelligible to all classes of readers, without making the 
narrative too tedious and monotonous. I have wished 
to present all the diverse aspects and all the salient 
points of his missionary life, and to give as varied and 
miscellaneous a collection of specimens from its records 
as possible. From the necessity of the case, only a small 
number of missions could be particularly noticed. Those 
which have been passed by have not been slighted, 
however, as less worthy of notice than the others, but 
omitted from the necessity of selecting those most con-* 
venient for illustration of the theme in hand. The sta 
tistics given, in regard to numbers, etc., in the history of 
our missions, have all been taken from records carefully 
made at the time, and based on an exact enumeration of 
the communions given. I trust this volume will renew 
and keep alive in the minds of those who took part in 
these holy scenes, and who hung on the lips of the 
eloquent preacher of God s word whose life and doctrine 
are contained in it, the memory of the holy lessons of 
teaching and example by which he sought to lead them 
to heaven. 

Of the sermons contained in this volume, seventeen 
have been reprinted from the four volumes of " Sermons 
by the Paulists, 1861-64;" and twelve published from 
MSS. Four of these are mission sermons, selected from 
the complete series, as the most suitable specimens of 
this species of discourse. The others are parochial 
sermons, preached in the parish church of St. Paul the 
Apostle, New York. There still remain a considerable 



8 PKEFACE. 

number of sermons, more or less complete ; but the con 
fused and illegible state in which F. Baker left his MSS. 
has made the task of reading and copying them very 
laborious, and prevented any larger number from being 
prepared for publication at the present time. I leave 
these Sermons, with the Memoir of their author, to find 
their own way to those minds and hearts which are pre 
pared to receive them, and to do the good for which 
they are destined by the providence of God. May we all 
have the grace to imitate that high standard of Christian 
virtue which they set before us, as true disciples of 
Jesus Christ our Lord ! 

A. F. H. 



81. PATTL S CHUECH, Fifty-ninth Street, 
Advent, 1865. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

MEMOIR ......................................... , ........... 18 

SERMON : 



I. The Necessity of Salvation 
II. Mortal Sin 



.4.-A-* JJi.V/J. LCti. f^lll * 1 * f * /~J 

TTT rp, T-, , . , T , > Mission Sermons 

III. The Particular Judgment. 



209 
226 
239 
252 



IV. Heaven J 

Y. The Duty of Growing in Christian Knowledge (First 

Sunday in Advent) 203 

VI. The Mission of St. John the Baptist (Second Sunday in 

Advent) 271 

VII. God s Desire to be Loved (Christmas Day) 282 

VIII. The Failure and Success of the Gospel (Scxagesima) 292 

IX. The Work of Life (Septuagesima) 30 

X. The Church s Admonition to the Individual Soul (Ash- 
Wednesday) 312 

XL The Negligent Christian (Third Sunday in Lent) 320 

XII. The Cross, the Measure of Sin (Passion Sunday) 329 

XIIL Divine Calls and Warnings (Lent) 340 

XIV. The Tomb of Christ, the School of Comfort (Easter Sun 
day) 352 

XV. St. Mary Magdalene at the Sepulchre (Easter Sunday). . 3GO 
XVI. The Preacher, the Organ of the Holy Ghost (Fourth 

Sunday after Easter) 370 

XVH. The Two Wills in Man (Fourth Sunday after Easter) . . . 380 
XVIII. The Intercession of the Blessed Virgin the Highest Power 
of Prayer (Sunday within the Octave of the Ascen 
sion) 391 

XIX. Mysteries in Eeligion (Trinity Sunday) 399 

XX. The Worth of the Soul (Third Sunday after Pentecost). . 408 
XXL The Catholic s Certitude concerning the Way of Salvation 

(Fifth Sunday after Pentecost) 418 

1* 



10 CONTENTS. 

SERMON : 

XXII. The Presence of God (Fifth Sunday after Pentecost) 429 

XXIII. Keeping the Law not Impossible (Ninth Sunday after 

Pentecost) 437 

XXIV. The Spirit of Sacrifice (Feast of St. .Laurence) 447 

XXV. Mary s Destiny a Type of Ours (Assumption) 456 

XXVI. Care for the Dead (Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost) . . . 465 
XXVII. Success the Reward of Merit (Fifteenth Sunday after 

Pentecost) 475 

XXVIII. The Mass the Highest Worship (Twenty-first Sunday 

after Pentecost) 484 

XXIX. The Lessons of Autumn (Last Sunday after Pentecost) . . 493 



MEMOIR. 



MEMOIR. 



FKANCTS A. BAKER was born in Baltimore, March 30,1820. 
The name given him in baptism was Francis Asbury, after 
the Methodist bishop of that name ; but when he became a 
Catholic he changed it to Francis Aloysius, in honor of St. 
Francis dp Sales and St. Aloysius, to both of whom he had 
a special devotion, and both of whom he resembled in many 
striking points of character. 

He was of mixed German and English descent, and combined 
the characteristics of both races in his temperament of mind 
and body. He had also some of the Irish and older American 
blood in his veins. His paternal grandfather, "William Baker, 
emigrated from Germany at an early age to Baltimore, where 
he married a young lady of Irish origin, and became a wealthy 
merchant. His maternal grandfather, the Bev. John Dickens, 
was an Englishman, a Methodist preacher, who resided chiefly 
in Philadelphia. His grandmother was a native of Georgia. 
During the great yellow-fever epidemic in Philadelphia, 
Mr. Dickens remained at his post, and his wife fell a victim 
to the disease, with her eldest daughter. His father was Dr. 
Samuel Baker, of Baltimore, and his mother, Miss Sarah 
Dickens. Dr. Baker was an eminent physician and medical 
lecturer, holding the honorable positions of Professor of 
Materia Medica in the University of Maryland, and Pres 
ident of the Baltimore Medico-Chirurgical Society. There 



14 MEMOIR OF 

was a striking similarity in the character of Dr. Baker and 
his son Francis. The writer of an obituary notice of the 
father, in the Baltimore Athenaeum, tells us that his early 
preceptors admired " the balance of the faculties of his mind," 
and that " his classmates were attached to him for his integ 
rity and affectionate manners." In another passage, the same 
writer would seem to be describing Francis Baker, to those 
who knew him alone, and have never seen the original of 
the sketch. "The style of conversation with which Dr. 
Baker interested his Mends, his patients, or the stranger, 
was marked with an unaffected simplicity. Even when he 
was most fluent and communicative, no one could suspect 
nim of an ambition to shine. He spoke to give utterance 
to pleasing and useful thoughts on science, religion, and 
general topics, as if his chief enjoyment was to diffuse the 
charms of his own tranquillity. In social intercourse, his 
dignity was the natural attitude of his virtue. On the part 
of the trifling it required but little discernment to perceive 
the tacit warning that vulgar familiarity would find nothing 
congenial in him. He never engrossed conversation, and 
seemed always desirous of obtaining information by eliciting 
it from others. Whether he listened or spoke, his coun 
tenance, receiving impressions readily from his mind, was an 
expressive index of the tone of his various emotions and 
thoughts. The conduct of Dr. Baker as a physician, a 
Christian, and a citizen, was a mirror, reflecting the beauti 
ful image of goodness in so distinct a form as to leave none 
to hesitate about the sincerity and purity of his feelings. It 
therefore constantly reminded many of c the wisdom that is 
from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy 
to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without 
partiality, and without hypocrisy. The friendly sympathy 
and anxiety which he evinced in the presence of human 
suffering attached all classes of his patients to him, and he 
was very happy in his benevolent tact at winning the affec- 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 15 

tion of children, even in their sickness." Dr. Baker was a 
member of the Methodist Church, and an intimate friend 
of the celebrated and eloquent preacher Summerfield. He 
was not one, however, of the enthusiastic sort, but sober, 
quiet, and reserved. He never went through any period of 
religious excitement himself, or endeavored to practise on 
the susceptibilities of his children. He said of himself, as 
one of his intimate friends testifies, " that he did not know the 
period when he became religious, so gradually was his life 
regulated by the spiritual truths which enlightened his mind 
from childhood." He had no hostile feelings toward the 
Catholic Church, and was a great admirer and warm friend 
of the Sisters of Charity, many of whom I have heard 
frequently speak of him in terms of the most affectionate 
respect. His benevolence toward the poor was unbounded, 
and he was in fact endeared to all classes of the community, 
without exception, in Baltimore. Francis Baker had a very 
great respect for his father, and was very fond of talking of 
him to me, during the first period of our acquaintance, when 
his early recollections were fresh and recent in his mind. 

Of his mother he had but a faint remembrance, having 
been deprived of her at the age of seven years. It is easy to 
judge of her character, however, from that of her children, 
and of her sister, who was a mother to her orphans from the 
time of her death until her own life was ended among them. 
Mrs. Baker s brother, the Hon. Asbury Dickens, is well 
known as having been for nearly half a century the Secretary 
of the Senate of the United States, which position he held 
until his death, which occurred at an advanced age a few 
years since. 

Dr. Baker had four sons and two daughters. Only one of 
them, Dr. "William George Baker, ever married, and he died 
without children : so that Dr. Samuel Baker left not a single 
grandchild after him to perpetuate his name or family and of 
his children, one daughter only survives. Three of his sons 



16 MEMOIR OF 

x- 

were physicians of great promise, wliicli they did riot live to ful 
fil. Francis was Ms third son, and the one who most resembled 
him in character. Of his boyhood I know little, except that his 
companions at school who grew up to manhood, and preserved 
their acquaintance with him, were extremely attached to him. 
One of them passed an evening and night in our house, as 
the guest of F. Baker, but a few months before his death, 
with great pleasure to both. I have also heard some of the 
good Sisters of Charity speak of having known the little 
Frank Baker as a boy, and mention the fact that he was very 
fond of visiting them. I am sure that his childhood was an 
extremely happy one until the period of his father s death. 
This event took place in October, 1835, when Francis was in 
his sixteenth year, and in the fiftieth year of Dr. Baker s life. 
It was very sudden and unexpected, and .threw a shadow of 
grief and sadness over the future of his children, which was 
deepened by the subsequent untimely decease of the two 
eldest sons, Samuel and William. 

Francis was entered at Princeton College soon after his 
father s death, and graduated there with the class of 1839. 
I am not aware that his college life had any remarkable 
incidents. He was not ambitious of distinguishing himself, 
or inclined to apply himself to very severe study. I believe, 
however, that his standing was respectable, andliis conduct 
regular and exemplary. He was not decidedly religious in 
his early youth. Methodism had no attraction for him, and 
the Calvinistic preaching at Princeton was repugnant to his 
reason and feelings. Whatever religious impressions he had 
in childhood were chiefly those produced by the Catholic 
Church, whose services he was fond of attending ; but these 
were not deep or lasting. The early death of his father, and 
the consequent responsibility and care thrown upon him as the 
male head of the family, first caused him to reflect deeply, and 
to seek for some decided religious rule of his own life and 
conduct, and finally led him to join the Protestant Episcopal 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 17 

communion, and to resolve to prepare liimself for the ministry. 
All the members of his family joined the same communion, 
and were baptized with him, in St. Paul s Church, by 
the rector of the parish, Dr. Wyatt. This event took place 
in 1841, or 42. Soon afterward, Mr. Baker formed an 
acquaintance with a young man, a candidate for orders and an 
inmate of the family of Dr. Whittingham, the Bishop of Mary 
land, which was destined to ripen into a most endearing and 
life-long friendship, and to have a most important influence on 
his subsequent history. This gentleman was Dwight Edwards 
Lyman, a son of the Rev. Dr. Lyman a respectable Presby 
terian minister, of the same age with Francis Baker, and an 
ardent disciple of the school of John Henry Newman. At 
the time of his baptism, Mr. Baker was only acquainted with 
church principles as they were taught by Dr. Wyatt, who 
was an old-fashioned High Churchman. The intercourse 
which he had with Mr. Lyman was the principal occasion 
of introducing him to an acquaintance with the Oxford 
movement, into which he very soon entered with his whole 
mind and heart. In 1842, Mr. Lyman was sent to St. James s 
College, near Hagerstown, where he remained several years, 
receiving orders in the interval. During this time, Mr. Baker 
kept up a frequent and most confidential correspondence with 
him, which is full of liveliness and humor in its earlier 
stages, but becomes more grave and serious as both advanced 
nearer to the time of their ordination. It continued during 
the entire period of their ministry in the Episcopal Church, 
and during the whole subsequent life of Mr. Baker, closing 
with a very playful letter written by the latter, a few days 
before his last illness. In one of these letters, he acknowledges 
his obligations to Mr. Lyman as the principal instrument 
of making him acquainted with Catholic principles, in these 
warm and affectionate words : " I do not know whether 
you are aware of the advantage I derived from you in the 
earlier part of our acquaintance, by reason of your greater 



18 MEMOIB OF 

familiarity with the Catholic system as exhibited in the 
Anglican Church. The influence you exerted was of a kind 
of which I can hardly suppose you to have been conscious ; 
yet I am sure you will be gratified to think it was effectual, 
as I believe, to fix me more firmly in the system for which I 
had long entertained so profound a reverence and affection. 
These are benefits which I cannot forget, and which (if there 
were not other reasons of which I need not speak) must always 
keep a place for you in the heart of your unworthy friend." 

The nature of the later correspondence between these two 
friends, and their mutual influence on each other, will appear 
later in this narrative. There are friendships which are 
formed in heaven, and in looking back upon that which grew 
up between these two young men of congenial spirit, and in 
which I was also a sharer in a subordinate degree, I cannot 
but admire the benignant ways of Divine Providence, by 
which those strands which afterward bound our existence 
together so closely were first interwoven. I had myself met 
Mr. Lyman, some years before this, and felt the charm of his 
glowing and enthusiastic advocacy of principles which were 
just beginning to germinate in my own mind. Soon after 
Mr. Lyman s removal to Hagerstown, I made the acquaint 
ance of Mr. Baker, a circumstance which the latter mentions 
in his next letter to his friend in these words, which I trust I 
may be pardoned for quoting 

" The Bishop s family have a young man staying with them 
(Mr. H.), a convert to the Church, and one, I believe, of great 
promise. He was a Congregationalist minister, and Rev. Mr. 
B. read me a letter from him, dated about a month ago, be 
fore his coming into the Church, the tone of which was far 
more Catholic than that of many (alas !) of those who have 
been partakers of the holy treasures to be found only in 
her bosom. Mr. B. tells me that Church principles are silently 
spreading in the North, among the sects. * In this place, 1 
believe that a spirit has been raised which one would hardly 



REV. FRANCIS- A. BAKER. 19 

imagine oil looking at the surface of things, though that is 
troubled enough." 

This letter was dated April 22, 1843. 

I had just arrived in Baltimore, at the invitation of Dr. 
Whittingharn, the Protestant Episcopal Bishop of Maryland, 
and been received as a candidate for orders in his diocese. 
Mr. Baker, who was also a candidate for orders, lived just 
opposite the Bishop s residence, in Courtlandt street, and was 
pursuing his theological studies in private. I lived in the 
Bishop s house, and I think I met Mr. Baker there on the 
first evening of my arrival. We were nearly of the same age, 
and soon found that our tastes and opinions were very conge 
nial to each other. Of course, I returned his visit very soon, 
and I became at once very intimate with his family. It was 
a charming place and a delightful circle. Francis, as the eld 
est brother, was the head of the house. His aunt, Miss Dick 
ens, fulfilled the office of a mother to her orphaned nephews 
and nieces with winning grace and gentleness. A younger 
brother, Alfred, then about eighteen years of age, was at 
home, pursuing his medical studies. Two sisters completed 
the number of the family, all bound together in the most de 
voted and tender love, all alike in that charm of character 
which is combined from a fervent and genial spirit of reli 
gion, amiability of temper, and a high-toned culture of mind 
and manners, chastened and subdued by trial and sorrow. I 
must not pass by entirely without mention another inmate of 
the family, whose good-humored, joyous countenance was 
always the first to greet me at the door little Caroline, the 
last of the family servants, who was manumitted as soon as 
she arrived at a proper age, always devotedly attached to her 
young master, and afterward one of the most eager and de 
lighted spectators at his ordination as a Catholic priest. 

The house was one of those places where every article of 
furniture and the entire spirit that pervades its arrangement 
speaks eloquently of the past family history, and recalls the 



20 MEMOIR OF 

memory of its departed members and departed scenes of do 
mestic happiness. Dr. Baker had left his children a compe 
tent but moderate fortune, which was managed with the 
utmost prudence by -Francis, who possessed at twenty-one all 
the wisdom of a man of fifty. There was nothing of the 
splendor and luxury of wealth to be seen in the household, 
but a modest simplicity and propriety, a home-like comfort, 
and that perfection of order and arrangement, regulated by a 
pure and exquisite taste, which is far more attractive. Mr. 
Baker s home was always the mirror of his mind. In later 
years, when he lived in his own rectory, although his family 
circle had lost two of its precious links, the same charm per 
vaded every nook and corner of the home of the survivors, 
the young and idolized pastor and his two sisters. His study 
at St. Luke s rectory was the beau ideal of a clergyman s 
sanctuary of study and prayer, after the Church of England 
model ; with something added, which betokened a more re 
cluse and sacerdotal spirit, and a more Catholic type of 
devotion. One might have read in it Mr. Baker s character 
at a glance, and might have divined that the inhabitant of 
that room was a perfect gentleman, a man of the most pure 
intellectual tastes, a pastor completely absorbed in the duties 
of his state, a recluse in his life, and very Catholic in the ten 
dencies and aspirations of his soul. 

Of Mr. Baker s family, only one sister has survived him. 
Alfred Baker died first. Like his brother, he was a model 
of manly beauty, although he did not in the least resemble 
him in form or feature. Francis Baker, as all who ever saw 
him know, was remarkably handsome. Those who only 
knew him after he reached mature age, and remember him 
only as a priest, will associate with his appearance chiefly 
that impress of sacerdotal dignity and mildness, of placid, 
intellectual composure, of purity, nobility, and benignity of 
character, which was engraven or rather sculptured in his 
face and attitude. Dressed in the proper costume, he might 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 21 

have been taken as a living study for a Father of the Church, 
a holy hermit of the desert, or a mediaeval bishop. He was 
cast in an antique and classic mould. There was not a trace 
of the man of modern times or of the man- of the world about 
him. His countenance and manner in late years also bore 
traces of the fatiguing, laborious life which he led, and the 
hard, rough work to which he was devoted. On account of 
these things, and because he was so completely a priest and 
a religious, one could scarcely think of admiring him as a 
man. His portrait was never painted, and the photographs 
of him which were taken were none of them very successful, 
and most of them mere caricatures. An ambrotype in profile 
was taken at Chicago for Mr. Healy the artist, which is ad 
mirable, and from this the only good photographs have been 
taken ; but the adequate image of Father Baker, as he ap 
peared at the altar, or when his face was lit up in preaching 
the Divine word, will live only in the memory of those who 
knew him. At the period of which I speak, he had just at 
tained the maturity of youthful and manly beauty, which 
was heightened in its effect by his perfect dignity and grace 
of manner. His brother Alfred was cast in a slighter mould, 
and had an almost feminine loveliness of aspect 3 figure, and 
character. He was as modest and pure as a young maiden, 
with far more vivacity of feature and manner than his brother, 
and a more vivid and playful temperament. There was noth 
ing, however, effeminate in his character or countenance. 
Pie was full of talent, high-spirited, generous and chivalrous 
in his temper, conscientious and blameless in his religious and 
moral conduct. He graduated at the Catholic College of St. 
Mary s in Baltimore, and was a great favorite of the late 
Archbishop Eccleston and several others of the Catholic cler 
gy. His High Church principles had a strong dash of Catho 
licity in them, and he used often to speak of the " ignominious 
name, Protestant," which is prefixed to the designation of the 
Episcopal Church in this country. He was a devoted admirer 



22 MEMOIR OF 

of Mr. Newman, and followed Mm, like so many others, to 
the verge of the Catholic Church, but drew back, startled and 
perplexed, when he passed over. Two or three years after the 
time I am describing, he began the practice of his profession, 
with brilliant prospects. The family removed to a larger 
and more central residence, for his sake, near St. Paul s 
Church, where Francis was Assistant Minister. All things 
seemed to smile and promise fair, but this beautiful bud had 
a worm in it. A slow and lingering but fatal attack of phthi 
sis seized him, just as Tie was beginning to succeed in his 
professional career. His brother accompanied him to Bermu 
da, but the voyage was rather an additional suffering than a 
benefit, and on the 9th of April, 1852, he died. It was Good 
Friday. He had prayed frequently that he might die on that 
day, and before his departure, he called his brother to him, 
made a general confession, desired him to pronounce over him 
the form of absolution prescribed in the English Prayer-Book, 
and received the communion of the Episcopal Church. These 
acts were sacramentally valueless, but I trust, without pre 
suming to decide positively on a secret matter which God 
alone can judge, that his intention was right before God, and 
his error a mistake of judgment without perversity of will. 
His brother afterward felt deeply solicitous lest he might 
have been himself blamable for keeping him in the Episcopal 
communion, and grieved that he had died out of the visible 
communion of the Catholic Church. Still, as he was conscious 
of his own integrity of purpose, he tranquillized his mind with 
the hope that his brother had died in spiritual communion 
with the true Church and in the charity of God, and endeavored 
to aid him, as far as he was still within the reach of human 
assistance, by having many masses offered for the repose of 
his soul. 

Miss Dickens died a little before Alfred, and Elizabeth 
Baker died some time after her brother became a Catholic, but 
before his ordination. 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 23 

I return now to the period when Mr. Baker and all these 
members of his family were living a retired and happy life 
together in the home on Courtlandt street. I remember this 
time with peculiar pleasure. Mr. Baker, whom I always 
called Frank, as he was usually called by his friends, partly 
from the peculiar affection they felt for him, and also because 
of its appropriateness as an epithet of his character, went 
every day with me once or twice to prayers ; and every day 
we walked together. When the peculiar, tinkling bell of 
old St. Paul s, which will be remembered by many a reader 
of these pages, gave notice of divine service there, we resorted 
in company to that venerable and unique church. It was 
spacious and ecclesiastical, though not regularly beautiful in 
its architecture. A basso-relievo adorned its architrave, and 
a bright gilded cross graced its tall tower. It had a hand 
some altar of white marble, an object of our special pride 
and devotion, with the usual reading-desk and pulpit rising 
behind it. The pulpit was a light and graceful structure, sur 
mounted by a canopy which terminated in a cross, and having 
another cross surrounded by a glory emblazoned on its 
ceiling, just over the preacher s head. The door was in the 
rear of the pulpit, which stood far out from the chancel wall, 
and in the door was a beautiful transparency of the Ecce 
Homo, lighted from the chancel window, which had an Ailan- 
thus behind it, causing a pleasing illusion in the mind of the 
beholder that the dirty brick pavement of the court-yard 
was a pretty rural garden. The chancel was large and 
imposing. An episcopal chair, surmounted by a mitre, 
formed one of its conspicuous ornaments, and two seven, 
branched gilded gas-burners stood on the chancel rail, which 
were lighted at Evening Prayer, or Vespers, as we were wont 
to call it. In this church, the people all knelt with their 
backs to the altar, and facing the great door, whereat a num 
ber of us, being scandalized, determined to face about on all 
occasions and kneel toward the altar, which we did rigidly 



24 MEMOIR OF 

and in the most impressive manner, to the great annoyance 
of the rector, Dr. Wyatt. The tout ensemble of St. Paul s 
Church, especially in the dusk of evening, when the lamps 
were lit, was to a hasty glance quite that of a Catholic 
church. Catholics very frequently came in by mistake, and 
sometimes poor people knelt in the aisles and began saying 
their prayers. Others inquired of the sexton at the door if 
it was a Catholic church, and some persons occupying seats 
near the door, who frequently heard his negative response 
and his direction to the Cathedral, were led in consequence 
to think, that if St. Paul s were not a Catholic church, they 
too had best follow the sexton s direction and go to the 
Cathedral. Besides the prayers on saints days, "Wednesdays, 
and Fridays, at St. Paul s, there was a week-day com 
munion service once a month. Dr. Wyatt and his congrega 
tion were Church people after the type of Bishop Hobart ? 
disposed to sympathize in a great measure with Dr. Pusey 
and the Oxford divines, but in great dread of extravagant 
innovation. The parish was very large, and included among 
its members a considerable portion of the elite of Baltimore 
society. Strange as it may seem, however, outside a certain 
circle of sturdy High Church families, and especially among 
the more worldly class, there was a prevailing sentiment that 
true spiritual religion flourished more in the Methodist than 
in the Episcopal Church. 

Although the mitred chair stood in the chancel, St. Paul s 
was not the bishop s cathedral, and he was not able to take 
in it that position and perform those acts which he felt were 
the proper prerogative of a bishop in the principal church 
of the diocese. The bishops of the Episcopal Church in this 
country are all in the same anomalous position, without cathe 
drals or strictly episcopal churches, in which, according to 
canon law, the see is properly located, having dependent 
parochial churches affiliated to the mother Church. They 
must either be rectors of parochial churches, by election of 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 25 



;he vestry, or simple parishioners of one of their own subor 
dinate presbyters, without the right of performing any official 
act, or even ^sitting in the chancel, except on occasions 
of convention, episcopal visitation, or something of the 
sort. The Bishop of -New York was even for many years an 
assistant minister of Trinity Church. Bishop Whittingham 
was determined to remedy this evil, as far as possible, by 
establishing a parish, where his proper place would be con 
ceded to him voluntarily by the rector and vestry. Accord 
ingly the Mount Calvary congregation was formed, and began 
to worship in an old grain-warehouse. There we had early 
Morning Prayers, and Evening Prayers on every day when 
St. Paul s was closed ; and thither might be seen wending 
their way, rain or shine, the Bishop with a suite of young 
ecclesiastics, gentlemen and ladies of the most respectable 
and cultivated class, and numbers of the more devout people, 
who found a real solace for their souls, amid the trials and 
labors of life, in daily common prayer to God. A little after, 
a more select room was obtained, decorated with a large 
black cross in the end window, and finally a church was 
built. We always met a great many of the Cathedral peo 
ple, in the morning, going to and from Mass, and they were 
quite astonished at our piety. I have since learned that a, 
number of them, observing the two young men who seemed 
to them so different from Protestants in their ways, began 
praying for us, and that a holy priest, F. Chakert, of St. Al- 
phonsus , who died a martyr to his zeal in New Orleans, fre 
quently said Mass for our conversion. 

In our frequent walks, Frank Baker and myself usually, by 
a tacit consent, took the direction of some Catholic church. 
Baltimore surpasses every other large town in the United 
States, except perhaps St. Louis, in the relative number, and 
in the dignified, imposing style of its Catholic churches and 
religious institutions. It is a very picturesque and beautiful 
city in itself, and one of its most striking features is the 
2 



26 MEMOIR OF 

exterior sliow of Catholicity which, it presents, from the con 
spicuous position of the numerous Catholic edifices which are 
distributed through the principal parts of the town ; often 
crowning the summits of some of the high eminences with 
which it abounds, so that they are distinctly visible in all 
directions, and their bells resound loudly for a great distance. 
Some of the Protestant churches also, having our ecclesias 
tical style of architecture, and being even surmounted by the 
cross, fall into the picture as accessories, and add to the 
impression which a stranger taking a cowp-d?(&il of the city 
would receive. The Cathedral, a truly grand building, 
though built in the Moresco style, and suggesting the idea of 
a great mosque in an oriental city, which had been converted 
by some conquering crusader into a Christian temple, with 
its great dome and two towers, each of which is surmounted 
by a gilded cross, queens it majestically over the whole city. 
It has the finest possible situation, on very high ground, with 
a spacious enclosure around it, and a modest, but very appro 
priate archiepiscopal residence in the rear of the sanctuary, 
fronting on Charles street, the principal street of the court 
end of the town, a little below the chaste and graceful mon 
ument of white marble erected to the memory of Washington. 
Near by, the Eedemptorist Church and Convent of St. 
Alphonsus, the Convent of the Christiana Brothers, the large 
and beautiful Convent and garden of the Visitation ISTuns, 
the Sisters Orphan Asylum, and the little chapel and 
religious house of the colored Sisters of Providence, are 
clustered together within a very moderate area of territory. 
Taking the Cathedral as^a point of departure, you have- at 
the distance of about half a mile, in the most densely 
peopled part of the town, St. Mary s Church, and the Sem 
inary of St. Sulpice, with its extensive gardens of many acres 
in extent. More toward the suburbs, there are the Lazarist 
Church of the Immaculate Conception, and the large Sisters 
Hospital of Mount Hope, with its extensive grounds. In an 



REV. FKANCIS A. BAKER. 27 

opposite direction, not far from the Cathedral, is Loyola Col 
lege, to which adjoins the Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius ; 
beyond these, St. John s, and still further, near the borders 
of the town, the quaint and interesting St. James s Church of 
the Eedemptorists, with a German Convent of religious ladies. 
In another direction, St. Yincent de Paul s is seen, with its high 
massive tower, and in the same quarter of the town, the Car 
melites have a convent and chapel, the Eedemptorists another 
large church and convent, called St. Michael s, and there 
is also the large and handsome parish church of St. Patrick, 
with its high altar of green marble. Following the outer 
circle of the city toward the harbor and fort, and returning 
to a point in line with St. Alphonsus , we have the Church 
of the Holy Cross, St. Joseph s, and St. Peter s, the latter of 
which has a congregation composed in great measure of con 
verts. The deep and heavy bell of the Cathedral is repeat 
edly heard sending forth its booming notes at different hours 
of the day, answered by St. Alphonsus and St. Vincent 
de Paul s, while the other bells take up the refrain in the 
distance, and the smaller convent bells throw in from time 
to time, at Angelus, Vespers, or Compline, their silvery, tink 
ling notes. These Catholic sounds are heard at intervals from 
mcrning till night, and the bells of some of the Protestant 
churches join in also, on many days during the week, ringing 
for prayers. The Catholic traditions of Baltimore and 
Maryland, interwoven with their existence from the first/ the 
memory of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, of Archbishops 
Carroll and Eccleston, and of many other distinguished 
Marylanders among the Catholic clergy, and, lastly, the large 
Catholic population, and the wealth, education, and social 
position of a large class of the members of the Church, who 
have always mingled freely in society and intermarried with 
Protestants, especially those of the Episcopal Church all 
these and other causes combine to make the Catholic religion 
conspicuous and powerful in Baltimore, and to keep it ahvays 



28 MEMOIR OF 

confronting the adherents of other religions, whichever way 
they turn. It cannot be ignored or kept out of sight and 
mind. It must be battled with or submitted to. Hence, 
Protestantism in Baltimore, among the ultra-Protestant sects, 
has borne a character of unusually intense and persistent 
hatred to the Catholic Church; and a suppressed spirit of 
violence has pervaded the lower orders, showing itself ordi 
narily by slight insults offered to clergymen and religious, but 
occasionally bursting out in scenes of riot and bloodshed, in 
which not merely the rabble took part, but where gentlemen 
were also engaged, and men in high stations lent their influ 
ence and protection to shield and encourage the lawless 
violators of the peace. 

A number of the Catholic churches here described have 
been built since the year 1842. The general appearance of 
the city, however, and the relative number of Catholic insti 
tutions, was the same. It was a very interesting place to me from 
its novelty, and very well known to my new friend and com 
panion, Frank Baker. We perambulated the town and recon 
noitred all its environs, penetrating into every nook and corner 
where there was the smallest chance of finding something to be 
seen. The Catholic churches underwent a repeated and 
thorough visitation and scrutiny, by turns. An indefinable 
attraction drew us to those sacred places, and made us linger 
and loiter in them without ever growing weary. I know now 
what it wa*s. It was the power of that Sacred Presence which 
once drew the disciples and the multitudes after it, when 
visibly seen, and which now attracts the soul by its invisible 
charm in the Blessed Sacrament. We never went to Mass or 
to any Catholic service, because we were forbidden to do so 
b} r the bishop. We never sought out any Catholic priests, or 
encountered any, except twice by accident. We read no 
Catholic books of controversy or devotion, never knelt to pray 
before the altar, and did not know or suspect where we were 
going. But the influence of grace was acting most power- 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 29 

fully during those moments in which we were hanging about 
the altar, and unconsciously drinking in its sacred influence. 
Our favorite place was the chapel of St. Mary s College, and 
the Calvary behind it, where the clergy of the Sulpitian 
Society are buried. This is the sweetest Catholic shrine I 
have ever visited. The Calvary was not open to visitors, but 
for some reason we were never interfered with, although we 
went very often, and remained by the hour. Perhaps our 
guardian angels knew the future, and led us there unwittingly 
to ourselves. Our Lord foresaw it, if they did not, and was 
thinking of the day when one of the two would be there in 
company with all the clergy of the diocese in a spiritual 
retreat, and the day when the other, in that same chapel, 
would be consecrated to the service of the sanctuary.* 

IVEaiiy of those who participated in that retreat will recall 
the recollection of it, on reading these pages. 

Archbishop Kcnrick, the sage of our American hierarchy 
and one of its saints, that perfect model of a prelate according 
to the ancient type of the purest Catholic times, the pattern 
of ecclesiastical learning, episcopal dignity and vigilance, 
apostolic zeal, sacerdotal gentleness, and Christian humility, 
reminding one of the character ascribed by historians to Pope 
Benedict XI V., sat at the head of his venerable clergy in the 
sanctuary during all the exercises. Of the clergymen present, 
some had been forty years in the priesthood, and one at least 
was ordained by Archbishop Carroll. Some are now bishops, 
or have modestly declined the offered mitre. I was then a 
priest, and was assisting F. Wai worth in giving the retreat,- 
and Mr. Baker was but just received into the Church. He 
came to visit me at the spot where we had passed so many 
pleasant hours in years gone by, and to pay his respects to 
the excellent Sulpitians by whom his brother had been edu- 

* Father Baker was ordained sub-deacon and deacon in that chapel, a few days 
before his ordination to the priesthood in the Cathedral. 



30 MEMOIR OF 

cated, and to tlie other clergymen whose brother and associate 
he aspired to become in due time. Pie was welcomed most 
tenderly by the warm-hearted Sulpitians, and greeted with 
an ardent interest and respect by the clergy and young eccle 
siastics who were gathered in that sacred retreat of science 
and piety. Several of these good clergymen have since 
spoken of that retreat, which so many circumstances 
combined to make unusually pleasant, as among the most 
cherished recollections of their lives. Since I have been be 
trayed into this long digression by the associations connected 
with St. Mary s Chapel, I will venture to add one other little 
incident, of which I have been several times reminded by the 
venerable President of Mount St. Mary s College. 

One afternoon, just at sunset, the preacher concluded his 
discourse by a description of the death of a holy priest, con 
trasting the glory of his successfully accomplished ministry 
with that of the hero in the merely secular and temporal order. 
At the peroration, the parting beams of the sun irradiated a 
tall marble monument over the grave of a well-known 
Sulpitian priest, behind the chancel window, in full view of 
the audience, but unseen by the preacher, and gave an illus 
tration of his words most affecting and impressive to those 
who witnessed it. It was emblematic, also, of that noble life 
which was to be accomplished and brought to such a beautiful 
close, within twelve short years, "By that dear companion and 
friend who was just then on the eve of leaving all to follow 
Christ, and whose generous heart was swelling with the first 
emotions of his divine vocation, long since secretly inspired 
into him while haunting the blessed resting-place of those holy 
priests. But I have anticipated what was yet in the unknown 
and undreamed-of future, when we two ardent and enthusias 
tic youths were yielding our imaginations to the poetic and 
religious charm which was the precursor of more earnest and 
durable convictions. 

St. Mary s was our favorite resort, but we were also ini- 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 31 

pressed in a different way by the austere and monastic aspect 
of St. James s, where the Redemptorist Fathers, then newly 
established, had their convent ; and I remember that we often 
conversed about that order with great curiosity and interest. 
AVe watched intently the building of St. Alphonsus Church, 
and wandered through the- sanctuary and sacristy and gar 
den, and into the shop where the lay-brothers and other arti 
ficers were at work, occasionally, to our great delight, greeted 
by these good brothers, who probably took us for priests, as 
we were then ordained and dressed in long cassocks, with 
their salutation in German, Gelobt sey Jesus Christus. 

Another object of great interest to us was a monument to 
the memory of a former pastor, in St. Patrick s Church, bear 
ing the simple aird touching inscription : 

"To THE GOOD DE MOKANVILLE." 

This unfeigned tribute of affection to the memory of a good 
and holy priest did more in a few moments to efface from 
my mind the effect of the calumnies I had heard from child 
hood against the Catholic clergy, than a volume of contro 
versy could have clone. 

Mr. Baker took me also to visit the monument erected to 
Sister Ambrosia by the City of Baltimore. This lady, the 
daughter of the venerable Mrs. Collins, who died at the age 
of nearly one hundred years, and was one of those who wel 
comed Mr. Baker most warmly into the Catholic Church, 
and the sister of the Very Rev. Mr. Collins, of Cincinnati, 
was universally regarded as a saint, both by Catholics and 
Protestants. She had been very intimate in Dr. Baker s 
family, and attended his two elder sons during their last 
illness. She fell herself a victim to her charity in attending 
the sick in the hospitals, leaving the sweet fragrance of her 
sanctity to linger in the memories of those w^ho knew her. 

We visited also the graves of those brothers of Mr. Baker 
whose death had produced so great a change in his character 



32 MEMOIE OF 

and prospects. They were buried in a Methodist grave-yard, 
adjoining the beautiful Green Mount Cemetery. Francis 
had erected a marble tombstone to their memory, on which 
was carved a cross, and the Catholic inscription, Requiescant 
in pace. When I returned to Baltimore, after my ordination 
to the Catholic priesthood, I revisited the spot, but found the 
cross and prayer had been removed. When I had the oppor 
tunity of asking Mr. Baker for an explanation of this, he in 
formed me that he had removed them of his own accord, 
because he thought it an indelicate intrusion on the religious 
sentiments and feelings of those to whom the burial-place 
belonged, to leave there a Catholic inscription. 

Meanwhile we were studying and reading regularly. 
Bishop Whittingham had a very fine and extensive library, 
and was constantly supplied with the choicest books and 
periodicals of the Anglo-Catholic party. The remarkable 
movement led by Dr. Pusey and Mr. Newman was at its 
height. In this country we were somewhat behindhand, and 
were following at some distance in the wake of the most 
advanced English leaders, so that the later developments 
rather took us by surprise. We were reading Mr. Newman s 
earlier works, and only partly aware of the great change 
taking place in himself and others. The accusation of 
Romanizing was treated as a calumny, and we had no thought 
of any thing except bringing our own Church up to what we 
thought to be the Catholic level, and endeavoring to estab 
lish an intercommunion between it and the Roman and 
Greek Churches through mutual consultation and concession, 
and a return to the supposed state of things " before the sep 
aration of East and West." At least this is true of us in 
Maryland, whatever might have been the case with a small 
number elsewhere. Probably the effort to make the Protes 
tant Episcopal Church take the attitude of being Catholic 
was never made more earnestly and with better hope of suc 
cess than in Maryland. The bishop headed the movement, 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 33 

and, besides the clergymen already in his diocese w ho were 
ready to second him, he attracted thither a number of young 
men who were devoted to his person and who sympathized 
in his views. I have no wish to speak disrespectfully or 
unkindly of Dr. Whittingham. lie has always been a most 
violent opponent of the Catholic Church, and he has seen fit, 
like some others of the clergy of his peculiar stripe, to break 
off all intercourse with those who have left his communion 
to join it. I do not, however, attribute to him any personal 
animosity as the motive for this, but merely a mistaken reli 
gious zeal. He was always very kind and generous to his 
young clergymen, strict and self-denying in his life, and 
laborious in the fulfilment of his official duties. His vigorous 

O 

administration infused a new energy and activity into the 
Episcopal Church in his diocese, and gave a powerful impetus 
to what was called the " Catholic " movement. A periodical 
entitled The True Catholic, Reformed, Protestant, and 
Free, was established, under the care of Hugh Davey Evans, 
a learned lawyer and very able theological disputant. A 
college, conducted by young men trained at the celebrated 
St. Paul s College, Flushing, by Dr. Muhlenberg, was 
founded at a beautiful and extensive old country-seat, known 
as " Fountain Eock," near Hagerstown, and a school, called 
" St. Timothy s Hall," near Baltimore. The bishop and a 
large number of his clergy went about dressed in long cas 
socks ; altars, crosses, frequent services, ecclesiastical forms 
and observances, and other outward signs and accompani 
ments of an approximation to Catholic doctrines and rites, 
were to be seen everywhere. The Protestant Episcopal 
Church was loudly proclaimed to be the Catholic Church of 
the country, and, in a word, the theory taught in the Oxford 
Tracts and in the earlier writings of Mr. Newman was 
sought to be put in actual practice. An unusual number of 
the clergy were unmarried men, and the project of founding 
a monastic order was entertained by several. Those were 
2* 



MEMOIR OF 

stirring times. Of course opposition was excited in the 
bosom of the Episcopal Church. The Low Churchmen 
formed a strong and active minority in the Convention, and 
did their utmost to thwart the projects of the bishop. Yery 
spicy debates took place in consequence, and as there were 
very able and distinguished men among the lay delegates, 
who brought all their legal skill and forensic eloquence into 
play, the sessions of the Convention were often intensely 
interesting and exciting. The pulpit, the newspapers, and 
controversial pamphlets were employed in the warfare by 
both sides, and the community generally, outside of the 
Episcopal Church, were quite alive with interest in the ques 
tions discussed. 

We had a little society called the " Church Heading So 
ciety," of which Mr. Evans was president, and Mr. Baker and 
myself were members, where certain prayers for Catholic 
unity were offered, and papers bearing on the topics which 
interested us were read by the members in turn. The dif 
ferent seasons of the ecclesiastical year were very strictly 
observed, especially Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Holy 
Week. The English press was at that time pouring forth a 
stream of book s of devotion and sacred poetry, sermons and 
spiritual instructions, borrowed or imitated from the treasures 
of Catholic sacred literature. There was a tide setting 

o 

strongly backward toward the faith and practice of ancient 
times, and we surrendered ourselves to its influence, without 
thinking where it would eventually land us. We had no 
thought of ever leaving the communion to which we be 
longed. Never, in any of our conversations, did we even speak 
of such a thing as possible, or call in question the legitimate 
claim of the authority, under which we were living, to our 
obedience. We did not sympathize with the bishop and the 
larger number of the clergymen of our theological party in 
their sentiment of hostility and antipathy to the Koman 
communion. The common ground taken was that the 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 35 

Roman Catholic bishops in England and the United States 
are schism atical intruders upon the lawful jurisdiction of the 
English and Anglo-American bishops of the Protestant 
succession. Bishop Whittingham maintained the stronger 
ground that the Roman Church throughout the world is 
schismatical and all but formally heretical. He retained the 
old spirit of vehement dislike and opposition to the See of 
Rome and every thing in the doctrine and policy of the 
church connected with the Papal supremacy, which charac 
terized the old divines of the Church of England. He had 
in his mind an ideal of the primitive Church, according to 
which he wished and hoped that a Reformed Catholic Church 
should be reconstructed by the common consent of all the 
bishops of the world, and which should absorb into itself all 
the Christian sects. This idea is necessarily common to all 
who profess to hold Catholic principles in the Anglican com 
munion. The profession of the doctrine of unity in one, visi 
ble, Catholic Church, of itself qualifies the isolation of any 
body of Christians from the great Christian family, as an 
anomalous and irregular condition. A return to unity or 
union of some kind must necessarily become an object of 
desire and effort. So long as one maintains that the An 
glican Church is essentially Catholic, he must maintain also 
that the Roman Church is in some way wrong in refusing to 
recognize it, and that the Greek Church is likewise wrong in 
refusing to do so. Hence he must look on some concessions 
to be made by both Churches as the necessary condition of 
the reunion of Christendom. So far, all who profess to be 
"Anglo-Catholics" must agree. But when the question be 
comes, how much concession must be made to the Anglican 
communion, or how much concession must be made by her , 
how far the Greek Church, the Roman Church, or the An 
glican Church have erred ; and upon what basis of doctrine 
and ecclesiastical polity they are to be reformed or restored 
to union, the agreement is ended. Each individual attributes 



36 MEMOIR OF 

as much or as little, error and corruption to other Churches, 
or his own Church, as suits his own notions. Each one, or 
each separate clique, has a peculiar ideal of the true Catholic 
Church. One may regard the Anglican Church as almost 
perfect, and wish to bring all Christendom to imitate it. 
Another finds his beau ideal in the Greek Church. Another 
regards his own Church as very defective, and the Roman 
Church as the most perfect, desiring that the Holy See should 
only abate just enough of its claims to let in Greeks without 
any acknowledgment of their schismatic contumacy, and An 
glicans without giving up that they are in heresy and desti 
tute of any legitimate episcopacy. 

It is impossible to draw any exact line of demarcation be 
tween tLe adherents of these different views. At the same 
time, we may say that, in a general sense, one class held the 
Anglican Church as paramount in its claim of allegiance, and 
the Church Catholic as subordinate ; while the other held 
the Church Catholic to be paramount, and the Anglican 
Church subordinate. With the first class, Catholic principles 
and doctrines were taken hold of as a means of strengthening 
and exalting the Protestant Episcopal Church as such, and 
giving her a victory over the rest of Christendom ; with the 
other class, they were embraced in a spirit of deep sympathy 
with universal Christendom, and with the view of bringing 
back the Protestant world to the great Christian family. 

The first class alone can be relied on as devoted adherents 
of Anglicanism, and they only hold a strong polemical position 
against the claim of the Roman See to unconditional submis- 

o 

sion. The other class have their minds and their hearts open 
to all Catholic influences. They advance continually nearer 
and nearer in belief and sympathy to the great Catholic 
body, and great numbers of them pass over to the Catholic 
communion. Hence we find that almost all the bishops and 
dignitaries who have joined in the Oxford movement have 
belonged decidedly to the first class, and have always tried to 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 37 

/ 

hold the second class in check. The few who have belonged 

o 

to the second class, such as Bishop Ives and the Archdeacons 
Manning and Wilberforce, have eventually found allegiance 
to the Anglican Church incompatible with the paramount 
claims of the Church Catholic, and have openly renounced it. 
But while it is evident that the position of decided and 
determined hostility to Rome is absolutely necessary, as Mr. 
Xewman long ago remarked, to High Church Anglicanism, 
it is equally evident that it is the most narrow, inconsistent, 
and inconsequent position taken by any class of Protestants. It 
cuts them off from all real sympathy and community of feel 
ing with the great Catholic body ; and although there may 
be a pretence of sympathy with the Oriental Church, it is a 
mere pretence, and a most illogical and baseless one. It cuts 
them off equally from all the rest of Protestant Christendom. 
Yet, it is only the Catholic and Greek Churches which offer 
a solid and substantial basis for those doctrinal and hierarchi 
cal principles which make their only distinctive character ; 
and it is only the Protestant portion of their Church, and its 
close intellectual, social, political, moral, and religious alli 
ance with the other Protestant Churches, which gives them 
any standing, influence, or power in the world. A man of 
liberal, enlarged, and Christian temper of mind, cannot live in 
such narrow limits or breathe such a confined air. He must 
have communion with something greater than the Protestant 
Episcopal Church. If he regards the great Catholic Church 
as essentially corrupt, he must sympathize with the Protest 
ant Reformation. If the ground which, as I shall presently 
show, the High Church bishops maintain, is correct, then the 
continental Protestants were bound to come out when they 
did and form new churches. Where were they to get bishops ? 
How were they to preserve the continuity of organization 
and the apostolic succession ? The Church of England did 
not admonish them of the necessity of doing so. She did not 
proffer them episcopal ordination. But she made common 



38 MEMOIR OF 

cause with them, and supported them in their revolt, invited 
them over to England, and gave them places in the English 
Church, sent delegates to their great Calvinistic Synod of 
Dort, and in other ways lent them sanction and countenance, 
without breathing a hint that she was a whit better than 
they. Arguments from Scripture and ancient authors in favor 
of three orders and a liturgy may be very solid and conclu 
sive, but they are also very petty and miserable when they 
are made the basis of arrogant claims by those whose very 
existence sprang from the assumption that the universal epis 
copate had betrayed its trust and apostatized from the true 
doctrine of Christ. The learned William Palmer has seen 
the necessity of justifying the attitude of the continental 
Protestant Churches, and therefore concedes to them, on the 
plea of necessity, valid ordination and a legitimate constitu 
tion. An Anglican, who is a thorough and consistent oppo 
nent of Rome, ought to take common ground with Protest 
ants. One who turns his back on Protestantism, and abjures 
the Reformation, ought to make common cause with Home 
and the Catholic Church, even though he as yet holds the 
opinion that his communion is a true and living branch of 
the Church of Christ. 

It may seem strange to those who have never studied or 
sympathized in the Oxford movement, that men who adopted 
certain fundamental Catholic principles did not at once em 
brace the faith and submit to the authority of the Catholic 
Church, but remained a long time in. the Episcopal com 
munion, or even deliberately chose it, after having passed 
their early life in some other Protestant sect. This seems 
strange to those who have always been Catholics, and equally 
strange to the majority of Protestants. So much so, that we 
have been suspected, and by many fully believed to have 
been all along concealed Roman Catholics, working in the 
Episcopal Church for the purpose of " Romanizing r it. A 
few days before I was received into the Catholic Church, a 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 89 

near and venerable relative of mine said to me : " I am very 
glad you have become a Catholic, for I can respect a sincere 
Roman Catholic, but I cannot respect a Puseyite ; you will 
now sail under your true colors. When will II. B. (a cousin 
of mine, who is an Episcopalian clergyman) do the same 
thing " 

The truth of the matter is, that we all had imbibed such 
an intense prejudice from our early education against the 
Roman Church, that we were appalled at the thought of join 
ing her communion. When certain Catholic truths began to 
dawn upon our minds, it was indistinctly. To those who 
were bred in the Anglican Church, it was the natural and 
obvious course to remain there as long as their consciences 
would permit. To others, it was natural to look for a K 
ing-place in that communion of which our own particular 
sects were only offshoots, with which educated people of Eng 
lish descent are so familiar through the history and literature 
of our native language, whose services many of us had 
frequently attended from childhood, and where many of us 
likewise had relatives and friends. It is a small matter to go 
from one Protestant sect to another, in itself considered, and 
it is no wonder that any orthodox Protestant should prefer 
the Episcopal Church to any of the religious bodies which 
have seceded from it. Besides this, there was a via media 
offered to us by a great body of divines in the Episcopal 
Church, between Home on the one hand and Protestantism 
on the other, which appeared to be exactly the thing we 
wanted. I acknowledge that I was too easily allured by this 
specious pretence, and failed to examine with due care the 
claims of the Church in communion with the See of Rome to 
be the true and only Church of Christ. I do not think Mr. 
Baker, notwithstanding that his prejudices were far less than 
mine, ever gave the subject serious and careful consideration, 
until long after he had become an Episcopalian minister. We 
knew too little, however, of the subject, to feel any conscien- 



40 MEMOIR OF 

tious obligations in that direction. I can truly say that I 
never for one moment deliberated on the question of becom 
ing a Catholic, even when I had the fear of death before my 
eyes, until after I left Baltimore in the autumn of 1845. I 
never heard from Mr. Baker, up to that time, a word which 
betrayed the existence in his mind of any practical doubt 
about his duty in this respect. The growth of Catholic prin 
ciples in our minds was gradual. By degrees, the mists of 
misrepresentation, prejudice, and ignorance which obscured 
the Catholic Church and her doctrines were dissipated and 
vanished. Our feelings of veneration and love for the great 
Church of Christendom increased. Still, as long as we were 
not convinced that actual communion with the Church of 
Rome and submission to her supremacy was necessary, jure 
divino, to the catholicity of any local Church, we remained 
firm in our allegiance to the ecclesiastical authority of our 
bishop. This is only an instance of what was going on in the 
case of many both in England and the United States. And 
it appears from this statement, that whereas all the disciples 
of the Oxford movement began on essentially the same 
ground, and that, one which implied strong and decisive 
opposition to Rome, one portion of them progressed continu 
ally, and another remained stationary or retrograded, thus 
producing separation and division in the ranks. What I wish 
to show now is, that those who progressed were logically 
compelled to do so by the principles of the movement itself, 
and that those who remained stationary, although they held 
a position which was necessary to the maintenance of 
Anglicanism, were illogical and inconsequent. 

The advocates of the claim of the Church of England to be 
the only legitimate and Catholic Church in England, and of 
the same claim for the Protestant Episcopal Church in the 
United States, were obliged to make out some case against 
the bishops of these two countries who were under the juris 
diction of the Roman See^and who proclaimed themselves 




REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER 41 

* 

to be the only lawful and Catholic bishops, sustained as they 
were in this claim by all the other bishops of Western Chris 
tendom. The possession of the titles and temporalities of the 
ancient sees in England by the Established Church naturally 
suggested the plausible pretext that the Church of England 
of to-day is the legitimate successor of the Church of England 
before the separation under Henry YIII. Hence, other 
bishops, exercising episcopal functions within the dioceses of the 
bishops of the Church of England, are schismatical intruders, 
and their congregations are schismatical. The same princi 
ple was extended to the United States, on the plea that the 
Bishop of London had episcopal jurisdiction over the English 
colonies, and morever that the Protestant Episcopal bishops 
were first on the ground, and had acquired possesssion before 
the " Romish " bishops, as they chose to call them, came. 
Now this theory is forced to answer one question : Are the 
bishops of France, Spain, &c., the legitimate Catholic bishops 
of those countries, and is their communion the true and only 
Catholic Church there, or not ? Is this question answered in 
the affirmative? Then, who are the Catholic bishops in 
Canada, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Texas, and California ? 

Who went first to China and India? Are the Anglican 

~ 

bishops in these places schismatical intruders or not ? If not, 
why not ? And if not, why are Roman Catholic bishops 
schismatical intruders in London and New- York? The 
Protestant Episcopal Churches of England and the United 
States pay no attention whatever to any claim of jurisdiction 
by the Catholic Church in any part of the world, but seek 
to thrust themselves in and make converts wherever they can. 
In order to justify this attitude, and at the same time to pro 
fess Catholic principles, it is necessary to maintain that the 
entire Roman communion is schismatical and heretical, and 
the Protestant Episcopal Church is the true and only Catholic 
Church, at least in Western Christendom. This idea is the 
real animus of the Protestant Episcopate, and its highest ex- 



42 MEMOIR OF 

prossion is found in the opinion so common among Protest 
ants, and held even by Mr. Newman some years after he 
commenced the Oxford Tracts, that the Pope is Antichrist. 
The charges of the English bishops, especially those delivered 
after the publication of the Oxford Tract No. 90, all breathe 
this spirit. Bishop Elliott, of Georgia, in a sermon preached 
at the consecration of the missionary bishops, Boone and 
Southgate, in St. Peter s Church, Philadelphia, in 1843 or 
44, spoke of the Catholic missionaries as " dealing out death 
instead of life " to the heathen. Bishop Whittingham held 
this view, and " Tridentine Schismatic J: was one of the 
appellations he gave to the Rev. Dr. White, of Baltimore, in 
a pamphlet which he published against that gentleman. In 
his Annual Address for 1846 he speaks of me and other con 
verts in the following language : " The lapse of several prom 
inent members of our English sister, and of one even in our 
own little band, into the defilements of the Romish communion, 
has but too far justified others in sounding the note of alarm, 
&c.* The language he made use of in one of his addresses 
was such, that Mr. Baker, then one of his presbyters, posi 
tively declined to read it for him in the Convention, his own 
voice being too weak to do so. The Rev. A. C. Coxe, now a 
bishop, published a poem on the occasion of the ordination of 
the present Bishop of Newark to the diaconate, in Rome, 
entitled " Hymn of the Priests, to lament one of their number 
who has been sacrilegiously reordained a deacon, after abjur 
ing the Catholio communion, at Rome. In contrast with 
this is the following, which was copied into the True Catholic 
for December, 1843.f 

CONVERSION OF A POPISH PRIEST TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 

AT CHICESTER. 

THE CATHEDEAL, Sunday, October 15. 

In residence, the Lord Bishop, the very Rev. the Dean, the Ven. Arch 
deacon Webber, and the Bev. Charles Webber, can. res. We have to 

* Journal of Convention of Maryland, 1846, p. 25. f P. 383. 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 43 

record this week one of the most interesting ceremonies ever performed 
within the walls of this sacred edifice, namely, the public admission of a 
clerical convert from the Church of Rome, into the bosom of the Holy 
Catholic Church in this country. The morning prayers were chanted 
by the Rev. J. P. Roberts, Sub-dean. The Te Deum and Jubilate was Boyce 
in A. At-the ending of the Litany, the Bishop and the Dean proceeded 
to the altar, while the choir performed TVeldon s Sanctus ; after which 
(the penitent, Mr. Vignati, an Italian gentleman, who has been for two 
years a priest in the Romish Communion, standing without the rails) the 
bishop addressed the congregation in the following words : 

" Dearly beloved, we are here met together for the reconciling of a 
penitent (lately of the Church of Rome) to the Established Church of 
England, as to a true and sound part of CHEIST S Holy Catholic Church. 
!N"ow, that this weighty affair may have its due effect, let us, in the first 
place, humbly and devoutly pray to Almighty God for his blessing upon 
us in that pious and charitable office we are going about. 

"Prevent us, Lord, in all our doings with Thy most gracious favor, 
and further us with Thy continual help, that in this, and all other our 
works begun, continued, and ended in Thee, we may glorify Thy holy 
name, and finally by Thy mercy obtain everlasting life, through Jesus 
Christ our Lord. Amen. 

" Almighty God, who showest to them that be in error the light of Thy 
truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness, 
grant unto all them that are or shall be admitted into the fellowship of 
Christ s religion, that they may eschew those things that are contrary to 
their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same, 
through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen." 

Then was read a part of the 119th Psalm, from verses 161 to 168, with 
the Gloria Patri. 

After which the dean read the following lesson from Luke xv.: "Then 
drew near unto him the publicans and sinners for to hear Him ; and the 
Pharisess and Scribes murmured, saying, this man receiveth sinners, and 
eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What 
man of you having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not 
leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which was 
lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it he layeth it on his 
shoulders rejoicing ; and when he cometh home he calleth together his 
friends and his neighbors, saying unto them, rejoice with me, for I have 
found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you that likewise joy shall be in 
heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine 
just persons who need no repentance." 

After this the nine first verses of the 115th Psalm was sung by the 



44 MEMOIR OF 

i 

choir. Then the bishop, sitting in his chair, spake to the penitent (who 
was kneeling) as follows : 

Dear brother, I have good hope that you have well weighed and con 
sidered with yourself the great work you are come about before this 
time : but inasmuch as with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, 
and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation ; that you may 
give the more honor to God, and that this present congregation of Christ 
here assembled may also understand your mind and will in these things, 
and that this your declaration may the more confirm you in your good 
resolutions, you shall answer plainly to those questions, which we, in the 
name of God, and of His Church, shall propose to you touching the 
same. 

Art thou thoroughly persuaded that those books of the Old and New 
Testament, which are received as Canonical Scriptures by this Church, 
contain sufficiently all doctrine requisite and necessary to eternal salva 
tion through faith in Jesus Christ? I am so persuaded. 

Dost thou believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and 
earth ? &c. All this I steadfastly believe. 

Art thou truly sorrowful that thou hast not followed the way prescribed 
in these Scriptures for the direction of the faith and practice of a true 
disciple of Christ Jesus ? I am heartily sorry, and I hope for mercy 
through Christ Jesus. 

Dost thou embrace the truth of the Gospel in the love of it, and stead 
fastly resolve to live godly, righteosuly, and soberly in this present world, 
all the days of thy life ? I do so embrace it, and do so resolve, God being 
my helper. 

Dost thou earnestly desire to be received into the communion of this 
Church, as into a sound part of Christ s Holy Catholic Church ? This I 
earnestly desire. 

Dost thou renounce all the errors and superstitions of the present Ro 
mish Church, so far as they are come to thy knowledge ? I do, from my 
heart, renounce them all. 

Dost thou, in particular, renounce the twelve last Articles added in the 
Confession, commonly called " The Creed of Pope Pius IV.," after having 
read them, and duly considered them ? I do, upon mature deliberation, 
reject them all, as grounded upon no warrant of Scripture, but rather 
repugnant to the Word of God. 

"Wilt thou conform thyself to the Liturgy of the Church of England, as 
by law established, and be diligent in attending the prayers and other 
offices of the Church ? I will do so by the help of God. 

TLen the bishop standing, said : " Almighty God, who hath given you a 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 45 

sense of your errors, and a will to do these things, grant also unto you 
the strength and power to perform the same, that He may accomplish His 
work, which lie hath begun in you, through Jesus Christ. Amen." 

THE ABSOLUTION. Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, who, of His 
great mercy, hath promised forgiveness of sins to all them that with 
hearty repentance and true faith turn unto Htm, have mercy upon you, 
pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in 
all goodness, and bring you to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our 
Lord. Amen. 

Then the bishop, taking him by the hand, said : U I, Ashurst Turner, 
Bishop of Chichester, do, upon this thy solemn profession and earnest re 
quest, receive thee into the Holy Communion of the Church of England, 
in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen." 

Then was said the Lord s Prayer, all kneeling, after which as follows : 
God of truth and love, we bless and magnify Thy holy name for Thy 
great mercy and goodness in bringing this Thy servant into the com 
munion of this Church ; give him, we beseech Thee, stability and perse 
verance in that faith, of which he hath, in the presence of God and of this 
congregation, witnessed a good confession. Suffer him not to be moved 
from it by any tempations of Satan, enticements of the world, scoffs of 
irreligious men, or the revilings of those still in error ; but guard him by 
Thy grace against all these snares, and make him instrumental in turning 
others from the errors of their ways, to the saving of their souls from 
death, and the covering a multitude of sins. And in Thy good time, O 
Lord, briDg, we pray Thee, into the way of truth all such as have erred 
and are deceived ; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to Thy flock, 
that there may be one flock under one Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, 
to Whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, 
world without end. Amen. 

Then the bishop addressed the person admitted, saying : " Dear bro 
ther, seeing that you have, by the goodness of God, proceeded thus far, I 
must put you in mind that you take care to go on in that good way into 
which you are entered; and for your establishment and furtherance 
therein, that if you have not been confirmed, you endeavor to be so the 
next opportunity, and receive the Holy Sacrament of the Lord s Supper. 
And may God s Holy Spirit ever be with you. Amen. The peace of 
God, which passeth all understanding, keep your heart and mind bj 
Christ Jesus. Amen." 

Thus ended this most interesting ceremony; after which the commu 
nion service went on, at which the bishop and dean officiated. Weldon s 
Sanctus, B. Brown s Kyrie, and Child s Creed in G. The sermon was 



46 MEMOIR OF 

preached by the dean, from Luke 15th, ch. 4th, 5th, and 6th verses, of 
which we need not say much here, as we hope it will shortly be pub 
lished by Mr. W. H. Mason, by permission of the dean, he having been 
requested so to do. Anthem, "OLord, our Governor." Kent. Church 
Intelligencer. 

The Roman Church is throughout the pages of the True 
Catholic charged with idolatry, and in one passage which I 
had marked, but cannot now find one reason given why Episco 
palians cannot attend Catholic services is, because by so doing 
they participate in idolatry. On the other hand, Protestant 
ministers are never required to make any such abjuration as 
tho one above cited, on being received into the English 
Church. The Church of England formerly gave Archbishop 
Leighton episcopal ordination, he being a Scottish Presby 
terian minister, and the Crown gave him jurisdiction in Scot 
land over the Presbyterian clergy and congregations, without 
requiring any reordination or any new profession of faith. 
So now, a German Lutheran minister alternately with an Eng 
lish Episcopalian, is ordained for the Jerusalem bishopric, with 
authority to receive under his care both English and German 
ministers and congregations. 

!N"ow for the inconsistency. The same reasons which prove 
the Church of Rome to be a schismatical, heretical, and 
apostate Church, prove that the English Church was the same 
before the Reformation, and that the Church of Christ had 
perished in Western Christendom, except as represented by 
the Lollards, Albigenses, Waldenses, and other precursors of 
the Protestants. There was really no true, visible Catholic 
Church existing, from which schismatics and heretics had 
separated, and to which they could return. Hence, the 
modern Episcopal Church derived its authority from no legit 
imate source in the past, and has really started de novo, like 
the Protestant Churches of Europe. - This throws us back upon 
the theory of an invisible Church at once, and breaks up the 
idea of Catholicity. 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 47 

For the same reason, the Oriental Churches must be re 
garded as schismatical and heretical. The Nestorians and 
Eutychians are condemned by the Councils of Ephesus and 
Chalcedon, accepted by our Anglicans. The Greek Church is 
identical in doctrine with the Roman, except so far as the 
Papal supremacy is rejected by them. It disowns and con 
demns the Anglican Church as emphatically as does the 
Roman. Nevertheless, we find a number of the Protestant 
bishops subscribing the following letter to the Patriarch oi 
Constantinople : 

LETTER TO THE GREEK PATRIARCH. 

BINGHAMTO*, N. T., 1st April, 1844. 

To the Editor of the True Catholic : 

DEAR SIR : Having seen in print a copy, surreptitiously obtained, of 
the letter of our bishops, addressed to some of the Patriarchs in the 
East, I have thought it might be well to furnish an authentic copy, for 
permanent preservation in your valuable perodical, especially as it is a 
document of much importance. It is precisely as I myself, together with 
Mr. South gate, presented it, accompanied ~by a Greek translation, to the 
Patriarch of Constantinople, who received it very graciously. 

Yours, very truly, J. J. ROBERTSON. 

To the Venerable and Right Reverend Father in GOD, the Patriarch 
of the Greek Church, resident at Constantinople. 

JANUARY 2, 1S41. 

The Episcopal Church of the United States of America, deriving its 
Episcopal power in regular succession from the holy Apostles, through 
the venerable Church of England, has long contemplated, with great 
spiritual sorrow, the divided and distracted condition of the Catholic 
Church of CHRIST throughout the world. This sad condition of things 
not only aids the cause of infidelity and irreligion, by furnishing evil- 
minded men with plausible arguments, not only encourages heresies and 
schisms in national branches of the Catholic Church, but is also a very 
serious impediment to the diffusion of Gospel truth among those who 
are still in the darkness of heathenism, or are subject to other false re 
ligions, or continue vainly to look for the coming of that Messiah, whose 
advent has already blessed the world. 

The arrogant assumptions of universal supremacy and infallibility, of 



48 MEMOIK OF 

the Papal head of the Latin Church, render the prospect of speedy 
friendly intercourse with him dark and discouraging. The Church in 
the United States of America, therefore, looking to the Triune GOD for 
His blessings upon its efforts for unity in the Body of CHRIST, turns with 
hope to the Patriarch of Constantinople, the spiritual head of the ancient 
and venerable Oriental Church. 

In this Church we have long felt a sincere interest. "We have sympa 
thized with her in the trials and persecution to which she has been sub 
jected ; we have prayed for her deliverance from all evils and mischiefs ; 
and we have thanked her Divine HEAD that He has been pleased, amid 
all her sufferings, to maintain her allegiance to Him. 

In order to attempt the commencement of a friendly and Christian in 
tercourse with the Oriental Church, the Church in the United States 
resolved to send two of its Presbyters, the Eev. J. J. Kobertson, and the 
Rev. Horatio Southgate, to reside at Constantinople. These clergymen 
are directed to make inquiries regarding the existing state of the Church 
under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, and of the 
other Eastern Churches ; to ascertain the relations they bear to each 
other, and the views they maintain in regard to the Apostolic Churches 
of Europe and America; to answer such inquiries as may be made of 
them in regard to the origin, constitution, and condition of the Church 
in the United States ; and to do all in their power to conciliate the 
Christian love and regard of the Oriental Church toward its younger 
sister in the Western world. 

After some preliminary inquiries and study of the language, they will 
present themselves, with this epistle of introduction (by which they are 
cordially recommended to the Christian courtesies and kind offices of 
the bishops and clergy of the Oriental Church), to the Patriarch of Con 
stantinople, inviting him to a friendly correspondence with the heads of 
the Church in the United States, explaining more fully the views and 
objects of the Church, and inquiring whether a mutual recognition of 
each other can be effected, as members of the Catholic Church of Christ, 
on the basis of the Holy Scriptures and the first Councils, including the 
Apostles and Nicene Creeds, in order to a future efficient co-operation 
against Paganism, false religion, and Judaism. 

They will make it clearly understood that their Church has no eccle 
siastical connection with the followers of Luther and Calvin, and takes 
no part in their plans or operations to diffuse the principles of their sects. 
They will propose to the Patriarch such aid as the Church in the United 
States can supply, in the advancement of Christian education, and in the 
promulgation of religious truth, always avoiding the points in which the 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 49 

two Churches still differ, and leaving the producing of a closer mutual 
conformity to the blessing of God, on the friendly correspondence of the 
respective heads of the Churches, or to a future General Council. 

Leaving a further development of these points to the oral communica 
tions of its delegates, and again recommending them to the Christian 
candor and affection of the Patriarch and clergy of the Oriental Church, 
and repeating the hearty desire and prayer of the bishops and clergy of 
the United States for their prosperity, we remain your brethren in 
Christ. 

ALEXANDER VIETS GRISWOLD, of the Eastern Diocese, and Senior of 
the American Church. 

BENJAMIN TREDWELL ONDERDONK, of New York. 

GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE, of New Jersey. 

THOMAS CHURCH BROWNELL, of Connecticut. 

JACKSON KEMPER, of Missouri, &c. 

WILLIAM ROLLINSON WHITTINGHAM, of Maryland. 

HENRY USTICK ONDERDONK, of Pennsylvania. 

At tlie recent visit of a Eussian squadron to New York, the 
Protestant Bishop of New York invited the chaplains of the 
squadron to make use of one of his churches for the service of 
the Greek Church, although the offer was declined. Subse 
quently, a Cossack priest, called Father Agapius, said to have 
letters from the Archbishop of Athens, came to New York as 
a missionary to the Greeks and Russians, and was accommo 
dated with the use of two Episcopal churches. It came out 
subsequently that he was in bad standing in the Russian 
Church, and the members of the Greek Church in New York 
disowned him, when he threw off the mask, and published a 
letter where he avowed doctrines far from orthodox accord 
ing to the standards of the Greek Church. Nevertheless, it 
was ostensibly as a regular priest of that Church that he was 
invited to make use of the Episcopal churches ; as such the 
members of that church received him, and whatever changes 
or omissions he may have made in his public services, they 
were understood to be celebrated according to the Sclavonic 
and Greek Liturgies. Thus, there is no escaping from the 
fact, that High Mass according to the same rite used by 



60 MEMOIR OF 

Oriental Catholics as well as schismatics, was authorized in 
the Episcopal Church in New York, a great number of the 
clergy assisting. 

The English Church bishops, beginning with the old Eng 
lish JSTonjurors, have been always anxious for the recognition 
of the Greek prelates, and have made several attempts to 
gain it. 

Soon after my ordination as deacon in the Episcopal Church, 
I was invited by Bishop Southgate to accompany him to 
Constantinople on a mission of this kind. The plan was to 
have a little ecclesiastical establishment in Constantinople, 
consisting of a bishop and a few priests and deacons. Al 
though the bishop, who had been for some years a travelling 
missionary in the East, was married, he wished his clergy to 
be unmarried men, and selected only such as his associates. 
There was to be a chapel, where all the rites and ceremonies 
permitted by Anglican law were to be celebrated with as 
much pomp as possible. Sermons in the Oriental languages, 
designed to attract the clergy and make a good impression of 
our orthodoxy, were to be preached regularly. A college and 
seminary for the instruction of young Oriental ecclesiastics 
were to be opened, with a strict understanding that they were 
not to be induced to leave their own communion. Extracts 
from the works of the Greek Fathers, and translations from 
Anglican divines, were to be published, with a view to bring 
about mutual understanding and agreement between the dif 
ferent Churches. Every thing was to be done to propitiate 
the Oriental prelates and clergy, and to bring about their 
recognition of our ecclesiastical legitimacy, and intercom 
munion between themselves and us. The Missionary Com 
mittee, who were hostile to this plan, would not confirm my 
appointment, regarding me as having too strong a Catholic 
bias to be trusted. Another young deacon was selected in 
my place, who had been known as a strong Puseyite, but 
who publicly renounced his opinions before he left the coun- 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 61 

try, in a sermon, in which he came out as a strong Evangeli 
cal. The mission was never well supported, but after a 
few years, fell through entirely, and the bishop is now a 
parish rector in New York. During a visit to New York, 
which I made in company with Bishops Whittingham and 
Southgate, at the time I was expecting to accompany the 
latter on his mission, I called on a very distinguished and 
learned presbyter, who was one of the ablest and most influ 
ential leaders of the Oxford movement. He asked me if we 
proposed to endeavor to change the doctrines of the Greek 
Church. I replied, that certainly we did propose to discuss 
several of these doctrines with the Greek prelates, and show 
them that they were not doctrines appertaining to the Catho 
lic faith, but errors and additions made without authority. 
He inquired what these doctrines were. I cannot recollect 
how many I specified, but I am sure that the doctrine 
respecting the cultus of the Blessed Virgin and saints was 
the principal one. He replied that the doctrines I specified 
were established by just as good authority as any others, and 
that it would be impossible for us to convict the Greek 
Church of holding any erroneous doctrine. His arguments 
made a great impression on my mind at the time, and helped 
me forward toward the Catholic Church, although this sen- 

^ ^3 tD 

tleman himself remained always a Protestant. 

The efforts made to cultivate the friendship of the Greek 
Church are very significant. Let it be observed, that the 
bishops who signed the letter to the Patriarch of Constan 
tinople, both distinctly repudiate the Eeformation of Luther 
and Calvin, and consent to waive all questions of difference 
between the Greek and the Protestant Episcopal Churches^ 
until they can be decided by a General Council. This re 
duces the gravamen of the charges against Kome to the only 
point of difference which exists between herself and the 
Greek Church ; that is, to the claim of supremacy of the 
Koman Pontiff. This is, then, the sum and substance of the 



52 MEMOIR OF 

" defilements of the Romish communion" Here lies the whole 
casus belli between the champions of Anglicanism and the 
Catholic Church. There is no hope of reconciliation on 
equal terms with the See of Rome and her vast communion. 
Therefore, a rival claim of Catholicity must be set up, and 
supported by every possible charge that can be made to tell 
against the mighty Church whose J>ishop claims the dignity 
and authority of successor to the Prince of the Apostles. 
Hence the odious names of "Roman Schism," "Romanist," 
"Romish," " Tridentine Schism, "Popery," " Popish," and 
all the other party catch-words of corruption in doctrine, 
bondage, tyranny, idolatry, etc., which are studiously em 
ployed, in order to throw dust in the eyes of the simple and 
unwary. Hence the effort to appropriate the name of Catho 
lic, and to use all the phraseology associated with it, in con 
nection with the Protestant Episcopal communion. Rome 
will not abate one jot or tittle of her divine rights, or of the 
Catholic doctrine of which she is the principal bulwark ; and 
she will not treat the Church of England as a branch of the 
Christian Church. Therefore a rival must be set up against 
her, backed by the power and the prestige of the English 
name, and, if possible, also by those of the mighty Russian 
Empire and the ancient Eastern Church. The Conjurors 
proposed to the Eastern prelates sitting in the Synod of 
Bethlehem, a plan for combining against Rome under an 
ecclesiastical organization whose head should be the Patriarch 
of Jerusalem. It was scornfully rejected, together with all their 
other overtures. No doubt, if the Church of England and 
the Episcopal Church of the United States could make a 
combination with the Greek Church, on the basis of the 
Oriental standards of doctrine, it would be the most formid 
able rival possible to the Catholic Church. But such a union 
is impossible. The Providence of God does not permit 
heresy and schism to assume the attitude of Catholicity, but 
compels them to manifest their true character by disintegra- 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 53 

tion. And here lies another mark of the inconsistency of the 
theory of those who set up this claim of rival Catholicity 
against Rome. The Protestant Episcopal Churches, as 
such, do not sanction and assert in their public and official 
action the claim made for them by a certain portion of their 
members. The utmost that can be said of them is, that they 
affirm and exact episcopal ordination as requisite to a com 
plete conformity to the polity established by the Apostles. 
They do not, however, assert, or require their clergy to be 
lieve, the necessity of apostolic succession to the being of a 
Church. Their standards are so constructed as to afford a 
shelter and a warrant to those who hold this and several 
other Catholic doctrines and principles. These doctrines are 
not, however, officially put forward as a term of communion, 
or a condition for ordination. The official doctrine of a Church 
is limited to that which it exacts by authority and under 
penalty of its teachers to hold and profess. It comes down 
to the lowest level of doctrine which its teachers can hold, 
and still be reputed sound and orthodox clergymen. "Now 
a very low Protestantism is all that even High Church 
bishops can exact from candidates for the priesthood or the 
episcopacy. " Anglo-Catholic : doctrine is nothing but the 
tolerated opinion of a certain party. Therefore, on these 
" Anglo-Catholic : principles, and according to the doctrine 
and decisions of the Greek Church, the Protestant Episcopal 
Church is schisniatical and heretical, because she enforces 
nothing by her authority beyond Protestantism, which is 
heresy according to that standard of doctrine which was uni 
versally acknowledged before the " separation of the East 
and West," and accepted both by Greeks and " Anglo- 
Catholics." According to those principles, then, which would 
condemn the Roman Church of heresy and schism, all Episco 
pal Churches in the world have fallen away from the unity 
of faith established by our Lord, and the Catholic Church 
exists no more. Hence, even an "Anglo-Catholic," if he 



54 MEMOIR OF 

would not be driven into the arms of pure Protestantism, 
and consort with those followers/ of Luther and Calvin who 
are disowned by Bishop Griswold and his associates, are 
forced to make common cause with Home and her Catholic 
communion. 

The progressive portion of those who were engaged in 
the Oxford movement saw and felt all this, and, therefore, in 
a strict consistency with their Catholic principles, and by a 
logical necessity, they advanced in a Homeward direction. 
It has been necessary to make this long explanation in order 
to show how matters stood at the time when Mr. Baker and 
myself were connected with the ecclesiastical movement in 
Baltimore, under Bishop Whittingham. The Oxford move 
ment was then ten years old. The celebrated Ninetieth 

*/ 

Tract, in which Mr. Newsman took the ground that several 
Roman dogmas were permitted by the Thirty-nine Articles, 
and that the Articles were to be explained according to the 
Catholic sense of the general body of the Universal Church, 
had been some time published, and the controversy excited 
by it was nearly completed. Mr. Newman was about resign 
ing St. Mary s, and soon after went into retirement at Little- 
more. A great number of the ablest writers of his party 
had advanced very far beyond the position taken by the 
earlier Oxford Tracts, and by Palmer, Percival, Keble, and 
others, at the outset. In the United States, the ordination of 
the Rev. Arthur Carey had taken place, uncler^ circumstances 
of the most peculiar character, which deserve a passing notice. 
Arthur Carey was a young student of the ]S r ew York Theo 
logical Seminary, barely twenty years of age, of an English 
family, and descended from several bishops of the English 
Church. He was a youth of rare intellectual gifts and ac 
quirements, as well as of the most gentle and lovely charac 
ter. Bishop Whittingham, who had been his preceptor, said 
that he possessed the wisdom of a man of fifty. In some way, 
the suspicions of a number of the principal Low Church rec- 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 55 

tors had been excited in regard to him, and he was subjected to 
a most rigorous examination for orders, in which he mani 
fested his profound theological science and his brilliant parts, 
together with a magnanimity of spirit which won for him a 
wide-spread admiration, especially among all High Church 
Episcopalians. In the course of his examination, he avowed 
the most advanced opinions of the Oxford party, and ex 
pressed his belief in the sound orthodoxy of the decrees of 
the Council of Trent. He was violently attacked by some 
members of the examining committee, and defended by others, 
the majority finally recommending him for ordination. 
Bishop Onderdonk determined to ordain him, and was pro 
ceeding in the ceremony of ordination, when he was inter 
rupted by two doctors of divinity in gowns, who publicly 
protested against the ordination, and then left the church. 
Bishop Whittingham urged him very strongly, after his or 
dination, to come to his diocese, which he declined doing. 
About this time, I read, in manuscript, a beautiful philosophi 
cal essay on Transubstantiation, which he wrote, according to 
the system of Leibniz, proving the futility of all the rational 
arguments urged against it. The circumstances of his ordina 
tion made him suddenly famous. He was assistant minister 
to Dr. Seabury, at the Church of the Annunciation, and 
every Sunday his sermons were reported for the secular 
papers, with minute accounts of his appearance, and all his , 
sayings and doings. This publicity was insufferable to him ; 
and in a letter of his, which I saw, he said that it 
made life a burden to him. His constitution was ex 
tremely delicate, and weakened by close application to 
study. He was a boy in years, and unable to breast the 
moral shock which he had received. He speedily sank into 
a decline, and died at sea, off the Moro of Havana, whither 
he had been sent for the benefit of his health, his body being 
committed to the deep by his fellow-passengers, who were all 
strangers to him, and one of whom read the Burial Service 



56 MEMOIR OF 

over his remains. For a long time afterward, his poor father 
might be seen every day standing on the Battery, and gazing 
wistfully out to sea, with mournful thoughts, longing after 
the son whom he had lost. There is something in the history of 
Arthur Carey assimilating it to that of Richard Hurrell 
Fronde. Each of them, in his sphere, did more than any 
other to arrest the anti-Roman tendency of the Oxford move 
ment, and give it a Homeward direction. In Mr. Carey s 
instance, it was not the mere effect of his own personal avowal 
of holding Roman doctrine, but the protection given him in 
doing so by the bishop of the principal diocese, the direc 
tors of the General Seminary, and a large number of other 
bishops and clergymen, which was significant. It was this 
which led to the persecution of Bishop Onderdonk ; and it was 
believed that a plan was on foot for similar attacks on the 
other bishops who were regarded as Puseyites. 

The reader of these pages can now understand something 
of the nature of those stirring and exciting times in the eccle 
siastical world in which Mr*. Baker began his career, and of 
the events and questions about which we were daily convers 
ing together. Bishop Whittingham approved of the principle 
of interpreting the Articles laid down in the Ninetieth Tract. 
On this principle, I gave my assent to them at my examination 
for orders, and could not otherwise have assented to them with 
a safe conscience. The ordination of Mr. Carey opened the 
way for us to go forward to the full extent of holding all the 
doctrines of the Council of Trent. The current of Oxford 
thought and literature was sweeping us in that direction. We 
had full access to it, and felt its power, although, as I have 
said, we were a good deal behind the movement, and igno 
rant of many things which were taking place in England. Mr. 
Baker was far in advance of me at the time our friendship 
began. He never had that feeling of hostility to the Roman 
Church with which so many were filled. His early education, 
and the knowledge he had of Catholicity and of the Catholic 



KEV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 57 

clergy and laity in Baltimore, preserved him. from that strong 
prejudice which I retained from the impressions of childhood, 
and which he aided me greatly to overcome. Neither of us 
ever looked on the Roman communion as heretical, schismat- 
ical, or essentially corrupt. We adopted, at first, the preva 
lent idea that it was in a schismatical position in England, 
and in those parts of the United States where we supposed 
the Protestant Episcopal Church had prior possession. We 
dropped this notion, however, after a while ; and I rememher 
well that it was a friend of ours, who was then and is now a 
minister of the Episcopal Church, who drove it finally out of 
my head by solid and unanswerable arguments. We could 
not agree with the bishop and his party in their anti-Roman 
sentiments, and disliked the offensive use of the terms 
" Romish r and " Romanist." We regarded the Catholic 
Church as composed of three great branches the Latin, 
Greek, and Anglican unhappily estranged from each other, 
and all more or less to blame for the separation. We did not 
believe in the supremacy of the Pope, in the full Catholic 
sense, as constituting the essential principle of Catholic unity, 
or that communion with the Holy See w T as necessary to the 
very being of a Church. We did, however, come to believe 
by degrees in a certain Primacy, partly divine and partly ec 
clesiastical, as necessary to order, and the means of preserv 
ing intercommunion among all bishops What we regarded 
as errors in Roman doctrine, we looked upon as much less 
fundamental than those Protestant errors which pervaded so 
extensively our own Church ; we considered them much in the 
same light with which Bishop Griswold and his brethren re 
garded the peculiar doctrines of the Greek Church, as matters 
to be tolerated, until all branches of the Church could meet 
in a general council and make a final decision upon all con 
troversies. Considering the divided and anomalous state of 
Christendom, we thought that both the Roman and Anglican 

bishops had an equally legitimate jurisdiction over their con- 
3* 



58 MEMOIR OF 

^* 

gregations, and that we were alike Catholics, and in real com 
munion with the Universal Church of all ages and nations. 
We thought it to be the duty of each one to remain in the 
communion where he had been baptized or ordained, and 
would have dissuaded any Episcopalian from joining the Ro 
man communion, or any Roman Catholic from joining ours. 
I remember, one evening, after hearing an account given with 
great glee by a young man of the perversion of a Catholic, that 
Mr. Baker said, after the person in question had gone, " What 

a miserable story that was which M just related !" In my 

own little parish, there was an Irish servant-girl, whom I mar 
ried to a young Englishman, my parishioner. I had no scruple 
in doing this, not reflecting that I was the occasion of the girl 
committing a sin against her own conscience. But when her 

o 

mistress expressed great hopes of her coming over to our 
Church, and I began to think she might apply to me for con 
firmation, I carefully avoided encouraging the plan, and con 
sidered seriously what I ought to do if any such case should 
arise. Yery strangely and inconsistently, Bishop Whittingham 
used to confirm the occasional perverts that fell in his way, 
although they had received Catholic confirmation. And this in 
creased my difficulty. For I regarded an act of that kind as a 
sacrilege, and could not have been a party to it in any case, 
unless I had thought it right, according to my overstrained 
notions of obedience, to throw the whole responsibility on the 
bishop. As I have often said, we never entertained the thought 
of leaving our own Church. The conversation of those who 
talked doubtfully on this point was always most disagreeable 
to us both, although it was only in one or two instances that we 
fell in with any such persons. 

Toward our own bishop we were strictly obedient. His 
violent antipathy to Rome and strong Anglican party spirit, 
joined with a timid, politic course of action toward the Low 
Church, ultra-Protestant party, prevented our giving him 
full and unreserved confidence. Mr. Baker had seldom the 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 59 

occasion of conversing much with him. I was, however, 
constantly in his family, and very much in his society. I 
confided in him as a man of integrity, a sincere and generous 
friend, and a just and kind superior. But, from the first, 
there was a barrier which I had not expected to full and un 
reserved confidence, and a feeling that there was a secret 
and fundamental difference in our apprehension of the ideas 
which are contained in the forms of Catholic language. I 
have since discovered what this difference was, and I see now 
that he really believed in an invisible, ideal Catholic Church 
only, and in no other outward, visible unity, except that which 
is completed in a single bishop and congregation. This explains 
a remark made at that time by my father, who is thoroughly 
acquainted with the Protestant theology, on one of the bishop s 
essays ; that, except his doctrine of three orders in the ministry, 
he was a pure Congregationalist. !Mr. Newman, also, held 
the same view, until quite a late period in his Anglican 
life, as appears from his Apologia." In Bishop Whitting- 
ham s own eyes, he was himself the equivalent of the whole 
Catholic episcopate. Consequently, what he and his col 
leagues and predecessors in the Anglican Church had decreed 
had full Catholic authority, and was just as final and authori 
tative as if the whole world had taken part in it. Hence 
the assertion of a despotic, exclusive authority of the Angli 
can Church, concentrated in his person, over every one who 
acknowledged his jurisdiction. He would not permit us to 
attend any Catholic services, or read any Catholic books, as 
an ordinary thing. I read the tract of Natalis Alexander 
on the Eucharist, and the Life of St. Francis of Sales, in his 
library, before he made his prohibition. Afterward, he gave 
me himself a volume of Tirinus s Commentary on the Holy 
Scriptures; and these were the only Catholic books I read 
while I was in his family. I was very anxious to read Moh- 
ler s "- Symbolism," but I did not ; nor did I read "Ward s 
" Ideal of a Christian Church ;" because he desired me not 



60 MEMOIR OF 

to do so. I even gave up using approved Anglican books of 
devotion in church, because he expressed his disapprobation 
of using any other book but the " Common Prayer." Mr. 
Baker was equally obedient with myself at that time ; 
although afterward, when he was governed more by com 
mon-sense and a just sentiment of his own rights, he read 
whatever he thought proper. It was Anglican books which 
brought us onward toward the Catholic Church, and the 
attempt to live up to and carry out Anglo-Catholic prin 
ciples. Those who are familiar with the Anglo-Catholic 
movement will understand at once what these principles and 
doctrines were. But for the information of others it may be 
proper to state them distinctly, as they were understood by 
Mr. Baker, and others like him, who approximated more or 
less toward the Catholic Church, whether they eventually 
joined her communion or not : 

1. The visible unity of the Catholic Church. 

2. The final authority of the Church in deciding doctrine, 
and the authority of General Councils. 

3. The necessity of an Apostolic Succession, and the divine 
institution of the episcopate. 

4. Baptismal Regeneration and Sacramental Grace. 

5. The strictly sacerdotal character of the priesthood, in 
cluding the power of consecrating, and of absolution. 

6. The Real Presence in the Eucharist. 

T. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist. 

8. The propriety of praying for the dead. 

9. The merit of voluntary chastity, poverty, and obedience, 
and of penitential works. 

10. The value of ceremonies in religion, and the sanctity 
of holy places and holy things. 

However certain persons may modify and explain certain 
of these doctrines, no one can deny that the general drift of 
the writings of the Oxford or Anglo-Catholic school, together 
with that of the writings of the ancient Fathers and of the 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 61 

earlier English divines which are translated or republished 
by them, was to create and strengthen a belief in these doc 
trines. They were allowed to be tenable without infidelity to 
the Anglican Church, by persons in authority and others, who 
were themselves lower and more Protestant in their opinions. 
Now, I will take for a moment the position of an Anglo- 
Catholic, and, upon the basis of the principles I have just 
enunciated, I will prove that an attitude of hostility to the 
Koman Church is wrong and absurd, and that the only con 
sistent and tenable ground is that now taken by the Union 
ists, represented by the Union Review. 

" The Latin, Greek, and Anglican branches of the Catholic 
Church constitute but One Visible Church, though their 
unity is impaired and in part interrupted by mutual estrange 
ment. As a member of the Anglican Church, I look upon 
the Greek Church as essentially sound and orthodox, and, if 
allowed to do so, would wish to receive the sacraments, or, if 
a clergyman, to officiate as such, in the churches of that Rite, 
if I happened to be in a place where it was established. I 
look upon the Latin Church, whose doctrine is the same with 
that of the Greek Church, with the single exception of the 
Papal Supremacy, in precisely the same light. Whatever I 
may think of the extent of power claimed by the Bishop of 
Rome, I must allow that, in a state of perfect intercommu 
nion between all parts of the Church, the chief place in the 
Catholic hierarchy and the right of presidency in a general 
council belong to him. It is most desirable that the Greek 
and Anglican Churches should be restored again to commu- 

o o 

nion with the Roman Church, and all controversies respect 
ing doctrine be definitely settled. Meanwhile, the spirit of 
charity ought to be cultivated, and all possible means taken 
to remove prejudice and misunderstanding. In the present 
state of confiioion and irregularity, the ancient canons re 
specting one bishop in a city cannot be considered as binding ; 
and therefore Roman, Greek, and Anglican congregations, 



62 MEMOIR OF 

formed under the authority of bishops who are in regular 
communion with their own branch, are equally legitimate 
and Catholic, wherever they may be. The decisions of the 
particular national synods of the Anglican branch have no 
final authority, and are only binding so far as they declare 
the doctrines of the Universal Church. They are to be in 
terpreted in the c Catholic sense, and are strictly obligatory 
only on those who have made a promise to maintain them, 
and upon those only in the sense in which they are imposed 
by authority, under censure. It is the Catholic Church, and 
not the Church of England or the Protestant Episcopal Church 
of the United States, of which I am a member by baptism, 
and therefore I have no duties to either of those ecclesiastical 
organizations, except such as arise out of their relation to the 
great Catholic body, and are compatible with the absolute 
allegiance I owe to its teaching and laws." 

Such I conceive to be a statement of the only view an An-, 
glican can consistently take, unless he plants himself upon 
the common Protestant ground. According to this, it is 
ridiculous for him to abstain from going to Catholic services, 
reading Catholic books, and cultivating the acquaintance of 
Catholic clergymen and lay-people. The pretence of depos 
ing or degrading clergymen, because they pass to the commu 
nion of Home, is an absurd and impotent attempt at retalia 
tion. What sin can there be in going from St. Paul s Church, 
where the Mass is in English, celebrated by a priest of the 
Anglican Rite, under the obedience of the Catholic Bishop 
Whittingham, to the Cathedral, where the Mass is in Latin, 
celebrated by a priest of the Latin Rite, under the obedience 
of the Catholic Archbishop Spalding ? How can there be 
the guilt of apostasy involved in such an act ? How can a 
person "abjure the Catholic Communion" at Rome, by join 
ing that which is confessedly the principal branch of the 
Catholic Church ? 

A person who believes in this theory of branches may say 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER 63 

* 

it is inexpedient and unwise for individuals to leave their 
particular connection, that it perpetuates the estrangement, 
and that it is better to wait for the time when the " English 
Branch " will be reunited bodily to the parent tree. They 
cannot pretend, however, that this is any thing more than a 
matter of private opinion. The only legitimate means they 
have for keeping their adherents from leaving them are argu 
ment and persuasion. It avails nothing to say that if free 
access to Eoman Catholic services and books, and, in general, 
free intercourse with us is permitted, and the charge of schism, 
violation of baptismal or ordination obligations, &c., is aban 
doned, we shall gain over a great number of their members. 
What of that ? Those who adopt a theory are bound to ad 
here to it. If this Anglo-Catholic theory has any thing in i;, 
it ought to be able to sustain the shock of a collision. "We 
have nothing but argument and persuasion on our side. Why 
should their influence be dreaded? If Catholic principles, 
sympathies, and practices gravitate toward Rome, let them 
gravitate ; it is a sign that the centre of gravity is there. 
That the Oxford movement did gravitate toward Eome by 
its original force is a plain fact, proved by the number, the 
character, and the acts of those who have become converts to 
the Catholic Church. "Not that their testimony is a direct 
proof that the Catholic Church is divine and infallible. This 
rests on extrinsic, objective evidence. But it is a direct proof 
that the pretence of the Catholicity of the Anglican commu 
nion cannot furnish full and complete satisfaction to consci 
entious minds that have imbibed Catholic principles. It pro 
fessed to do so ; but it has failed. Those who still cling to 
it cannot deny that the dissemination of their views generally 
produces in those who embrace them, at some period of their 
mental history, a deep misgiving respecting the safety of their 
position. This is not so in the Catholic Church. Catholics, 
who retain a firm faith in the principles of Catholicity, and 
endeavor to obey their consciences, never have a misgiving 



64 MEMOIR OF 

that they are out of the Church, or that there is any other 
Church, which has a better claim to be regarded as the Catho 
lic Church. If human reason has any certitude, if the human 
mind is governed by any fixed laws, if the concurrent judg 
ments and convictions of great numbers of the wisest and best 
men have any value, if there is any such thing as logic, these 
considerations ought to have weight. 

But I am weary of chasing this Protean phantom of 
Anglo-Catholicism through its shifting disguises, and its laby 
rinthine mazes. And I gladly return to the theme of my 
narrative. 

Francis Baker was ordained deacon on the 16th of Febru 
ary, 1845, and in the following August was appointed assist 
ant minister of St. Paul s Church. During the interval he 
was performing occasional duty in assisting the rectors of 
different parishes in Baltimore, under the bishop s direction. 
His first sermon was preached in St. Paul s Church, Baltimore, 
on the Sunday afternoon of his ordination day, which was. 
the Second Sunday of Lent. On the evening of the same day 
he preached at St. Peter s. His text was taken from the 
I. Epist. John, iv. 4 : "And Ms is the motor y that overcometh the 
world, even our faith" It was a beautiful sermon, and per 
fectly Catholic in its doctrine and tone. I regret that it is not 
extant, for I think that if it were, it would be worthy of a 
place among tte sermons published in this volume. In it he 
extolled a life of virginity in glowing language, as the means 
of a closer union with Christ ; and its whole scope was to 
present the lives of those who have renounced the world, as 
models of the highest Christian perfection. I read prayers 
for him that evening, and we walked home afterward 
together. We separated in silence, neither of us expressing 
his thoughts, but both seeming to feel a kind of blank and 
unwilling sense of disappointment, as if dimly conscious that 
our Catholicity was an unreal and imaginary thing. At St. 
Paul s Church his eloquence took the congregation completely 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 65 

by surprise. His quiet, unassuming character had not pre 
pared even his friends to expect that lie would manifest so 
much power as a preacher. From this time his reputation was 
fixed at the highest point, and he always sustained it. There 
were several very excellent preachers in the Maryland 
Diocese, but I believe it was generally admitted that Mr. 
Baker surpassed them all, and the most intellectual and 
cultivated people ever looked upon his sermons as affording 
to their minds and hearts one of the choicest banquets they 
were capable of enjoying. I have never known a young 
clergyman to be more generally and warmly admired and 
loved than Mr. Baker. Nevertheless, applause and popular 
ity did not affect him in the least, and the pure mirror of his . 
soul was never tarnished by vanity and self-complacency. 
Even then, his spontaneous desires and longings seemed to 
forecast the apostolic vocation which was in store for him. 
He had an ardent desire for a religious life, and was especially 
attracted by the character and life of Nicholas Ferrar, and 
by the history of the little religious community which he 
formed at Little-Gidding. In our walks we often conversed 
about the practicability of establishing a religious house 
which would give us the opportunity of working among the 
neglected masses of the people, and looked about for some 
suitable building for this purpose. There was a scheme 
talked of for establishing a monastic and missionary institute 
on the eastern shore of Maryland, and there were eight or 
ten clergymen who would have been eager to join in the 
enterprise if the bishop had been courageous enough to begin 
it. But the fear of Low Churchmen prevailed, and nothing 
was ever done. We very soon found that the work of " Cathol 
icizing" the Episcopal Church in Maryland got on very 
slowly and miserably, through the open opposition of the 
Low Church party, and the dead, inert resistance of the old 
High Church. At an early period of Bishop Whittingham a 
administration, the Rev. Henry Y. D. Johns, rector of 



66 MEMOIR OF 

Christ Church, "bade him open defiance, and preserved that 
attitude until his death, many years afterward. The bishop 
preached and published two remarkably learned and able ser 
mons on the priesthood, one of which was preached at the 
institution of Mr. Johns. At the close of it he exhorted the 
parishioners to receive their new rector as their divinely- 
appointed teacher, and to submit to his instructions with 
docility. The same night, Mr. Johns preached a sermon 
which contained a violent attack on the bishop s doctrine, 
and made a solemn declaration, sanctioned by an appeal to 
Heaven, that he would evermore oppose that doctrine, and 
preach the contrary in his pulpit. This was the signal for 
hostilities, and a sharp controversy arose out of the affair, 
which was renewed from time to time, as occasion offered. 
The bishop made one or two more efforts to bring out his 
Reformed Catholicism in sermons or charges, and then 
desisted, seeming to be more anxious to defend himself against 
the charge of Popery than to attack Protestantism. In 
regard to the outward ceremonial of religion, the efforts 
made to improve it were equally feeble and abortive. There 
was a miserable little church in an obscure street, called St. 
Stephen s, with an altar something like a marble-topped wash- 
stand, and some curtains covered with roughly-executed 
symbols, such as mitres, chalices, keys, etc., where w T e played 
a little at Catholics with so much success that a good old lady 
said it was worse than the Cathedral. The opposition which 
was excited by these innocent and absurd little ecclesiological 
essays were such that the parish was nearly ruined, and the 
rector in great alarm speedily banished all innovations, and 
brought his chancel and his windows back to the old-fashioned 
style. There was a little preaching in the surplice, a little 
display of crosses, and a great deal of Catholic talk in private 
circles, and very little else. The attempt to make the Pro 
testant Episcopal Church in Maryland exhibit herself as the 
Reformed Catholic Church was a most signal failure. The 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. C7 

True Catholic labored faithfully to defend Mr. Newman 
from the charge of Romanizing until he actually joined the 
Catholic Church, and then took to decrying him and other 
converts as much as possible. It then took up Archdeacon 
Manning, II. W. Wilberforce, and Marshall, loading its 
pages with extracts from their writings, until all these 
gentlemen followed Mr. Newman s example. What it did 
afterward, and whether it has survived until the present 
time or not, I do not know. The cassocks were silently and 
gradually dropped. Some of the young clergymen married, 
and took to walking sedately in the old paths, and others left 
the diocese. The few who could not unlearn or forget the 
Catholic principles they had imbibed, retired into themselves 
and kept quiet. And thus matters went back to their old 
condition of a sort of uneasy compromise between High and 
Low Church, on the basis of a common hostility to Rome. 

I remember well the startling effect produced by the news 
of Mr. Newman s conversion. Whatever his modesty may 
induce him to say in disclaimer, he was the leader, the life, 
and the soul, of the Oxford movement : his genius and char 
acter had acquired for him in this country, as well as in Eng 
land, a sway over a multitude of minds such as is seldom 
possessed by any living man. The news of his conversion 
was brought to Baltimore by Bishop Reynolds, of Charles 
ton, wlio had just arrived from Europe. I heard it from 
Bishop Whittingham, one evening, after I had been to 
prayers in St. Paul s. I passed him on the steps and went 
out, and heard him say in a sorrowful tone, " Newman has 
gone." It went to my heart as if I had heard of my father s 
death.. I did not wish to speak with any one on the subject, 
for, although I was not prepared to follow him, yet I could 
not speak harshly or lightly of the decision of a man whose 
wisdom and goodness I venerated so highly, or endure to 
hear the comments of others. _ Mr. Baker and I had no op 
portunity to converse together very much on this matter, or 



68 MEMOIE OF 



indeed on any other. Our separation was at hand, under 
circumstances painful and trying to both. He was confined 
to the chamber of his brother Alfred, who was dangerously 
ill with the varioloid, and, of course, could neither make or 
receive any visits. I was obliged to leave Baltimore a few 
days after, for North Carolina, by the order of my physician. 
I took a hurried farewell of Mr. Baker, at the door of his 
house, with very little expectation, on either side, of ever 
meeting again. He had assisted me very frequently in the 
duties of my little parish in the suburbs, during several 
months of declining health, and after my departure he con 
tinued to visit the congregation and preach for them occa 
sionally. It was during the autumn of 1845 that I left Bal 
timore. At the close of the Holy Week of 1846 I was re 
ceived into the Catholic Church, at Charleston, S. C., and in 
March, 1S47, I was ordained priest by the Eight Bev. Dr. 
Reynolds, the bishop of the diocese. 

Before leaving Edenton, !N". C., where I resided during the 
previous winter, I wrote to Mr. Baker to inform him of my 
intention, and I continued to write to him occasionally, re 
ceiving letters from him in return, for some months after 
ward. The correspondence on his part soon became con 
strained and formal, and at last was stopped at his request. 
For the three years, immediately following my ordination, I 
saw or heard nothing of him. I continued to hope for his 
conversion, and often offered up the Holy Sacrifice for that 
intention. By degrees, however, the thought of him passed 
away from my mind, and I ceased to anticipate that the 
broken thread of our friendship would ever be re-united. I 
supposed that he had become permanently settled at some 
halting-place between Protestantism and the Catholic Church, 
and would live and die contentedly in his chosen position as 
an Episcopalian clergyman, forgetting his earlier and nobler 
aspirations as among the dreams of youth. For the history 
of his mind during this period, I am indebted to the letters 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 69 

which he continued to write to the bosom friend who has 
been already spoken of, and the information which that friend 
has given me personally. I am also indebted to the same source, 
chiefly, for the history of his progress toward Catholicity, 
during the entire period of seven years which elapsed before 
his reception into the Catholic Church. For, although I saw 
him repeatedly during the last three years of this period, he 
was extremely guarded and reserved in his language ; and 
during our common life together, as Catholics, afterward, I 
never asked him for any detailed account the subject hav 
ing, in great measure, lost its interest for us both. 

I have reason to believe that at the time of my conversion 
he had his misgivings, and indeed his first letters to me 
showed a disposition on his part to enter into a free discus 
sion of the matter with me. He soon quieted these misgiv 
ings, however, and determined to throw himself heart and 
soul into the work of realizing Catholicity in his own Church. 
He even underwent a reaction which awoke a feeling of 
hostility to the Eoman Church, and of anger against me, for 
having, as he expressed it, " spoiled their plans." His good 
and (rue friend of past days, who had continually encouraged 
and urged him on from the first to follow boldly in the foot 
steps of those w r ho led the advance of the Oxford movement, 
would not, however, permit him to rest in this state. He 
was determined himself not to shut his eyes to the difficulties 
and perplexities of his position, and he would not allow his 
friend to do it. He never ceased to unbosom freely all his 
own doubts and disquietudes, to communicate the results of 
his continual reading and reflection, and to stimulate his 
friend to push on in the study of Catholic principles and 
doctrines until he had reached a final and satisfactory result. 
Judging from the letters of Mr. Baker which I have before 
rne, I should think that both his misgivings about his own 
position and his bitter feelings toward the Eoman Church 
gave place to a quiet resolution of adhering to the position he 



TO MEMOIR OF 

had taken, before Mr. Newman s conversion and that of 
others of lesser note had startled his repose. For two or 
three years his letters do not indicate a disquieted mind, but 
are often full of hope for the prospects of the Anglican com 
munion. By degrees a change is manifest, and it is easy to 
see the progress of a conviction slowly forcing itself upon 
him that the Episcopal Church is essentially Protestant, and 
all the efforts made to place her in a Catholic light and atti 
tude a mere illusion. The workings of a mind and heart 
struggling with doubt and disquiet, weary of a hollow and 
unreal system, weaned from all worldly hopes, detaching 
itsolf from all earthly ties, and striving after the truth and 
after God, become more and more manifest, until at last, 
after seven long years, the result is reached. I have hesitated 
much before determining to insert a portion of these letters 
in this narrative. Certain motives of delicacy toward my 
departed friend and others would incline me to withhold 
them. But their perusal has seemed to me to exhibit so 
much more clearly than any narrative of mine could do, the 
transparent purity of the heart from which they emanated, 
and the wonderful workings of divine grace upon it, that I 
have judged it best to prefer the profit of those who will 
read this book to private feeling. Some of them, which are 
merely descriptive, I have inserted, because there could be 
no reason for withholding them, and they will give pleasure 
to the friends of the writer, who value every thing which 
came from his pen. In regard to others, which were private 
and confidential, I have used the utmost caution to select 
only those portions which are necessary to a full exhibition 
of the writer s gradual progress to the Catholic Church. 

I will first quote some extracts from the correspondence of 
an earlier period, which show the first blossoms of the later 
ripened fruit of Catholic faith and holiness in the pure and 
upright soul of Francis Baker. 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 71 

FROM FRANCIS A. BAKER TO DWIGI1T E. LYMAST. 

"BALTIMOKE, February 20, 1843. 
" HY DEAR D WIGHT : 

-::- -::- -Jf # -:: - # 

" Of course you have seen the letter c Quare Impedit. 18 
it not very caustic? I cannot but think it defective in the 
non-expression of what the writer doubtless believed, the 
sense in which the Council of Trent s words as to ; immola 
tion are true. It does not sufficiently bring out the true 
and unfigurative sense in which the sacrifice on the altar is 
the same with the sacrifice on the cross. * * * 

" As I go on with my studies, my dear Dwight, I become 
more and more attracted to them, and, I hope, more and 
more of a Catholic. Indeed, I seem to myself to live in a 
different world from that around me, and* to be practical I 
find one of the most difficult attainments. But to be frank 
with you, in looking forward to the future, the situation of 
a parish priest seldom fills my mind. I almost always look 
to the monastic life in some of its modifications. It is true 
that on the score of fitness I have no right to look forward to 
such privileges ; but from some circumstances which you will 
appreciate, my heart has been drawn more entirely from the 
world than most persons of my age. But the future belongs 
to God, and I must now prepare myself for the duties which 
seem pointed out to me. I have not spoken to any one else 
of this long-cherished desire, and, indeed, there are at present 
insurmountable difficulties in the way; but I do not look 
upon it is as so visfonary a scheme as I once did. * * * 
" Your brother told me of his intended repairs in his church. 
I am delighted to hear it. It will not be long, I hope, before 
such is the universal arrangement of our churches. Only 
one thing will be lacking (if he has a cross), the candlesticks. 
I have come to the conclusion that we have a perfect right 
to them, for they will come in by the Church common-law, 



72 MEMOIR OF 

as the surplice did. I do not suppose it would be proper for 
a priest to introduce them without his ordinary s sanction. I 
do wish a charge would come out recommending the Cath 
olic usages. I don t give any weight to the cry of some 
about us, to wait for such things until Catholic doctrines are 
received. I cannot but think that such things would have a 
reflex influence on doctrine. While we are externally so 
identified with the Protestants, it will be hard to convince 
the world that we have any claims to antiquity or Catholi 
city. Pray use your influence to have a solid altar, and as 
large as may be." * * * 

"BALTIMORE, June 9, 1843. 

" It was a great disappointment to me not seeing you 
here at the Convention, and there has been going on here so 
much of interest to you. The Eoinan Council you have 
heard all about, I am sure. I was not present, of course, at 
any of their services or meetings, nor did I see any of their 
processions, but from all I have heard, and from what I have 
seen at other times, I think it must have been a most glo 
rious spectacle. I do not think I am fond of pageantry, but 
it must have been heart-stirring to see the Church coming 
out of the sanctuary which she has in her own bosom, and 
goiog forth to take possession of the world in the name of 
her ascended Lord. Imagine a band of sixteen venerable 
bishops, with surpliced acolyths and vested priests, with 
their lights and cross and crosier, all chanting in murmur 
ing responses some old processional chant ; the effect of 
the whole heightened by the brightness of a May sun re 
flected from many a golden stole and glittering mitre ! I am 
sure the sight would have set you crazy. Indeed, I feared 
myself that it would present an unfortunate contrast with 
our neat, dress-coat clergy. But our own Convention had far 
more of an ecclesiastical appearance this year than it ever 
had before. The daily matins at six o clock, the Litany at 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 73 

nine, and the full Mass service at twelve, all seemed as if we 
were suddenly transplanted into some other age of the 
church, when she understood and realized her heavenly mis 
sion better than in these later days. Every day after the 
reading of the Gospel, all joined in a solemn profession of 
the old Nicene faith ; then the Holy Sacrifice was offered, and 
all were allowed to partake of the Holy Mysteries." * 

"BALTIMORE, June 1), 1845. 

" When the ordination is appointed, if possible, I will let 
you know ; and if you are disposed to treat me better than I 
did you, I should be truly glad to see you here on that oc 
casion. At all events, my dear Dwight, do not forget to 
pray for me. I regret exceedingly that the advantage of 
the regular Ember season will be lost to me, for I feel in 
need of all the assistance which the united prayers of the 
Holy Church might be expected to procure. As soon after 
my ordination as may be, I wish to go to work in such a de 
partment as may be assigned me by the will of God and the 
direction of the bishop. I wish not to choose my way, 
but as far as possible to submit to the direction of others, 
my superiors ; for that I believe to be the very secret of 
ministerial influence. In my case, however, there can hardly 
be any trial of virtue in this course, for with such a bishop 
as God has placed over us, submission is no sacrifice. I have 
deliberately resolved to maintain a single life, and acquainted 
the bishop with my determination. I think he approved of 
my resolution, though he dissuaded me from taking a vow 
to that effect. Although I acquiesced in his advice, yet I 
shall consider myself from the date of my ordination pledged 
to preserve that state, by the grace of God. All this is 
strictly between ourselves, for I abhor to talTs about such 
things. I consider this a matter, in our Church at least, of 
strictly individual choice, and while I have no hesitation my 
self in adopting the course I have mentioned, I should de- 
4 



74 MEMOIR OF 

spise myself and think but poorly of my own motives, if 1 
should ever think less of another for exercising diiferently 
his Christian liberty." 

The foregoing extracts are taken from letters written be 
fore the time of my leaving Baltimore, and of course, there 
fore, before the thought of joining the Catholic Church had 
entered any of our minds. Those which follow were written 
at various times during the period of seven years, between 
1846 and 1853, which was the period of transition in Mr. 
Baker s mind, ending in his conversion. 

"BALTIMOEE, July 9, 1846. 

" Every thing has been remarkably quiet in Baltimore for 
the last month. There seems to be nothing of the excite 
ment that for a while prevailed on the subject of i Roman ten 
dencies and ( perversions. I know not whether the Tew 
Thoughts of Mr. H., which is just published here, and which 
I suppose you have seen, will awaken controversy ; but 
should suppose not, from the occasion and nature of the pub 
lication, it being merely an explanation of his own course, 
and written immediately on the determination to take that 
course. I have heard the pamphlet spoken of as a weak 
production, as c doing Mr. H. no credit. Are we not too apt 
to speak so of the work of an opponent ? Of course the essay 
is not a learned and systematic argument, nor does it profess 
to be so ; but it is (as it appears to me) honest, to the point, 
and well expressed. I speak this of the production : as an ar 
gument, it of course resolves into the great Roman plea of 
Visible Unity. 

" I understand that a Mr. , a presbyter of our Church, 

and alumnus of the General Thelogical Seminary, made his 
public abjuration of Protestantism in St. Mary s Chapel, on 
Sunday last. I suppose you have seen the account of s de 
fection. I was told, a few days ago, that has made up his 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 75 

mind to go ; but as it was a Roman Catholic who told me, 
[ did not know but he might be misled. Do you know any 
thing about it ? I received, a few days ago, a letter from 
H. It was merely a friendly letter, without controversy, de 
scribing his mode of life, written very cheerfully and kindly. 
It will give me pleasure to show it to you when you come to 
Baltimore to see me, to which visit I look forward with 
great pleasure. We will then talk about all these strange 
events and times, and on our thoughts and feelings concern 
ing them. Adieu, adieu, my dear friend. Let us keep close to 
each other ; but first, close to God, and in all things obedient 
to His will. Again adieu, my dear, good friend." 

It is easy for one who knew intimately the writer of this 
letter to see that his heart was sad and disquieted when he 
wrote it, although he does not directly say so ; especially from 
the unusual warmth and tenderness of his expressions of at 
tachment to his friend. About two months after he wrote it, 
the time came for him to pass his examination for priest s 
orders. The circumstances under which his examination took 
place redoubled this disquiet, and caused him to hesitate 
much about receiving ordination. In the course of his ex 
amination, he was asked if he accepted the Thirty-nine Ar 
ticles. It appears that he was not able to accept the reason 
ing of Tract "No. 90, upon which he must have gone at his 
ordination to the diaconate, and accordingly he replied boldly 
that he rejected some of the Articles, and could not in any 
way give his assent to them. I do not know how many of 
them he qualified in this way ; but I know that one of them 
was the thirty-first, as to its second section : " Wherefore, 
the Sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said 
that the priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, 
to have remission of pain and guilt, were blasphemous fables 
and dangerous deceits ;" and I think, that, another was the 
twenty-second : " Of Purgatory," etc. A discussion arose 



76 MEMOIR OF 

among his examiners upon the propriety of passing him. The 
bishop endeavored to waive the whole question, and succeeded 
in presenting his rejection. The rector of St. Peter s, who 
was the chairman of the committee, and whose duty it wa 
to present the candidates, declined, however, to present Mr. 
Baker, though, with a singular inconsistency, he privately 
urged him to be ordained. Mr. Baker almost resolved to 
stop where he was, and regretted afterward that he had not 
done so. He suffered himself, however, to be overruled by 
the authority and persuasion of the bishop, and as Dr. Wyatt 
also excused himself from taking the responsibility of pre 
senting him, he was presented by another presbyter, and 
ordained on the 20th of September, 1846. His health as 
well as his spirits were impaired by these troubles ; and, there 
fore, a short time afterward he made a trip to the North, in 
order to recreate both body and mind, and with the hope of 
.driving away, by change of scene, the unpleasant thoughts 
which haunted him. In this he was in a measure successful. 
He appears to have made a resolute determination to throw 
himself into his ministry, and to put away all doubt from 
his mind. He went in search of all that w T as attractive and 
encouraging in his own communion, and his letter, giving 
an account of his trip, shows that his attachment to it was 
deepened and renewed by the impression made on him by 
the beautiful churches, the tasteful and decorous services, and 
the agreeable, intellectual men of congenial spirit with him 
self, described by him in such a pleasing style. It was after 
this journey that he wrote to me, expressing a firm determin 
ation to adhere to his chosen position, assigning for his chief 
reason the " signs of life " which he saw in the Episcopal 
Church ; and he soon after, as I have said, dropped his cor 
respondence with me, as one separated from him by a barrier 
which was never to be passed over. 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 77 

"BALTIMORE, November 10, 1846. 

"I enjoyed my visit to the North quite as much as your 
or my own expectations promised. I think the jaunt was 
in every way beneficial to me. I spent a week delightfully 
in New York, where a new world, as it were, of churches 
was opened to me, and had a most happy (what I call) heart 
visit to Troy. But you will expect to hear particulars. To 
commence with the commencement, then, what shall 1 say of 
Trinity Church ? In some respects it is far beyond my con 
ceptions. The first impression was really overpowering. It 
was on Saturday morning, and but for a few minutes, and it 
seemed to me that both externally and internally the build 
ing was most majestic and beautiful. I next saw it on Sun 
day morning, to great advantage. It was communion day, 
and fourteen priests in their surplices were in attendance 
(the Convention having adjourned late the night before). The 
church was full, but very orderly the music grave and 
fi ne though I confess to you (pardon my ignorance and 
temerity) it was not exactly as I should have liked. It 
seemed to me to want impressiveness or expression. It was 
neither soothing, nor, to me, very grand. Dr. - - preached. 
I never saw the Holy Communion celebrated and adminis 
tered in any church with so fine effect. The scene, when 
the choir was filled with the worshippers waiting for their 
turn to receive, was truly majestic. On that day I went 
away with a most agreeable impression. After I had been 
there, however, in the week, and especially as I became 
familiar with it, I was very conscious of the great defect and 
coldness of the chancel. The meanness of the altar is pos 
itively too bad ; and the unmeaningness of the heavy altar- 
screen is curious. _ The window is not just to my taste ; but 
I do not think so badly of it as some do. On the whole, I 
think there can be no doubt that the chancel is a failure ; but 
the nave is very fine, and the doorway, the organ-gallery, the 
organ, the tower, and the side-porches most beautiful. On 



78 MEMOIR OF 

the afternoon of the Sunday, I went to Grace Church, list 
ened to the music exquisite of its kind saw the images ! ! ! 
looked at the church, and examined the stained windows. I 
cannot agree with you about this "building. Certainly it has 
some beauties. The external appearance is very fine, and 
the single figure of our Blessed Lord, in the east window, 
beautiful: but I must say that the whole of the interior 
presented to me a look of finery r , and an absence of solem 
nity, most unpleasant in the sanctuary. The windows were 
simply distressing. It will seem very Protestant after this 
to say it, but still it is true, that the church looked very like 
a Roman Catholic Church to me ; perhaps it would be truer to 
say Romish, for it seemed to me in keeping with some things 
we call by this name. I was disappointed in Grace Church ; for 
I went prepared to like it, from your representation, and 
from my confidence in your taste. 

" Next in order of my seeing, but really, perhaps, first of all, 
is the Church of the Holy Communion. This is really a gem. 
I was there at evening prayer on a week-day, and I left with 
a grateful heart that it was granted me to worship there. I 
am not much of an architect, but the building seemed to me 
perfect. I at least had no fault to find with it. The services 
were read at the chancel rail. The canticles were chanted 
with the organ accompaniment. It was at once solemn and 
very beautiful. I said I had no fault to find. Perhaps that 
is too much. I do think there is an absence of warmth in 
the colors of the church, and of a certain grace and bright 
ness about the chancel, which would be entirely obviated by 
substituting, instead of the present altar, a white or colored 
marble one of the same size, adorned with candlesticks and 
covered with a lace cloth. This, however, is to make it a 
perfect church for my eye, and I am not at all sure that I am 
right. 

" I said Troy was the most agreeable place I had visited. 
You will not need to be told what it was which gave it this 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 79 

interest : the Church of the Holy Cross. Oh, how glorious 
that enterprise is ! How perfectly devotional and elevating 
those services ! I was made very, very happy by this visit. 
It seemed unearthly, and it seemed, too, a promise of better 
and holier days, a harbinger of returning glory to our de 
pressed Church. Could you not introduce this service into 
the college. It is worth a very great effort. Nothing else 
can produce such an effect as the choral service. With the 
material you have, I should not think it would be impossible, 
and at nothing short of this ought you to stop. I formed a 
valuable acquaintance with, and had the pleasure of visiting 
all the clergy of the place, who are remarkably united, and 
who received me with Southern warmth and cordiality. I 
was at the Church of the Holy Cross as often as it was possi 
ble for me to be there, you may be sure, and left it at the 
last with real regret. I consider this visit alone fully repaid 

/>,! } 5 At .v. .v. 

me for the journey. 

From this time there is not a trace of disquietude with 
his position to be observed in his correspondence, until 
1849. Under date of February, 1847, he writes to his friend, 
who, as it appears from his own declarations, was the only 
intimate friend he had among his brother clergymen : " I 
still write now and then to H., but there is such a restriction 
on the freedom of thought and expression in speaking to him, 
that I have but very little interest in the correspondence ; 
indeed I think it hardly likely long to continue ; but from 
you there is no need or wish on my part to conceal any thing. 
* I long to leave St. Paul s. I do not say this to 
any one here, for nothing is gained of talking ; but to you I 
say that I am obliged constantly to fall back on the reflection 
that, until some other way is opened, my duty lies here. It is 
not on account of any disagreeables in my position ; but there 
are peculiar dangers and difficulties attending it, and I cannot 
help fearing constantly that my life is too easy and too soft 



SO MEMOIR OP 

to please God. Still I see not which way to move. I think 
I wish to submit myself entirely to the Divine Will. I hope 
it will not seem impertinent, dear D wight, to express a hope 
that this coming Lent may be a season of strict discipline to 
us both. Oh, I need it ! I cannot tell you how the sense of 
responsibility concerning the souls of others sometimes alarms 
me. I can say this to you, without hypocrisy, I trust. I need 
to be purged by penance very, very much, to be drawn away 
from pride and vain-glory, and slothfulness and self-will ; 
these are my besetting sins ; and to be stirred up to diligent 
study, to obedience, to humility , to labor, and to prayer. I 
pray that I may have the grace to fulfil the work which God 
has put in my heart to undertake this Lent, that He would 
draw me away from all things else, entirely to be united to 
Him. It would be a most pleasant thought that we were 
thus entering on this penitential season together." 

The following extract from a letter of June 23, 1848, 

shows the interest which the writer still felt in Mr. New 
man : 

" Is it not encouraging to see the stir that has been raised 
in England about Dr. Hampden s nomination ? The secular 
papers all call the opposition a c Tractarian Movement. If 
they mean by this that none but Tractarians are engaged in 
it, it is palpably false ; but in another sense it is certainly 
true. I see clearly in the whole matter the fruits of 
that movement, the greater earnestness and zeal for ortho 
doxy, as such, so different from what would have been ex 
hibited a quarter of a century ago. And whom are we to 
thank for fixing the brand of heterodoxy upon this man", so 
that he cannot pass off his sophisms upon an unwary Church, 
but the great master to whom we once looked up, to whom 
God gave so clear a vision of the truth and so great a zeal 
to uphold it ? This is the fruit of a seed sown by a hand now 
raised up against us, one of the many gifts by which we keep 



EEV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 81 

him and his great faculties in remembrance, though, alas ! 
i we now see him no more. 

In one of these letters Mr. Baker speaks of his desire to 
leave St. Paul s Church for some other field of labor. Never 
theless, he remained there six years out of the eight years of 
his Protestant ministry. In 1848 he received an invitation 
to the Church of St. James the Less, a very beautiful and 
costly, though small church, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, 
built after the style of the English Benedictine abbey- 
churches, and fitted up after the manner which delights the 
Anglo-Catholic heart. This invitation he declined, at the 
request of his bishop, who was naturally loth to part with 
him. A proposal was then made that he should found a new 
parish ; and this, I suppose, was the plan afterward carried 
out at St. Luke s. This plan was postponed from time to 
time on account of the precarious health of Alfred Baker. 
Meanwhile, he devoted himself most assiduously to his pri 
vate religioas exercises and to his ministerial labors. I have 
never known a young clergyman more universally and 
warmly loved and admired than he was among the people 
of his communion. He improved sedulously his admirable 
gifts for preaching, and in a diocese containing a number of 
excellent preachers, he attained anjl kept the first rank. His 
fastidious taste and sense of propriety led him soon to drop 
the long cassock, and every thing else in outward dress and 
demeanor which had appeared singular in the first years of 
his ministry. He avoided controversy and all peculiarities of 
doctrine in his sermons, and confined himself chiefly to those 
truths of religion and those practical points which would be 
received without question by his hearers. Aside from the 
pastoral intercourse which he had with his people, his life 
was very retired. He had the ideal of the Catholic priest 
hood always in view, and this encompassed his discharge of 
ministerial duties with many practical difficulties. He felt 
this particularly, as he has often said, in his visits to the sick 



82 MEMOIR OF 

* 

and dying, on account of the want of the proper sacraments, 
and the want of a real and recognized sacerdotal relation. 
He could not help feeling always tlrvt while theoretically he 
regarded himself as a Catholic priest, in point of fact he was 
but a Protestant minister, compelled to fall back on a system 
of subjective pietism, based on Lutheran doctrine, to which 
he had an invincible repugnance, and in which his hands 
were tied. 

Meanwhile events were progressing in the English Church 
and producing their reflex action in this country. On the 
one hand, the Oxford movement was still going forward 
under new leaders, and on the other, the Protestant character 
of the Anglican Establishment and its American colony was 
exhibiting itself every day more and more decisively. The 
first great wave that had rolled toward Catholicity had cast up 
those who were foremost on its crest on the Hock of Peter. 
Another wave was rolling forward in the same direction, 
which was destined to bear on its summit still more of 
those who floated on the great sea of doubt and error to 
the same secure refuge. The first converts were given up to 
obloquy, and their influence in every possible way lowered 
or destroyed, by belittling their character, if that was possible, 
or, if not, by inventing specious reasons to show that the 
course they had taken was the result of some personal 
idiosyncrasy, and not the just consequence of their Catholic 
principles. It was stoutly asserted that the movement was 
not responsible for them, and that it did not of itself lead to 
Rome. It began again afresh with new men, new books, 
new projects. Again there was an advanced party, and in due 
time this advanced party began to move Homeward, denying 
as before that it would ever actually arrive at Rome. Never 
theless, many of its members, some of very high character 
and position, did eventually follow the earlier converts over to 
the Catholic Church. Others, especially those who were in 
stations of dignity and authority, began to recoil and retract, 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 83 

and call back their followers to the safer ground of the old 
High Church. In this country there was a sad lack of 
earnestness and reality on the part of the majority of those 
who had yielded themselves to Oxford influences, and these 
influences were but faintly felt by the laity. Mr. Baker was, 
however, deeply and sadly in earnest. lie had schooled him 
self into submission to his soi-disant Church and bishop, and 
resolutely determined to believe that he could think, act, and 
live up to Catholic doctrines and laws where he was. He 
had thrown himself anew into Anglicanism, putting faith in 

its new leaders and the old ones who remained, and confiding 

t? 

in the reality and success of their efforts. Long and wearily 
he struggled to hold out in this course, in spite of the daily 
increasing evidence that it was delusive and hopeless. For long 
years he was tossed backward and forward on the waves of 
doubt and uncertainty, sometimes almost gaining a foothold 
on the Rock, and then dashed again backward into the sea. 

Most persons, whether they are Catholics or Protestants, 
will wonder that Mr. Baker, having approached at first, by 
almost a single bound, so near the very threshold of the 
Catholic Church, should have waited and hesitated so lone; 

" o 

before taking the final step over its border. Those who have 
not felt it can hardly understand the strong spell by which 
the system so ably advocated by the Oxford divines capti 
vated many minds. To those who were deeply imbued 
with certain Catholic prepossessions, and ye*t not emanci 
pated from the old hereditary prejudice against the Roman 
Church, it ofiered a compromise which allowed them to 
cherish their prepossessions and yet remain in the reformed 
Church, where they were at home and among their friends, 
and free to select some and reject other Catholic doctrines 
and usages, according to their own private judgment and 
taste. It pretended to give them " a Catholicity more 
Catholic, and an antiquity more ancient" than those of the 
ancient, universal mother and mistress of churches herself. 



84 MEMOIR OF 

Once seduced by this specious pretence, there was no end to 
the ingenious arguments, wire-drawn distinctions, fine-spun 
theories, and plausible special pleading by which they were 
detained under its influence. The theory has infinite varia 
tions, and a flexibility which accommodates itself to every 
form of doctrine, from the lowest tolerated in the Episcopal 
ministry to the highest advocated in the Union jReview. 
This influence on the mind and conscience is a very injurious 
one, and tends to disable them from reasoning and deciding, 
in a plain and direct manner, on broad and general prin 
ciples. Mr. Baker became aware of this afterward, and 
regretted that he had permitted himself to be swayed so 
much by the authority of others instead of following the 
dictates of his own judgment and conscience. It is im 
possible for me to say whether he was dilatory in following 
the inspirations of divine grace or not. ~No one but God 
can certainly judge how much time is necessary in any 
individual case for the full maturing of the convictions into a 
distinct and undoubting faith. One thing I can assert, how 
ever, with confidence, and I believe that every one who reads 
the ensuing extracts from Mr. Baker s letters will share the 
same conviction : that he never deliberately quenched the 
light of the Divine Spirit, or refused to follow it from any 
worldly and unworthy motives. He sought for wisdom by 
study, prayer, and a pure life, and although he was slow in 
arriving at a full determination, yet he made a continual 
progress toward it ; and when he reached it, he did not 
shrink from any sacrifice which obedience to God and his 
conscience required of him. 

In a letter under the date of June 4, 1849, after speaking 
of the probability of his leaving St. Paul s, and the uncertainty 
he was in in regard to his future plans, which were interfered 
with by the ill-health of his brother, he thus writes : 

" I missed you at the Convention ; indeed, there are seve 
ral reasons why I did not enjoy myself at that time. It seemed 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 85 

to ine that there were but one or two with whom I had any 
real sympathy. There was very little done. The bishop 
could not be present on account of indisposition. K. read 
the bishop s charge. It was able, but thoroughly and strongly 
Protestant. The position it took was perfectly unequivocal ; 
and it places certain people, whose position before was suffi 
ciently uncomfortable, in a most painful predicament, lie 
shuts us up to the very sense of the Articles and Prayer-Book, 
as understood l)y the Reformers ; and tells those who cannot 
submit to this, who are willing not to contradict that sense, 
but do not believe it, he tells them very plainly that they are 
obliged to leave a ministry for which they are no longer com 
petent. The charge convinces me either that we have here 
tofore misunderstood the bishop, or that he has fixed himself 
upon a new platform. He now makes the Protestant element 
in our Church s teaching (which is certainly the most prominent 
one in her history) the most authoritative and controlling. It 
appears to me that he might as well have said at once that the 
Church of England was founded at the Eeformation. May 
God teach us what we ought to do." 

I have been told by Mr. Baker that the bishop, on some 
occasion, sent him his charge to look over, with the request that 
he would read it for him at the Convention, and that he de 
clined reading it, on account of his strong objection to the 
doctrine it contained. I suppose that this must have been the 
charge in question. I find no other letter from this date until 
January 9, 1850, under which date he writes at length, and 
begins to unbosom himself more freely than he had done 
before : 

" There was something in your last letter which was par 
ticularly refreshing to me. It seemed like old times, and 
brought an assurance of sympathy when I had begun deeply 
to feel the want of it. You say that my letter was not so full 
or like myself as some others. There was a reason why it was 
not so, and the same reason has delayed the answer to your 



86 MEMOIR OF 

last kind favor. I have had many painful and distressing 
thoughts, which I hardly knew how to express to any one ; 
and it seemed a wrong and cruelty to grieve one s friends 
when every catholic-minded brother had so much to bear on 
his own account. Now that I have decided upon the course 
I will take, I can write more calmly, and with less risk of per 
plexing others. You will guess the cause of anxiety. My 
conviction of the truth and holiness of Catholic doctrines has 
not diminished since I saw you ; my apprehension of what 
I hold is firmer and more distinct ; my prejudice against some 
things which the Roman Church holds as catholic truths, but 
which we deny, has been shaken ; and while this was enough 
to make my present position in some respects uncomfortable, 
the longing for a fuller measure of catholic privileges, the 
want of sympathy, the uncertainty, dissension, and mutabili 
ty among us, and the awful greatness of the claims and 
promises of Rome, made me willing to entertain the thought 
of changing my ecclesiastical relations. On looking back 
upon this state of feeling, there was much that was wrong. I 
felt in many ways the results of past unfaithfulness ; I was 
confused and perplexed ; I was doubtful of my own sincerity. 
Sometimes every thing seemed uncertain to me. But what 
ever were the causes, and whatever the characteristics of my 
state of mind, I felt, upon a careful examination of myself, 
that the only proper course for me to pursue was to institute 
a candid and diligent search into the claims of the Roman 
Church to be the Holy Catholic Church. All her claims 
seem to resolve themselves into that of the supremacy of the 
See of St. Peter, and I accordingly resolved to confine my in 
vestigations to that point. I communicated my determina 
tion to the bishop last week, and asked him whether I could 
continue to officiate while I was engaged in such a course. 
He thought I could and ought, and offered me every assist 
ance in his power, in the way of books, advice, etc. He was 
wonderfully kind and forbearing, but firm in assuring me 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 87 

that investigation of the point would but end in conviction of 
the untenableness of the Koman claim. I have felt calmer 
since I acted thus, and propose to enter forthwith upon the study 
of this question, keeping it as clear as I can of exterior mat 
ters, and pushing it, if I may, to a decision. I need not, I know, 
ask of you the charity to continue your prayers for the Divine 
blessing and guidance to your perplexed friend." 

" Tuesday Night. 

" You will understand, from what I have been telling you 
of the thoughts which have occupied my mind for some time 
past, how the various events in the Church during the last 
few months have affected me. "With regard to - - s depart 
ure, I confess it was the deepest grief to me, and, in connec 
tion with other circumstances, did much to distress and 
unsettle me. It is one of the most afflicting things about the 
present controversies, these separations between friend and 
friend, between master and disciple ; yet I know that even 
this is to be borne meekly and obediently, if we cannot see it 
to be our imperative duty to follow those we have loved and 
lost ; and now that I have undertaken in a rational way to 
satisfy myself on this point^ I can think more calmly of our 
isolation and bereavement. To return to more Protestant 
ground (I know that it does not suit unlearned people to say 
what they will do, but) I feel is impossible. My conviction 
of the truth of the system (in opposing and barking at which 
Protestantism has its life and occupation) continually increases ; 
but I think I feel that if I could be persuaded that the Divine 
Will made it to be my duty to remain where I am, I could 
submit to all the difficulties and privations of our position 
uncomplainingly and even cheerfully. 

"Bishop Ives s movement, so far as it was intended to in 
troduce the general practice of auricular confession, had my 
unrestrained sympathy. How far he meant to go in assert 
ing its necessity, I confess myself unable to determine ; but 



88 MEMOIR OF 

anyhow, 1 think he went farther than Protestant Episcopa- 
lianism will bear him out in going. It was an infinite relief 
to me when he came out as boldly as he did ; and now that 
he has presented the subject anew to the Church, I feel assured 
that the Church will be obliged to meet the question. I confess 
I do not feel very hopeful as to the issue of the controversy, 
for it seems to me that nothing short of a miracle could dis 
pose the mass of our people to the practice of confession. The 
High Churchmen will be as opposed to it as the Low Church 
men. Maryland will kick as much as Ohio. But nous verrons." 
Some time after the date of this letter, Mr. Baker made a 
voyage to Bermuda with his brother Alfred, who was now in 
a deep and hopeless decline. He returned some time in the 
early part of the ensuing summer. One day, either a little 
before or a little after this voyage, I accidentally met him as 
I was out walking. I had returned once more to Baltimore, 
and was making my novitiate at the House attached to St. 
Alphonsus Church. It was now nearly five years since I 
had seen my former friend, and three since I had received 
any letters from him. I was startled and pleased at our un 
expected rencontre, and at the light of friendship which I 
saw in his face and eyes ; but the pain of being separated 
from him was renewed. Mr. Lyman came to see me, one 
day, during the spring of 1850, and was much more frank and 
cordial in his manner than Mr. Baker, who kept a close vail 
of reserve over his heart until the last. I inquired of him 
particularly about Mr. Baker, whether he had made any 
retrograde movement, &c. He replied that he had rather 
advanced, and had become more spiritual in his preaching, 
advised me to visit him, and on my objecting to this on the 
ground that a visit might be intrusive and unwelcome, 
assured me of the contrary. It was through his influence 
that some degree of intercourse was from this time re-estab 
lished between Mr. Baker and myself. A subsequent letter 
of Mr. Baker speaks of his visiting me, and also describes his 



RKV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 

visit to Bermuda in the following terms. The letter is dated 
October 24, 1850: 

" On my return from Bermuda, I found your kind and in 
teresting letter, and felt grateful to you for the friendship 
which you have now continued to me for several years. I 
am sorry not to have seen you when you were in Baltimore, 
and iu fact that was the only regret I felt on account of my 
absence from home at the time of the Convention. The Con 
vention itself I have ceased to look forward to with any pleas 
ure. The truth is, it always saddens me to mingle at all 
with the clergy promiscuously. I feel that there is so little 
sympathy between us, that the sense of loneliness is forced 
upon me more distinctly than when I keep to myself alto 
gether. But I do not mean to write gloomily to a friend 
with whom I communicate so seldom, and indeed I do not 
complain of the want of sympathy which I feel, or blame 
others for it. I know that the cause of it is in myself, and I 
acknowledge with gratitude the great degree of indulgence, 
kindness, and forbearance with which I have been univer 
sally treated. 

" I have felt happier lately, though I do not know why I 
should, for I cannot say that I have gained a satisfactory posi 
tion ; and when I think of dying, anxious thoughts come 
across me; but I have been pursuing (as my occupation 
allowed me) my investigations into the question of the supre 
macy, and I wish to abide by the result, without being swayed 
by feeling one way or another. I have read Newman s Dis 
courses since I received your letter. They are like all that 
he writes, thoughtful, earnest, holy, and deeply impressive ; 
. think they differ from his Parochial Sermons in having 
the appearance of more excited feeling, and in being more 
affectionate in their tone. He seems to write under a press 
ing anxiety to influence those he addresses, and he opens his 
heart more than he did of old. I think this accounts in part 
for an objection which I have heard brought against them, 



90 MEMOIR OF 

that they are not so strictly logical. He seems to me pos 
sessed with that proselyting spirit which has always appeared 
to me to be so divine a token about the Church of Rome, as 
if the constant reflection of his mind was, What shall it 
profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his 
own soul? 

" I was deeply interested in the account of your visit to H. 
I too saw H., but only for a moment. We met on the road, 
and he stopped most kindly, and we had a minute s conver 
sation. Of course there was nothing but commonplace. I 
know not how he felt, but I felt very sad. 

" You may imagine that I have looked with no little interest 
at the progress of ecclesiastical affairs in England. The 
secessions lately have made a tremendous excitement more 
so, I really think, than those in 1845, perhaps on account of 
the present distress. 

" I have not much of interest to tell you about Bermuda. 
You know it is an English colony, and I saw there for the 
first time the workings of the English Church. In every thing 
except the Morning and Evening Prayer, I think we have 
the advantage, particularly excepting the latter. The clergy 
I found a hard-working set of men, frank and cordial, and 
very much interested and well informed in matters relating 
to our Church. The churches are very plain, but have a 
quiet, grave, soothing air about them, the clergy mostly 
i High Church, but not after our sort, and the people seemed 
to me to be almost entirely devoid of a Church tone and 
spirit, though not irreligious. Dissent is very rife, and, I 
fancy, influences even members of the Church. They have a 
noble-hearted bishop, Bishop Field, austere, self-denying, 
devout, hard-working, and charitable, and by his assistance 
they are building a very handsome church on the island ; but 
I found that he was not popular, that even his mode of life 
was objected to : he was called a Puseyite. I did not preach 
while I was there, but I assisted several of the clergy at the 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 91 

* 

services, and once at the holy communion, in which I found 
the omission of the oblation to have a most painful effect 
upon my feelings. 

" I was very glad to get so full and gratifying account of 
your church. I do indeed congratulate you on its comple 
tion. I think you have done wonders, with so many diffi 
culties, to succeed in so short a time, and I sincerely hope that 
you may find your zeal and labor repaid by an increase of 
your congregation, and of true devotion and earnestness 
among them. From your description of the church I thought 
it must be a very magnificent edifice, quite beyond York 
Minster and churches of that size ; and to see so famous a 
building, and still more to see the kind, warm friend who min 
isters within it, would be so great a pleasure, that you must 
not be surprised if some old friends should some time make 
a pilgrimage there." 

"January 27, 1851. 

" I often feel what a relief it would be to open one s heart, and 
to have the sympathy and counsel of a friend who can under 
stand one s views and feelings. But it is impossible to do so 
by letter, because one shrinks from coolly writing down one s 
thoughts, which would be expressed without effort in the 
warmth and freedom of conversation. Since the receipt of 
your letter I saw H. I had determined not to seek him, but 
about the beginning of this month he called on me. He was 
kind, but the visit was not agreeable : it was awkward. I re 
turned his visit last week, and enjoyed being in his society. 
I talked with him as guardedly as I could while using any 
degree of frankness and cordiality. I could not consent to 
postpone my visit to him, as I had reason to believe that his 
coming to see me was providential, to assist me in the matter 
in which I am laboring, viz., to ascertain the Catholic Church. 
I asked him several questions concerning the Papal su 
premacy, which he answered very readily and with great 
ability. He gave me some assistance in pursuing my in- 



92 MEMOIR OF 



guinea, and I promised to see him again before long. 1 came 
away feeling better for having been with him, and with a 
heavy conviction on my mind how little share I had in the 
blessing of the pure in heart. 

" I find very little time to study. The duties which devolve 
upon me take so much of my attention, that I could find it 
in my heart to throw them up, were I not advised otherwise 
by the bishop. Besides, I know that it is only by humility 
and obedience and fidelity that we can arrive at the truth. 
O Dwight ! again I ask your prayers in my behalf, especially 
for earnestness in seeking the truth, to make the holy vow, 
1 1 will not climb up into my bed, nor suffer my eyelids to 
take any rest, until I have an obedient spirit to obey God s 
will, directly it is made known. 

" The course of Church matters is to me increasingly un 
satisfactory. The anti-Papal movement has placed the 
Church of England on decidedly worse ground, if indeed it 
has not bound her to that decision, on rejecting which her 
Catholicity seems to be suspended. I do think that, after, all 
that lias happened, for bishops and people to be crying up the 
royal supremacy looks like accepting that supremacy to 
the full extent to which it has lately been claimed. What 
did you think of Mr. Bennett s course ? To say the truth, I 
was not satisfied with his letters, though I felt a sympathy 
with the man. Pray can you tell me what ground there is 
for the assertion that Archdeacon Manning and Mr. Dods- 

o 

worth have resigned and are on their way to Jerusalem ?" 

* * w -X- -sv -X -X- -X- * 

Some time after this, Mr. Baker was appointed rector of 
the new parish of St. Luke s, where he remained until he 
gave up the Protestant ministry, that is, for about two years. 
During his rectorship he removed to a pleasant residence 
near the site of the church, and employed himself in building 
a tasteful Gothic church, which he proposed to finish and 
decorate in accordance with his own idea of ecclesiastical 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 93 



propriety. It was only partially completed at the time lie 
left it. His next letter to Mr. Lyman, who was now progress 
ing rapidly toward the Catholic Church, and urging forward 
his slower footsteps, is dated 

" Tuesday in Holy Wcefc, April 15, 1851. 

" I read your letter with a great deal of emotion, and was 
prompted to sit down and say a word in reply immediately ; 
but as I have gone to St. Luke s, there were some duties de 
volving upon me which took up my time more than is usual 
with me. You may be assured of my sympathy in much 
that you feel and express. I do think that the statements of 
Allies s book are of a kind which ought to make a profound 
impression upon us, and which ought to modify very much 
the feelings with which we have been taught to regard the 
Eoman communion ; and I do think honestly that our Church 
is at present in a miserable condition, and that no good can 
come of denying it. As you say, it becomes at such a time a 
very solemn question, in view of eternity, what we ought to do. 
My dear D wight, I think I am sincere when I say that to 
me the way of duty seems to take pains and make such an 
investigation as I can into the question upon which the 
claim of authority rests, and to abide by the result : mean 
while to live in prayer and upon such catholic truth as we 
are permitted to hold, imploring God to take pity upon us, 
and to look upon his distracted people. II. recommended me 
a treatise on the supremacy by the brothers Ballerini, but I 
find that I do not read Latin with such facility as to reap the 
full benefit of the perusal of such a work at present. I have 
therefore taken up Kenrick on the Primacy. With regard 
to my duties as a minister, I have thought it right to be di 
rected from without, and I was passive in accepting St. 
Luke s, which was strongly urged upon me. Surely we may 
hope that if we faithfully and devoutly, and in a spirit of 
humility and obedience, work with our intention constantly 



94: MEMOIR OF 

directed to God s glory and the salvation of souls, He will 
bless and guide us. It was a comfort to me to think you re 
membered me and my difficulties in your Lenten exercises, 
and I assure you that you have been constantly remembered 
by your perplexed friend. I feel afraid of myself and of my 
own heart afraid of taking a wrong step, afraid on account 
of my past sins, afraid when I look forward to the judgment 
of our dear Lord ; and you may be sure that I find prayer my 
greatest comfort, the belief in the intercession of our 
Blessed Mother and the saints in heaven, as well as in the 
value of the supplications of Christians on earth, a source of 
real strength. Pray for me, my dear friend, that I may be 
enabled sincerely to appeal to God and say that His Church 
is the first object of my heart, and that I may be diligent 
and studious and obedient to His grace and to conscience. 

u I see the English papers constantly, and they are full of 
interest. We know not what is before us ; these are heart- 
stirring times, and we can but adore the counsel of God by 
which we were born in them, and anxiously seek to take the 
right course amid so many perplexities. I have recently read 
Dr. Pusey s letter to the Bishop of London. It is a very able 
letter, and one calculated to rouse the feelings of the Catholic- 
minded men in England. I confess it made me feel more 
hopeful. 

" If it is our duty to remain where we are, it is a noble 
thing to be called to labor amid so many discouragements, and, 
surrounded by temptations, to keep the Catholic Faith whole 
and inviolate ! Every day I feel a stronger repugnance to 
Protestantism, and a determination by God s help to carry 
out my principles consistently ; but with regard to the Roman 
Catholic Church, I do not see how intellectually it can dis- 

/ 

pense with the theory of development, and I feel a strong 
suspicion of that theory. I went to see II. again, but he was 
in New York, and will not be back until after Easter. 

" I feel that I am in a difficult and dangerous situation, but 



KEV. FRANCIS A. -BAKER. 95 

I have the comfort of knowing that I have the advice of the 
bishop to do as I am doing ; and if I can be sure of God s 
blessing, by watchfulness and . strictness and faithfulness I 
may yet be happy. I have written confidentially, and all 
about myself, but you will forgive me. The bell rings for 
prayers. Good-by. ?? 

"August*, 1851. 



" You will be anxious to know the impression made upon 
my mind by what I have been reading on the Roman Catho 
lic question. On the whole, many difficulties that lay in the 
way have been removed, and the claims of the Roman See 
appear far more strongly supported by antiquity than I had 
ever dreamed of before. Kenrick s is, I think, a very strong 
book, although it has a very apologetic air ; yet there was a 
great deal in it which seemed to me very forcible. But the 
book which made altogether the most decided impression on 
my mind was c The Unity of the Episcopate. The principle 
of unity was there unfolded in a way that was new to me, 
and which I think does away with a whole class of passages 
(and they the strongest) which are usually alleged against 
the Papacy. | -* *.* 

" I find my greatest want to be the want of earnestness and 
a spiritual mind. My dear Dwight, this is not cant. I want 
you to pray that God would not take His Holy Spirit from 
me. I desire above all things to be a Catholic, and I am 
resolved by God s help not to give up the present investiga 
tion until -I am satisfied about my duty, which at present I 
am not, but very, very much harassed and perplexed. May 
God in his good time grant us both to see clearly the way we 
ought to take. I saw H. a few weeks ago, and had a pleasant 
interview. He thinks it possible that he will leave Baltimore 
in September. I have sometimes felt lately as if a decision 
of the great question was not far off. Oh, that it may be a 
wise and true decision !" 



96 MEMOIR OF 

A few weeks after writing this letter, Mr. Baker caine very 
near making a decision to give up his ministry and place him 
self under the instruction of a Catholic priest. His convic 
tion was not yet fully matured, or his doubts quite removed, 
and the wisest course would have been for him to have gone 
into a complete retirement for a while, in order to complete 
his studies, and allow his mind and conscience time to ripen 
into a decision. lie communicated his state of mind to the 
bishop, and was so far overruled by him as to consent to 
wait a while longer, and postpone his decision. He informs 
his friend of all that took place at this crisis, in a long and 
deeply interesting letter of thirteen pages, from which I shall 
only make a few extracts. It is dated November 11, 1851, 
and is full of affection, of sadness, and of the tremulous breath 
ings of a sensitive, delicate conscience, deeply troubled by 
anxiety and fear, almost ready to seek repose in the bosom 
of the Church, but driven back by doubt to struggle yet 
longer with adverse winds. 

He says at the beginning of his letter : u First let me thank 
you again for your expressions of kindness and affection. I 
assure you I thank you for them, and feel that they, to 
gether with the friendship which has lasted so long, give you 
a claim on my confidence and love. Nor have I been un 
mindful of the claim, for I have constantly thought of you, 
and often invoked God s aid in your behalf; and if I have not 
written often, it is because I am myself in great perplexity, 
and feel the responsibility which attaches to every word, 
uttered at a time like this, on subjects which concern the sal 
vation of ourselves and others also. This was my feeling 
when I last wrote. I felt as if I wanted a little recollection 
before I could write as I wished on some points ; and as I was 
then much occupied, I deferred writing fully until some other 
time. However, your letter to-day demands an immediate 
answer, and I proceed to give you an answer to your in 
quiries, and a faithful transcript of my feelings, and pray 



KEV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 97 

God that you may receive no injury from one who would do 
you good." 

He states the result of his studies quite at length, summing 
it up in these words, which I quote as an accurate index of 
the degree of conviction he had at that time reached : 

" The result of my thought and reading last summer was 
to strengthen my impression that the claims of the Roman 
Catholic Church on the obedience of all Christians are di 
vine. I cannot say I felt perfectly assured." 

After describing his interview with the bishop, and in 
forming his friend that he had consented to wait, he says : 
" I think I agreed to this from the fear of offending God, and 
from that alone. As to the frown of the world, I do not 
think it decided me, for I had looked the consequences of the 
act full in the face, and had accepted them. I was the more 
ready to wait, because I could not say Iliad no doitU of the 
propriety of secession." 

The sequel of the letter and of its writer s history shows 
that this doubt was not a rational doubt, but a morbid irreso 
lution and timidity of mind, which ojught to have been disre 
garded. Consequently, in giving way to it, he simply fell 
back into a state in which he had just to go over again the same 
ground, and this discouraged and disheartened him, as he 
frankly acknowledges. " I felt a sense of relief, partly, I be 
lieve, from having opened my mind, and partly, I suspect, at 
finding that the sacrifice to which I had looked forward was 
not then demanded. But when I considered the matter, I 
saw that I was just where I was before, with the whole ques 
tion before me and resting on my decision. From week to 
.week I have been willing to postpone looking my position in 
the face, seeking to excuse myself to my conscience by the 
plea of the many unavoidable demands on my time and 
thoughts which a new parish and a church just commenced 
seem to make; although I feel that the danger of such a 
course is that I may sink into a worldly, indifferent thing, 
5 



98 MEMOIR OF 

seeking in the praise of men a reward for my treachery to 
God. I have seen H. but once since I saw the bishop. The 
visit was more constrained, because I felt I ought not to be 
tray my feelings; indeed, I would not go to see H. unless I 
were afraid of resisting some design which God may have 
formed for me because the intercourse has not been of my 
seeking, and this appearance of deceit and double-dealing is 
dreadful to me, and makes me feel as if I were guilty. 

" I have not read any thing since my interview with the 
bishop. My plan is to wait and seriously consider what I 
ought to do. I need not tell you I am not happy. I am 
free from many of the annoyances which distress you, as I 
read no R. C. papers, and scarcely any of our own, and have 
no associate. I strive to live by the rule recommended by 
Dr. Pusey, and am almost as much isolated from Protestants 
as if there were none in our communion. I believe most 
firmly in the Sacrifice of the Mass, in the Eeal Presence, in 
the Yeneration of Relics, in the Mediation of the Saints, and 
especially of St. Mary. I constantly beseech God to hear her 
supplications in my behalf, and only do not invoke her be 
cause I am not sure of the authority for doing so. I believe 
also in Purgatory. My difficulties are on the subject of 
Church authority and the Supremacy. My sympathy in doc 
trine, my reverence for the holy men who have gone out 
from us, my strong prepossessions in favor of the Roman 
Catholic Church, which have never left me at any period of 
my life, and the distress among us, all draw me to Rome ; 
but the single question I ask myself (or strive to do so) is, 
whether any of these things ought to decide me, and whether 
the point of inquiry ought not to be What is the Church ? 
Partly on account of my position, and partly, dear D wight, 
on account of grave deficiencies and sins in myself, I feel that 
I am full of inconsistencies, contradictions, apparent insin 
cerities (perhaps real), presumptuous and fearful at the same 
time, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, not fully per- 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 99 

suaded in my own mind, and not bending all my energies 
to become so. And now, my dear Dwight, I have only opened 
my heart to you, without at all thinking of the effect it would 
have upon you. Simply seeking, as in duty bound, to deal 
with you as a friend, I have let you somewhat into my heart 
only somewhat, for I deeply feel that to a full understanding 
of my state of feeling, even in reference to this subject, it 
would be needful that I should kneel down and humbly con 
fess (as it would be a comfort to do) all the many offenses 
in word and deed of a sinful and tangled life. I have hum 
bled myself before you. I know not how it shall be hereafter 
between us, how differently you may soon look upon me from 
what you have been used to do ; but, wherever you are, think 
of me as a sinner and a penitent, and as one who desires and 
needs your prayers. * * * 

" And now, my dear friend, I do not think of any thing else 
which I ought to say to you, but to reciprocate the earnest 
hope and the conviction that you express, that God Almighty 
may enable us together to have an abode here in that Ark 
which He has set up as the place of safety and peace in a lost 
world, and may give us together an entrance into His Presence 
forever. May He of His undeserved mercy grant it." 

During the winter of 1851 and 1852, Mr. Baker was very 
much occupied with church-building, and also with the cares 
and anxieties of illness and death in his family, and his at 
tention was thus drawn away in a measure from himself and 
from the question of the Church. 

His next letter of interest was written in May, 1852, com 
municating the intelligence of the death of his aunt and of 
his brother : 

" I have no doubt that you have thought your kind and 
patient letter deserved an earlier answer, but I have been 
greatly and particularly occupied ever since I received it 
When it came, Aunt E. was very ill, and our anxiety about 
her continued to increase until she was taken from us on the 



100 MEMOIR OF 

3 1st of January. Immediately after, dear Alfred began to 
decline rapidly, and after an interval of some weeks of great 
suffering on liis part, and of watching and sadness on ours, 
he too was taken on the 9th of April (Good Friday). You, 
who knew them both, and knew what place they held in our 
hearts, can imagine the greatness of the bereavement, and the 
depth of our suffering. God has supported us mercifully, and 
I heartily thank Him that I have so great a solace in think 
ing of the character of our dear departed ones ; and it is at 
such times that I feel the consolatory nature of the doctrine 
of the communion of saints, and the comfort of the practice 
of praying for the dead. To you, who know so much of my 
feelings, I will not deny that the uncertainty which rests upon 
the question of the Church has disturbed the fixedness of my 
hope and faith during this sorrowful winter, but I have not 
been able to advance in its investigation. I now propose to 
resume my studies as regularly and as perseveringly as my 
duties will permit. You are much and often in my thoughts, 
and often do I wish that I could do by you the part of a faithful 
friend. You always have a part in my prayers, and it would 
be to me a great happiness to have the assurance one day 
that my friendship has not been without some benefit to you. 
I assure you I prize it, and I feel more strongly that I have 
more in common with you than with any one else with whom 
I communicate. I have not the heart nor indeed the time to 
write more." 

"September 15, 1852. 

" I came away from Columbia with many pleasant, affec 
tionate thoughts about you, and grateful recollections of 
your kindness, and you have often been in my mind since 
my return. You- will be glad to learn that my little jaunt 
was of decided service to me. I have been improving in 
health ever since my return, and now feel quite well. I sup 
pose by this time you have been on to the North and have 
returned, and, like myself, are now quietly settled down to 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 101 

your duties. I found my sisters much benefited by their 
trip to the sea-shore, and our little household has again re 
sumed its accustomed habits. I need not tell you, dear 
Dwight, how glad I shall be if you will consent to come on 
now and pay your promised visit. You might come at the 
beginning of the week, and I would go and take your Sun 
day duties (choose a Sunday when service is all day at Co 
lumbia), and then I would return on Monday to be with you 
at home another week. I cannot promise to do you good, but 
I can offer you, at least, w T hat you will not receive elsewhere, 
true and affectionate sympathy. I do most deeply feel for 
you in your anxieties, and in much, in very much, I feel 
with you. I felt when I was with you, my dear friend (now 
my only friend), as if the difference between us was tin? : 
that you had really come to a conclusion, while I was still 
of a fearful and divided mind. I felt as if there was some 
thing dishonorable and disgraceful in such a state of inde 
cision, while there was an appearance of manliness in your 
boldness and determination, and I was ashamed of myself. 
Besides, I found myself sometimes taking the anti-Roman 
side in argument with you, and then I was vexed with my 
self for doing what I did nowhere else, and what I could not 
do heartily anywhere, and I seemed to myself insincere. I 
do not know whether you can understand me, but I want 
you to understand my feelings ; for I do not want you to 
think I am insincere, and 1 felt so much obliged to you when 
you told me that you said to II. that you did not think me 
so. I believe uncertainty often carries the appearance of 
insincerity ; and uncertain I own myself to be, full of sad 
ness, full of doubt. O Dwight, what is there in such a 
situation to make one remain in it, if one could conscien 
tiously leave it \ What could hinder me from being a Eo- 
man Catholic but for the fear of doing wrong \ I assure 
you, that as regards this world I have not a hope or desire, 
and there is nothing earthly which I could not part with 



102 MEMOIR OF 

this night. Nothing seems to me worth living for but the 
knowledge of the truth and the love of God ; and that position 
in which I feel I should be the happiest would be where I 
should be certain what was truth, and could live a life 
hidden from the world with God. I feel concerned at find 
ing myself writing so much about myself, and in such a 
strain ; but I think, in reading over the letter, you will under 
stand how I came to do it, and will pardon it. 

" I have been reading lately pretty systematically on the 
Roman question. De Maistre and Lacordaire I have fin 
ished, and will return them to you if you wish them. They 
are both philosophical rather than theological, and from that 
fact, as well as from the French way in which they are writ 
ten, I think they will be less influential with persons 
brought up in the school with you and me. I thought the 
remarks of De Maistre on the temporal power of the Popes 
not near so forcible as those in Brownson s Eeview. Thomp 
son seems to me now, as he did before, a remarkably cogent 
and attractive writer. I have not finished his pamphlet as 
yet, but feel very much interested in it. I have procured 
Balmez, and Newman on Anglicanism, but have not yet 

read them. When I was in Philadelphia I saw Mr. . 

He called on Manning when he was in London, and had a 
very interesting interview. M. is about to publish another 
edition of his book on the Unity of the Church. I should 
indeed like to see it, or any thing else that came from his 
hand. * * * 

" God bless you, my dear friend ; write to me fully and 
freely as. of old, and be sure of the affection of your friend, 

F. A. B." 

"As7i Wednesday, 1853. 

* " The general tone of your letter, too, was 
sad, and that also fell in with my own feelings, for you may 
be sure that the stirring event of the last month has not 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 103 

been without a great effect on me, agitated as I was before 
by so many serious doubts. Well, another has gone, and 
that the most eminent of the party with which you and I 
have been identified, and you and I remain asking still what 
we are to do ! To me the question has been of late and is 
now one of absorbing and pressing importance, and yet I do not 
know how to answer it, and in my perplexity can do nothing 
but pray pray, as I have done most earnestly, for direction 
from on high ; and my comfort, dear D wight, is to know that 
you also pray for me. What I want is the heart just to 
stand waiting God s bidding, and, when that is given, to act 
without delay or taking counsel with the flesh. I should 
so much like to see Bishop Ives s Beasons, which I suppose 
will in some way be published. I received the 

first number of a newspaper from ]New York, the Church 

Journal (which is most vociferously anti-Roman). is one 

of the editors. By the way, - - is also connected with 
this paper, and - -. I felt sorry to think of what a dif 
ferent spirit they once were ; and yet, if the Church of Eome 
be not what she claims to be, the position of such men as 
Bishop Whittingham is the right one, and ours is untenable. 
However, I cannot but own that I have a drawing toward 
the Roman Catholic communion so strong that, if I were to 
be without it, I should feel as if I were not myself. I have 
not thought it right to go by this feeling, but it is very 
strong, and I confess I feel envious of Bishop Ives, when I 
think of him in his new home a feeling which I often have 
in reference to dear H., whom I loved and reverenced so 
truly. (By the way, H., I hear, is either at present in Bal 
timore, or is about coming here, to conduct a mission in the 
Cathedral.) I often feel afraid, my dear D wight, in writing 
on such subjects, of doing wrong in expressing my feelings 
and thoughts, and of doing you harm ; but after all, it seems 
not improper for friends such as we are to speak without re 
serve, and perhaps I have done so too little. 



104 MEMOIR OP 

" I have been reading a good deal lately. * * * The articles 
on Cyprian (by Dr. ISTevin) were indeed most masterly, and 
seemed to me to express the true doctrine of antiquity as to 
the primacy of the Roman See. They have caused a good 
deal of speculation on my part. I do not see how the writer 
can fail to become a Roman Catholic. I did not tell you 
what I thought of Newman s book ; it was full of power, 
many most capital hits and brilliant passages, and, what is 
better, satisfactory explanations of difficulties. The eleventh 
lecture seemed to me the least successful, and I own, even 
after reading it, the position of the Greek Church, based on a 
theological theory not unlike that which is advocated by 
Anglo-Catholics, and much the same (as Brownson seems to 
think) with that held by many Roman Catholics, does seem 
to me a difficulty. Balmez, too, I have proceeded some 
way with, and am much interested in. 

" I thank you for Brownson very much. I have read the 
number you sent me, and it has set me to thinking. His 
positions are bold and require some reflection ; and though I 
find in him the consistent expression of much that I think I 
always believed, yet he presents many new ideas to me. * * 

" Adieu to-night, my dear Dwight. May the blessing of 
Heaven be with you." 

This was the last of these sad epistles these outbreathings 
of a pure and noble, but troubled spirit, enveloped in the 
obscure night of doubt, and seeking wearily for the light of 
truth. It was written on the first day of Lent; and when that 
Lent had passed by, the clouds of mist had lifted from around 
the soul of Francis Baker, never to return. Before he wrote 
again to his dear friend, the coup de-grace had been given. 
The blow was struck suddenly and effectually, and the news 
of it came unexpectedly, with a startling and almost stunning 
effect upon his friend, through the following brief and abrupt 
communication 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 105 

" BALTIMORE, April 5, 1853. 
MY DEAK DWIGHT : The decision is made : I have resigned 

CJ 

my parish, and am about to place myself under instruction 
preparatory to my being received into the Catholic Church. 
I can write no more at present. May God help you. 

" Your affectionate friend, 

"FRANCIS A. BAKER." 

This letter was followed by another, written three days 
after, in reply to one from Mr. Lyman. 

" MY DEAR DWIGHT : It was cruel in me to write so briefly, 
but if you knew what a press of duty came upon me just at 
once, you would pity me, and indeed now I am in such a 
confusion, that it takes some courage to write a line. But, 
my dear friend, you have been so great a help to me, that it 
would be worse than heathen in me not to give you one word 
of explanation. I decided to submit to the Catholic Church 
last Sunday night, and gave in my resignation to the vestry 
on last Tuesday morning. I went to the archbishop, and 
to-morrow I make my profession in St. Alphonsus Church, 
before only two witnesses, the least the rubric requires. This 
was in compliance with the advice of the Bishop, who did 
not think it well to give unnecessary publicity to the act. 
Plain and sufficient arguments had long enough been addressed 
to my mind, but my conversion at last I owe only to the grace 
of God. It was the gift of God through Prayers, and now 
I can say i Nunc Dimittis for < I believe, O God ! all the 
Holy Truths which Thy Catholic Church proposes to our 
belief, because Thou, my God, hast revealed them all ; and 
Thy Church has declared them. In this faith I desire to live, 
and in the same, by Thy holy grace, I am most firmly re 
solved to die. Amen. 

" I shall prepare for the sacraments next week, but beyond 
that, I have formed no plans. 
5* 



106 MEMOIR OF 

" My dear D wight, I feel that I have too long resisted God s 
grace, and it will be one of the sins which I must now repent 
of. God by His merciful kindness did not suffer me to be 
abandoned, as, indeed, my resistance of His grace deserved, 
but kindly pleaded with me, and I am now at the threshold of 
the kingdom of God. Come with us, dear Dwight, come ; 
God s time is the best time. May our Lord bless you and 
direct you. Yours affectionately, 

A. BAKER." 



This closes the correspondence of Mr. Baker with the dear 
and valued friend of his youth and manhood, previous to his 
reception into the Catholic Church ; and I have postponed the 
continuation of my narrative in order to complete my extracts 
from it, and leave the writer to tell his own touching story 
to the end. 

Mr. Baker s conversion was the logical sequence of his 
former life, both intellectual and spiritual ; it w r as the result 
of the accumulating light of the eleven preceding years, 
concentrated and brought to a focus upon the practical ques 
tion of duty and obligation. The particular events which 
immediately preceded it, were like the stroke of the hammer 
on the mould of a bell, already completely cast and finished 
beneath it, and waiting only the shattering of its earthen shell 
to ring out with a clear and musical sound. " The just man 
is the accuser of himself" and Mr. Baker, whose deep humility 
made him unconscious of his own goodness, in the first vivid 
consciousness that the light which had led him to the Catholic 
Church was the light of grace, could no longer understand 
his past state of doubt, and reproached himself for it, as a 
sinful resistance to God. It is not necessary, however, to 
suppose that there was any thing grievously culpable in that 
state of doubt and hesitation. 

He was right in attributing his final decision to the effica 
cious grace of the Holy Spirit. But this grace was only the 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 107 

last of a long series of graces which had prepared him to 
receive it. It did not change, but only perfected his habitual 
disposition of mind. It produced a crisis and a transformation 
in his soul, but it was one to which a long and gradual process 
had been continually tending. It was not a miracle, or a 
sudden revelation. Careful thought and reading, and the 
assiduous cultivation of his spiritual faculties, had brought him 
to the apprehension of all the data of a rational judgment 
that the Catholic Church is true. The apparently sudden 
moment of deliberation and decision was but the successful ef 
fort of the mind and will to come into the certain consciousness 
of the truth already fairly proposed, and to determine to follow 
it. It was a supernatural grace which made this effort success 
ful, and elevated the just conclusions of reason to the certi 
tude of faith. But it was not a grace which superseded reason 
or dispensed with the reasonable grounds and evidences of an 
intellectual judgment and the motives of a just determination. 
Mr. Baker must have been drawing near to a decision dur- 

o 

ing the whole of Lent ; for his mind was evidently more deeply 
and earnestly bent on coming to it, when I saw him in 
Easter Week, than ever. He called on me on the Friday 
evening of Easter Week, and his manner was much changed. 
His anxiety of mind broke through the reserve he had hereto 
fore maintained, and instead of the guarded and self-con 
trolled manner he had preserved in former interviews, he was 
abrupt and outspoken. At the very outset, he expressed his 
feeling that the question of difference between us was one of 
vital importance, in regard to which one of us must be deeply 
and dangerously in the wrong, and desired to discuss the 
matter with me fully. I suppose his intention was to see 
me more frequently than he had done, to open his mind more 
fully, and to get from rne all the help I could give him in 
making up his mind. We had a pretty long conversation on 
theological points, without going into the discussion of 
fundamental Catholic principles. The truth is, Mr. Baker 



108 MEMOIR OF 

\ 

had already mastered these principles, and was really set 
tled in regard to every essential doctrine. He had no need 
of farther study, but merely of an effort to shake off that kind 
of doubt which is a mental weakness, and perpetually revolves 
difficulties and objections which ought not to affect the judg 
ment. The one particular point which we discussed most was 
in reference to some passages in the writings of St. Augustine 
concerning the doctrine of Purgatory a doctrine which he had 
clearly stated his belief in, two years before. I answered his 
difficulty as well as I could at the time, promising to examine 
the matter more fully the next day, and to give him a written 
answer, which I accordingly did, but too late to be of any 
service to him, as the sequel will show. I left him with a 
strong impression that the crisis of his mind was at hand, and 
for that reason engaged all the members of the community to 
pray for him particularly. After leaving me, he called on a 
young lady w r ho was very ill, and had sent for him to visit her. 
This young lady, who died happily in the bosom of the Catho 
lic Church a few weeks after, had already sent for one of the 
reverend gentlemen of the Cathedral, and expressed to him 
her desire to become a Catholic, but had consented, at the 
request of her. family, to have an interview with Mr. Baker 
before receiving the sacraments. "When he came to her bed 
side, she informed him of her state of mind, and asked him if 
he had any satisfactory reason to allege why she should not 
fulfil her wish to be received into the Catholic Church before 
she died. He told her that he regretted very much that she 
had chosen to consult with him on that point, as there were 
reasons why he must decline giving her advice on the subject. 
She conjured him to tell her distinctly what he thought, and 
he again replied that he was not able to say any thing to her 
on the subject. She looked at him earnestly, and said, " I 
see how it is, Mr. Baker ; you are in doubt yourself." With 
out saying another word, he left the room and the house, 
transpierced with a pain which he could neither endure nor 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 109 

remove. He turned his steps toward the Cathedral, and 
walked around it several times, like one not knowing where to 
go, and then returned to his home and his study to remain in 
solitude and prayer, through several anxious days and sleep 
less nights. He was now face to face with the certainty that 
he dare not promise to any one else security, of salvation in 
the Episcopal Church. Yet, he was a minister of that Church, 
and was trusting his own salvation to it. To remain in such 
a position longer had become impossible to a conscientious 
man like him. Nevertheless, he went through the duties of 
Sunday, and again read prayers in his church on the Mon 
day and Tuesday mornings. lie has been censured for this, 
by some, as if he had acted a hypocritical part, but most un 
justly. Certainly, if he had asked my advice beforehand, I 
should have told him that he had no right to do it. But the 

o 

reader of this narrative will see that his own conscience had 
been frequently overruled on the question of exercising the 
ministry in a state of doubt, and on Sunday he was still in 
this state, undecided what to do. He did not actually give 
in his resignation until after prayers on Tuesday morning, 
and any candid person will surely admit that he was excusable, 
in the agitation of the moment, for thinking that it was better 
to fulfil the engagements he was under to his people until the 
last moment, when these consisted merely in reciting a form 
of prayer which is very good in itself, and contains nothing 
contrary to Catholic doctrine. 

On Tuesday, the 5th of April, Mr. Baker gave a letter of 
resignation to the vestry of St. Luke s Church, called on Dr. 
Wyatt, who was the administrator of the diocese during the 
bishop s absence in Europe, and then went to see the arch 
bishop. When he was admitted to the presence of this vener 
able and saintly prelate, he threw himself on his knees before 
him, and in accents and words of the most profound humility 
made his submission to the Catholic Church, and implored him 
to receive him into her bosom. The archbishop, who knew 



110 MEMOIR OF 

him well by sight and by reputation, arose in haste from his 
chair to raise him from his knees, in a few warm and affec 
tionate words welcomed him to his embrace, and begged him 
to be seated by his side and to calm himself. It was with 
difficulty that he could induce him to do so, for the barrier in 
his soul that had held it icebound for so long had given way : 
a torrent of repressed emotions was swelling in his bosom, and 
after a moment he burst into a flood of tears, the gentle and 
good archbishop weeping with him from sympathy. After a 
long and consoling conversation with the archbishop, he came 
over to St. Alphonsus Church, which is near the Cathedral, to 
see me. 

I was making a retreat that day, and was walking in the 
garden, when a message was sent me by the rector to go to 
the parlor to see Mr. Baker. As soon as he saw me, he said, 
abruptly, " I have come to be one of you." I invited him 
inside the in closure, and he, fancying I misunderstood his 
words to imply that he was ready to join our religious con 
gregation, answered quickly, " I do not mean that I wish to 
become a Redemptorist, but a Catholic." " I understand that," 
I replied ; " let us go to the oratory and recite a Te Deum of 
thanksgiving." We did so, and then walked in the garden to 
gether for a short time. The first time I ever saw an expression 
of real joyfulness in his countenance was then. He was always 
placid, but never, so far as I could see, joyous, before he became 
a Catholic. To my great surprise, he chose me as his confessor. 
I left the time of his reception to himself, and he chose Satur 
day, the 9th of April, which was the anniversary of the deatli 
of his brother Alfred. On Saturday morning, I said Mass in 
the little chapel of the Orphan Asylum of the Sisters of 
Charity. Father Hecker, who was present, on account of the 
approaching mission, accompanied me to the chapel. After 
Mass, Mr. Baker made his profession, according to the old 
form, containing the full creed of Pius IV., and I received 
him into the bosom of the Church. No others were present 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. Ill 

besides the good Sisters and tlieir little children. He had 
been baptized by Dr. Wyatt, and the archbishop decided 
that there was no reason whatever for his being conditionally 
rebaptized. I performed the supplementary rites of baptism, 
such as the anointing with holy oil and chrism, the giving of 
the white garment and lighted candle, etc., at his own re 
quest, in the sacristy of the Cathedral, after his sacramental 
confession was completed. This sacred act was accom 
plished in the archbishop s library. During the week after 
his reception, and on the Third Sunday after Easter, April 17, 
he was confirmed in the Cathedral by Archbishop Ken rick, 
and received his first communion from his hand. 

The conversion of Mr. Baker made a great sensation in 
Baltimore, and wherever he was known. It was announce 1 
in the secular papers, and for some weeks a lively controversy 
arising out of it was kept up. It was the general topic of 
conversation in all circles, Catholic and Protestant. The 
sorrow of his own parishioners, of those who had loved and 
honored him so much while he was connected with St. Paul s 
parish, and especially of his more near and intimate friends, 
was very great. His own near relatives, and a certain number 
of his intimate friends, never were in the least alienated from 
him, but remained as closely bound to him in affection as ever, 
while they and he lived. The great majority of those who had 
been his admirers, and who had listened with delight to his elo 
quent preaching, always retained a great respect and esteem for 
him ; and during his whole subsequent life, he almost invari 
ably won a regard from those of the Protestant community 
who were acquainted with him, second only to that of the 
Catholic people to whom he ministered. There were some 
exceptions to this rule, however. A few persons wrote to 
liim^in the most severe and reproachful terms. The usual 
pitiable charge, that his religious change was caused by 
mental derangement, was made by those whose wretched 
policy has always been to counteract as much as possible the 
influence of conversions to the Catholic Church by personal 



112 MEMOIR OF 

calumnies against the converts. He was sometimes openly 
insulted, and much more frequently treated with coldness 
and neglect. Notwithstanding the respect with which so 
many still regarded him in their hearts, he was compelled to 
feel that he had become, in great measure, an alien and a 
stranger in the community where he had been born and bred. 
In a short time, his duty called him away from his native 
city, and, somewhat later, from his own State, into a distant 
part of the country. All the old associations of his early life 
were broken up ; he had no longer an earthly home ; and 
until his death he had, for the most part, no other ties and 
associations except those which were created by his religious 
profession and his sacerdotal office. 

Some six or seven persons were received into the Church 
soon after his conversion, three or four of whom were his 
parishioners ; and some others may have been at a later period 
partly influenced by his example. But none of his intimate 
and particular friends were among the number, with the ex 
ception of his old and bosom friend and associate in the 
ministry, Mr. Lyman. His name and influence faded away, 
and were forgotten among the things of the past ; while he, 
having bidden farewell to the world and taken up his cross, 
followed on after Christ, toward the crown he was so soon to 
win, and was lost to the view of those among whom he had 
lived before, in the dust of the combat and labor of an ardu 
ous and obscure missionary career. 

It is not to be supposed that Mr. Baker could hesitate long 
as to his vocation. He had in his youth dedicated himself to 
the ministry of Christ, but had mistaken a false claimant of 
delegated power to confer the character and mission of the 
priesthood, for the true one. ISTine years had been spent, not 
uselessly ; for the good example and eloquent instructions of a 
wise and virtuous man are always salutary ; and he had been 
slowly preparing himself by the feeble light and imperfect 
grace which he had for the perfect gifts of the Catholic 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 113 

sacraments. He was now thirty-three years of age, in the 
full bloom of his natural powers, with all his holy aspirations 
and purposes ripened and perfected, with a thorough knowl 
edge of Catholic theology, excepting only its specially tech 
nical and professional branches, with all the habits suited for 
a sacerdotal life fully established. The only doubt of his 
vocation in his own mind was one of humility, and when this 
was settled by the decision of his confessor and of his bishop, 

his course was clear before him. He mi^ht still have chosen 

. * 

to remain in his own home and family while preparing for 

ordination. He might have remained in his native city, or 
in the diocese, as a secular priest, secure of the most honor 
able and agreeable position which the archbishop could be 
stow upon him, where he could have enjoyed all those 
domestic comforts and elegancies to which he was accustomed, 

o 

together with the society of the beloved members of his family 
who still remained, without in any way interfering with 
his proposed career as a devoted priest. He chose differently, 
however, and from the promptings of his own soul, which 
instinctively chose what was most perfect. My religious 
brethren and myself used no solicitations to induce him to 
join us. His original desire for the religious life gave him a 
bias toward the regular clergy. What he saw of the little 
band of American Redemptorists, and of the mission which 
was given at the Cathedral, captivated his heart with a desire 
to become one of their number. He thought of one thing- 
only what was the will of God, and the most perfect way 
open to him to sanctify himself and others in the priesthood. 
His mind was soon made up on this point. He applied to 
the Father Provincial of the Redemptorists, who received him 
without hesitation. He settled his affairs as speedily as pos 
sible, and began his novitiate at once. As soon as the prop 
er time arrived, he divested himself of all his property for 
the benefit of the surviving members of his family. His 
library he gave to the congregation, by whom it was after- 



114 MEMOIR OF 



ward kindly restored to him, and is now in the possession of 
the Paulists at New York. His only aim and desire, Iron, 
this time forward, was to acquire the perfection of Christian 
and religious virtue. Forgetting all that was behind, he 
pressed forward to those things which were before, with a 
fixed aim and a steady, unfaltering step. He dropped into 
the position of a novice and a student so easily, and with 
such a perfectness of humility, that it seemed his natural 
and obvious place to be among the youths and young men 
who were with him. He was the favorite and companion of 
the youngest among them, and, it is needless to say, the de 
light and consolation of his superiors. After one year of 
novitiate and his profession, he continued for two years more 
studying dogmatic and moral theology, with the other acces 
sories usually taught to candidates for orders. During this 
time he lost his amiable and excellent sister, Elizabeth 
Baker, to his great sorrow. Although his ordination was 
postponed much longer than is usually the case with men in 
his position, already so well prepared by their previous intel 
lectual and moral training for the priesthood, he was not in 
the least impatient at the delay, and his long preparation gave 
him the advantage that he was ready at once to undertake 
all the most difficult and responsible duties of a matured and 
experienced priest. Besides this, he acquired that thorough 
and minute theoretical and practical knowledge of the cere 
monies of the Church, and of every thing relating to the divine 
service of the altar and the sanctuary, for which he was 
afterward distinguished. He came out of his long retire 
ment a workman thoroughly and completely furnished for 
his task, and imbued through and through with the spirit of 
the Catholic Church. I seldom saw him, and never exchang 
ed letters with him, during all this period, each of us being 
absorbed in his own particular duties and occupations, at a 
distance from the other. As the time of his ordination ap 
proached, we were both of us, however, again in the same 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 115 

House, that of St. Alphonsus, in Baltimore. It was in tlie 
summer of 1856 that he finished his studies, and, having some 
time before received the minor orders, began his retreat pre 
paratory to being admitted to the three holy orders. During 
the retreat, his companion, F. Yogien, an amiable and holy 
young religious with him and the saintly prelate who 
ordained them, now, I trust, in heaven was full of dread and 
apprehension, often weeping, and even entreating his superior 
to postpone his ordination. With Father Baker it was other 
wise. While I was in the church, during the evening, em- 

} O C5" 

ployed in the exercises of my own retreat, I often heard him 
singing the most joyful of the ecclesiastical chants in the 
garden, and his placid, pale face was lighted up with the 
radiant joy of a soul approaching to the consummation of its 
holiest and most cherished wishes. He was ordained sub- 
deacon and deacon in St. Mary s Chapel during the week 
before the Sunday fixed for his ordination to the priesthood. 

On Sunday, September 21, 1856, he was ordained priest by 
Archbishop Kenrick, in the Cathedral. The Archbishop cel 
ebrated Pontifical Mass, the reverend gentlemen and seminar 
ists from St. Sulpice assisted, and the clergy were present 
in considerable numbers, among them his old friend, Mr. 
Lyman, already a priest. Every one who knows what the 
Cathedral of Baltimore is, and how the grand ceremonies of 
the Church are performed in it, will understand how beauti 
ful and inspiring was the scene at Father Baker s ordination. 
The great church was crowded to its utmost capacity, but it 
was by Catholics only, drawn by the desire to see one who 
had sacrificed so much for their own dear faith. Father 
Baker, as he knelt with his companion at a priedieu, dressed 
in rich and beautiful white vestments, after receiving the 
indelible character of the priesthood, to offer up with the 
Archbishop the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, looked more" like 
an angel than a man. The holy and benignant prelate shed 
tears of joyful emotion when he embraced him at the close 



116 MEMOIR OF 

oi* tlie ceremony, and there was never a more delightful re 
union than that which took place on that day, when the 
clergy met at the archbishop s table, to participate in the 
modest festivities of the episcopal mansion. A few days after, 
Mr. Lyman, Father Baker, and myself, celebrated a solemn 
Votive Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Alphonsus Church, for 
the signal grace w T e had received, in being all brought to 
the communion of the Holy Church and to her priesthood. 

Here began the sacerdotal career, brief in time, but rich 
in labors and results, of Father Baker. He remained in 
Baltimore a few weeks, to celebrate his first Mass, and ini 
tiate himself in quiet retirement into his new priestly life 
and functions. The first fruit of his new priesthood was a 
convert to the Catholic Church, a young widow lady of 
highly respectable family, who was bred a Unitarian, 
and who had been waiting three years to be received into 
the Church by Father Baker. He baptized her and her two 
children, a few days after his own ordination. Soon after he 
began the missionary career, in which the greatest part of 
his subsequent life was employed. 

It may not here be amiss to digress from the personal his 
tory of Father Baker, long enough to give some account of 
the nature of those missions in which he was henceforth to 
take so conspicuous a part, and of their introduction into this 
country. In doing so, I shall describe more particularly the 
method adopted in those missions with which I have been 
myself connected, without noticing any others which may 
differ in certain details ; and this will suffice to give a correct 
idea of all missions, so far as their general spirit and scope is 
concerned. 

Missions to the Catholic people have been in use for cen 
turies in various parts of Europe. They are generally given 
by the members of religious congregations specially devoted 
to the work. The missionaries are invited by the pastor of 
the parish, with the sanction of the bishop of the diocese 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 117 

from whom they receive their jurisdiction. The exercises of 
the mission consist of a regular series of sermons and instruc 
tions, continued for a number of days, and sometimes for 
two weeks in succession, twice or often er in the day. The 
course of instructions, which is given at an early hour of the 
morning, embraces familiar and plain but solid and didactic, 
expositions of the commandments, sacraments, and practical 
Christian and moral duties. The course of sermons, given 
at night, includes the great truths which relate to the eternal 
destiny of man, which are presented in the most thorough 
and exhaustive manner possible, and enforced with all the 
power with which the preacher is endowed. Several of 
Father Baker s mission sermons are included in the collection 
published in this volume, and will serve to exhibit their 
peculiar style and character. Frequently, the older children 
receive separate instruction for about four days in succession, 
closing with a general confession and communion. After 
the mission has continued a few days, the confessionals are 
opened to the people, and communion is given every morning 
to those who are prepared to receive. At the close of the 
mission the altar is decorated with flowers and lights, a bap 
tismal font is erected, the people renew their baptismal vows 
after an appropriate sermon has been preached, and are dis 
missed with a parting benediction. The sacrifice of the Mass 
is offered up several times every morning, according to the 
number of priests present ; and before the evening sermon 
there is a short prefatory exercise, which, in the Paulist 
Missions, consists of the explanation of an article of the 
Creed, followed by the Litany of the Saints. After sermon, 
the Miserere or some other appropriate piece is sung, and 
the benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is given. 

All this is very simple, consisting of nothing more than 
the preaching of the Word of God, the administration of the 
sacraments, and the performance of acts of worship and 
prayer, as these are ordinarily practised in the regular rou- 



118 MEMOIR OF 

tine of the Catholic Church. All that is peculiar and 
unusual consists in the adaptation of the preaching and 
instructions to the end in view, and in the daily continuity 
of the exercises. The object aimed at is to present in one 
complete view all the principal truths of religion, and all the 
essential practical rules for living virtuously in conformity 
with those truths, and to do this in the most comprehensive, 
forcible, and intelligible manner. The class of persons for 
whose benefit missions are primarily intended is that portion 
of the Catholic people least influenced by the ordinary minis 
trations of the parochial clergy, although all classes, even the 
best instructed and most regular, share in the benefit. All 
necessary available means are used to awaken an interest in 
the mission and to secure attendance. When this is done, 
continuous daily listening to instruction and participation in 
religious exercises prevents the impressions received from 
passing away, the people become more and more interested 
and absorbed, and are carried through a process of thought 
and reflection upon all the most momentous truths and doc 
trines, which is for them equivalent to a thorough education 
of the mind and conscience. The general instructions given 
in public are applied to the individual soul by the confessor 
in the tribunal of penance, as the judge of guilty and the 
physician of diseased and wounded consciences. Sin and 
guilt are washed away by sacramental absolution from all 
who are sincerely penitent ; their souls, purified and restored 
to grace, are refreshed and strengthened by the Body and 
Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, and the debt of 
temporal punishment due to the justice of God is removed or 
lightened, in proportion to the intensity of contrition and 
divine love excited in the soul by its own efforts to secure 
the grace of God, through the indulgences conceded by the 
supreme power of the Yicar of Christ. 

The earlier sermons are directed to the end of fixing the 
mind on the supreme importance of religion, and alarming 



KEV. FRANCIS A. BAKEK. 119 

( 

the conscience in regard to sin. Afterward, special vices 
are denounced, particular dangers and temptations pointed 
out, those duties which are most neglected are brought out 
into bold relief, and every effort made to produce a thorough 
reformation of life. Toward the close, the scope and aim 
of the sermons are to animate and encourage the heart and will 
by appealing to the nobler passions and the higher motives, 
to awaken confidence in God, to portray the eternal rewards 
of virtue and point out the means of perseverance. All that 
can impress the senses and imagination, subdue the heart, 
convince the reason, and stimulate the will, is brought to 
bear, in conjunction with the supernatural efficacy of the 
word and sacraments of Christ, upon a people full of faith 
and religious susceptibility, under the most favorable cir 
cumstances for producing the greatest possible effect. Where 
faith is impaired, the effect is not so certain, and slower and 
more tedious means have to be adopted, with less hope of 
success, to restore the dying root of all religion, or replant 
it where it is completely dead. It is moreover certain, 
although it may not be evident to those who are destitute of 
Catholic faith, that there is an extraordinary grace of God 
accompanying the exercises of the mission ; and this was so 
plain to the mind of an earnest Episcopalian clergyman in New 
England, on one occasion, that it led him to study seriously 
the subject of the Catholic Church, the result of which was 
that he became a Catholic, at a great personal sacrifice. 

Public retreats had been given from time to time in the 
United States, by the Jesuits and others, before the series of 
Eedemptorist Missions was commenced. This series, which 
began at St. Joseph s Church, New York, in April, 1851, was, 
however, the first that was systematically and regularly 
carried on by a band of missionaries especially devoted to the 
work. Since that time, the number of missionaries, belono-imr 

7 O rt 

to several distinct congregations, has increased, and the 
missions have been multiplied. The principal merit of inaugu- 



120 MEMOIR OF 

rating this great and extensive work belongs to F. Bernard 
Haf kenseheid, who was formerly the Provincial of the Ke- 
demptorist Congregation in the United States. F. Bernard, as 
he was always called, on account of his unpronounceable patro 
nymic, had been for twenty years the most eloquent and suc 
cessful preacher of missions in his native country of Holland 
and the adjacent Low Countries. Born to the possession 
of wealth and all its attendant advantages, but still more 
blessed with a most thorough religious training and the grace 
of early piety from his childhood, he received a finished 
ecclesiastical education, which he completed at Home, where 
he was honored with the doctorate in theology. After 
his ordination, he devoted himself to the religious and mis 
sionary life in the Congregation of the Most Holy Kedeemer, 
in which he speedily became the most eminent of all their 
preachers in the Low Countries. He was able to preach the 
word of God with fluency and correctness in three languages, 
besides his native tongue : French, German, and English. 
But it was only in the Dutch language that he was able to 
exhibit the extraordinary powers of eloquence with which 
he was endowed, and which made his name a household word 
in every Catholic family in Holland. His picture was to be 
seen in every house ; the highest and lowest flocked with 
equal eagerness to hear him, and, on one occasion, the* king 
himself came to the <f>nvent to testify his respect for his 
apostolic character by a formal visit. His figure and coun 
tenance were cast in a mould as large as that of his great and 
generous soul, and his whole character and bearing were 
those of a man born to lead and command others by his 
innate superiority, but to command far more by the magnetic 
influence of a kind and noble heart than by authority. 
Father Bernard brought with him to the United States, in 
March, 1851, two American Eedernptorists, who had beeif 
stationed for some years in England, and had scarcely 
landed in New York when he organized a band of mis- 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 121 

sionaries, to commence the English missions. During nearly 
two years, he took personal charge of many of those missions^ 
working in the confessional from twelve to sixteen hours 
every day, occasionally preaching when the ordinary preacher 
broke down, and instructing the young, inexperienced fathers 
most carefully in all the methods of giving sermons and 
instructions, and otherwise conducting the exercises of the 
mission in the best and most judicious manner. Father 
Bernard received Father Baker into the congregation, but 
soon afterward was recalled to Europe, where, after a long 
and laborious life spent in the sacred warfare, he is resting in 
the quiet repose and peace of religious seclusion.* 

The superior of the English Missions, in the absence of F. 
Bernard, and after he ceased to direct them personally, was 
another Father with an unpronounceable name, F. Alexan 
der Cvitcovicz, a Magyar, who was always called Father 
Alexander. It would have been impossible to find a supe 
rior more completely fitted for the position. Although he 
was even then past the meridian of life, and had been in 
former times the Superior-General of his Congregation in the 
United States, he cheerfully took on himself the hardest la 
bors of the missions. It was not unusual for him to sit in 
his confessional for ten days in succession, for fifteen or six 
teen hours each day. He instructed the little children who 
were preparing for the sacraments, and sometimes gave some 
of the morning instructions, but never preached any of the 
great sermons. In his government of the fathers who were 
under him, he was gentleness, consideration, and indulgence 
itself. In his own life and example, he presented a pattern of 
the most perfect religious virtue, in its most attractive form- 
without constraint, austerity, or moroseness, and yet without 
relaxation from the most strict ascetic principles. He was 
a thoroughly accomplished and learned man in many 

* Since the above was written, the news has been received of the death of 
Father Bernard, from the effects of a fall while descending from the pulpit. 
6 



122 MEMOIR OF 

branches of secular and sacred science and in the fine arts ; 
and in the German language, which was as familiar to him 
as his native language, he was among the best preachers 
of his order. He designed and built the beautiful Church of 
St. Alphonsus, in Baltimore, although he was never able to 
complete it according to his own just and elegant taste. For 
such a man to take upon himself the drudgery of laborious 
missions, aided, for the most part, by young men in delicate 
health, incapable of enduring the hardships of old, well-sea 
soned veterans, was indeed a trial of his virtue. He under 
took it, however, cheerfully, and we went through several 
long and hard missionary campaigns under his direction, 
until at last we left him, in the year 1854, in the convent at 
New Orleans, worn out with labor, to exchange his arduous 
missionary work for the lighter duties of the parish. Father 
Alexander was succeeded in the office of Superior of English 
Missions by Father Walworth, one of the American Redemp- 
torists, who accompanied Father Bernard from England, 
and w r ho continued in that office until, with several others, 
he was released from his connection with the congregation 
by a brief of the Holy Father, in order to form a new 
society of missionaries. 

There has never been a finer field open to missions than 
the one which is found in the Catholic population of the 
United States, and seldom has there existed a greater need 
of them. The Missions of St. Alphonsus Liguori, the founder 
of the Redemptorists, and his companions, were confined to 
villages, hamlets, and outlying districts, remote from episco 
pal cities and large towns. In his rules he directs his chil 
dren to labor in places of this sort, because in Italy the most 
neglected and necessitous part of the people is only to be 
found there. In this country it was not so. The great need 
for missions lay in cities and large towns, where dense 
masses of Catholics were gathered, and wftere churches, 
clergy, and religious organizations of all kinds, were inade 
quate to the spiritual wants of the people. A large part of 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 123 

the missionary work which lias been accomplished has been, 
therefore, among those dense masses of the people in our 
largest churches and congregations, penetrating to the low 
est strata, and bringing to bear a powerful religious influence 
upon the most uninstructed and negligent classes of the peo 
ple. Some idea of the extent of this work may be gained 
from the fact that the missions given by the corps which F. 
Bernard organized, during seven years, from 1851 to 1858, 
were eighty-six in number, with an aggregate of 166,000 
communions. They have been carried on on a similar scale, 
since that time, by the new Congregation of St. Paul, and by 
members of several older religious societies ; so that, in the 
last seven years, the number of persons who have parti 
cipated in the benefits of missions is, probably, nearly 
double the figures given above. There were other missions 
also given, during the first period, besides those enumerated, 
especially among Germans. It is, therefore, speaking within 
bounds to estimate the number of persons who have received 
the sacraments on missions, since 1851, at 500,000. 

This is, however, much less than might have been done, if 
the number of missionaries and the facilities for attending 
their missions had been greater. Our Catholic population is 
a vast sea, where the successors of the apostolic fishers of men 
may cast their nets perpetually, without ever exhausting its 
abundance. In large towns, the population is so fluctuating 
and so continually increasing, that the work needs to be per 
petually renewed at short intervals. There are also immense 
difficulties in the way of the poor people. The mass of them 
belong to the laboring class, and are, therefore, obliged to 
come to church very early, before their working hours, and 
again at night, after their work is done. They have no 
leisure, and can with difficulty rescue even the few hours 
necessary for listening to the instructions they so much need. 
Hence, many of them can get only as it were by snatches, 
here and there, a sermon or instruction during the course. 
In factory towns the case is worse. Were it not for the ac- 



124 MEMOIR OF 

cornmodation usually granted by the overseers, in shortening 
the time, and giving leave of absence, it would be impossible 
to give missions to the operatives in many of our factory 
villages. Our modern system of society leaves out of the 
account the wants of the soul and the duties of religion. 
For many, there is even the hard necessity of working all 
night, and all Sunday. It is, therefore, difficult enough for 
our poor people to attend a mission well, when there is plenty 
of room for them in the church, and a good chance of going 
to confession without waiting longer than a few hours. Yery 
frequently, however, in our large and overcrowded parishes, 
the church will not hold even when crowded to suffocation 
more than from one-fourth to one-half of the parishioners. 
The church is frequently filled two hours before the time of 
service. The porch, the steps, the windows even, are crowded, 
and hundreds go away disappointed. It is easy to see what 
a drawback this is to the success of a mission, which re 
quires a continuous attendance at all the sermons and in 
structions, and to the stillness and order in the church which 
are necessary to enable all to hear distinctly, and to reflect on 
what they hear. I have seen at least four thousand persons 
congregated in the streets adjacent to the Tew York Cathe 
dral, besides the crowd inside. 

Another difficulty lies in the vast number of penitents, and 
the small number of confessors. On many missions, con 
fined strictly to one parish, there have been from four thou- 
sand to eight thousand communions ; and, of course, that 
number of confessions to be heard within eleven days. At 
a recent mission of the Redemptorists, in New York, there 
were eleven thousand communions ; and at one given a year 
or two ago, by the Jesuits, twenty thousand. Ordinarily, the 
number of confessors has been inadequate to the work. 
The people have thronged the chapel where confessions were 
heard, from four o clock in the morning until night, often 
waiting an entire day, or even several days, before they 



KEV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 125 

could get near a priest. At five in the morning, each of us 
would see two long rows one of men and one of women 
seated on benches, flanking his confessional. At one o clock 
he would leave the same unbroken lines, to find them again 
at three, and to leave them in the evening still un diminished. 
At the end of the mission there would be still the same 
crowd waiting about the confessionals, and left unheard, be 
cause the missionaries were unable to continue their work 
any longer. More than one-half these people would be per 
sons who had not been at confession for five, ten, or twenty 
years, and of these a great number had seldom been at church, 
and still more rarely heard a sermon. Hundreds upon hun 
dreds of adults, of all ages, have received the sacraments for 
the first time upon these missions, many of whom had to be 
taught the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, with 
the other elementary articles of the Creed. I have several 
times, at the close of a mission, seen a row of grown-up boys 
seated before my confessional, of that class who roam the 
streets, loiter about the docks, and sleep out at night, unable 
to read, and scarcely able to tell who made them, much less 
to answer the question, Who is Jesus Christ? They had 
come to be instructed and prepared for the sacraments, swept 
in by the tide which was moving the waters all around them. 
Of course, they needed weeks of instruction and of moral 
preparation, to rescue them from the abyss of ignorance and 
vice in which they were submerged, and make them capable 
of living like rational beings and Christians. With some of 

o o 

them, a beginning may be made, and the germ of good 
planted in their souls. But many have to be left as they 
come, because there is no provision which can be made for 
their instruction. In a word, the nets are so full of a mul 
titude of fishes that they break, and there are not workmen 
enough to drag them ashore. The work is too overwhelming 
for the number and strength of those who are engaged in it. 

O ^ O 

In this respect, some missions which have been given in the 



126 MEMOIR OF 

British provinces, have been the most complete and satisfac 
tory of any. In St. Patrick s Church, Quebec, the vast size 
of the building enabled all who desired to do so to find 
room. Nineteen confessors were on duty, and others were 
appointed to instruct converts or ignorant adult Catholics. 
All who wished to go to confession were easily heard, with 
out long waiting, or the accumulation of a great crowd of 
wearied and eager penitents pressing around the confessionals. 
It was the same in St. John s, where the Archbishop of Hali 
fax and a large body of clergymen w r ere hearing confessions 
constantly, although, even with, this powerful aid, the mis 
sionaries broke down under the labor of preaching every day 
to six thousand or eight thousand persons in the great Cathe 
dral Church, which had just been opened for service. In 
these places, how r ever, the number of the people, though 
great, had a limit which could be reached, and the requisite 
number of priests were easily at the command of the bishop. 
In the United States, however, the work is out of all propor 
tion to the number of priests who are either specially de 
voted to missions or who can be called in to aid these in their 
labors. The missionaries are too few to do the work alone, 
and the parochial clergy are too much engaged in their own 
duties to be able to give much of their time to additional 
works of charity. If it were possible to give missions simul 
taneously in all the churches of New York City, and if they 
could contain all the people, it would be easy to collect one 
hundred thousand Catholics together every night to hear the 
Word of God, and to bring from one hundred and fifty 
thousand to two hundred thousand to communion within fif 
teen days. In proportion to the population, the same results 
would be produced everywhere in the United States. It 
would require the labor of one hundred missionaries, during 
eight years, to give missions thoroughly to our entire Catho 
lic population. At their commencement, however, and for 
some years after, there were but six or eight, and there are 



REV. FRAXCI8 A. BAKER. 127 

now, probably, not more than twenty priests continually em 
ployed in this work. The necessity tor it is, nevertheless, 
quite as urgent as it ever has been, and the benefit to be de 
rived from it inconceivable. There are the vast masses of 
people gathered in our great centers of population, exposed 
to a thousand demoralizing influences, and most inadequately 
supplied with the ordinary means of grace. All that has 
been done for them hitherto, is but just sufficient to develop 
the immense need there is for doing more, and the great bless 
ing that attends every effort to do it. Of course, the main 
reliance of the Church is, and always must be, upon the 
bishops and parochial clergy, and I have not had the slight 
est intention, in any thing I have said, to exaggerate the im 
portance of the special work of missionaries. The episcopate 
and priesthood were established by Jesus Christ Himself, and 
are absolutely essential to the very existence of the Church. 
Religious congregations are of ecclesiastical institution, and 
are only auxiliary to the pastoral office. The multiplication 
of churches and of priests engaged in parochial duties is the 
most pressing need, and in no other way can the spiritual 
wants of the people be adequately provided for. It will be 
long, however, before the bishops will be able, even by the 
most strenuous exertions, to make the number of churches 
and clergymen keep pace with the increase of the population. 
Meanwhile, this lack of the ordinary means of grace cannot 
be supplied except by missions ; and even where these means 
are amply provided, the subsidiary and extraordinary labors 
of societies of priest? devoted to special apostolic works are 
necessary, in order to give their full efficacy to the ministra 
tions of the ordinary pastors. 

Besides our great towns, and their dense mass of Catholic 
population, there is another extensive field of missionary 
work, which has of late years been successfully cultivated, 
and which invites still further cultivation with a promise of a 
rich harvest. I refer to the numerous new parishes found in 



128 MEMOIR OF 

the smaller cities and country towns and villages. Here a 
new phase of Catholic life and growth has commenced. The 
population is becoming settled and permanent. Catholics are 
making their way upward, acquiring real and personal pro 
perty, blending with the body of their fellow-citizens, educa 
ting their children, and to a certain extent themselves belong 
to the second generation of Catholic emigrants from Europe, 
having been born and married in this country. In many 
instances, one pastor has two or more of these parishes to 
take care of. His time and thoughts are taken up with 
church-building and a multitude of other necessary duties. 
The country around is sprinkled over with Catholics, who 
have no resident priest among them. There is a vast amount 
of work to be done in instructing, confirming in the faith, 
bringing under religious and moral influence, and establishing 
in solid piety and morality, this interesting and hopeful class 
of Catholics. Nowhere have the missions been so complete 
and satisfactory as in parishes of this kind. The whole body 
of the people living in the place where the church is, can 
attend the sermons and receive the sacraments. Besides these, 
those living several miles away flock to the church as regu 
larly as if they lived in the same street ; and even from a 
great distance, numbers, who are usually deprived of the reli 
gious advantages of the Church, perhaps even have grown up 
without making their first communion, seize the opportunity 
with eagerness to come to the mission and remain for a few 
days, until they can be prepared to receive the sacraments of 
life. In Massachusetts alone, where congregations of this 
kind abound, the number of communions given in the Paulist 
Missions of the last five years, without counting those given 
in Boston, amounts to twenty-five thousand five hundred and 
thirty, on seventeen distinct missions, giving an average of 
one thousand three hundred and twenty-five to each congre 
gation. These figures are a correct index to the numbers 
of the Catholic population in country towns throughout 



EEV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 120 

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and 
other portions of tlie Northern States. 

The missions hitherto given have been intended imme 
diately for the benefit of the Catholic people. Their inci 
dental influence upon the Protestant community ought not, 
however, to be overlooked. Usually, our Catholic churches 
are so crowded by the faithful, that it is at least unpleasant, 
if not almost impossible for others to attend our sermons, 
especially on occasions of great interest. Notwithstanding 
this obstacle, thousands of Protestants have come at different 
times to hear the mission sermons, and there have usually 
been several converts 011 each large mission, sometimes as 
many as twenty, and on one mission, that of Quebec, fifty. 
Hundreds have been received into the Church, in this way, 
from all classes in society, among whom were two clergymen 
holding respectable positions in the Episcopal Church, which 
they gave up at a great worldly sacrifice. Besides ^tual 
conversions, a great effect has been produced in removing the 
prejudices and gaining the good-will of the community at 
large. The secular papers have almost unanimously spoken 
favorably of the missions. In many instances, the gentlemen 
and ladies of the vicinity have sent the choicest flowers of 
their gardens and hot-houses, to decorate the altar and baptis 
mal font. "Not only laymen, but clergymen have often 
manifested a wish to show kind and courteous attentions to 
the missionaries. Yery seldom has any thing unpleasant 
occurred, or any annoyance been experienced much less, in 
deed, than is encountered by missionaries in some other parts 
of the world from nominal Catholics. Employers have fre 
quently lent their servants and work-people the means of 
conveyance to the church, or exempted them from a portion 
of their duties. It is impossible not to see how rapidly and 
generally the prejudice against the Catholic religion and the 
priesthood is melting away in this country. And this seems 

to warrant the hope that the time may soon come, when the 
G* 



130 MEMOIR OF 

faith may be preached to our separated brethren by means of 
missions especially intended for them, with rich results. 

The favorable impression already so widely produced upon 
those who have heard Catholic missionaries preach, proves how 
much we have to hope for in this direction. This has caused, 
in one instance, which seems to demand some notice, an 
attempt to obviate this effect, by representing our manner of 
preaching as part of an artful plan of Home, to deceive the 
minds of the people by presenting only a portion of the 
Catholic doctrine under plausible colors. After several mis 
sions had been given in Cambridge and Boston, where many 
Protestants of intelligence attended, and more would have 
willingly done so if there had been room for them, the rector 
of a Boston church, who was present several times, preached 
and published a lecture, in which he attempted to explain 
the real spirit and object of the Paulist Congregation, by 
whi$L the missions were given. The extent of the impres 
sion made is proved by the following passage in a note to the 
lecture : 

" One does not take pleasure in accumulating proofs that 
the Papal superstition still retains its most deplorable fea 
tures; but as long as Protestant minds are imposed upon by 
the superficial fallacy that it is parting with these features, 
because its public speakers deliver admirable discourses, it 
seems to be necessary. Undoubtedly, the order of Paulists, is 
at present a very efficient arm of the Romish, service in this 
country. Men say, Whatever Hildebrand, and the Inno 
cents, and Torquemada may have done or said, such preach 
ing as this is good for everybody? 

On page 27 of the lecture, he says : " One of the latest de 
velopments in the policy of her propagandisni is the establish 
ment in this country, with head-quarters in our chief city, of 
a new missionary order. The Paulists are the itinerants and 

* The B. C. Principle : a " Price Lecture," &c. Boston. Button & Co. 1863 
App., p. 39. 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 131 

revivalists of that shrewd mother of adaptabilities , who, in 
Decorums; all things to all men and to all women, saw a 

c) ~ 

chance in America for reaping, not so much in the field 
where her own fathers, like Marquette and Rasles, as where 
Wlritfield and Maffit had sown." 

Throughout the lecture, the aim of the author is to show 

O f 

that the sound and practical preaching of the eternal truths 
of religion, which he is forced himself to admire, and which 
was so much admired by many others, is nothing but an illu 
sive pretence, which throws a deceitful halo over a system of 
superstitious formalism. 

I have not introduced this topic for the sake of a theologi 
cal argument, but merely in view of vindicating the reputa 
tion of F. Baker, whose sermons at Cambridge made the prin 
cipal impression which the lecture was intended to obviate, 
and forestalling a prejudice which might cast a shade over the 
discourses which are published in this volume. 

The author of this lecture, who has been my personal friend 
for thirty years, and who wrote to me on the occasion of its 
publication to express his hope that it might not interrupt 
our friendship, and all the Protestants who may peruse these 
pages, especially those who know me, will admit that I am 
both competent to explain what Catholic doctrine is, and inca 
pable of practising any dissimulation on the subject. Those 
who knew F. Baker, or who may learn to know him from 
reading this volume, will also acknowledge that his high- 
toned mind was incapable of yielding to any system of drivel 
ing superstition, and his chivalrous spirit of descending to any 
system of artful deception by paltering with words in a 
double sense. I ask them, therefore, not, to accept Catholic 
doctrine as true on our authority, but simply to believe that 
the testimony I give as to the doctrine we have embraced and 
preached, and our views and intentions in giving missions, is 
true ; and that the doctrine, contained in the discourses of this 
volume, is a veritable exposition of the true Catholic faith. 



182 MEMOIR OF 

\ 

The missions were commenced and have been carried oi"p 
for the purpose of benefiting the Catholic people. The sermons 
and instructions have been the same, in doctrine and practi 
cal aims, with those which were given in Italy and other 
purely Catholic countries for centuries past. The congrega 
tion of Paulists was not established by any act of the hierar 
chy here, or of the supreme authority at Home. It was 
formed by F. Baker and three other American converts, in 
consequence of certain unforeseen circumstances, and without 
any previous deliberate plan, with a simple approbation from 
an archbishop, and a mere recognition of the validity of that 
approbation on the part of Rome. Not a word of instruction 
or direction as to the manner of preaching, or the end to be 
aimed at in our labors, has ever been given by authority, but 
the movement has been the spontaneous act of the few indi 
viduals who began it. It is our desire, as it must be that of 
every Catholic priest, to bring as many persons as possible to 
the Catholic faith and into the bosom of the Catholic Church. 
We intend, therefore, to make use of all the means and op 
portunities in our power to present the faith and the Church 
to our non-Catholic countrymen, and to promote as much as 
possible the conversion of the American people. The Catho 
lic Church has the mission to convert the whole world, and 
intends to fulfil it ; and any Catholic priest who does not en 
deavor to do his share of the work, is recreant to the high ob 
ligations of his office. We intend to do our part, however, in 
promoting this great end, not by artifice or dissimulation, not 
by secret intrigues or plots, by fraud or violence, by under 
mining or attacking the civil and religious liberty enjoyed by 
all our citizens in common, but by argument and persuasion, 
by exhibiting the Church in her beauty, by prayer and good 
example, and by the grace of God. We have no reserves in 
regard either to our doctrine or our intentions, no esoteric 
and exoteric teaching. We present the Church and the faith 
as they always have been, in all times and places, one, uni- 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 133 

versal, and immutable, in all their essential parts. What the 
Church and her doctrine are is ascertainable by all who will 
take pains to inform themselves, and it would be impossible 
for us to conceal it if we were so disposed. All that we have to 
fear on this head is ignorance of the real truth concerning our 
principles, and the misrepresentation of them by those whose 
knowledge of them is superficial. The author of this lecture 
is one of this latter class, and has hastily and without due ex 
amination put forth his own impressions of our doctrines and 
practices, with which he is so completely unacquainted as not 
even to perceive that there is any thing in them which requires 
any careful study or thought. 

He says, p. 28 : "I have heard several of these mission ser 
mons preached. Most of them would undoubtedly be a sur- 
prise^ and an agreeable one, to Protestant ears. There was 
a sermon on future punishment, without one allusion to 
Purgatory." The sermon was on Hell, not on the whole sub 
ject of Future Punishment. We follow the laws of logic and 
rhetoric in our sermons, and confine ourselves strictly to the 
topic in hand-, excluding all irrelevant matter. Any one who 
is surprised at a sermon like this, shows that he is entirely 
ignorant of the published sermons of our great preachers. 
One who supposes that the place of punishment for those 
Catholics who have sinned grievously, and have not truly 
repented before death, is Purgatory, is entirely ignorant of 
Catholic theology. " There was a sermon on Mortal Sins, 
with scarely a reference to absolution." For the same reason 
given above, that the preacher stuck to his subject, and the 
instructions on the Sacrament of Penance were given in the 
morning. " There was another, on the Close of Life, which, 
from beginning to end, went to prove, in language that must 
have scorched every conscience not seared that listened to it 
contrary to all the common Protestant impressions of Ro 
mish instruction that there is no efficacy whatever in any or 
all of the Seven Sacraments to save a wicked Eoman Catholic 



134 MEMOIR OF 

from perdition" Indeed! Then these common impressions 
are all incorrect. The proposition which excites so much 
surprise is nothing but the commonest truism, familiar to 
every child that has learned the catechism. To admit, how 
ever, that the lecturer found himself to have been always 
mistaken, and Protestants generally to have been under the 
same mistake concerning Catholic teaching, would have been 
fatal. lie has no such intention. There is couched, under 
the language of praise which he gives to the sermon, a con : 
cealed accusation that the doctrine of the sermons does not 
really mean what it seems, and that the old Protestant preju 
dice against " Romish instruction " is, after all, correct. This 
concealed arrow is launched in the next paragraph : " Sup 
posing the fundamental falsehood, as a whole, to stand un 
challenged, hardly any addresses can be conceived more ad 
mirably effective to a practical and useful end in the lives of 
the people." That is to say, there is a fundamental falsehood 
which destroys their admirable effectiveness to a practical and 
useful end. The lecturer is making out a case against us, 
and preparing an indictment which shall destroy the good 
impression we have made on Protestant hearers. He prepares 
the way by ridiculing the ceremonies of Catholic worship. 

" But at just that point not only all praise, but all sympa 
thy stops short. To say nothing of the dreary array of pub 
lic pantomime and incantation, sprinkling and fumigation, 
pasteboard sanctities and materialistic adoration, which fol 
lowed, and which give one a sense of momentary mortification 
at being a spectator at such a mixed piece of impiety and 
absurdity," &c. 

The point at which the lecturer is aiming here clearly comes 
in view. All that is spiritual in our sermons, and that seems 
to inculcate a real and solid piety and virtue, is mere talk, or 
like the one genuine watch which the mock auctioneer passes, 
around with his pinchbeck counterfeits, to deceive his dupes 
the better. After a show of pure, spiritual doctrine, to furnish 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 135 

" a surprise, and an agreeable one, to Protestant ears," the 
poor Catholics are imposed npon with a set of outward shows 
and a routine of superstitious observances, which they are 
taught to believe will act upon them by a kind of magic 
charm, and secure them from receiving any damage to their 
souls and their future prospects from their sins. 

The religious services which the reverend lecturer witnessed 

o 

on the occasion referred to, consisted of the psalm Miserere, 
chanted by the choir, the hymn Tantum Ergo, and the Bene 
diction of the Blessed Sacrament. What is designated by the 
terms " pantomime and incantation " I am at a loss to con 
jecture. The "fumigation was the burning of incense, 
which was also had at the High Mass recently celebrated in 
Trinity Chapel by F. Agapius. I think, also, that I have read 
in the Old Testament something about censers and incense 
having been prescribed by the Almighty to be used in the 
" pantomimes and incantations " of the Jewish ritual. " Paste 
board sanctities " puzzled me for a long time. I suppose it 
refers to the pictures blessed at one of the morning instruc 
tions, which the lecturer has confounded with the evening 
sermon. 

" There were yet, beyond all that, as one pondered, appal 
ling absences from the teaching, and more fearful elements 
included." These strong epithets prepare us now to await 
the final and telling blow. First, the "appalling absences" 
are specified. " Can that be the true preaching of the Word 
where the language of that Word so seldom enters in ?" The 
reader is requested to look over a few of the sermons in this 
volume, and count the scriptual texts. " Could that be the 
true preaching of Christ, and Him crucified, where any 
mention of the simple gospel story was almost systematically 
shut out ?" A mere ad captandum objection. If the lecturer 
had heard the Creed explained throughout, he would have 
heard the mystery of redemption explained in its proper 
place. The reader is again referred to the sermons of this 



136 MEMOIR OF 

volume for a more complete answer to this aspersion. Now 
come the " more fearful elements." These are the merit of 
good works, the scapular, indulgences, transubstantiation, au 
ricular confession, purgatory, and devotion to the Blessed 
Virgin and Saints. The gist of the whole is contained in the 
following sentence : 

" Every system must be judged by its weaknesses and its er 
rors, not merely by its better traits. They say in mechanics that 
the strength of a complicated piece of machinery is equal only 
to the strength of its weakest part. This is as true in a scheme 
of justification as in dynamics. Offer human nature, at its 
own option, various ways of securing salvation, and not more 
certainly will water seek the lowest spot than men will settle 
down to the inferior methods of escaping the pains of perdi 
tion." 

What is the point of this observation ? Evidently this : 
That we propose one way of salvation, by a truly holy life ; 
and another way, in which, without the trouble of leading a 
holy life, one may save himself by a few outward observances, 
a mere confession of the lips, without contrition or amend 
ment, reciting indulgenced prayers, wearing the scapular, &c. 
Consequently, only a few, who are of the nobler sort, will 
take the route of virtue and spiritual religion, while the mass 
will go on indulging themselves in all the sins to which 
they are inclined, and compound for them on the easiest terms 
they can make. Now, supposing this to be true, it recoils 
with all its force upon the one who uttered it. The whole 
doctrine of his lecture denies all merit to holiness and virtue, 
and ascribes justification solely to the personal holiness and 
virtue of Christ, which is appropriated by a naked act of 
faith. This is the Lutheran doctrine, and there cannot be a 
lower spot for men to settle down to, or an easier way for dis 
pensing oneself from everything that is painful and self-deny 
ing in the religion of the Cross. The author himself accuses 
(on p. 21 et seq.) nine-tenths of the New England Protestants 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 137 

- 

of having slid down to such a low point that they are as bad 
as Romanists : 

" The first question put by about nine New Englanders out 
of ten, when they are urged to any particular religious duty, 
is whether it is necessary to their salvation, i. e. whether they 
shall be paid for doing it. It is essentially a Komish question. 
Point to their censorious tongues, their narrow judg 
ments, their contempt of the Lord s poor, their unlovely tem 
per, their social and partisan prejudices, their mean dealings 
in*business, their physical and religious selfishness : they give 
you to understand that some time since they got into the ark 
why should they be further converted ?" Why should they, 
indeed, according to Luther and Calvin ? Once obtain the 
imputation of the merits of Christ, by faith, and you have a 
full absolution for both the past, the present, and the future, 
without confession or penance ; you have an inalienable right 
to the fruits of redemption without sacrifice or sacrament ; you 
have a perfect righteousness and a right to an eternal reward 
without good works or merits ; you have a plenary indulgence 
without even repeating " a prayer ot six lines," or attending a 
mission ; and you will go to heaven, not on the Saturday, but 
on the instant after your decease, without a scapular. Even 
the few little things that we exact from our poor, simple fol 
lowers, as a price for heaven, are dispensed with. " Not more 
surely will water seek the lowest spot, than men will settle 
down to the inferior methods of escaping the pains of perdi 
tion." Let the Catholic priest tell them that they must pro 
fess the faith and enter the communion of the one true Church, 
at whatever sacrifice of pride, position, property, or friends, 
and they will find some inferior method of saving their souls 
and keeping this world if they can. Let him tell them that 
they must confess every mortal sin, and they will settle down 
to some inferior method of obtaining pardon if they can find 
one. Let him tell them that they must do penance, fast, ab 
stain, give alms, mortify their passions, keep the command- 



138 MEMOIE OF 

ments, work out their salvation, and, if they would le perfect, 
sell all and follow Christ, like Mm whose doctrine the author 
attempts to criticise, and they will settle down to some infe 
rior method if they can persuade themselves that it is at 
their option to do so. 

"What avails it," the lecturer goes on to say, "that 
the preaching priest tells the congregation that sacraments 
and saints will not save them, and omits to mention the con 
fessional, if the confessing priest tells them, as he does in this 
book which he puts into their hands, quoting from the 
Bonian Catechism/ that almost all the piety, holiness, and 
fear of God, which, through the Divine mercy, are to be 
found in Christendom, are owing to sacramental confession T 
(Pp. 30, 31.) The priest does not omit to mention the con 
fessional, but let this pass. If there is any meaning in this 
query, it is, leaving aside the question about the prayers of 
saints, that it is of no avail to preach the necessity of inward 
renovation and holiness, if " sacraments " are taught to be 

7 O 

the necessary means of grace. Yet the lecturer quotes, on 
p. 25, a Homily of the Church of England, which says that 
we obtain " grace and remission, as well of our original sin 
in baptism [what ! saved by sprinkling ? ] as of all actual 
sin committed by us after our baptism, if we truly repent 
and turn unfeignedly to Him again." The same Church of 
England proposes also, at the option of human nature, along 
with the method of repenting by yourself, without extrinsic 
aid, the following "inferior method," by the confessional, 
which is pretty strongly urged on the sick man, as the best 
of the two. " Here shall the sick person be moved to make 
a special confession of his sins, if he feel his conscience 
troubled with any weighty matter. After which confession, 
the priest shall absolve him (if he humbly and heartily desire 
it) after this sort: Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath left 
power to His Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent 
and believe in Him, of his great mercy forgive thee thine 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 139 

offences : And by His authority committed to me, / absolve 
iheefrom, all thy sins : In the Name of the Father, and of 
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen." 

Let us turn to the Catechism of the Church of England, and 
we shall find a little more about " sacraments," and par 
ticularly the Holy Communion. " Qu. What meanest thou 
by this word Sacrament f A. I mean an outward and visi 
ble sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, or 
dained by Christ Himself, as a means whereby we receive tit* 
same, and a pledge to assure us thereof. Qu. How many 
parts are there in a Sacrament ? A. Two : the outward 
visible sign, and the inward spiritual grace. Qu. What is 
the outward part or sign of the Lord s Supper ? A. Bread 
and wine, which the Lord hath commanded to be received. 
Qu. What is the inward part, or thing signified ? A.- -The 
body and blood of Christ, which are verily and indeed taken 
and received by the faithful in the Lord s Supper. Qu. 
What are the benefits whereof we are partakers thereby ? 
A. The strengthening and refreshing of our souls by the 
body and blood of Christ, as our bodies are by the bread and 
wine." There are some " appalling absences from the teach- 
ins: " of this Catechism and " other more fearful elements in- 

o 

eluded." There is not a word about the gospel history in 
it, or justification by faith only. It is all Creed, Command 
ments, and Sacraments. Change "bread and wine : into 
" accidents of bread and wine," and you have in all that I 
have quoted a mere repetition of the Catholic Catechism. 
" What avails it," then, that the Episcopalian minister tells 
his congregation that sacraments will not save them, when 
he puts into their hands this catechism ? &c. 

I cannot follow the lecturer through the whole bead-roll 
of his enumeration of Catholic practices, which he has picked 
out of the Mission Book and gathered up in a hasty perusal 
of other books of devotion, or explain every thing. They are 
among the minor and subordinate parts of the Catholic 



14:0 MEMOIR OF 

system, and are placed in their proper relations to the more 
essential parts of it in Catholic practice and instruction. 
The lecturer has put them forward into a false perspective 
which distorts every thing, in order to show that they practi 
cally supplant the truth, the grace, and the morality of 
Christ ; in order to put in a preventer which shall effectually 
shut off all access of our preaching of the great truths of re 
ligion to the Protestant mind. He has skillfully chosen just 
the very practices which are most misunderstood by Protest 
ants, and most objectionable in their view. The chief of 
these, and such as are connected with Catholic dogmas, 

as Masses for the Dead, Devotion to the Blessed Virgin 

j ~ 

and Saints, and Indulgences, will be found fully explained in 
the sermons of this volume and the other volumes published 
by the congregation of which their author was a member, 
as well as in every Catholic manual. I single out, therefore, 
only one, and that the very one which a non-Catholic reader 
of the Mission Book would be most likely to stumble at, viz. 
The Scapular. 

The author says : "I open the Book of the Mission, and 
I find, intermixed with much that is better, such wretched 
directions as that * the wearing of the Virgin s 

Scapular around the neck (shall) guarantee the fulfilment 
of a promise made to one Simon Stock, an English Carmel 
ite friar, of six centuries ago, that c w T hoso should die in 
vested with it should be saved from eternal fire. 7 If this 
statement is to be taken in the sense of the lecturer, as a real 
exposition of our belief, it is very strange that we should not 
dispense with the confessional, as well as with preaching re 
pentance toward God, and a holy life, and confine ourselves to 
the easier task of investing all Catholics with the scapular. 
Nothing would be further necessary then, except to keep the 
strings in good repair, and we might all of us take our ease, 
eat, drink, and be merry, while this short life lasts, secure of 
going to heaven at last. Human nature always settles down 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 141 

to the lowest optional method of escaping perdition, according 
to our author. It is very singular, that after hearing our ser 
mons on the mission, and then stumbling upon this account 
of the scapular in a book published under our own direction, 
he should not have thought that there was some explanation 
of which it was susceptible, which would give it a meaning in 
harmony with our doctrine, and should not have asked for 
that explanation. I will give it, however, unasked, lest it 
should seem that his objection is unanswerable. 

The scapular is a small article, made to imitate a part of 
the religious habit, and worn as the badge of a pious confra 
ternity affiliated to the Carmelite Order. According to the 
proper and ordinary use of it, it is conferred on persons in 
tending to live a devout life, as an exterior sign of their 
special consecration to "die service of God under the protec 
tion of the Blessed Virgin, and of certain special graces which 
are given through the prayers of the holy religious of Mount 
Carlnel, to those who fulfil the conditions faithfully. These 
conditions are, to observe a strict chastity according to one s 
state, whether married or single, and to perform certain acts 
of devotion. It is understood that in order to be capable of 
receiving these graces, a person must take care to live always 
in the love and fear of God, and avoid all other mortal sins as 
well as those which are specifically renounced by the reception 
of the religious habit. This implies a diligent use of the 
means of grace, such as prayer and the sacraments. The ad 
vantage attributed to membership in the confraternity, and 
gained by fulfilling its conditions, is merely, additional grace 
to assist one to live a Christian life, and thus to escape perdi 
tion and gain heaven. The scapular is only a symbol of 
this, and the only consolation a person who wears it can re 
ceive from it at the hour of death is, that it is to him a 
badge and emblem of the holy life he has led, and of the 
promise of special grace in his last moments. There is, besides 
this, the " Sabbatine Indulgence," as it is called, by which 



142 MEMOIR OF 

it is generally held, as a matter, not of faith, but of opinion, 
based on a private revelation, that a person may obtain a 
remission of the punishment of temporal pain in the other 
world, on the Saturday after his decease. Presupposing now 
the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory, and also the doctrine of 
Indulgences, according to which no one can enter the first 
unless he dies free from mortal sin, or obtain the second fully 
unless he is free from every stain of sin, however small ; there 
is nothing in this pious belief prejudicial to strictness of piety 
or virtue. In order to escape eternal perdition, one must 
truly repent of every grievous sin. In order to be free from 
temporal punishment, one must satisfy the divine justice for 
past sins already remitted, and repent of all sins whatever, 
even the least and most trivial. The soul can never enter 
heaven until its holiness is consummated. Therefore the pious 
belief respecting the Sabbatine Indulgence cannot, without 
contradicting Catholic doctrine, mean more than this : that 
one who faithfully accomplishes all that he promises on re 
ceiving the scapular, and earnestly endeavors to purify him 
self from all mortal and venial sin, may hope that the removal 
of the stains which his soul may have at death will be accel 
erated by a special grace, and that, if without this special 
grace he would still have some short time to suffer, it may be 
remitted to him, or shortened, as God may see fit. 

The language of Catholic books, of devotion is often free 
and unguarded, and therefore easily susceptible of misunder 
standing when taken out of its connection and pressed into 
a hard liter alness by those who do not understand the 
Catholic system in its harmony. These books are written 
for Catholics, who are supposed to be instructed, and to have 
the practical sense of their religion which enables them to 
take up their meaning rightly. It is also presupposed that 
pastors and confessors will instruct and direct those under 
their charge in all matters relating to practical religion, and 
guard them against hurtful errors or mistakes in substituting 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 143 

minor and subsidiary practices of devotion for solid piety 
and the fulfilment of the weightier matters of the law. Let 
any one candidly examine into the spirit and scope of the 
sermons contained in this volume, and into those of the 
Mission Book, and he will see that those weightier matters 
are the ones which are insisted on. These are urged and 
enforced as essential with all possible earnestness ; and how 
can it detract from the force of these exhortations, that 
an occasional recommendation of some particular devotions 
is also thrown in, which is like our Lord s counsel not 
to leave undone the paying tithes of mint, anise, and 
cummin ? 

Let it be remembered that the point is not now to prove 
the truth of the Catholic doctrine respecting the sacraments 
or any inferior rites, practices, or pious works. It is to refute 
the charge that by these things we subvert sound morality, 
solid and spiritual piety, and faitli in Christ as the Author of 
grace and justification. This charge is untrue, irrespective 
of the question of the claim of the Catholic Church on faith 
and obedience. The author of the " Price Lecture has 
made it without due study and examination, on the faith of 
the writers of the Church he has recently joined, and into 
whose views he has thrown himself by a voluntary effort, 
without waiting to mature the results of his own theologi 
cal principles. He is capable of better things than this 
hasty and superficial lecture. Let him be true to the dying 
declaration of the great Anglican divine which he quotes 
with so much approbation (p. 6), " I die in the faith and 
Church of Christ, as held before the separation of East and 
West," and he will no longer be found in unworthy com 
panionship with the revilers of the Roman Church. How 
much more dignified an d noble is the position taken by such 
men as the great philosopher Leibniz, in the past, and, in the 
present, by the great statesman and champion of the truth of 
revelation and Protestant orthodoxy, Guizot ! The latter 



144 MEMOIR OF 

t 

does not hesitate to avow that he considers the cause of 
which he is a champion essentially identical with that of the 
Church of Rome. I agree with him, in the sense that the 
whole of the Christian tradition which is found in the 
various Christian bodies, and which, constitutes the positive 
and objective creed which they cling to, is all preserved in 
the Catholic Church. I know the doctrine of Luther and 
Calvin, in which I was brought up, thoroughly, and I can 
testify that the positive portion of it, respecting the mystery 
of Redemption and the inward sanctification of the Holy 
Spirit, I retain unchanged. I know thoroughly, also, the 
Church principles of Reformed Episcopacy, and I retain all 
these unchanged. I have found also all that true and 
sound rationality, or respect for human reason and its certain 
science, together with all that high estimate of the moral 
virtues, which is professed by Unitarians, in Catholic theology. 
I have never lost any thing or been required to abdicate 
any thing which I had previously acquired in the intellectual 
or spiritual life, by embracing Catholic doctrine, but have only 
added to it that which makes it more integral and complete. 
The real question of discussion is about that which is positive 
in the Roman Church, in addition to that which is common 
to her and Protestant communions, and not about those 
more primary articles of the Christian creed which form the 
basis of all religion and Christianity. It is the question, 
whether the Catholic Church is really the one, only Church, 
founded by Christ on the Supremacy of St. Peter and his 
Apostolic See of Rome ; and is an infallible teacher in faith and 
morals. We do not ask other Christians to admit this before 
they have examined the evidence, or been convinced by its 
force. We ask them simply, ad interim, to do us justice, to 
give us a fair hearing, to observe the rules of honorable war 
fare in their controversies with us, and to concede our rightful 
claims as Christians and as free citizens. Those bigoted 
leaders of religious factions and their great "Fourth 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 145 

Estate " of unemployed clerical followers, whose occupation 
of hanging around the skirts of our armies is gone, and who 
seek to stir up a religious war, by representing Catholics as 
the enemies of civil and religious liberty, and the progress of 
the Church as dangerous to our political welfare, are beyond 
all reason or remonstrance. Their plans are well character 
ised in some of the secular papers, as more nefarious than 
those of the men who plotted to burn the hotels of New 
York. They would be better employed, and make a much 
more efficacious war on infidelity, if they would give mis 
sions, establish churches, and make other efforts for the 
instruction in some principles of religion and morality of the 
half-million of Protestants in the city of New York, and the 
other millions elsewhere, who never enter a church-door. 
Those Protestants who may read these pages will undoubt 
edly, for the most part, belong to that large class who 
repudiate indignantly all sympathy with men of this sort, 
and their schemes. And on such readers I rely confidently to 
judge justly and generously the pure and noble character and 
apostolic works of the subject of this Memoir, from his life 
and from his own writings. I rely on them to believe my 
testimony, that they will find in these a specimen of the 
genuine character and doctrine of the Catholic priesthood, 
modelled after the form proposed by the Church herself. I 
think they will give their approbation and sympathy to all 
that is done by the Catholic clergy to stem the vast and 
swelling torrent of impiety and immorality which threatens 
our political and social fabric on every side, and will acknowl 
edge the service done to the state and society, apart- from 
the directly religious benefit to the souls of men, by the only 
Church and body of clergy that has a powerful sway over 
great masses of the population in our country. 

This long digression will, I fear, have seemed tedious, and 
irrelevant to the proper subject of this biographical narrative. 
I have thought it necessary, however, as a background to my 



146 MEMOIR OF 

portrait, to paint the missionary work from which, the life of 
Father Baker receives its principal value and significance. I 
return now to resume the thread of his personal history, 
which I left at the point where he was about to commence 
his public sacerdotal and missionary career. 

Father Baker came to the assistance of the little band who 
were toiling in their arduous missionary labors, in November, 
1856. His first mission-sermon was preached in St. Patrick s 
Church, Washington, D. C., on " The Necessity of Salvation." 
This sermon was also the last one which he ever preached, at 
one of the weekly services of Lent, in the parish church of St. 
Paul s, New-York. 

The debut of Father Baker as a missionary is noticed at 
the Records of the Missions in the following words, which 
were written by the faithful friend who watched over his last 
moments. 

" The Rev. Father Baker, a convert from Episcopalianism, 
and most highly respected and beloved as a Protestant minis 
ter in Baltimore, had been just ordained, and came for the first 
time to assist at this mission. He preached the opening sermon, 
which gave great satisfaction to all who heard it, and a prom 
ise that he will hereafter be a truly apostolical missionary." 

One pleasing little incident of this very interesting mission 
was, that the President and his lady gathered and arranged a 
beautiful bouquet of flowers, which were sent to decorate the 
altar at the ceremony of the Dedication to the Blessed Yir- 
gin, which took place near the close of the mission. 

After the conclusion of this mission, Father Baker was sent 
by his superior to Annapolis, to assist the rector of the House 
of Novices located there (on one of the ancient manors of the 
Carroll family, which had been given to the congregation by 
the daughter of Charles Carroll, of Carrollton), in the care of 
the little Catholic parish in that place. The other mission: 
aries went South, for a series of missions to be given during 
the winter, and finding the work there too- great for their 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 147 

small band of four, telegraphed from Savannah to the pro 
vincial, requesting him to send Father Baker to assist them. 
In compliance with this request, Father Baker was sent on 
immediately to Savannah, and took part in the mission given 
in the cathedral, at that time under the care of the saintly 
and apostolic Dr. Barry, then administrator, and afterward 
bishop of the diocese. There was but little episcopal splen 
dor to b& seen about the Savannah cathedral and residence 
at this time. Until within a few years previously to the 
mission, Georgia had been included in the diocese of Charles 
ton. Dr. Gartland, the first bishop, had procured a suitable 
residence for himself and his clergy, and had purchased prop 
erty with a view of erecting a handsome cathedral. A short 
time after his consecration, Savannah was visited by a de 
structive tornado, which destroyed the greater part of the 
fine old trees which formed the principal ornament of the 
place, otherwise injured the city very seriously, and unroofed 
the bishop s house. The yellow fever broke oat about the 
same time, in a very virulent manner; and the bishop, as 
also Bishop Barron, who came there to assist him, fell a vic 
tim to the epidemic. These disasters, and the debts which 
pressed on the congregation, put a stop for a time to all 
efforts to establish matters on a suitable footing. After Dr. 
Barry s consecration, the old church was refitted and fur 
nished in a way to make it quite respectable for the cathedral 
of a new diocese, and a spacious mansion was purchased for 
the episcopal residence. But at this time Dr. Barry was 
living, like a bishop in partibus infidelium, in a small and 
poor frame dwelling-house, containing only four or five rooms, 
and the clergy were putting up, in the best way they could, 
with rooms over the sacristy of the church. Just round the 
corner, an aged negro, with a long white beard, who was a 
Methodist preacher, might be seen sitting all the day long in 
the sun on a little stool, holding a cow by a rope around her 
horns, while she nibbled the grass which grew along the 



148 MEMOIK OF 

streets; and the old gentleman chatted with the passers-by, 
or prepared his sermons for the next Sunday, highly delighted 
at the friendly salutations which the fathers always gave him 
as they passed by. Every now and then a black nurse passed 
along the street, carrying or wheeling the little white infant 
of her charge ; or a troop of negro boys and their young 
masters, playing together with the utmost familiarity. The 
sunny, Southern atmosphere was vocal with the merr^, free- 
and-easy sounds of laughing, chatting mirth, or work carried 
on like a play without much care or hurry, so characteristic 
of a city in the far South. Savannah is a very beautiful 
and picturesque place, where, at that time, Southern life and 
manners could be seen at the greatest advantage ; and the 
novelty of the scene gave it a great zest to those of our num 
ber who had not seen it before. The clergy were, most of 
them, old veteran missionaries, brought to this country by 
the celebrated Bishop England, full of rich and piquant 
anecdotes of their past experience among the wild, sparsely- 
settled regions of Georgia and the neighboring States, re 
lated with inimitable wit and humor.* The mission was 
still further enlivened by a visit to Savannah from Archbishop 
Hughes, accompanied by his amiable secretary, who were 
making a tour of recreation to restore the archbishop s shat 
tered health ; and from Dr. Lynch, soon after appointed to 
the see of Charleston. 

This mission was, however, no play-spell for the mission 
aries. Besides the ordinary labor of preaching and hearing 
the confessions of a multitude of people, it was necessary to 
search out the people themselves, and bring them to church 
to hear the sermons. At that time, the Southern towns re 
ceived the debris of foreign emigration, and were filled 



* One of these good clergymen, the Rev. Peter Whelau, during the late civil 
war, remained a long time among our prisoners at Audersonville, and spent 
four hundred dollars in gold at one time in purchasing bread for their necessities. 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER, 149 

during the winter months by a loose floating population o f 
Northern laborers, who were without employment at home. 
Hence, there was a larger proportion than elsewhere of the 
most degenerate and demoralised class of Catholics, living in 
complete neglect of their religious and moral duties, and 
beyond the reach of the ordinary ministrations of the Church. 
Savannah has several suburbs and purlieus, rejoicing in the 
names of Yammacraw, Robertsville, and Old Fort, crowded 
with squalid hovels, drinking-shops, sailors boarding-houses, 
and dens of thieves and smugglers, representing in a small 
way the scenes which Dickens delights in describing. A 
mission in the cathedral might be given ten times over, and 
the news of it never reach the denizens of these places. Ac 
cordingly, the missionaries divided the several districts be 
tween them, and undertook to beat up the quarters of sin, 
vice, and misery, in the hope of rescuing some of these for 
lorn and abandoned souls. It would hardly be safe for any 
one but a Catholic priest to undertake such a work, espe 
cially in the evening, and certainly no one else would have 
any hope of success. The work was done, however, very 
thoroughly, and, in consequence, the church was crowded by 
that class of persons who were in most need of a mission, 
and who had never been reached before. An immediate and 
extensive reformation was the result. The grog-shops were 
deserted, which before were filled from morning until late at 

O 

night, the sound of cursing and quarrelling was hushed, the 
darker deeds of sin ceased, and the great mass of these poor, 
lost souls began to listen to the eternal truths, and to seek for 
the way that would bring them back to God. Many, en 
gaged in dishonest practices, abandoned their unlawful traffic, 
and made restitution of their ill-gotten gains. Great num 
bers of those who had abandoned the sacraments, and even 
ceased going to church, for ten, twenty, or thirty years, came 
with great fervor and earnestness to confession. Some of the 
poor slaves also, as well Methodists as those who were Cath- 



150 MEMOIR OF 

olics, attended eagerly on the instructions of the mission. 
One old Methodist negress was asked by her mistress, or some 
one else who noticed her constant attendance, if she liked the 
mission ; to which she replied : " Oh, Lor ! yes, missus ; Pse 
bound to be there, if I can get only one eye in, every time." 
Another grown-up slave girl, who had never been baptized, 
was most anxious to receive baptism, and induced her mistress 
to ask me to baptize her. I was very reluctant to do it ? 
fearing lest she might not be sufficiently instructed and pre 
pared in her moral dispositions to begin a really Christian 
life, without a longer probation ; and therefore refused to 
baptize her during the mission. After the last sermon she 
went nearly frantic, and made loud exclamations that she 
wished to be taken out of the devil s hands, and the father 
would not do it, but was going away, leaving her in his 
power. Touched by her entreaties, and finding that her mis 
tress had taught her the rudiments of the catechism,- 1 instructed 
her for some days, and endeavored to impress upon her mind 
especially, that if she wished for the graces of baptism and 
the friendship of God, she must renounce all sin and live a 
good and holy life. So fearful was she that she might sin, 
and receive baptism unworthily, that for a day before her 
baptism she would not speak a word to any person, not even 
her mistress. She refused to speak even when she was asked 
about her sponsors and her baptismal dress, and her whole 
demeanor at her baptism was like that of one oppressed with 
the most intense sentiment of religious awe, and of the sacred- 
ness of the promises she was making to God. It is not to be 
supposed that every bad Catholic was reformed, or that, of those 
who were really brought to a resolution to mend their lives, 
all of them persevered. The hydra-headed monster of vice 
is not killed by a blow, nor can we hope ever to exterminate 
sin by any means, even those which have a divine efficacy. 
It is a continual warfare which we have to wage, by both 
spiritual and moral weapons, which the free will can always 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 151 

resist. God alone lias coercive power over the spirit of man, 
and lie will not exert it to compel him to obey His law. 
Temptations to sin ever beset the human will, especially in 
a corrupt, irreligious, and immoral state of society. The 
Catholic Church is not intended to be a society of saints who 
have already attained perfection, but a training and refor 
matory school for the human race. It has no means of 
charming or mesmerizing the human will into sanctity, and 
its gracious influences do not supersede the struggle for life 
which exists in the spiritual as in the natural world. It has 
all the means of sanctifying the human race, and of elevating 
men to the summit of possible human virtue, limited only 
by the extent to which the free human will co-operates with 
grace. It must actually produce these results on a great * 
scale, in order to prove that it is the Church ; because God 
would not have created it for this purpose, foreseeing its 
essential failure to fulfil its work and attain its predestined 
end. It is easy enough to show that the Church possesses 
this note of sanctity, correctly understood in this way. But 
it is perfectly true also that the free-will of man, by its 
failure and perversion, hinders the Church to a vast extent 
from exhibiting its regenerating and sanctifying power. Great 
numbers of individuals in the Catholic Church live and act 
in contradiction to their faith, neglect or abuse the means of 
grace, and dishonor religion by their conduct. The only 

means which the Church has of contending with this evil, and 

~ 

reclaiming these unworthy members from a sinful life, are 
moral means, acting on the mind and conscience. Missions are 
among the most powerful and efficacious of these means, and 
their efficacy is shown, not in eradicating sin, or liberating 
human nature from its intrinsic liability and propensity to sin, 
but in checking and counteracting its violence, and reclaiming 
a great number of individuals from its influence. If they 
actually do this, if they have a perceptible influence in 
reforming and renovating the demoralised portion of the 



152 MEMOIR OF 

Catholic community, heightening the restraining power of 
faith and conscience among the mass of the people, and pro 
ducing many permanent frnits in the increase of piety and 
morality, they are successful, and their value is established. 
It is beyond a question that they do this to an extent which 
can only be understood by those who are engaged in them, 
or who have studied their working on a grand scale. 

To return to the Savannah mission. I had a good oppor 
tunity to judge of its permanent fruifs when, two years after 
ward, I returned there, and went through the same quarters 
of the town where we had gone to drum up the people to the 
mission, in making a collection for the new congregation of St. 
Paul. Many of the very poorest dwellings I found neat and 
orderly ; the pious pictures blessed during the mission hang 
ing upon the walls ; the children clean and tidy ; sometimes 
an old man sitting at the door, reading the mission-book ; 
the wives and mothers evidently cheerful and contented, the 
best sign that their husbands were sober and kind ; the ex 
pressions of grateful remembrance of the mission warm and 
frequent ; the signs of moral improvement everywhere, and 
the church crowded on Sunday. 

It is not to be supposed that the body of the Catholic con 
gregation of Savannah were like this lowest class I have de 
scribed. I have dwelt more minutely on their condition, 
and the good done among them, mainly because the small 
comparative size of the place, and the thorough visitation 
which was made, brought us into a more close contact with 
their miseries, and enabled us to see more clearly what can 
be done to relieve them, than is usually the case. I have 
wished to show what the hardest and most repulsive part of 
the work of the missionary is, and to give a true picture of 
the nature and efficacy of the means used to raise up and re 
form and save the most demoralised class of the Catholic 
population throughout the country, and especially in the 
large towns, where this class is most numerous. I wish, also, 



KEY. FKANCIS A. BAKEE. 153 

before resuming tlie particular narrative of F. Baker s life, to 
show what was the work for which he left the ease and ele 
gance and attractive charm of his earlier position as an 
Episcopalian clergyman, fulfilling the light duty of reading 
prayers and preaching quiet, well- written, polished discourses 
for the elite of Baltimore society. 

The mass of the people who were brought to the mission 
in Savannah by the personal visits of the fathers had never 
been seen in the church previously. They were the debris 
that the tide of emigration had deposited there, and many 
of them only chance-residents of the town. 

The ordinary church-going congregation contained, as 
usual, its very large proportion of Easter communicants, 
with a smaller but still numerous class of devout and fervent 
Catholics who approached the sacraments frequently. The 
majority of them belonged to the humbler walks of life, 
although there were a considerable number whose position in 
worldly society was more elevated. 

F. Baker arrived in Savannah, when the mission was about 
half over, and took his share in the labor of preaching and 
hearing confessions. At the close of it, after a few days rest, 
three of the missionaries, of whom he was one, commenced 
a series of missions in one part of the diocese, and the two 
others began another which embraced the smaller parishes. 
The smaller band went to Macon, Columbus, and Atlanta, 
rejoining their companions subsequently at Charleston. As 
F. Baker went in another direction, I shall confine myself to 
the narrative of the missions in which he was engaged, and 
pass over the others, merely pausing for a moment to notice a 
letter written by a Protestant gentleman in Macon, to the 
United States Catholic Miscellany, of Charleston, as an 
evidence of the impression often made by missions upon the 

mind of candid and intelligent Protestants. The letter is as 

~ 

follows : 

" In company with many of our most distinguished citi- 

1* 



154 MEMOIR OF 

zens, I have had the pleasure of hearing most of the sermons 
delivered, and witnessing the accompanying exercises con 
nected with their mission, and but express the united and 
universal sentiment entertained, when I say that they were 
exceedingly interesting and instructive, and have served to 
dissipate many of the vulgar prejudices that hung like a 
mist upon the public mind, and, like a cold-damp, mildewed 
reason and honest judgment. Sufficient testimony of this 
result may be found in the fact that a number of Protestant 
gentlemen called upon Mr. Walworth yesterday, and urgent 
ly requested him to deliver one more sermon before his de 
parture, which he consented to do this evening. I would 
send you a copy of the correspondence, but it would be too 
voluminous for the brevity of this letter ; suffice it to say it 
w^as complimentary, no less in the act itself than in the man 
ner in which the request was conveyed. 

" I must take this occasion of expressing my gratification at 
the result adverted to, for though I am not a member, nor 
ever have been, of the Catholic Church, its piety and reli 
gious principles the purity, integrity, ability, learning, and 
eloquence of its teachers and preachers the bright links of 
patience, endurance, and fidelity, by which it is held to the 
early ages of Christianity its unity of action, consistency of 
precept and practice, and conformity of theory and doctrine, 
as well as the great lights of intellect that have shed lustre 

o o 

upon it in the past and present men whose genius has ele 
vated them above the gloom of dying centuries to overflow 
history with glory these have commended the Catholic 
Church favorably to my judgment ; and regarding its on 
ward progress and increasing popularity with no jaundiced 
sectarian eye or jealous faction-spirit, but with the extension 
of civilization and Christianity I feel the pressure of no 
petty, vulgar prejudice in wishing it, with all other Christian 
organizations, i God speed ; and if this sentiment be in hos 
tility with Protestanism, as for myself and it I say, perish 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 155 

the connection i live the enlightened liberality and intel 
ligence of civilized and educated man. 

" Yours, very truly, etc. 
N, December SI, 1856." 



From Savannah, F. Baker, with two companions, went to 
give a mission in Augusta. On the pages of the Mis 
sion Records several interesting incidents of this mission are 
related. On the first Sunday morning of the mission, three 
gentlemen called on the fathers, all of whom, it appeared, 
were converts. One of them was called Dr. "W. B., the se 
cond, his nephew, Dr. M., and the third was the overseer of 
Dr. B. s plantation. This Dr. B. had been received into the 
Catholic Church some months previously, and had entered a 
Catholic church for the first time that morning. He was a 
man of fine and genteel appearance, with gray hair and a 
long, black beard, an intelligent and educated physician. 
So great was his excitement, and so wonderful did every 
thing which he saw that day appear through the magnifying 
glass of his imagination, that on his return home that night, 
at eleven o clock, he awoke his brother and made him get 
up and light a fire, that he might relate the events of 
the day. As a sample of the proportion in which he 
viewed the whole, it may suffice to say that he described 
one of the fathers as seven and a-half feet high at least 
six inches taller than the Georgia giant. The brother 
alluded to, also a physician and planter, made his appear 
ance a day or two later. He was quite an elderly gentle 
man, with an intelligent countenance and a magnificent pa 
triarchal beard. A painter could not find a better head for 
an Apostle, or for one of the ancient Bishops or Fathers of 
the Church than his. He was a man with an intellect like 
Brownson s, and full of information. He became a Catholic 
a few years ago from reading Brownson s Review. Since 
that time he has been a great champion of the Church, and, 



156 MEMOIR OF 

through his influence, his own family, his brother and sister, 
his nephew and some others, have also been converted. One 
of the latter was then residing in Dr. B. s own family, and 
was leading a most remarkably penitential life. This gen 
tleman (a Mr. S.), of high birth and education, was formerly 
a lawyer, and a married man of large property. He was 
renowned for his courage, and had fought with one of the 
most celebrated duellists of South Carolina, named R. This 
gentleman lost his property and was abandoned by his wife. 
About seven years before he had become a Catholic, he 
lived for a considerable time with his brother, an unprinci 
pled and ferocious man, who scarcely allowed him a bare 
pittance. He was dressed in rags, was barefooted, and lived 
on bread which he baked himself. 

After a few years, when Dr. B. had become a Catholic, 
and opened a small chapel on his own plantation, Mr. S. 
appeared there one day at Mass in his miserable plight. Dr. 
B. invited him to stay with him, and gave him a small office 
to live in, and all other things requisite for his comfort. 
Here he had been living ever since, leading the life of a 
saint, and passing a great portion of his time in reading 
Catholic books, especially Brownson s Eeview, which he 
knew almost by heart. The Doctor said that the only thing 
which could excite his anger, was to hear any one speak 
against Brownson, or contradict any thing he says. As an 
instance of his penance, I will relate how, according to Dr. 
B. s account, he attempted to pass one Lent. He had been 
reading the Lives of the Fathers of the Desert, and he en 
deavored to instate their example precisely and to the letter. 
His whole food consisted of a small quantity of bread, and 
during the last three days he wanted to fast entirely, but 
Dr. B. threatened that, if he did, he would send a little negro 
for Father B., to excommunicate him. He was wasted to a 
skeleton, and did not recover the effects of his fastino- for 

O 

six months afterward. On one occasion, Mr. S. found a 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 157 

poor, sick negro, with no one to attend him, and not con 
tented with waiting on him and taking care of him, as he 
was constantly in the habit of doing for all the sick within 
several miles distance, he washed his feet, and, for want of a 
towel, wiped them with his pocket-handkerchief. It was ne 
cessary to watch him, lest he might give away his clothes to 
the negroes and when he needed new clothes, they were put 
secretly in his way, and the old ones removed. 

Others in this neighborhood, who were not yet Catholics, 
were so well disposed that they had their children baptized. 
Edgefield and the country round about was formerly celebrat 
ed for the lawless and violent character of the population, for 
the frequency of murders, and for the bitter prejudice exist 
ing against the Catholic Church ; so much so, that a priest 
could not obtain the Court-House to preach in. When the 
elder Dr. B. became a Catholic, Dr. TV. B. declared that he 
would burn up his wife and children and his whole house 
before they should become Catholics, and any priest who 
should chance to come near him. Another gentleman, since 
a convert, said that, if one of his children should become a 
Catholic, he would take him by the heels and dash out his 
brains against a stone wall. Dr. M., when he went to study 
medicine with his uncle, the elder Dr. B., made a vow that 
he would never enter the chapel and never desert the faith 
of his fathers ; and his parents told him on leaving home 
that, if he became a Catholic, he should never cross the Sa 
vannah River a<min or see their faces. After some months, 

O > 

he became silent and melancholy. For a while he concealed 
the cause, but at last, one evening he told his aunt that he 
could hold out no longer, and was a Catholic at heart. 
Shortly after receiving his medical diploma, he determined 
to renounce the practice of medicine, and has recently been 
ordained to the priesthood. 

At Edgefield a lot of seven acres was purchased in the 
middle of the town, for a church, to be built of brown stone, 



158 MEMOIR OF 

in the Gothic style. Five gentlemen had already subscribed 
sixteen hundred dollars for the church, and Father B. was 
collecting for the same purpose. There was a general in 
clination throughout the whole town to embrace the Cath 
olic faith, and already there is a small band of the best 
Catholics in the country there souls that have been led by 
the great God Himself, by the wonderful ways of His most 
holy grace. Dr. B. has since died, and what has been the 
fate of the little congregation, and of the beautiful church 
which was commenced, during the troubles and miseries of 
the civil war, I know not. They have not, however, Mn- 
dered the Catholics of Augusta from completing and paying 
for a large and costly church, the successor of a very good 
and commodious edifice of brick where the mission was 
given. 

After leaving Augusta, we went to Savannah once more, 
and on the 29th of January went on board the little steamer 
Gen. Clinch, which was afterward turned into a gunboat 
during the civil war, to begin our voyage by the inland route 
to St. Augustine, Florida. This inland route has some pecu 
liar and picturesque features. The steamer passes down the 
Savannah River, with its banks lined with the green and gold 
orange trees, until, near the mouth, it turns into its proper 
route, leading through a succession of small sounds, connected 
by narrow, serpentine rivers, where you seem to be sailing 
over the meadows, usually in sight of the ocean, and quite 
often aground for some hours at a time. The steamer was 
very small and very crowded, our progress very leisurely and 
interrupted by several long stoppages, so that our voyage was 
protracted for five days. It is seldom that a more motley or 
singular and amusing group of passengers is collected in a 
small cabin. Besides the three Catholic priests, who were 
to the others the greatest curiosities on board, we had an army 
lieutenant, since then the commander of a corps d armee in 
the great civil war, an old wizard who was consulting his 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 159 

familiar spirits incessantly for the amusement or information 
of the passengers; a plantation doctor, a wild young Ar 
kansas lawyer of the fire-eating type, a professor of mathe 
matics, a crotchety, good-humored New York farmer, with 
very peculiar religious opinions, a young man who professed 
himself a universal sceptic, two or three gentlemen of educa 
tion and polished manners, who were not at all singular, but 
appeared quite so in such an odd assemblage; and some others 
in no way remarkable. The cramped accommodations, the 
long voyage, and the usual Itonhommie which prevails on 
such occasions were well fitted to draw out all the oddities 
and idiosyncrasies of the company. The spiritualist, who was 
an uneducated and uncouth specimen of humanity, with a 
great deal of native shrewdness, and a good-hum ore A, 
loquacious disposition, was the center of attraction. 
The professor and the philosophical farmer engaged with 
him in a long and earnest discussion of spiritualism, which 
ended in his exhibiting his powers as a consulter of the 
spirits. Most of the passengers made trial of his skill in this 
respect, although his performance was the most patent of 
silly impostures, only amusing from its absurdity. The pro 
fessor tried him sorely by asking him a question which 
seemed to have caused himself many an hour of anxious and 
fruitless thought, and which he appeared to despair of solving 
metaphysically : " Can God annihilate space ?" The old 
gentleman s spirit did not appear to have investigated this 
question to his own complete satisfaction, for he gave him 
no positive answer. He was silent for a moment, with a 
puzzled look, evidently fearing a trap, and at last answered, 
" I don t know, but I guess He could if He tried ; He made it, 
and I guess He could annihilate it." Just as the professor 
was going to retire to his berth, the old man took revenge by 
telling him that he had just been informed by the spirits that 
one of his children was sick of scarlet fever. The wizard left 
the boat at Brunswick, but as the conversation had taken a 



160 MEMOIR OF 

religious and philosophical turn at first, it continued in that 
direction, the two individuals before mentioned being the 
principal interlocutors. We did not join much in it, as it was 
evidently distasteful to several of the company, who wished 
to read quietly or converse on ordinary topics. Before we 
parted, however, one of our number took the opportunity 
which offered itself of having a little pleasant and rational 
discussion *with the professor and one or two others, who 
were really intelligent and well-informed. On New Year s 
Day we remained several hours at St. Mary s, Georgia, where 
we found the mayor of the plac e to be a Catholic gentle 
man, of Acadian descent, and were hospitably entertained 
at his house. The boat passed the night at Fernandina, and 
the next day we went Qut of the St. Mary s Kiver, 
across a short and dangerous stretch of ocean between 
a line of breakers and the shore, into the St. John s, and 
up that romantic river, so full of historical associa 
tions. Friday evening saw us befogged above Jack 
sonville, and on Saturday morning we learned to our dismay 
that our captain was going past our landing, and on to 
Pilatka, which would keep us onboard his miserable little craft 
until the next week, and prevent the opening of the mission 
on the Sunday. Touching for a few moments at Fleming s 
Island, we found friends at the little dock, who were passing 
the winter on the island, and who informed us that we could 
go from there that afternoon to our destination. We debarked 
accordingly, our friend the professor in company with us, 
and were refreshed with a good breakfast at the hotel where 
our friends were lodging, and a stroll around the little island. 
On the arrival of the steamer, the whole party went on 
board and proceeded to Picolata, where we took stage-coaches 
for St. Augustine, arriving there on Saturday evening. 
About halfway between Picolata and St. Augustine there is 
a post-house, where, in the last Florida War with the Seminole 
Indians, a party of travelling actors were surprised and mur- 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 161 

dered by Indians, who dressed themselves in their fantastic 
costumes, and in that guise made a hostile demonstration in the 
neighborhood of St. Augustine. 

To Americans, this old town seems to have a vast antiquity, 
claiming as it does the respectable age of three centuries. 
The Catholic church here is almost as old as Protestantism, 
and a brief of St. Pius V., in regard to some of the religious 
affairs of this colony, is still extant. There are remnants of 
an old wall in several places, and a large fortress built in 
Spanish times, and called the castle of St. Marco, where you 
may yet see the marks of the cannon-shot fired at the invasion 
of Oglethorpe from Georgia. This fort might serve as a 
scene for the plot of a new " Mysteries of Udolfo," it is so 
unlike any thing modern, and so thoroughly Spanish and 
mediaeval. It is not, however, of a sort to make one regret 
the past. Its dark, damp casemates look like prisons, espe 
cially one frightful dungeon, which is a cell within a cell, 
without any embrasure, and admitting no light or air except 
that which comes through the door opening into the outer 
casemate. This was the cell of the greatest criminals. In 
one of these casemates, Wildcat, the celebrated Indian 
chief, was once confined with a companion. Although cruel 
and blood-thirsty, Wildcat was a great warrior, and a man 
gifted with a high order of genius, an orator, a poet, and a 
true cavalier of the forest. On pretence of illness, he and his 
companion reduced their bulk as .much as possible by a low 
diet and purgative medicines, and by the aid of a knife, 
which he had secreted and used as a spike by thrusting it 
into the wall of soft concrete, with a rope dexterously made 
from strips of his bed-clothes, he clambered to the high and 
narrow embrasure, squeezed himself through, not without 
scraping the skin from his breast, and let himself down into 
the moat. His companion followed him, but fell to the 
ground, breaking his leg. Nevertheless, Wildcat carried 
him off, seized a stray mule, and escaped to his tribe in the 



162 MEMOIR OF 

forest. After the conclusion of the war, he went to Mexico, 
where he ^became the alcalde of an Indian village, and did 

O " 

his new country essential service by leading a body of Indian 
warriors, armed with Mississippi rifles, against a band of fili 
busters from the United States. Osceola, the half-breed king 
of the Seminoles, who was not only a hero, but a just and 
humane man, was also captured near St. Augustine, by 
treachery and bad faith, and confined in this fortress for a 
time, but afterward removed to Charleston, where he died of 
a broken heart. The great mahogany treasure-chest of Don 
Juan Menendez is still remaining in the fortress, and in one 
of the casemates are remnants of a rude stone altar and 
holy-water stoups, marking the site of a chapel. The fortress 
is kept in good preservation by our Government, and a noble 
sea-wall extends from it to the barracks at the other end of 
the town, which are established in an ancient Franciscan 
monastery. A great part of the old city is in ruins. The 
old Spanish families left the country when it was ceded by 
Spain to the United States, and the resident inhabitants are 
Minorcans, negroes, and a small number of settlers from the 
other portions of the United States. The Minorcans are 
descendants of a body of colonists, brought to Florida under 
false pretences by an English speculator, who enslaved them, 
and kept them for a long time in that state before they became 
aware that there was any way of escaping from it. When 
they did take courage to shake off the yoke, they removed to 
the Spanish colony of St. Augustine, where they retain their 
language, a dialect of the Spanish, with their ancient, sim 
ple character and habits. The illustrious Spanish names 
which some of them bear amused us greatly. Sanchez was 
the proprietor of a line of slow coaches. Suarez had charge 
of F. Madeore sfarm, and Ximenes served Mass. The church 
is a large Spanish structure, built, .as are most of the houses, 
of soft concrete formed from sea-shells. On a green in front of 
it stands the only remaining monument, erected in commemo- 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 163 

ration of tlie formation of the Spanish Constitution of 1814. 
The tower has a chime of small bells, which are rung in a 
most joyous, clashing style, according to the Spanish custom, 
for festive occasions, and with a peculiarly plaintive peal for 
deaths and funerals. The cemetery is called Tolomato, which 
was the name of an Indian village formerly occupying its 
site. The ruins of an ancient mission chapel are still to be 
seen there, where F. Roger, a French Jesuit, was murdered 
by an apostate Indian chief and his warriors. After killing 
F. Roger, the band proceeded to another chapel, called 
Nuestra Senora de Leche, where they found a priest just 
robed for Mass. He requested the chief to allow him to say 
Mass, and his desire was granted, the savages prostrating 
themselves with their faces to the ground while he performed 
the holy function, lest the sight of him should soften their 
hearts. After Mass he knelt at the foot of the altar, and 
received a blow from the tomahawk which made him a 
martyr. 

Tolomato contains also the beautiful tomb erected by the 
Cubans over the grave of the Rev. Dr. Yarela, a learned, 
holy, and patriotic priest, a native of the Island of Cuba, and 
a member of the Spanish Cortes which established the Con 
stitution. Banished from his native country, where his mem 
ory has always been fondly cherished, he passed the greater 
part of a long life as a laborious parish priest in I^ew York, 
and died in St. Augustine. There is a beautiful chapel over 
his grave, with an altar of marble and mahogany, and a 
heavy marble slab in the center of the pavement, containing 
the simple but eloquent inscription: " Al Padre Varela los 
Cubanos" The Cubans to Father Yarela. 

The mission in St. Augustine absorbed the whole attention 
of the Catholic population, who formed a large majority of 
the inhabitants. Great numbers of them gathered to welcome 
the fathers on their arrival, and whenever they went out they 
were met and greeted by groups of these simple, warm-heart- 



164 MEMOIR OF 



ed people, and followed by a troop of children, who live there 
in a perpetual holiday. There was scarcely any business or 
work done there at any time ; the climate and the fertility 
both of the land and water in the means of subsistence fur 
nishing the necessaries of life to the poorer classes without 
much trouble. Most of these pass their time in fishing, and 
even this occupation was intermitted, so that on Friday 
there was not a fish to be found in the market. The people 
seemed literally to have nothing whatever to do ; the fort and 
barracks were garrisoned by one soldier with his wife and 
children ; the government of the place was a sinecure ; the 
mails came only twice a- week ; behind the city lay the inter 
minable, uninhabited everglade ; before it the Atlantic Ocean, 
with its waters and breezes warmed by the Gulf Stream, and 
unvisited by any sails to disturb its solitude, except at rare 
intervals. Although it was midwinter, the weather was 
commonly as pleasant and the sun as warm as it is in Jfetr 
England in the month of June. I have never witnessed such 

o 

a scene of dreamy, listless, sunshiny indolence, where every 
thing seemed to combine to lull the mind and senses into 
complete forgetfulness of the existence of an active world. 
To the people, however, it was one of the most exciting peri 
ods of their lives. The presence of several strange priests, 
the continual sermons and religious exercises, gave an un 
wonted air of life and activity to the precincts of the old 
church, and roused them to an unusual animation. Drunk 
enness, dishonesty, and the graver vices were almost un 
known among them. 

The negroes" were found to be an extremely virtuous, in 
nocent, and docile class of people. Honest, sober, observant 
of the laws of marriage, faithful and contented in their easy 
employments, which seemed to suit their disposition very w r ell, 
and in many cases not only pious, but very intelligent, and 
exhibiting fine traits of character, they were the best evidence 
we had yet seen of what the Catholic religion can do for this 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 165 

oppressed and ill-used race. One of them, a pilot on one of 
the steamboats navigating the St. John s River, impressed me 
as one of the most admirable men of his class in life, for ca 
pacity and conscientious Christian principle, I have ever met. 
Another, who was a freedrnan of the celebrated John Ran 
dolph, and for many years his personal attendant, was not 
only intelligent and well informed, but a well-bred gentle 
man in his manners and appearance. 

The most interesting incident of the mission was the con 
version of an ordnance sergeant of the regular army, who was 
in charge of the fortress. This brave soldier had distin 
guished himself in the Mexican war, by the recapture of a 
cannon which had been taken in one of the battles by the 
Mexicans, and by his general character for gallantry and 
fidelity to his duties. His wife and children were Catholics, 
but he himself had lived until that time without any religion. 
On New- Year s night, as he sat alone in the barracks, after 
his family had retired, he began to think over his past life, 
and resolved to begin at once to live for the great end for 
which God had created him. He knelt down and said a few 
prayers, to ask the grace and blessing of God on his good 
resolutions. His prayers were heard, and during the mission 
he was received into the Catholic Church and admitted to the 
sacraments with all the signs of sincerity and fervor which 
were to be expected from one of such a resolute and manly 
character. I wish to mention one interesting; circumstance 

o 

which he related to me, as showing the power of good exam 
ple in men of high station in the world. He told me that 
the first impression he received of the truth and excellence 
of the Catholic religion, was received from witnessing the 
admirable life of that accomplished Christian gentleman and 
soldier, Captain Garesche, to whose company he belonged. 
Many readers will recall, as they read these records, the 
admirable and glorious close of this officer s career on the field 
of battle. During the Western campaign of General Rose- 



166 MEMOIR OF 

crans, Lieutenant-Colonel Garesche was his chief of staff. 
Before the battle of Stone Kiver, he received Holy Commu 
nion, and was observed afterward alone under a tree, reading 
the " Imitation of Christ." During the engagement, one of 
the fiercest and most bloody of the civil war, he rode, by the 
side of his gallant general, through a storm of shot and shell, 
and "by his side he fell, besprinkling his beloved commander 
with his blood, as he sank upon the field to die, and yielded 
up his noble life to his country and to God. 

The labors of this mission were so light that it was more 
like holiday than work for us. The presence of a number 
of very agreeable and intelligent Catholic gentlemen and 
ladies, who were visitors in the place, and some of whom 
were old friends, added very much to the liveliness of the 
mission, and to our own enjoyment of its peculiar attendant 
circumstances. One of these was the Abbe Le Blond, a dear 
friend of ours and of all who knew him, a priest of Montreal, 
who was gradually dying of consumption, yet full of vivacity 
and activity, improving the remnant of his days by his labors 
of love and zeal, and his works of charity in different parts 
the South where he passed his winters. He died eventually 
in Home. Another was Lieutenant McDonald, of the British 
Royal Navy, and also, for some time before leaving England, 
a captain in the Queen s Guards, a Highland gentleman of 
a family that has always been true to the faith, also since 
deceased. 

The quiet city of St. Augustine, as well as all the other scenes 
and places where we passed that winter on our missionary 
tour, has since then been visited by the desolating breath of 
war. Probably all is changed, and greater changes yet are 
coming with the new issues of peace changes w^hich, there 
is reason to hope, will advance both the religious and tem 
poral welfare of the people. Florida may yet become a 
populous State, and the handful of Catholics in it swell into 
a number sufficient to make a flourishing diocese. 



REV. FBANCIS A. BAKER. 167 

Immediately after the close of the mission, F. Baker pro 
ceeded by sea to Charleston, where he met the other two 
missionaries who had been at work in Georgia, and com 
menced a mission in the cathedral of that city. His two 
companions were detained for a time in St. Augustine by the 
sudden and severe illness of one of them, and they went on 
a little later, returning by the same leisurely route by which 
they came to Savannah, and thence to Charleston, where the 
mission was already in progress. 

Charleston possessed three Catholic churches, and its 
Catholic population numbered from five to six thousand. 
All the congregations were invited to the mission, and a 
large number of them did attend from St. Mary s and St. 
Patrick s, together with the whole body of the cathedral 
parish. The same work performed by the missionaries in 
Savannah had been gone through in Charleston, in scouring 
the lanes and alleys of the city to bring up the stragglers, 
and the great cathedral was accordingly crowded, morning 
and night. First of all, two hundred bright and well- 
instructed children received communion in a body, and after 
ward, through the course of the mission, three thousand 
adults, among whom were twenty converts to the faith. 

Father Baker never, during the whole course of his mis 
sionary life, enjoyed any thing so much as this Southern tour, 
and especially his stay at Charleston, the most delightful city 
of the South. After the long seclusion of three years in a 
convent, which had impaired his health and vigor, the recrea 
tion and pleasure of such a trip was most beneficial and 
delightful to him. The work in which he was engaged, 
besides the higher satisfaction which it gave to his zeal and 
charity, had also the charm and excitement of novelty, with 
out the pressure of too arduous and excessive labor. At 
Charleston, he was already prepared by his previous ex 
perience and practice to take a full share in the principal 
permons, and to give them that peculiar tone and effect which 



168 MEMOIR OF 

i 

5s characteristic of mission sermons, and makes them sui 
generis among all others. All the circumstances were cal 
culated to call the noblest powers of his mind and the warmest 
emotions of his heart into full play. The cathedral was 
large, beautiful, and of a fine ecclesiastical style in all its 
arrangements. The adjoining presbytery, which had been 
built for a convent, and all the surroundings, were both 
appropriate for the residence of a body of cathedral clergy 
and pleasing to the eye of taste. The clergymen them 
selves, with their distinguished head, afterward the bishop 
of the diocese, were men of accomplished learning and 
genial character, whose kindness and hospitality knew no 
bounds, and whose zeal made them efficient fellow-laborers 
in the work of the mission. The congregation itself had 
many features of unusual interest. Having been long estab 
lished, and carefully watched over, since the illustrious Bishop 
England organized the diocese, containing a large permanent 
population of various national descent and of all classes of 
society, not a few of whom were converts from South 
Carolina families, an unusually large number of intelligent 
young men, trained up to a great extent under the care of 
the clergy, and thus giving scope and affording a field for a 
man like F. Baker to display his special gifts to the greatest 
advantage and profit it is not surprising that he should 
have called out, both in his public discharge of duty and 
in private and social intercourse, that same warm admiration 
which had followed him in the former period of his life* 
In his sermons, he went far above his former level, and 
began to develop that combination of the best and most 
perfect elements of sacred eloquence, which, in the estima 
tion of the most impartial and competent judges, placed 
him in the first rank of preachers. The present bishop of 
Charleston, whose pre-eminent learning and high qualities 
of mind are well known, pronounced one of F. Baker s 
discourses a perfect sermon, and the best he had ever heard. 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 169 

The Catholics of Charleston never saw Father Baker again ; 
but they never forgot him, and he never forgot them ; for, 
during the rest of his too short life, he recurred frequently to 
the remembrance of that mission, which was so rich in the 
highest kind of pleasure, as well as spiritual profit and 
blessing. 

At that time, all was peace. Sumter was solitary and 
silent, untenanted by a single soldier. Fort Moultrie and 
Sullivan s Island, and the beautiful battery and the bay were 
calm and peaceful, where, a few years later, all was black and 
angry with the terrible thunder-storm of war. Blackened 
ruins are all that remain of that beautiful cathedral and the 
pleasant home of the clergy. Some of those clergymen have 
died in attending the sick soldiers of the United States, and 
others are scattered in different places. Many of those fine 
young men and bright boys have left their bodies on the 
battle-field, or lost the bloom and vigor of their youth in the 
unwholesome camp or hospital or military prison. The good 
Sisters have been driven from one shelter to another, by the 
terrible necessities of a desperate warfare, whose miseries 
they have courageously striven to alleviate by their heroic 
charity. Charleston has been desolated, and the Church of 
Charleston has shared in the common ruin. Nevertheless, 
there is every reason to hope that this temporary period of 
desolation will be succeeded in due time by one more aus 
picious for the solid and extensive progress of the Catholic 
religion than any which has yet been seen, in that vast 
region where the eloquent voice of Bishop England pro 
claimed the blessed faith of the true and apostolic Church of 
Christ. 

After the conclusion of the Charleston mission, F. Baker 
returned to Annapolis, and remained there in charge of the 
little parish attached to the convent, until the following Sep 
tember. One of his companions, the invalid of St. Augustine, 
went to Cuba to re-establish his health ; and the other three, 
8 



170 MEMOIR OF 

after giving several other missions in New York State, re 
turned also to summer quarters. 

The missionary labors in which F. Baker had been thus far 
engaged, were, comparatively speaking, but a light and pleas 
ant prelude to the continuous and arduous missionary career 
of a little more than seven years, which he commenced in the 
autumn of 1857. At the very outset he was obliged to make 
a decision of a very grave and important matter, which re 
sulted in a still more complete separation from the scenes and 
associates of his past life, and threw him more completely upon 
a pure and conscientious devotion to his priestly duties for the 
sake of God alone, as his only consolation in this world. 

One of our number was at that time in Rome, for the pur 
pose of obtaining from the chief authority a settlement of 
certain difficulties which had arisen, and which impeded the 
successful and harmonious prosecution of the missions. The 
question was finally settled by a separation of five American 
Redemptorists, by a brief of the Holy Father, from their for 
mer congregation, and the formation of the new Congregation 
of St. Paul, under episcopal authority. F. Baker was for the 
first time informed of the reasons for appealing to the decision 
of the Holy Father, at the mission of St. James s Church, 
Newark, which commenced on the 26th of September, 1857. 
I have no intention of exposing the history of the difference 
which arose between us and our former religious superiors, or 
of making a^riticism upon their conduct. If the providence 
of God ordered events in such a way that a new congregation 
should be formed for a special purpose, it is nothing new or 
strange that men, having a different vocation, and whose views 
and aims were cast in a different mould, should with the most 
conscientious intentions, be unable to coincide in judgment 
or act in concert. There is room in the Catholic Church for 
every kind of religious organization, suiting all the varieties 
of mind and character and circumstance. If collisions and 
misunderstandings often come between those who have the 



KEV. FKANCIS A. BAKER. 171 

same great end in view, this is the result of Imman infirmity, 
and only shows how imperfect and partial are human wisdom 
and human virtue. All that I am concerned to show is, that 
F. Baker did not swerve from his original purpose in choos 
ing the religious state. He had never been discontented 
with his state, or with his superiors. He was still in the first 
fervor of his vocation, and had just made a strict and exact 
retreat. He deliberated for some weeks within his own mind, 
without saying or doing any thing to commit himself to any 
particular line of conduct. When he finally made up his 
mind to cast in his lot with his missionary companions, and 
to abide with them the decision of the Holy Father, it was 
solely in view of serving God and his fellow-men in the most 
perfect manner. For the congregation where he was trained 
to -the religious and ecclesiastical state, he always retained a 
sincere esteem and affection. He did not ask the Pope for a 
dispensation from his vows in order to be relieved from a 
burdensome obligation, but only on the condition that it 
seemed best to him to terminate the difficulty which had 
arisen in that way. "When the dispensation was granted, he 
did not change his life for a more easy one. He resisted a 
pressing solicitation to return to Baltimore as a secular priest, 
and continued until his death to labor in a missionary life, 
and to practise the poverty, the obedience, the assiduity in 
prayer and meditation, and the seclusion from the world, 
which belong to the religious state. Let no one, therefore, who 
is disposed to yield to temptations against his vocation, and 
to abandon the religious state from weariness, tepidity, or 
any unworthy motive, think to find any encouragement in 
the example of F. Baker ; for his austere, self-denying, and 
arduous life will give him only rebuke, and not encourage 
ment. 

During the entire autumn and winter of this year, F. 
Baker and his companions were occupied in a continuous 
course of large and successful missions, in the parishes of St. 



172 MEMOIR OF 

James, Newark ; Cold Spring and Poughkeepsie, on the Hud 
son ; St. John s, Utica, N. Y. ; Brandywine, Del. ; Trenton, N. 
J. ; Burlington, Brandon, East and West Rutland, Yt. ; Platts- 
burg, Saratoga, and Little Falls, New York. With loyal 
hearts we continued to obey our superiors, and fulfil our obli 
gations as Redemptorists, until the supreme authority in the 
Church released us by his decree. This decree was issued on 
the 6th of March, 1858, and received by us on the 6th of April. 
After the Mission of Little Falls, F. Baker was directed by the 
Provincial to return to Annapolis, and although fatigued by 
the missions, and aware that his dispensation was on the way, 
yet, true to the letter to his principle of obedience, he obeyed 
at once. The other three missionaries passed the Holy Week 
and Easter in the convent of New York, in Third street, and, 
after receiving the official copy of the Papal decree, bade 
farewell to the congregation where we had passed so many 
happy years, and witnessed so many edifying examples of 
high virtue and devoted zeal, to enter upon a new and untried 

undertaking. 



Our first asylum was the home of Geo. Y. Hecker, Esq., who 
kindly gave up to our use a portion of his house as a little 
temporary convent, where we remained some weeks, saying 
Mass in his beautiful private chapel, which was completely 
furnished with every thing necessary for that purpose. The 
Bishop of Newark had made an arrangement to receive us 
under his jurisdiction, as soon as our relation to our congrega 
tion was terminated, and faculties from the diocese of New 
York were obtained from the archbishop. We continued to 
follow our accustomed mode of life, and obey our former Su 
perior of the Missions. After a short time we gave a mission 
at Watertown, in the diocese of Albany, and were not a little 
encouragdd by receiving, late on the Saturday evening before 
the mission was opened, the special faculties which had been 
obtained for each one of us at Rome, for giving the Papal 
Benediction. The grand and spacious church of this beautiful 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 173 

town, wliicli is worthy to be a cathedral from its size and ar 
chitecture, was crowded by the largest number of Protestants 
we had ever seen on similar occasions, and a number of con 
verts were received into the Church. From Watertown we 
came to St. Bridget s Church in New York, where we had 
one of our largest, most laborious, and most fruitful missions. 
This was the first one of those heavy city missions so frequent 
during our early career, at which F. Baker had assisted, where 
the crowds of people were so overwhelming, and the labor so 
excessive and exhausting. He went into his work with 
a brave spirit and an untiring zeal, and scarcely allow 
ed himself even a breathing-spell. The love and admiration 
which the warm-hearted people of this congregation acquir 
ed for him was never diminished, and there was no one whom 
they ever after loved so much to see revisiting their church. 
Before the close, F. Hecker arrived from Borne, after a year s 
absence, bringing a special benediction from the Holy Father 
upon our future labors, and a warm commendatory letter 
from the Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda. At the end 
of the mission we found ourselves without a home, and we 
remained so until the spring of the following year, depend 
ent for the most part on the hospitality of individual friends 
among the clergy and laity for a temporary shelter. For a 
short time we were obliged to take lodgings in an ordinary 
respectable boarding-house in Thirteenth street, near several 
churches and chapels, where we could say Mass every day, 
without incommoding any one. Our kind friend and gener 
ous patron, Mr. Hecker, afterward gave up to us his whole 
house, while his family were in the country ; leaving his ser 
vants, and making ample provision for furnishing us with 
every comfort in the most hospitable style. During the sum 
mer, the " Congregation of Missionary Priests of St. Paul the 
Apostle" was organized, under the approbation and authority 
of the archbishop ; and arrangements were commenced for 
the foundation of a religious house and church, with a paro- 



174 MEMOIR OF 

chial charge annexed. While we were occupying Mr. 
Hecker s house, two burglars entered the building one night, 

O O O " 

through a window incautiously left open, came into the room 
occupied by F. Baker and one of his companions, and robbed 
them of their watches, which were fortunately of small value, 
some articles of clothing, likewise not very costly, and a tri 
fling amount of loose change ; but, seeing two other men of 
no small stature in the adjoining room, prudently decamped, 
without finding a number of costly articles belonging to the 
chapel, although they had examined the drawer where the 
albs and amices were kept. None of us w r ere awakened, and 
the first news we had of the midnight raid upon our territory 
was given by F. Baker exclaiming that his coat had been 
stolen. We laughed at him at first, but it was soon discov 
ered that his intelligence was correct, and that the next house 
had been visited also by the robbers. This adventure gave 
occasion for a great deal of mirth among ourselves, and many 
speculations as to the probable results of an encounter with 
the robbers, in case we had awakened, iii which fatal conse 
quences to the latter were freely predicted. As usual in 
such cases, the police examined the matter, gave very saga 
cious information as to the mode of entrance and exit, and 
discovered no trace of the burglars themselves. We were 
only too happy that the chalice and vestments had not been 
carried off. 

The burden which was assumed by our small community 
was a very heavy one. It was necessary for us to continue 
the missions without interruption, and at the same time to 
provide the means of making a permanent foundation, which 
could not be done without securing property, and erecting a 
church and religious house at a cost of about $65,000. 
During this time of struggle for life, F. Baker was one of the 
main stays of the missions, and one of the most arduous and 
efficient of our number in working at the collection of funds 
and the organization of the parish. After a summer spent 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 175 

in this latter work, a course of missions was commenced in 
September, the first of which was a heavy one, in a congre 
gation numbering 5,000 souls, at the cathedral of Providence, 
in which we were all en^ao-ed. The next was a retreat 

o o 

given to men alone, and specifically to the members of the 
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, in the cathedral of New York. 
F. Baker closed it with a magnificent serm<*i in his happiest 
vein, on " The Standard of Christian Character for men in the 
world." The following notice of the retreat, taken from the 
Freeman s Journal, is more graphic than any that I can give, 
and I therefore quote it entire, in place of describing it in my 
own language : 

" The retreat given by the band of Missionaries of St. 
Paul the Apostle to members of St. Yincent de Paul s Society, 
and other men of this city, closed on Sunday evening, the 
Kev. Father Baker preaching an admirable sermon on the 
characteristics of Christian perfection for men in the world. 
During the week that this retreat has continued, the number 
of men approaching the sacraments was about two thousand. 
The religious effects of the occasion will be great and per 
manent. But besides results that the Catholic faith leads 
to expect, St. Patrick s Cathedral has, the past week, pre 
sented a subject for thought and astonishment to the observ 
ing and reflecting man, though not a Catholic. What has 
gathered these crowds of busy, practical men ? What keeps 
them kneeling, or standing quietly in solid masses, for an 
hour before the exercises commence ? Most of these men 
rose from their beds at four o clock, some as early as half-past 
three, and made long walks through the darkness to secure 
their standing-place in the church during the early instruc 
tions. They hear from the pulpit solid, distinct, earnest in 
structions in regard to what a man must believe, and in 
regard to what he must do to attain eternal life when this 
world is past. But whence comes this lively appreciation of 
truths beyond the reach of the senses, in the minds of men 



176 MEMOIR OF 

plunged all day long, and every day, in material occupa 
tions ? Here are men of the class that, in communities not 
Catholic, do not suffer religion to interfere with their comfort 
-who like best to discuss the points of their religious profes 
sion after dinner, and to listen to sermons while seated in 
cushioned pews. What causes them thus to stand in the 
packed throng of the faithful, listening to the homely details 
of daily duties required of them, or kneeling on the hard 
floor, repeating with the multitude, in a loud voice, the 
prayers they learned in childhood? Then, these sons of 
humblest toil that kneel beside them. All the heat and 
excitement of the " revival " failed to bring any considerable 
number of the corresponding class of non-Catholics to the 
" prayer-meetings." The latter mentioned would say that 
they had to look out for their daily bread, and that the rich 
men at the prayer-meetings did not want them any way. 
Here they are at St. Patrick s, by five o clock in the morn 
ing, and either they do without their breakfast, or it was 
dispatched an hour or more before. These various classes of 
men, having attended the exercises given by the Missionaries of 
St. Paul, during the week, stood crowded within St. Patrick s 
on Sunday evening. The parting instruction of the mission 
aries was to stir them, by all the courage and fervor and en 
durance that they had manifested during the retreat, to fix 
higher principles and firmer purposes for the guidance of 
their future life to be faithful to every duty, to their fami 
lies, to society, and to themselves to be manly in their reli 
gious observances, and generous in sacrificing for their faith 
and for God every attachment that brings scandal on their 
religion or danger to their own virtue. At the close of the 
exercises by the missionaries, the Most Rev. Archbishop 
Hughes made some remarks to the vast congregation. He 
said he found no necessity of adding any thing to what the 
missionaries, according to the special objects of their calling, 
had done, to cause the truths most appropriate and necessary 



REV. FKANCIS A. BAKER. 177 

to sink into hearts so well prepared to receive and retain 
them. But the spectacle before him was one he could not 
let pass without some words expressive of his gratification. 
When a few Catholic young men first met in the archbishop s 
house to form the first Conference of St. Vincent de Paul, he 
had formed high anticipations of the good their association 
would do each other and the Catholic community at large. 
Here, to-night, he saw the realization of his hopes. When 
he reflected 011 the influence that must he exerted on the 
Catholic body, and on this great city where, alas, there was. 
no other religion capable of influencing and restraining men 
except the Catholic by so great a company of men in 
structed in their religion, and fervent in its practice he had 
the wish that such meetings for these exercises, might, at 
intervals, be repeated in all the Catholic churches in the city. 
lie then thanked the missionaries for their labors he 
knew they asked not thanks from men but still it was due 
that he, in the name of those who had been benefited by their 
exercises, should thank them. 

" This retreat for men has .been, in some respects, of espe 
cial interest, and has been highly successful ; and, for the com 
plete satisfaction that it has afforded, it must be said that 
nothing which discreet forethought and arrangement, or 
affectionate zeal and assiduity could effect, was left undone 
by the Very Kev. Mr. Starrs, V. G. and Rector of the 
Cathedral." 

The third mission was given at the cathedral of Covington, 
when the following circumstance occurred. A Protestant 
gentleman, who was present one evening, had a phial of 
poison in his pocket, with which he was fully determined to 
destroy his own life ; but the sermon of F. Baker 011 the 
Particular Judgment made such a powerful impression on his 
mind that he threw away the poison and disclosed to his 
friends what his desperate purpose had been. From Coving- 
ton, F. Hecker returned to New York, to attend to our affairs 

8* 



178 MEMOIR OF 

there, and F. Baker with. two companions went on a tour of 
missions, which continued from ISTovember until Christmas, 
in the State of Michigan. The flourishing parishes located 
in the pretty villages of Kalamazoo, Marshall, Jackson, and 
Ann Arbor, were the ones visited. The last of these mis 
sions deserves a special notice, which I extract from the 
" Records " : 

" The pastor of the church in Ann Arbor has two congre 
gations under his charge, one at Ann Arbor, and the other at 
E"orthfield. The latter is the larger of the two, and it was 
earnestly desired that we should give them a separate mis 
sion. We were told that it was vain to expect them to come 
to the service at Ann Arbor, and, as they were already jealous 
of the Ann Arbor people, if we did not give them a mission 
of their own, their dissatisfaction would be increased, and we 
should do more harm, than good by our visit. We on our 
part would have been willing to give them a double mission ; 
but as there was no house near the Northfield church where 
the missionaries could lodge, it was decided to be impossible, 
and we concluded that one of the fathers should go out on 
Sunday and announce the mission to the E~orthfield people, 
and invite them to attend at Ann Arbor. The result proved 
the wisdom of the decision, for the people came in from the 
country in crowds, thus increasing the life and animation of 
the mission. The weather was mild and pleasant, the nights 
were bright and moonlit, and every morning and evening 
crowds of wagons were drawn up around the church, some 
from ten, some from fifteen, and some even from twenty miles 
off. The church was crowded by five o clock in the morning, 
and the congregation, not content with assisting at one Mass 
and the Instruction, remained until late in the morning, when 
the Masses were all over. In the evening, the crowd was, 
rendered still denser by the large representation of Protest 
ants who attended. On the last night, the crowd was so 
great, that not only was the church packed in every part to 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 179 

its utmost capacity, but even the windows were filled with 
young men who had climbed up from without, and the trees 
around the church offered a perch for those who had to con- 
tent themselves with a bird s-eye view of the scene," 

I have noticed this mission more particularly, because this 
Northfield congregation was a specimen of several Catholic- 
far mins; communities with which we came in contact on our 

o 

missions. The prosperity, happiness, and virtue which I have 
found existing among this class of our people, induce me to 
recommend most earnestly to all those who have at heart the 
welfare of our Catholic Irish population, to promote in every 
way their devoting themselves to agricultural pursuits in the 
country. It would be a great blessing if the large towns could 
be depleted of the surplus population with which they are 
overcrowded, and the tide of immigration diverted from them, 
to be distributed over our vast territory. This agricultural 
life is incomparably more wholesome, more happy, and more 
favorable to virtue and piety than the feverish, comfortless, 
and unnatural existence to which the mass of the laboring 
class are condemned in large cities. It is free from a thousand 
influences vitiating both to the soul, and the body, and, above 
all things, better for the proper training of children. Our 
young men and women of American origin are deserting this 
agricultural life, and leaving vacant the fields of their fathers, 
to plunge into a more exciting and adventurous life, which 
promises to satisfy more speedily their desire for wealth. Let 
our young Irishmen, who come here to find a better field for 
their strength and vigor than they have at home, and those 
who have grown up here, but find themselves unable to get a 
proper field for their industry in the old and crowded settle 
ments, come in and take their places, leave the cities, shun 
the factory towns, and strike into the open country. Sobriety, 
industry, and prudence, will secure to every young man of 
this sort, in due time, the position of an independent land 
holder. There is a hidden treasure of wealth, health, virtue, 



180 MEMOIR OF 

and happiness in the soil, which will richly reward those who 
dig for it, and will also enrich "both the country and the 
Church. 

I may also mention with pleasure, in connection with the 
Ann Arbor Mission, my agreeable recollections of the polite 
attentions we received from the president and gentlemen of 
the University of Michigan. This is by no means a solitary 
instance of courtesy extended to us in the Protestant com 
munity. In many parts of the United States, we have 
received the most polite and friendly attentions, and occasion 
ally hospitable entertainment, both from clergymen and 
laymen of different religious denominations, as well as a 
general manifestation of respect and good- will on tha part 
of the community. Sometimes the mission has excited ill- 
will, and obstacles have been thrown in the way of domestics 
and other dependent persons attending it. But in many 
other cases, not only has there been no interference, but 
every facility has been given, by owners of factories, who 
have shortened the time of work and given leave of absence, 
and by masters and mistresses of families, who have excused 
their servants from their ordinary work, and even furnished 
them with conveyances, when they lived at a distance. 

From Michigan, the missionaries returned to New York, 
and after New Year s, being rejoined by Father Hecker, gave 
a mission in St. Mary s Church, New Haven, a large and 
very flourishing parish, which is, however, only one of three 
in the classic " City of Elms ;" where, thirty-five years ago, 
there was not a Catholic to be found, except, perhaps, one or 
two serving-men in wealthy families. 

After this mission, I revisited several of the places where 
we had given missions in South Carolina and Georgia, to 
solicit aid for our infant community, which was given in a 
liberal and generous manner, worthy of those warm-hearted 
Catholics, who, I trust, will receive a similar return from 
their Northern brethren, whenever they ask for it, to enable 



REV. FKANCIS A. BAKER. 181 

them to repair the ruin which has been made among them 
by civil war. 

During my absence, two missions were given by the other 
three fathers one at Princeton, where the church was broken 
down by the throng, and whose young pastor has since joined 
our community: another at Belleville, which has been so 
beautifully described by the amiable pastor of that place, that 
I cannot refrain from copying his sketch : 

" At the above-mentioned place, the Rev. Fathers Ilecker, 
Deshon, and Baker opened a mission, Sunday, February 13, 
which continued during a week, and closed on the evening 
of the Sunday following. To say that it was most successful, 
is toa cold an expression ; and to call it most impressive, 
beautiful, and triumphant, can give no adequate idea of its 
enchanting power. During the week of its continuance, 
the hill that is crowned by the graceful Church of St. Peter, 
with its tall steeple and gilded cross, marking the first of a 
series of eminences that rise higher and higher westward 

o o 

from the River Passaic, has almost realized Mount Thabor. 
The eager people of the country round had been beforehand 
preparing for the arrival of the missionaries, and no sooner 
did the good fathers come than the faithful people rose up 
in haste to meet them. Down they came, the children of old 
Roscommon and Mayo, from the romantic hills of Caldwell 
on the west, along the glades and woody slopes of Bloomfield, 
saluting, as they passed, their newly-built Church of Our 
Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Onward and upward, 
too, were hastening from the north and east, through Acquac- 
kanouck and Belleville, those who long ago left the Boyne 
and the Luir, the Liffey and Shannon, to cultivate the valley 
of the scarcely less beautiful Passaic. A thin, sparkling frost 
still lay upon the roads; and the crisping sounds of their 
hurrying feet, 6 beautiful with glad tidings, and their cheer 
fully ringing voices, far and near, were heard along the banks 
and over the drawbridge of that beautiful river beautiful at 



182 MEMOIR OF 

half-past four in the balmy morning air quivering under the 
hovering, waning moon, the deep-blue sky, and the twinkling 
stars. But the people of the valley have ascended the hill 
from whence the loud bell of St. Peter s steeple has been 
awakening the country for miles around with its clear and 
booming sounds. They meet their brethren from Bloomfield 
and Caldwell, and pause for a moment before the double 
flight of steps leading up to the portico of the church. Every 
window gleams with light. The organ and choir are inton 
ing and singing the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 
f Sancta Yirgo Yirginum, Holy Yirgin of Virgins, pray for 
us. I thought I was before the bell, exclaims a young 
woman, just come from several miles off, as she flits hastily 
through the doorway to be in time for Mass. But the priest, 
in his shining vestments, with his little surpliced attendants, 
is already at the altar ; and, it being five o clock, the first 
Mass of the morning has punctually begun. The weather, 
however, at two or three other intervals of the mission, was 
not quite so propitious, nor the roads so pleasant ; for thaws 
and occasional rain had softened the latter to a disagreeable 
extent. But this mattered nothing to the seamless robe 
of the Faith, which is proof against all weathers ; for St. 
Peter s was thronged morning and evening alike while 
the mission lasted. Many were the expedients resorted to by 
poor mothers, for trusty guardians to mind the little ones 
during their absence at church. In several instances, a 
mother would charge herself with the children of two or 
three others ; or some kind-hearted Protestant would take 
this care upon her. But not unfrequently the little ones were 
deposited in the basement of the church ; and it was interest 
ing to see the German mother place her infant in the Irish 
woman s arms, while she herself hastened up with the crowd 
to receive communion at the altar-rail a crowd of old and 
young, dotted here and there with the Hollander, tho Ger 
man, the French, and the English or American Catholic. 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 183 

The morning instruction was usually given by Father ITecker, 
whose appearance and manner were well calculated to cheer 
up the people, even to alacrity, under their daily difficulties 
of faithful attendance, late and early, on the mission whe 
ther he related the anecdote of the old man, who, early in 

the morning, after most determined efforts to be faithful to 

~ 

the mission, vanquished the temptation of his warm bed, and 
finally succeeded in reaching the church in the teeth of a 
snow-storm, with inverted umbrella; or, when urging the 
duty of virtuous perseverance, he gave his celebrated allegory 
of the pike of the Mississippi, who, terrified one night by an 
unusual display of fireworks on its banks, vowed he would 
swallow, no more little fishes, but afterward relapsed into 
his intemperate proclivities, and became worse than ever. 
In the evening, Father Deshon ended his most interesting in 
struction with the recitation of the Rosary, responded to 
aloud by the whole congregation. This was followed by 
Father Baker s sermon and the Benediction of the Blessed 
Sacrament. Besides the overflowing attendance of the faith 
ful, the knowledge of the missionaries themselves being Amer- 

7 O O 

icans and converts from Protestantism, brought hundreds 
of Protestants of all classes nightly, many of whom were 
present at every sermon; andjthey were as sensibly moved 
even to tears and audible grief, by the power and holiness of 
the preacher s eloquence, as the Catholics themselves. But 
the last night s scene will long be remembered the renewal 
of baptismal vows, with uplifted hands, by the entire assem 
blage, which the strongly-built church somehow or other con 
trived to accommodate, sitting and standing in the pews, 
passages, gallery, and sacristy, and close around the sanctuary, 
to the number of some thirteen or fourteen hundred. The 
interior of the church was but lately remodelled and decorated, 
and its pale rose-colored walls and ceiling were charmingly 
varied by their white ornamental centers and panelled mould 
ings. The statues of the Blessed Virgin and St. Peter at 



184 MEMOIR OF 

either side of the sanctuary rested on tasteful pedestals, which 
supported four lofty Corinthian columns and their pilasters. 
These pure white, fluted, and tapering columns, with their 
rich capitals and entablature, the altar, tabernacle, and 
almost life-size crucifix, the high-raised marble font and its 
pendent baptismal robe of snowy lace all these, contrasted 
with the dark and lofty missionary cross, and the crucifixion 
winding scarf hunsj athwart it, became of an almost white 

^^ cj * 

and dazzling beauty, amid the innumerable lights, silver 
and gilded candelabra, and vases of a countless variety of 
natural flowers. It is a pleasing thought, that much of the 
plate alluded to was lent for the occasion by kind-hearted 
Protestants of the neighborhood, in whose estimation this 
mission has exalted the Catholic Church to a surprising 
degree. At the same time it may be said, that few or no places 
in the country are more remarkable than Belleville, "N. J., for 
kind cordiality on the part of the Protestant community 
toward the Catholic. But the last scene, like a beautiful 
vision, is now over. The missionaries have given their bless 
ing to the crowd, among whom is a Protestant young lady, 
who coines also to seek it before the carriage shall have borne 
them away. One convert was baptized on the morning of 
their departure. Another will be in a day or two hence. 
More are in reserve for this sacred rite. Upward of eleven 
hundred and thirty Catholics have received the Holy Eucha 
rist ; many of them old men, and many youths, who, but for 
the influence of the mission, would not have approached the 
sacraments for years perhaps never. Young, wavering 
Catholics, already more than half lost to the faith, have been 
reclaimed and fortified. A rich legacy of Catholic truth has 
been left to vanquish falsehood and error, which, in Belleville 
and its neighborhood, must cower for many a day before the 
memory of the Missionaries of St. Paul the Apostle." * 

* New York Tablet^ 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 185 

On the 20th of March, 1859, a mission was opened in St. 
Patrick s Church, Quebec, by the special invitation of the 
Administrator of the diocese. It would be easy to fill pages 
with reminiscences of this mission, given in a city so re 
plete with interest of every kind, and full of pleasant recol 
lections. The mission was a very large one ; as we had seven 
thousand two hundred and fifty communions, and fifty con 
verts received into the Church. It was peculiarly satisfac 
tory, also, from the circumstance that the church was large 
enough to contain all the people who desired to get in, 
though it was densely crowded, and that the most abundant 
facilities were furnished to all who wished to come to confes 
sion there being nineteen confessors, of whom fifteen were 
clergymen of the diocese. 

The soldiers of the garrison attend this church, where they 
have on Sundays a special Mass and sermon from their chap 
lain. The Thirty-ninth, Regiment, of Crimean memory, was 
stationed there at that time, and as many as were able to get 
leave, as well as a number of Catholic soldiers from the artil 
lery battalion and the Canadian Rifles, attended the mission. 
Some of these Crimean veterans made their first communion, 
and others came to confession who had made their last con 
fession before some one of the great battles of the Crimea. 
One of them, who was unable to get through the crowd after 
service, arrived after taps at his barracks, for which he was 
sent by the sergeant to the guard-house, and reported to the 
colonel the next morning. Colonel Monroe, the same officer 
who commanded the regiment in the Crimea, tore up the re 
port and released the soldier from custody, saying that it 
was a shame to punish a man for going to the mission, which 
had done his regiment more good than any thing else that 
ever happened in Quebec. 

We had several invitations to give missions in the British 
Provinces, which it was necessary to decline, and, after taking 
leave of Quebec, where we had received such unbounded 



186 MEMOIR OF 

kindness and attention, both from the clergy and laity, we 
gave our last mission for the season in St. Peter s Church, 
Troy, -then under the care of Father Wai worth. From Troy 
we returned to New York, where a small house had been 
rented for our use, near the site of our new religious house 
and church. 

During the summer of 1859, the work of collecting funds, 

O J O J 

by public contributions in churches, and private subscriptions, 
was continued, and the building, which was to serve as a re 
ligious house, was erected ; a large portion of it being thrown 
into a commodious and tolerably spacious chapel, which could 
be used as a temporary parish church for some years, until 
circumstances would warrant the erection of a permanent 
church edifice. The corner-stone was laid by the archbishop, 
on Trinity Sunday, June 19, in presence of an immense 
concourse of people. On the 24th of November, the Feast 
of St. John of the Cross, the house was blessed by the su 
perior of the congregation, and taken possession of. The 
first Mass was said in it on the following day, in one of the 
rooms arranged as a private chapel. On the first Sunday of 
Advent, November 27, the chapel was blessed, and Solemn 
Mass celebrated in it by the Vicar-General of the diocese ; and 
from this time commenced the double labors of both paro 
chial and missionary duty. An accession to our small num 
ber of one more priest, Father Tillotson, who had been pre 
viously residing in England as a member of the Birmingham 
Oratory, enabled us to do this an undertaking which would 
otherwise have been extremely difficult. Three of our num 
ber, of whom F. Baker was generally one, could now be 
spared for the missions, leaving two in charge of the parish ; 
and by relieving one another occasionally, the labor was 
somewhat lightened. "Within the next two years our num 
ber was further increased by the accession of two others 
one of whom, F. Walworth, had been for a long time the su 
perior of our missionary band, and now rejoined it, after 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 187 

a short interval, in which he had been fulfilling parochial 
duty as pastor of St. Peter s Church, Troy. Strengthened 
by these accessions, we were enabled, while our number re 
mained undiminished by death, and all were blessed . with 
the health and strength necessary to the performance of ac 
tive labor, to carry on a continuous course of missions during 
seven years, dating from the time of our separate organiza 
tion ; and at the same time to bestow abundant care and at 
tention on our continually increasing parish. Three of these 
missions were given in the British Provinces in the cathe 
drals cf St. John s, 1ST. B., Halifax, and Kingston, Canada, 
respectively ; the remainder chiefly in Kew England, New 
York, JNiew Jersey, and Pennsylvania, with a small number 
in the Western States. The details already given of previous 
missions are amply sufficient to give an idea of the mission 
ary life of F. Baker, and it would be wearisome to continue 
them. These seven years, with the year immediately preced 
ing them, comprise the most laborious and most fruitful por 
tion of his too short priestly life. The number of missions 
given in this period of seven years was seventy-nine, with 
an aggregate of one hundred and sixty-six thousand commu 
nions, the same number with that of the missions of the pre 
ceding seven years. Father Baker assisted at sixty-four of 
these missions, and at sixteen previously given, making a 
sum- total of eighty. The number of converts from Protestant 
ism registered is two hundred and sixty-three, and the record 
is imperfect. Two of these were Protestant clergymen one 
the rector of the Episcopal Church in Scranton, Pa. ; the other, 
the principal of the High School in Pittsfield, Mass. 

It only remains now to say a few words of the virtues ex 
hibited by F. Baker, in his missionary, sacerdotal, and reli 
gious life. Those high and noble virtues are best made known 
by a simple record in his deeds, and by the utterance which 
he has himself bequeathed in his own sermons, in wiiich the 
lofty standard of Christian perfection proposed to others is a 
simple reflection of what he actually practised in his life. 



188 MEMOIR OF 

Father Baker usually passed from seven to eight months 
of every year in the labors of the missionary life, and in those 
labors, as a member of a body of hard- working men, he was 
pre-eminent for the assiduity and perseverance with which 
he devoted himself to the most arduous and fatiguing occu 
pations of his peculiar state. He usually said Mass at five 
o clock, after which he went to the confessional till half-past 
seven. From nine until one, and from three until half-past 
six, he was in his confessional, rarely leaving it even for a mo 
ment. At half-past seven, on those evenings when he was 
not to preach, he gave the instruction and recited the prayers 
which preceded the principal sermon. A considerable part 
of the remaining time was taken up by reciting his office and 
other private religious duties, leaving but very little for relax 
ation, and none whatever for exercise, unless it was snatched 
at some brief interval, or required by the distance of the 
church from the pastor s residence. During the first few days 
of each mission, the confessionals were not opened, and the 
preacher of the evening sermon was always freed from its 
labors in the afternoon. Frequently, however, those first 
days were devoted to a special mission given to the children 
of the congregation ; and F. Baker was always prompt and 
ready to fulfil this duty, which he did in the most admi 
rable manner, adapting himself with a charming and win 
ning grace and simplicity to the tender age and understand 
ing of the little ones, and reciting with them beautiful forms 
of meditation and prayer, composed by himself, during the 
whole time of the Mass at which they received communion. 
The hardest part of the work of the mission, after the con 
fessions began, was continued during from five to eleven 
successive clays, according to the size of the congregation, and 
requiring from ten to twelve hours of constant mental applica 
tion each day. Besides this necessary and ordinary work, per 
formed with the most patient and unflagging assiduity, F. Ba 
le er often employed all the remaining intervals of time not 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKEft. 189 

taken up by meals and sleep in instructing adult Catholics 
who had never been prepared for the sacraments, and in in 
structing and receiving converts. Wherever there was any 
work of charity to be done, he undertook it quietly, promptly, 
and cheerfully, always ready to spare others, and willing to 
relieve them by assuming their duties when they were ex 
hausted or unwell, seldom asking to be relieved himself. It 
was never necessary to remind F. Baker of his duty, much 
less to give him any positive command. During a long course 
of missions, in which I was superior, with F. Baker as^my 
constant companion and my associate in preaching the 
mission sermons, and one other long-tried companion as the 
preacher of the catechetical instructions, I remember, with 
peculiar satisfaction, how perfect was the harmony with 
which we co-operated with one another, without the least ne 
cessity of any exercise of authority, or any disagreement of 
moment. 

To understand fully how arduous was the work which F. 
Baker performed, it must be considered that not only was 
his mind and his whole moral nature taxed to the utmost by 
the continued effort necessary in order to fulfil his duty as a 
preacher and confessor, but that it was done under circum 
stances most unfavorable to health, shut up in crowded, ill- 
ventilated rooms, pressed upon by impatient throngs, forced 
to strain the vocal organs to the utmost in large churches 
crowded with dense masses of people, and often obliged to 
pass suddenly from an overheated and stifling atmosphere 
into an intensely cold or damp air, and always obliged to 
work, for several hours in the morning, fasting. Such a life 

o? o 

is a very severe strain upon one who has only the ordinary 
American constitution, especially if his temperament is deli 
cate and unaccustomed to hardship in early life. The amount 
of work which F. Baker performed was not equal to that 
which many European missionaries are able to endure, espe 
cially those who have an unusually robust constitution. 



190 MEMOIR OF 

But it was greater than that which St. Alphonsns himself re 
quired of the missionaries who were under his own personal 
direction. The average duration of a career of continuous 
missionary labor in Europe is only ten years, arid it is there 
fore not surprising that F. Baker was able to continue such 
constant and arduous exertions, with the other duties which 
devolved on him during the intervals of missions, for no 
longer a period than eight years. 

At least as far back as the year 1861, he began to suffer 
fro*n a malady of the throat, and to find the effort of preach 
ing painful. Nevertheless, he continued to perform his full 
share of this duty until within a year before his death. Oc 
casionally it would be necessary to relieve him of some of 
his sermons ; and on the last mission which we gave together, 
which was in St. James s Church, Salem, Massachusetts, he 
asked to be relieved altogether both from the sermons and the 
short instructions which precede them. This mission was 
given during the month of January, 1865. F. Baker assisted 
at two other missions after this, one at Archbald, in Pennsyl 
vania, and the other at Birmingham, Connecticut, at each of 
which he preached four sermons. His last mission sermon 
was preached, February 18, 1865, six weeks before his death ; 
which occurred on the last day of the next mission but one, 
given at Clifton, Staten Island twelve years from the time 
of his receiving his first communion at the mission in the 
Cathedral of Baltimore. 

In the discharge of the duties allotted to him in the parish, 
F. Baker labored with the same zeal and assiduity as he did 
in the missions. He was particularly charged with the care 
of the altar and the divine service in the church, for which 
his thoroughly sacerdotal spirit, his exquisite taste, and his 
complete acquaintance with the rubrics and the details of 
, ecclesiastical rites and ceremonies, gave him a special fitness. 
He took unwearied pains and care in providing vestments 
and ornaments, preserving the sanctuary and all appertain- 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 191 

ing to it in order and neatness, decorating the church for 
great festivals, training up the boys who served at the altar, 
and directing the manner of performing the divine offices. 
This minute and exact attention to the beauty and propriety 
of the sacred ceremonies of the Church, sprang from a deep, 
inward principle of devotion and love to our Lord present in 
the Blessed Sacrament, to His Blessed Mother, to the saints, 
and to the mysteries of the Christian Faith, symbolized by the 
outward forms of religion. In the performance of his sacer 
dotal functions, he was a model of dignity, grace, and piety. 
He loved his duties, and was completely absorbed in his 
priestly office. The august Sacrifice and Sacrament of the 
Altar was his life and joy ; and there he derived those graces 
and virtues which produced their choice and precious fruits 
in his character and conduct. 

As a preacher of the Divine Word, he excelled equally. 
His parochial sermons were even superior to those which he 
preached on the mission. He could prepare himself more 
quietly; the exertion was not so tasking to his physical 
strength, and suited better the tone of his mind, which made 
it more pleasing and easy for him to fulfil these ordinary 
pastoral ministrations than to address great crowds of people, 
on occasions requiring a more vehement style of oratory. 
His published sermons will enable the reader to judge of his 
merit as a preacher, although their effect was greatly increased 
by the impression produced by his personal appearance and 
attitude, and the charm of his voice and intonations. One 
striking feature of his sermons was the abundance and feli 
city of his quotations from Holy Scripture. Frequent read 
ing and meditation of the inspired books had saturated his 
mind with their influence, and the apposite texts which were 
suitable for his theme appeared to flow from his lips without 
an effort. Another characteristic of his preaching was, that 
it appealed almost exclusively to the reason, and through the 
reason to the will and conscience. His continual aim was 



192 MEMOIR OF 

to inculcate conscientiousness, obedience to the law of Goo 
the fulfilment of the great duties of life, and a faithful 
correspondence to the divine grace. He never lost sight 
of this great end in his missionary or parochial sermons, but 
always directed his aim to bring sinners to a renunciation of 
sin, and a fixed purpose of living always in the grace of 
God, and to bring good Christians to a high standard of 
practical perfection and solid virtue. For deep speculations 
in theology and oratorical display, he had not the slightest 
inclination. He never desired to preach on unusual occasions 
or topics, but, on the contrary, had an unconquerable repug 
nance to appear in the pulpit, except where the sole object 
was to preach the gospel with apostolic simplicity, for the 
single end of the edification of the people. He was not at 
all conscious of his own superiority as a preacher, and never 
gave his sermons for publication without reluctance, or from 
any other motive than deference to the judgment of his 
superior and his brethren. He loved and sought the shade 
from a true and profound humility, without the slightest 
desire for applause or reputation. His manner was earnest 
and grave ; at times, when the subject and occasion required it, 
even vehement ; but equable and sustained throughout his 
discourse, without rising to any sudden or powerful outbursts 
of eloquence. On ordinary occasions it had a calm and per 
suasive force ; enlivened with a certain pure and lofty poetic 
sentiment, which blended with the prevailing argumentative 
strain of his thought, pleasing the imagination just enough 
to facilitate the access of the truth he was teaching to the 
reason and conscience, without weakening its power, or dis 
tracting the mind from the main point. lie never produced 
those startling effects upon his audience which are sometimes 
witnessed during a mission, by an appeal to their feelings ; 
but he invariably made a profound impression, which mani 
fested itself in the deep and fixed attention with which he 
held them chained and captivated from the first to the last 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 193 



word he uttered. His eloquence was like the still, strong 
current of a deep and placid river, sometimes swollen in vol 
ume and force, and sometimes subsiding to a more tranquil 
and gentle flow ; but never deviating from a straight course, 
and seldom rushing with the violence of a torrent. 

In his more intimate and personal relations with his peni 
tents, with the sick and afflicted whom he visited, or who 
came to him for counsel, and with others who sought instruc 
tion, advice, or sympathy from him as a priestly director, F. 
Baker was a faithful copy of the charity and suavity of his 
special patron St. Francis de Sales. Pure and holy as he 
was himself, he was compassionate and indulgent to the most 
frail and sinful souls ; and, without ever relaxing the uncom 
promising strictness of Christian principle, or mitigating his 
severe denunciations of sin, he was free from all rigorism 
toward the penitent who sought to rise from his sins by his 
aid. This benignity and charity attracted to him a great 
number of persons who were in peculiar difficulties and 
troubles, some of whom had never had courage to go to any 
one else. He spared no pains and trouble to help them, and 
his patience was inexhaustible. With the sick and dying he 
took unusual pains, visiting them frequently, and often aiding 
them to receive the sacraments devoutly by reciting prayers 
with them from some appropriate book of devotion. He recon 
ciled a number to the Church who had been drawn away from 
their religion, and was particularly successful in bringing to 
the fold of Christ those who were without. The tokens of 
affection, gratitude, and sorrow which were given by great 
numbers at his death, were proofs how much he had endeared 
himself to all with whom he came in contact, and how irrep 
arable they felt his loss to be. 

Of F. Baker s religious character it would be difficult to 
say much, in addition to the portraiture of him which has 
been given in the foregoing sketch of his life. It presented 
no salient or striking points to be seized on and particularly 

9 



194 MEMOIR OF 

I 

described. Its great beauty consisted in its quiet, equable 
constancy and harmony. He had that evenly balanced 
temperament ascribed to St. Charles Borroineo by his biogra 
phers, and regarded as the most favorable to virtue. He had 
no favorite books of devotion, no special practices of piety or 
austerity, no inclination for the study of the higher mystic 
theology, no unusual difficulties or temptations, no deep 
mental struggles, no scruples, no marked periods of spiritual 
crisis and change after his conversion to the Catholic Church 
nothing extraordinary, except an extraordinary fidelity and 
constancy in ordinary duties and exercises, and extraordinary 
conscientiousness and purity of life. He was detached from 
the world, and from every selfish passion ; reserved to a re 
markable degree, without the faintest tinge of melancholy or 
rnoroseness ; collected within himself and in God at all times ; 
serene and tranquil of spirit ; simple, abstemious, and exact in 
his habits ; with his whole heart in his convent, his cell, his 
duties, and his religious exercises. 

The character of F. Baker was very much developed dur 
ing the later years of his life. That passive, quiescent disposi 
tion which characterized him in his earlier career, gave place 
to greater decision and energy. He acquired by action a more T 
self-poised and determined judgment, greater self-reliance, 
and a more marked individuality. He was no longer swayed 
and led by the opinions of others, except so far as duty re 
quired him to obey, or his own reason was convinced. The 
almost feminine delicacy and refinement which he had in 
youth was hardened into a robust and manly vigor, as it is 
with a softly-nurtured young soldier after a long campaign. 
He exhibited also a gayety of temper, a liveliness in con 
versation, and often a rich and exuberant humor and play 
fulness, especially in depicting the variety of strange and 
amusing characters and scenes with which he came in con 
tact by mixing with all classes of men, which had remained 
completely latent in his earlier character, before it was 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 195 

warmed and expanded by the genial influence of the Catho 
lic religion. JSTo one could have been a more delightful 

** t5 

companion on the mission, during the intervals of rest and 
relaxation, than he was ; and he entered into the enjoyment 
of the occasional recreations thrown in his way in traveling 
with the zest of a schoolboy on a holiday. For company he 
had no taste, and he could not be induced to undertake any 
jaunt or excursion for mere pleasure. During the summer 
months he would never go into the country, even for the 
sake of recruiting his health, but remained during the hot 
test months at home, where he found the truest happiness, 
pursuing the even tenor of his ordinary occupations. A 
beautiful character ! A rare specimen of the most perfect hu 
man nature, elevated and sanctified by divine grace, and 
clothed with a bodily -form which was the exact expression of 
the inhabiting soul ! To describe it is impossible. Those 
who knew it by personal acquaintance will say, without 
exception, that the attempt I have made is completely in 
adequate, and, like an unsuccessful portrait, reproduces but n 
dim and indistinct image of the original. I do not mean to 
say that F. Baker was a perfectly faultless character, or that 
he was without sin. Of those faults, however, which are 
apparent to human eyes in the exterior conduct, he had but 
few, and those slight and venial. 

Nothing now remains but to describe the closing scene of F. 
Baker s life. I have already mentioned that his constitution 
had shown symptoms of giving way under the fatigues of his 
missionary labors. Nevertheless, he still continued in the 
constant and active discharge of his priestly duties, and no 
solicitude in regard to his health was felt by any of his 
brethren, with whom these periods of physical infirmity were 
an ordinary occurrence. On one Sunday, a few weeks before 
his death, his strength failed him while he was singing High 
Mass, and Ke was obliged to continue it in a low voice. He 
was also unable to continue the abstinence of Lent, and was 



196 MEMOIR OF 

obliged to ask for a dispensation, which I believe never oc 
curred with him before. His appearance was pale and languid, 
and the fulfilment of his duties evidently cost him an effort. 
We had been accustomed to sing together two of the three 
parts of the Passion on Palm Sunday, ever since the church 
had been opened ; but, in making arrangements for the services 
of the Holy Week for this year, he remarked that we would 
be obliged to omit singing the Passion as usual. He had 
marked himself, however, on the schedule of offices which 
was posted up in the library, to preach both on Passion Sun 
day and Pahn Sunday. His last Sunday sermon was preached 
on the Second Sunday of Lent, March 12. The subject was 
"Heaven." The Wednesday evening following, he volun 
teered to preach in the place of one of his brethren who was 
unwell, about an hour before the service commenced, and 
left the supper-table to prepare himself. He took for the 
emergency the sermon which he had first preached as a mis 
sionary, on " The Necessity of Salvation ;" and this was the 
last regular discourse which he delivered. On the following 
Sunday, after Vespers, he gave a short conference to the Rosary 
Society ; and after this his voice was never heard again in ex 
hortation or instruction. About this time, there were several 
cases of typhus fever in the parish, and F. Baker had in some 
way imbibed the poison, to which his delicate state of health 
rendered him peculiarly susceptible. On the Fourth Sunday 
of Lent, March 26, the first symptoms of illness showed 
themselves. On the preceding evening he heard confessions 
as usual, until about nine o clock, after which he came to the 
room of one of the fathers and made his own confession, as 
he did habitually every week. The next morning he said 
Mass for the last time, at half-past eight, for the children of 
the Sunday-school. As I passed his door at half-past ten, to 
go down to High Mass, he met me in the corridor, and re 
marked that he felt too sick to go down to the sanctuary. 
From this time he came no more again to the table or the rec- 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 197 

reation of the community, but kept his room. Nothing was 
thought of his indisposition, and it was by accident that his 
physician, who dined that day with the community, saw him 
and prescribed for him in the afternoon. The next day three 
of the fathers left the house for a mission, and bade him 
good-by as usual, without a thought of anxiety on either 
side. F. Baker remained on Sunday and Monday in 
the same state, dressing himself every morning, and sit 
ting up at intervals, but usually lying on the bed, and 
occupying himself about some matters of business. He wrote 
several notes, and dictated others, some concerning the articles 

/ J O 

he had ordered for the sanctuary, and others concerning 
some sick persons or penitents for whom he had a special 
care. During this time, no symptoms of typhus had ap 
peared, but his complaint appeared to be a slight attack of 
pneumonia. On Monday evening he went down by himself 
to the bath-room and took a hot bath, after which he kept 
his bed entirely. The superior of the house, who was engaged 
in the mission on Staten Island, came every day to visit him, 
and had already detected an incipient tendency to delirium, 
which awakened in his mind an anxiety, which, however, was 
not shared by any one else. On "Wednesday, however, al 
though he retained control over his faculties, his brain began 
evidently to show a state of morbid excitability. He re 
marked that the bells of the house had a strange sound, and 
fancied that his breathing and pulsations were all set to a 
regular rhythmical measure, and gave out musical sounds. 
When he was alone and his eyes shut, he said that a brilliant 
array of figures continually passed before him, and that he 
seemed to be hurried away by a rapid motion like that of a 
railway carriage. During that evening he was more deci 
dedly wandering in his mind, although he became quiet, and 
slept nearly all night. On Thursday morning the poison of 
typhus had filled his brain completely, and he lay in a dull, 
stupid state, unconscious of what was said to him, and inca- 



198 MEMOIR OF 

pable of uttering a rational word. This gave place after a 
time to a more violent form of delirium, during which he 
talked incessantly in an incoherent manner, and could with 
difficulty be kept in a quiet position or induced to swallow 
any nourishment or medicine. On Friday morning the dan 
ger of a fatal termination was evident, as the disease con 
tinued to progress, and the symptoms of pneumonia were also 
aggravated. The superior of the house was sent for, and 
came over in the afternoon. Dr. Yan Buren and Dr. Clarke, 
two of the most eminent physicians in town, were called in 
for consultation by Dr. Hewit, the attending physician, and 
information of F. Baker s illness was sent to his sister, who 
came immediately from Baltimore to see him. On Saturday 
evening the typhus fever had spent its violence, reason re 
turned, and from this time F. Baker remained in a weak but 
tranquil state until his departure. He had been removed 
from his own room to the library, a large and airy apart 
ment, where every thing about him was arranged in a neat, 
orderly, and cheerful manner, and he was attended and care 
fully watched night and day by his physician, his brethren, 
and his nurse. The violence of his fever had prostrated his 
strength so completely, that he was unable to resist the severe 
attack of pneumonia which accompanied it, and which medi 
cal skill and care were unable to subdue. The feeble vital 
force which still remained gradually subsided during the 
next three days, under the progress of this disease, although 
his friends continued to hope against all appearances for his 
recovery, and seemed almost to take it for granted that God 
would surely hear their prayers and spare his life. During 
all this time he was rational and collected, recognising all 
his friends, but unable to speak more than a few brief sen 
tences that were connected and intelligible. He desired his 
sister to remain with him, and she did so during a great por 
tion of the time. He expressed his perfect willingness and 
readiness to die, and made an effort to repeat audibly 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 199 

some prayers, but without success. He manifested his 
desire for absolution by signs, and it was given to 
him, together with the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, 
on Sunday. On Tuesday, the Holy Viaticum, for which 
he had asked, was given him, at about half-past ten in 
the morning. He received it with perfect consciousness, 
and remained quiet, free from pain, and without becoming 
perceptibly worse, until one. After the fathers had gone 
down to dinner, he asked his nurse for his cap, which was 
brought to him and placed in his hand. He then asked for 
his habit, and said he would dress and go down to dinner 
with the community. Soon after, a change was observed in 
him by the watchful eye of the father who had been his 
bosom friend during their common missionary career, and 
who had passed so many hours of the day and night by his 
bedside during his sickness with more than the devotion of a 
brother ; and several of his particular friends were sent for, 
that they might see him once more before he died. The two 
fathers who were at home, his physician, his only and be 
loved sister, a lady who had been his chief aid in the care of 
the sanctuary, and another, who was one of his converts, 
surrounded his bedside, where he lay, the picture of placid 
repose and holy calm, quietly, gently, and imperceptibly 
breathing his last, until four o clock, when his spirit passed 
away to God, without a struggle or a sign of agony, leaving 
his countenance unruffled, and his form as composed as a 
statue. Those who saw him after death have said that, 
about an hour after his- departure, his appearance was most 
beautiful, as he lay just dressed in his sacerdotal vestments, 
his majestic and finely chiselled brow and features as yet 
untouched by the finger of decay. The vestments in which F. 
Baker was dressed had been prepared by himself only three 
weeks before, that they might be ready in case of the death 
of one of the community. His body was placed in a metallic 
case, enclosed in a rosewood coffin, and laid in state in the 



200 MEMOIR OF 

church. These arrangements were not completed until late 
in the night, and the people did not therefore begin to visit 
the sacred remains until the next morning ; from which time 
until the sepulture, crowds of the faithful were coming to the 
church during every hour, both of the day and the night. 
Requiem Masses were said by all the priests in the house on 
Wednesday and Thursday. The mission at Staten Island 
closed on Tuesday evening. The fathers who were there 
were not made acquainted with the extreme danger of F. 
Baker, and the intelligence of his death was not sent to them 
until Wednesday morning, when their labors were all com 
pleted. They returned home to find the body of their late 
companion lying in the church, and the household and parish 
overwhelmed with sorrow. Usually, in a religious commu 
nity, the death of a member is taken very much as the loss of 
a soldier is regarded by his comrades, schooled as they are to 
control their feelings, and to be ready at any moment to ex 
pose their lives in the discharge of their duty. But in a 
small band like ours, which had been through so many trials 
and vicissitudes in company, and where all the members had 
been continually in the most constant and intimate associa 
tion with each other, it was impossible not to feel in the 
deepest and keenest manner the loss of one of our number, 
the first one called away during the fourteen years of a mis 
sionary life. To an infant congregation like ours, the loss of 
a priest like F. Baker was truly irreparable. Besides this, 
each one felt that his loss as a friend and brother was a per 
sonal grief equal to that of losing his nearest and dearest 
relative by the tie of blood. This sorrow was shared by the 
whole parish, by all his friends, and by the faithful everywhere 
in the parishes where he had preached and labored. Many 
letters of sympathy and condolence were sent from all 
quarters, and not Catholics only, but numbers of others also, 
who had respected the virtues of the holy Catholic priest, 
testified their regret at his death, and their sympathy with 



REV. FEANCIS A. BAKER. 201 

our loss. The Kev. Dr. Osgood, a distinguished Unitarian 
clergyman of New York, sent a small painting representing a 
bouquet of various kinds of lilies, as a memorial of respect, 
in the name of his congregation, accompanied by a very kind 
note. Several other Protestant clergymen were present at 
the funeral services ; and, indeed, the manifestations of respect 
for F. Baker s memory were universal. 

The funeral obsequies were of necessity accelerated more 
than his friends would have desired, so that few from distant 
places were able to attend them. A few intimate friends 
from Baltimore, and some clergymen from places out of town, 
were, however, present ; a large number of the clergy of New 
York and its vicinity ; and as great a number of the faithful as 
the church could contain. The funeral was on Thursday in 
Passion Week, April 6, two days after the decease. The pre 
vious Thursday was F. Baker s birthday, and the anniversary 
of his conversion to the Catholic Church also occurred within 
the week of his death and burial. He had just completed the 
forty-fifth year of his age, and was in the ninth year of his priest 
hood. The following Sunday was the twelfth anniversary of his 
formal reconciliation to the Church, in the chapel of the Sisters 
of Charity, in Baltimore. Early on Thursday morning, four 
private Masses of Requiem were said for the repose of his soul 
in the church. At the usual hour for High Mass on Sundays, 
a solemn Mass of Kequiem was celebrated by the superior of 
the house, in presence of the Archbishop, who performed the 
closing rite of absolution, and a short funeral discourse was 
preached. The coffin was ornamented with the sacerdotal 
vestments, the chalice, and the missionary crucifix of the 
deceased, and covered with wreaths of flowers. The altar 
was deeply draped in mourning, and F. Baker s confessional 
was also similarly draped. Never did these exterior symbols 
indicate a more sincere and universal sorrow on the part of 
all who participated in them. It was a very difficult task to 

summon up sufficient fortitude to perform these last sad rites. 
9* 



202 MEMOIR OF 

The voice of the celebrant was interrupted by his tears; the 
sub-deacon faltered as he sang the elevating and comforting 
words of the Epistle ; the choir-boys showed in their candid 
and ingenuous faces their sorrow for the one who had trained 
them up in the sanctuary ; the choir, composed, not of profes 
sional singers, but of members of the congregation, undertook 
their solemn task with trembling ; every countenance was sad 
and every eye moistened, in the assemblage of the clergy who 
sat in white-robed ranks nearest the sanctuary, and of the 
laity who filled the church. I had the last duty of friendship 
to perform, in preaching the funeral sermon; and the wish to 
do full justice to F. Baker, and to satisfy the eager desire of 
all present to hear something of his life, enabled me to fulfil 
this duty with composure, and restrain the tide of emotion 
which I saw swelling all around me, quieted only by the hal 
lowing and tranquillizing influence of the sacred rites of the 
Church, and the high, celestial hope inspired by the contem 
plation of a life so noble and a death so holy. The music 
was in the sweet, plaintive, solemn style of the true ecclesi 
astical chant ; all the means of celebrating the holy rites of 
the obsequies had been prepared by F. Baker s own pious and 
careful hand ; his own spirit seemed to hover over the spot, 
and a divine consolation stole gently over all. Sad as it is, 
there is nothing so beautiful, so soothing, so elevating to the 
soul, as the funeral of a holy priest, who has achieved his 
course and attained the crown of his labors. Many of those 
who were present remained for a long time after the ser 
vice was completed, and some were still found there unwilling 
to leave the spot, at nightfall. The remains were taken from 
the church to St. Patrick s Cathedral, escorted by a band of 
young men, and followed by a train of carriages, and by others 
on foot, although it rained heavily ; the Yicar-General recited 
the concluding prayers of the ritual ; the coffin was placed in 
the episcopal vault next to that of the late archbishop ; a 
few wreaths of flowers were placed upon it, the entrance was 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER. 203 

closed, and all withdrew ; leaving the earthly form of the 
departed to the silent repose of the tomb. 

For some days after, a portion of the mourning drapery 
was left on the altar, and requiems continued to be offered 
by all the priests of the community. Many Masses were 
also said by other priests in various parts of the country, 
and prayers offered by the people, although the common 
sentiment of all was, that the one for whom they were offered 
was already among the blessed in heaven. On Saturday 
evening, as we all went to our confessionals, and a large con 
gregation of people was assembled in the church, preparing 
for their Easter duty, a peculiarly holy calm seemed to per 
vade the spot. The people were hushed and still, unusually 
intent upon their devotions. The penitents of F. Baker 
looked with sadness upon the place where, just two weeks be 
fore, he had sat for the last time in the tribunal of penance, 
and came weeping to some one of the other fathers to request 
him to take the direction of their consciences. It was a sad 
Holy "Week; and a difficult task to us, wearied with labor, and 
some with watching, oppressed with a grief which time and 
repose had not yet diminished, to fulfil the arduous duties 
of the season. Our greatest consolation was in the sympathy 
manifested by our people, and in the proof they gave of the 
love and gratitude which our labors had awakened in their 
hearts. Easter Sunday came ; the altar was superbly decorated 
with the choicest flowers of the season, the triumphant chant 
of the Church resounded as usual ; but all felt that the one 
whose presence in the sanctuary and whose eloquent voice 
had given the day one of its greatest charms, was gone for 
ever ; and besides, the gloom of the great crime committed 
on Good Friday had overspread the whole nation, and the 
drapery of universal mourning had turned the city into one 
great necropolis. The admirable pastoral letter of the arch 
bishop on the assassination of the President was read in all 
the churches, giving eloquent expression to the -indignation 



204 MEMOIR OF 

and grief which oppressed all Christian and all honest 
and just hearts ; and never was there seen an Easter more sad 
and mournful, more like a day of unusual humiliation and 
sorrow, than that Easter Sunday ; which had been anticipated 
as a day of peculiar joy and thanksgiving for the cessation 
of bloody war and the restoration of peace. 

It is in just such times as these, however, that we appre 
ciate most fully the strength and support which is given us 
by our holy faith, the Divine Sacrament of the Altar, and the 
grace of God, and that those who have given themselves to 
a religious life learn the inestimable blessing of their vocation, 
which raises them above all private and all public tribulation. 
A few days brought back serenity and cheerfulness to our 
little community, and we took new courage from the blessed 
death of our companion, closing so beautifully his holy life, 
to resume quietly and resolutely our ordinary duties, and to 
rely more completely on the providence of God ; trusting that 
we had gained an advocate in heaven, and hoping to perse 
vere like him to the end. His course was short, and his re 
ward speedily gained. What a happiness for him that he 
listened to the voice of God ; and, as his day was declining to 
its close, though he knew it not, gathered up his strength and 
courage to leave all and run that-brief and swift race, which 
in later years gained for him the brilliant and unfading 
crown of a true and faithful priest of Jesus Christ, who had 
brought thousands of souls into the way of justice; and had 
practised himself that Christian perfection which he preached 
to others ! 

There must be many young men equally gifted, and fitted 
to accomplish an equally apostolic work, to whom God has 
given the same vocation. What hidden consequences were 
involved in the result of that struggle and deliberation which 
was the crisis of grace in the life of Francis Baker ! What 
a loss to himself and to the Church of God, if he had proved 
cowardly and unfaithful! The simple question before his 



REV. FRANCIS A. BAKER 205 

mind was one of person al ^obedience to the commandment 
of Christ to arise and follow Him. But because of his obe 
dience, God chose him to be the instrument of an amount of 
good to others which would be sufficient to enrich with merit 
a priesthood of fifty years. The immediate fruits of his own 
labors in preaching the word of God and administering His 
sacraments can never perish. The fruits of his example and his 
teaching will, I trust, continue to multiply and increase after 
his death in rich abundance. If the blessing of God perpetu 
ates and extends the congregation which he aided in forming, 
and which, so far as we can see, could not have been estab 
lished without him, his character and spirit will be perpetuated 
in those who will for all time venerate him as a spiritual father, 
and imitate him as one of their most perfect models. If he is to 
have no imitators and no successors, it will be because God can 
find none among our choice and gifted youth, who have enough 
of sincerity, generosity, and the spirit of self-eacrifice, to obey 
the inspirations of His Divine Spirit, and consecrate themselves 
to His glory and the good of their fellow-men. The need is 
pressing, the career is glorious and inviting, and the vocation 
of God will not be wanting. There is no hope for religion, 
except in the multiplication of priests animated with the 
apostolic spirit. If the example of Francis Baker enkindles 
the spirit of emulation in some generous youthful hearts ; and 
encourages some timid, fearful souls who are vacillating 
between the Church of God and the interests of this world, 
to imitate his fidelity to the voice of conscience ; the end I 
have had in view will be accomplished. If not, it will stand 
as a perpetual reproach to a frivolous and unworthy gen 
eration, incapable of appreciating and imitating high Chris 
tian virtue. And now I lay the last stone on this monument 
of one who was once the friend and bosom companion of my 
youth ; afterwards my spiritual child ; then my brother in the 
priesthood ; and who is now exalted to such a height above 
me that my eye and my mind can no longer follow him. 



SERMONS 



SE EM O N" S. 



SEEMON I. 

THE NECESSITY OF SALTATION. 

(.MISSION SERMON.) 

" Thou art careful, and art troubled about many things. But one thing is 
necessary." ST. LUKE x. 41, 42. 

IF, my brethren, I should ask each one in this assembly 
what his business is, I should probably receive a great variety 
of answers. In so large a congregation as this, drawn as it 
is from the heart of a rich and important city, there are un 
doubtedly representatives of all the various avocations that 
grow out of the requirements of social life ; some merchants, 
some mechanics, some laboring men. I should find some 
heirs of ease and opulence side by side with homeless beg 
gars. Some of you are heads of families, while others are 
living under guardianship and subjection ; and in answer to 
my proposed question, you would give me your various em 
ployments and states of life. You would tell me that your 
business is to heal the sick, or to assist at the administration 
of justice, or to teach, or to learn letters, or to labor. The 
men would tell me that their occupation is at the office, or 
the warehouse, or the shop, and the women would tell me 
that theirs is at home by the family fireside. ISTo ! my breth 
ren, it is not so. This is not your business. Your words may 
be true in the sense in which you use them, but there is a 
great and real sense in which they are not true. Trade, 



210 THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION. 

labor, study these are not your employments. Your avoca 
tions are not so varied as you think they are. Each one of 
you has the same business. All men who have lived in the 
world have had but one and the same business. And what 
is that ? The salvation of their souls. However varied your 
dispositions, your condition in this world, your duties, the 
end of life is absolutely one and the same to you all. Yes ! 
wherever man is, whatever his position, whatever his age, he 
has one business on the earth, and only one to save his soul. 
All other things may be dispensed with, but this cannot be 
dispensed with. This is his true, his necessary, his only duty. 
Do not think that I am exaggerating things in making this 
assertion. Our Divine Saviour Himself in the words of the 
text has taught us the same lesson "Mcvrtha, Martha, tJwu 
art careful, and art troubled about many things. But one 
thing is necessary" And what that one thing is, He has 
taught us, in those memorable words which He uttered on 
another occasion " What shall it profit a man, if he gain 
the whole world, and lose his own soul / or what shall a man 
give in exchange for his soul?"* But what then, you say; 
must every one go into a cloister, must every one who wishes 
to do his duty forsake the world, leave house and parents, 
lands and possessions, and nourish his soul by continual medi 
tation and prayer ? JSTo ! this is not our Lord s meaning. 
The end of life is indeed the salvation of our souls, but we 
must work this out by means of the daily employments ap 
propriate to our several conditions. "We must prepare for 
the life to come by the labors of the life that now is. We 
must bear our part in this world, but we must do so, always, 
in subordination to eternity, and thus we shall in some way 
fulfil the words of the apostle "They that use this world, 
let them "be as though they used it not ;" f that is, let them not 
use it in the same way that the children of the world use it, 

* St. Mark viii. 36, 3t. f 1 Cor. vii. 31. 



THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION. 211 



or according to the principles of the world. This is enough 
for the salvation of most men. No one can be excused from 
doing so much as this. The law of God imperatively and 
under the highest sanctions requires this of every one here 
present. This is your duty to your souls. This is your only 
duty. This done, all will be done. This neglected, all else 
will be in vain. To prove this will be the theme of my pres 
ent discourse. 

I will make a remark in the outset : It is important for us 
to bear in mind that the salvation of our souls is properly our 
work. The grace of God is indeed necessary in order to 
will, and to accomplish His good will, but without our co 
operation, the grace of God will not save us ; accordingly, 
St. Paul, writing to the Philippians, exhorts them to work 
out their salvation. * It is only little children, who die soon 
after baptism, and persons equivalent to children, who are 
saved by a sovereign and absolute act of divine power ; with 
regard to all others, God has made their eternal destiny de 
pendent on their own actions. No one of us will be saved 
merely because Christ died for us ; or because He founded the 
Catholic Church as the church of salvation, and made us its 
members; or because He has instituted life-giving sacra 
ments ; or because God is willing that all should be saved ; 
or because He gives His grace to us all ; or because the 
Blessed Yirgin Mary has such power with God ; or because 
the priest can forgive sins. No one will be saved because he 
has had inspirations of grace, good instruction, good desires, 
and good purposes. Despite all this, one may be damned. 
For the Holy Spirit has said distinctly and strongly, 
" "Work out your own salvation." It rests, then, with you to 
save your souls. The grace of God is indeed necessary. 
You cannot be saved without the death of Christ, or the 
sacraments of the Catholic Church, or the gifts of the Holy 

* Philip, il 12. 



212 THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION. 

Spirit, or the absolution of the priest, or the patronage of 
Mary ; but all these things are within your reach, they are 
all in your power. Now, at the time of the Holy Mission, 
they are offered to you with especial liberality. God, on 
His part, has done, one may almost say, all that He could do 
to make your work easy to you. To make this an accept 
able time, it only remains, then, that you do your part. And 
this you can do. However great your difficulties, however 
great your temptations, however strong your passions, how 
ever importunate your evil companions, may be; however 
deeply seated your bad habits ; you can, each one can, by 
the help which God is now willing to render him, save his 
soul. 

From this first remark I pass to the immediate subject 
of my discourse the obligation of securing our salvation. 
As we can save our souls, so we ought to do it. Nay, 
this is our only, our all- engrossing duty; and I shall 
found my proof of it, my brethren, on this plain rule of 
common sense and reason, that one ought to bestow that 
degree of attention and care on any affair which it deserves 
and requires. Every one feels that it would be an occupa 
tion unworthy of a man to spend his time in writing letters 
in the sand, or in chasing butterflies from flower to flower ; 
because these occupations are in themselves vain and pro 
fitless. Again, any one would feel it unreasonable, in the 
father of a family, to set out on a party of pleasure at 
the very moment that his presence was necessary to arrest 
some disaster that threatened his family : not because it 
was wrong in itself for him to seek recreation, but because 
a higher obligation was then urging. Now, applying these 
principles, on which every one acts in matters of daily life, 
to the matter in question ; I say tha^ you are bound to give 
to the work of your salvation your utmost care and attention, 
because the care of your souls supremely deserves and 
urgently requires it. Take in, my brethren, the whole 



. \ 



THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION. 213 

scope of my proposition. There is a work of great con 
sequence before you. I do not speak as the world speaks. 
The world tells you that your business here is to get gain, to 
build a house, to rear a family, to leave a name, to enjoy 
yourself. I say, no. Your business is to seek the grace 
of God, and to keep it. The world says: seek friends, 
fall in with the stream, court popularity, do as others do, 
act on the principles which receive the sanction of the 
multitude, and a little religion in addition to this will be 
no bad thing. I say, no. Seek first the kingdom of God 
and His justice. Fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, 
masters, servants, ye great ones and ye humble ones of 
the earth, you are all engaged in the same enterprise* 
God has intrusted to each one of you a soul. He has 
intrusted it to you, not to another. You cannot devolve 
the responsibility of it on another. That is your care on 
the earth. "Whatever cares of other things you may have, 
you cannot neglect that one work, you cannot interrupt 
or postpone it, you cannot put any thing in competition 
with it. If there is a question between any temporal 
advantages, however great, or suffering, however severe, on 
one side, and the salvation of your soul on the other; 
you must renounce these benefits, embrace those tortures. 
If you must consent to see your family die by inches of 
starvati on, or put your salvation in proximate and certain 
jeopardy^ you must see them starve first. I do not say 
the case is likely to happen. God rarely allows men to be 
reduced to such straits. But if the case should occur in the 
line of ^ duty, nay, if the alternative was presented, of 
converting the whole world on one side, and avoiding a 
mortal sin on the other, we must rather consult the welfare 
of our own souls than that of others ; and this not from 
selfishness, but because God has intrusted to us our own 
souls, and not the souls of others. And how do I establish 



214: THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION. 



my proposition ? I waive, my brethren, my right to appeal 
to your faith, to speak by the authority of Christ, Who is 
infallible and supreme, and Who has a right to challenge 
your absolute and instantaneous submission and obedience. 
I postpone the consideration of that love which we owe to 
our Maker, and which ought to make us prompt and willing 
to do His will. I take my stand on the ground of reason and 
conscience, and I appeal to you to say whether they do not 
sustain my proposition. I make you the judges. It is your 
own case, it is true, yet there are points in which even self- 
love cannot blind our sense of faith ; and I ask you whether 
the care of our soul s salvation should not be our sovereign 
and supreme care in life, if it be true that the interests of the 
soul surpass all others in importance, and can not be secured 
without our continual and earnest efforts. Your prompt and 
decided answer in the affirmative leaves me nothing more to 
do than to establish the fact that the salvation of your souls 
is in fact so important a task. I will do so by proving 
three points : first, that our souls a,re our most precious 
possession ; second, that we are in great danger of losing 
them ; and third, that the loss of our souls is the greatest of 
all losses, and is irreparable. 

Our souls are our most precious possession. My brethren, 
we have souls. When God created man He formed his body 
out of the slime of the earth. It was as yet but a lifeless form, 
a beautiful statue, but God breathed upon it and man became 
a living soul. This soul, the spiritual substance which God 
breathed into the body, was formed according to an eternal 
decree of the Blessed Trinity, in resemblance to the Divine 
essence ; that is, endowed with a spiritual nature and possessed 
of understanding and free will. " Let us make man to our 
image and likeness," said God ; and the sacred writer tells 
us " God created man to His own image ;" and, as if to give 
greater emphasis to so important an announcement, he repeats, 



THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION. 215 

" To the image of God created He him." * Man therefore 
is a compound being, consisting of a body and soul, allied to 
the material world through the material body which he pos 
sesses, and to the world above us, that is, to God and the 
angels, through his soul. JSTow, the excellence of all creatures 
is in proportion to the degree in which they partake of the 
perfections of God, who is the Author of all being and all 
goodness. All existing substances partake of His perfection 
in some degree ; if they do not show forth His moral attri 
butes, at least they reflect His omnipotence ; and therefore 
Holy Scripture calls on the fishes of the sea, the beasts of the 
earth, the fowls of the air, the sun, moon, stars, earth, moun 
tains and hills, to join with angels and men in blessing God. 
But the superiority of angels and souls over material crea 
tures consists in this, that they partake of the moral perfec 
tions of God : they show us not only what God can do, but 
what He is. Like Him, they are spiritual beings. u WJio 
makest Thy angels spirits and Thy ministers a burning fire," 
says the Psalmist.f They are not gross substances as our 
bodies are, but pure, subtle, immaterial essences. They are 
immortal like Him at least so as that they can never die. 
They do not need food nor sleep. They are not subject to 
decay, or old age, or death ; they are endowed with understand 
ing and free will, to know many of the things that God knows 
and to love what He loves; but, above all, to know Him and 
love Him. Hence the value of the soul is really immeasur 
able, and all the treasures of the earth are not to be compared 
to it. Take the poorest slave on earth, the most wretched 
inmate of the darkest prison, the most afflicted sufferer whom 
disease has reduced to a mass of filth and corruption, and 
that man^s soul is more precious and more glorious than the 
richest diadem of the greatest monarch ; nay, than all the 
treasures of the whole earth, with all the jewels that are hid 

* Gen. i. 26. f Ps. ciii. 4. 



216 THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION. 

in the mines and caves under its surface. Our Lord one day 
permitted St. Catherine of Sienna to see a human soul, and 
as she gazed transported at its exceeding beauty, He asked 
her if He had not had good reason to come down from heaven 
to save such a glorious creature. The saint said the soul 
was so beautiful that, if one could see it, one would be willing 
to suffer all possible pains and torments for love of it. My 
brethren, if, when you go to your homes, you should find in 
your house an angel with his face as the appearance of light 
ning, his eyes as a burning lamp, his body as a crystal, and 
his feet in appearance like to glittering brass, what would 
you do ? Would you not, like St. John, fall down before his 
feet and adore him ? Would you not faint and fall before 
him, or if you were so strengthened that you could look 
upon the glorious vision, would you not gaze upon it with 
deep and loving awe? Well! such a being you will find 
there, when you go home. It will go hence with you. It 
will remain there as long as you remain there. It will come 
away when you come away. This bright being of whom I 
speak is no visitor in your house, it is an inmate, it rises 
with you in the morning, accompanies you through the day, 
is present with you when you eat, is with you in sickness 
and in health, in life and in death. This bright and glorious 
being is yours it is more yours than any thing else in the 
world, it is the only thing in the world that is really yours 
it is yours ; poverty cannot strip you of it, death cannot tear 
it from you ; eternity cannot rob you of it. And this being 
is your soul, your precious, spiritual, immortal soul. All 
things else will forsake you, property, family, friends ; but 
this will never forsake you. It is yours. It is yours inalien 
ably and for ever. Your greatest, your only wealth and 
treasure. Oh, inestimable dignity ! We are told of some 
saints, who used to make an act of respect to every one they 
met, by way of saluting his guardian angel, and of others 
that they bowed down before those whom they knew, by the 



THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION. 217 

spirit of prophecy, would shed their blood for the faith. But 
have we not cause enough to honor man, in the fact that he 
has a soul, an immortal soul, a soul which shall one day see 
God I Shall we not feel an ample respect for each other, 
my brethren, when we think of what we are ? Who could 
ever speak an impure word before another if he thought of 
the dignity of a human soul ? What young man would ever 
dare to go to scenes where he would blush that his mother 
or sister should be present, if he remembered that he took 
his own soul along with him ? Who would lie, or cheat, 
or steal, if he thought of his soul ? A great and overpower 
ing thought ; how does it belittle all the pride and ostentation 
of the external world ! Come, my brethren, let us go into 
the streets of this city and look around us. There are stately 
buildings and proud equipages and gay and brilliant shops 
but what are all these to the concourse of human beings, the 
crowds of immortal souls who are, day by day, making an im 
mortal destiny. There is the old man tottering along on his 
stick, there is the little child on the way to school, there is 
the rich lady with her jewels and costly fabrics, there is the 
laborer with his spade setting out to his daily toil ; and each 
one has a soul, each one will live forever. Let us strive to 
take in this great thought. The tide of human beings flows 
on from morning to evening. New faces continually appear. 
They come and go. We do not know their history, their 
destiny ; but we know that each one has a spiritual nature, 
is made to the image of God, is possessed of a bright and 
glorious soul. We shall meet them again. There will come 
a day when every one of the throng shall meet again every 
other. !N"ew populations shall come in the place of those 
who now inhabit the world. The stones of the greatest build 
ings shall be reduced to powder, nay, the world itself will be 
reduced to ashes, and each soul that now lives in this city 
will survive in its own individuality and immortality. There 

are some, it is true, who do not seem as if they had souls. There 
10 



218 THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION. 

are women who have given themselves up to practices of un- 
cleanness by profession, and men who habitually wallow in 
drunkenness and sensuality ; and the conversation of such 
persons is so horrid and obscene, their countenance so devoid 
of the least trace of shame or self-respect, they seem from 
having neglected their souls almost to have lost them. They 
seem really to have become the brutes whose passions 
they have imitated. ISTo ! even they have souls. They 
cannot be brutes if they would. They are men, they are 
made to the image of God, and so they must ever remain. 
A surgeon* was once called to attend a man who was 
afflicted with cancer. This terrible disease had affected one 
entire side of the face, and had made in it the most dreadful 
ravages. The cheek was one shapeless mass of putrid flesh ; 
the nose undistinguishable from the other ieatures, the eye com 
pletely eaten out, and the bones of the forehead perforated like 
a sponge ; but on turning the face of the man, the other side 
presented a wonderful contrast, being in nowise affected, and 
showing no trace of sickness except an excessive pallor. The 
countenance and features were of a noble dignity and beauty, 
and strikingly like the expression ordinarily observed in the 
pictures of our Blessed Lord. So it is with men s souls. Sin 
has eaten deeply into them, has deprived them of comeliness, 
has almost defaced the form they once had, has blinded their 
minds and deprived them of the interior eye ; but still there 
remain traces of nobility, of the image of God. O man, who 
ever thou art, however deeply sunk in sin ; I care not whether 
your body be as filthy as the dunghill or the sink, or your 
heart be the prey of every passion and the slave of every 
vice ; you have a soul: you have indeed lost much, but you 
have much remaining ; you have that which is of more value 
than all else in the world that which is absolutely of more 

* The surgeon alluded to was Dr. Baker, and a faithful portrait of the man 
was taken, which was preserved in the family. 



THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION. 219 

value than all material things ; and which to you is of more 
value than all spiritual things, than all created things in earth 
and heaven. You are great and noble and spiritual and im 
mortal you are capable of virtue, happiness, and heaven 
you are like God, you resemble Him. His image is stamped 
upon you. And how little you realize this ! Alas, you will 
realize it at the hour of death. 

But, secondly, we are in danger of losing our souls. To 
lose them in the literal sense is of course impossible, for 
I have said that they are immortal, and will remain with us 
forever. It would be in some way a happiness to the 
wicked, if they could, in this sense, lose their souls, for it 
would free them from the torment of a miserable eternity. 
But that cannot be : the loss of our souls of which we speak 
is the loss of God, who alone is the sufficient and satisfying 
object of our affection. " Thou hast made our souls for 
Thee," says St. Augustine, " and they are not at peace until 
they rest in Thee." The loss of our souls is occasioned by 
sin, which separates us from God, but it is not final and 
irremediable until death overtakes us in this state of 
estrangement. The danger of losing our souls, then, is the 
danger of falling into mortal sin and dying in that state. 
Now, the danger of sinning is, in the present course of God s 
providence, inseparable from the possession of a soul. Free 
will is a high prerogative, which, while it fits us for the 
highest state possible, renders sin also possible. As soon as 
God created the angels, a large part of them rebelled against 
Him, and were cast out of heaven. As soon as He had 
made man, our first parents fell and were cast out of Para 
dise. It is only a rational moral being that can sin ; because 
sin is the voluntary transgression of the Divine law, and there 
fore cannot be committed by any creature but one who has a 
will, that is, intellect and the power of choosing. Almost 
all the material acts of sin which men commit are committed 
by brutes also. See the rage of the tiger, the thieving of the 



220 THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION. 

fox, the impurity of the goat, the treachery of the adder, the 
gluttony of the swine. But there are no sins in these 
brutes, because they have mere blind instincts. Man, how 
ever, has reason and a will, and therefore he is bound to con 
trol the instincts which he shares in common with the brutes, 
and his failure to control these constitutes sin. He has a 
soul which belongs to God, and of which God is the sover 
eign, and his failure to control his passions is rebellion against 
God, and pride. Further, as the possession of a soul renders 
sin possible, so the proclivity to evil, which, we inherit from 
the fall, and the temptations of the world, render it exceed 
ingly probable. I do not know a more striking illustration 
of this, than the fear which the saints have ordinarily had 
about their salvation. Their sense of the value of the soul ; 
their deep knowledge of their own hearts, and of the root of 
evil that was in them, the weakness of man without grace, 
and the uncertainty of grace; have kept men of the greatest 
sanctity, men who have wrought miracles, who have cast out 
devils, who have raised the dead to life, always anxious about 
their perseverance, always begging of God the grace never to 
to allow them to commit a mortal sin. But if these reasons are 
enough to make saints tremble, what reasons have not ordi 
nary Christians to fear ! A chain of evil habits, unguarded 
intercourse with men, the constant contact with the world, 
how fearfully do they augment the risk of losing our souls, 
which all run necessarily in this world. Why, listen to the 
conversation of ten men, taken almost at random in this city ; 
for half an hour walk through the city, from one end to the 
othel ; and see if the occasions of sin are not more frequent 
than can be uttered. This is deeply felt by men of the world 
themselves. It makes them despair. They say there is no pos 
sibility of saving their souls in the world. They say it is all 
in vain to try that sin meets them at every step. It is not, 
of course, true that sin is inevitable. If it were, it would not 
be sin. But it is true that the atmosphere of the world is fear- 



THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION. 221 

fully surcharged with evil. There is many a home in this 
city, many a place of public resort, many a den of secret 
iniquity, many a gaming-room, and drinking-house, over 
which there is an inscription legible to the angels, written in 
letters of fire, " The gate of hell." There are many places 
where souls are sold daily and hourly, and oh, at what a 
price ! Thirty pieces of silver was the price offered for our 
Redeemer, but the soul is often sold for one, indeed, often for 
something still more miserable for the gratification of an 
impure passion, for the indulgence of revenge, for a day s 
frolic. It is true the Evil One does not carry on his traific 
under its own name and openly that it is well concealed 
under specious pretences ; but the danger is only so much the 
greater. The occasions of sin are everywhere spread under 
our feet like traps and snares, and encircling us on all 
sides like nets. But even this is not the worst. The loss of 
God is not only possible because of our free will, probable 
because of the corruption of the world, but, in many cases, 
already certain. Men, on all sides, have lost God, and need 
only an unforeseen death to make certain the loss of their 
souls. Who can tell how many are living in a state of mortal 
sin, month by month, day by day, year by year ? They go on 
securely, smilingly ; externally all goes on smoothly ; they are 
successful and seemingly happy ; they have plans for many 
years to come ; but a voice has spoken, " Thou fool, this 
night shall they require thy soul of thee." Oh ! how many 
died in mortal sin last year, how many will die in mortal sin 
next year ! It needs only a little thing, a false step, a rail 
way accident, an attack of fever, a change in the weather, a 
fit of apoplexy, and they are launched into eternity without 
warning and without preparation death sealing for perdi 
tion those whom it finds deprived of the grace of God. 
Who, I say, can wonder at this, when he looks around him, 
and sees how little the soul is valued ? O my God ! it is 
enough to make the heart sick. Let us take a Catholic 



222 THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION. 

family, for I will not take things at the worst. A father has 
a family of children. He must send them to school or col 
lege. He finds an institution which pleases him, and he will 
tell you that his children are doing excellently, and that the 
only drawback is that the school is Protestant or infidel. Is 
not this to betray the souls of his own children ? Sunday 
comes : it is true that there is the obligation to hear Mass, 
but some inducement offers itself to idleness or dissipation, 
and no Mass is heard, because it is only the soul which is in 
jured by the omission. Monday comes : there is an opportu 
nity of making some little gain in an unlawful way. What 
does it matter? We must get rich, and do like our 
neighbors. The sons grow up in ignorance, and spend their 
time mostly at the gaming-table or the place of carousal. 
The daughters grow up. They must be led by their mother 
to every scene of folly and sin, because the custom of society 
requires it. Easter comes : the young people do not like to 
go to confession, and they add only one sin more, to those with 
which their hearts are already charged. And then the parents 
die, and the children come forward to take their places, and 
to bring up their children in still greater neglect and laxity. 
Thus Catholics are trained for the world, and souls for hell ; 
and if we take into the account the graver forms of vice, and 
consider how many are entirely the slaves of passion, we 
shall not wonder that there are so few that shall be saved. 
One of the Fathers, speaking of the great responsibility of 
the priesthood, dilates on the impossibility of a priest s being 
saved without great exertion and watchfulness. But if it be 
difficult for a priest to save his soul ; what shall I say of the 
laity, when I consider the prevailing habits of Catholics. It 
hardly seems to me too strong to say, that to me it would 
seem a miracle for any such one to be saved. How will 
men attain that which they do not care for, to which they 
give no thought ? And so it is with the salvation of the soul. 
Who thinks about it ? Who takes any pains for it ? Who 



THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION. 223 

makes any sacrifice for it ? The soul is more precious than any 
thing else, and yet every thing else is put before it. It is 
trampled on in business, betrayed in friendships, choked by 
domestic cares, imprisoned in the filthy bodies of the 
licentious, and, as it were, annihilated in the drunkard. It is 
forgotten, neglected, outraged, despised, ignored. It is not 
so much sold as thrown away. The body is cared for with 
the most supreme solicitude. Every pain and ache is re 
lieved. Long journeys are undertaken to recover health that 
is lost or only threatened. The most celebrated physicians are 
sought after with eagerness. But the soul is allowed for weeks 
and months and years to go on in a state of spiritual death. 
Confession, prayer, the sacraments, means so easy, means 
truly infallible in their efficacy, means within the reach of 
all, are neglected, on pretences the most frivolous, without 
reason, and almost without motive. " Who will give water to 
7ny head, and a fountain of tears to my eyes, and I will weep 
day a?id night for the slain of the daughter of my people /" * 
The loss of our souls is the greatest of all evils, because it 
is irremediable. I will not go into all that this point contains. 
It is too great a subject for us at present. I will not dwell 
on all that is meant by the loss of our souls, but I will con 
sider it simply as it is, the failure of reaching our end and 
destiny, and as irreparaWe. And to help us to realize this, I 
will summon as a witness one who was the first to come short 
of his destiny, the devil. We do not know how long it was 
after the creation of the angels that the devil sinned and fell ; 
but certainly there was a time when he was a pure, bright 
spirit, rejoicing in the greatness of his endowments, and with 
a hope full of immortality. But there came a moment of 
darkness. He sinned : he was judged : he was cast from 
heaven, and he sank into hell. There he is now. He is con 
fined in chains and darkness. The tree has fallen ; and as it has 
fallen to the north or to the south, so must it lie forever. Other 

* Jer. ix. 1. 



V 



224 THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION. 

mistakes may be rectified, but this never. A loss in business 
may be made good by greater exertions and prudence ; a 
broken-down constitution may be repaired by art and care ; 
a lost reputation may be recovered by integrity and consist 
ency in well-doing ; earthly sorrow may be healed by time 
and other objects ; sin may be rooted out by penance ; but 
the loss of the soul is an evil complete and irreparable, and 
brings with it an undying remorse. "A tree hath hope : if it 
~be cut down, it groweth green again, and the Roughs thereof 
sprout. If its root he old in the earth and its stock he dead 
in the dust, at the scent of water it shall spring and hring 
forth leaves as when it was first planted"* But man, when 
he shall be dead and stripped and consumed, I pray you, 
where is he ? The cry of despair which the first lost soul 
uttered when he made the terrible discovery that he was 
really lost, is still ringing in the abodes of the damned, and 
the keenness of his misery is still unabated. Ages shall go 
on, the last day shall come, and an eternity shall follow it, and 
that cry of despair will still be as thrilling, and that anguish 
as new and as irremediable. 

As reasonable men, I have appealed to you : what is your 
decision? What does reason, what does conscience, what 
does self-interest say ? You would not be listless if I were to 
speak to you of your property, your health, your reputation, 
but now I speak to you of your souls your precious, immor 
tal souls your own, your greatest good a good that you are 
in danger of losing the good whose loss is overwhelming and 
irretrievable. They are in your hands for life or for death. It is 
said that to one of the heathen soothsayers, who was famed for 
his skill in discovering hidden things, a person once came with 
a living bird in his hand, and asked the seer to tell whether it 
was living or dead. The inquirer intended to crush the bird with 
his hand if the wise man should say it was living, and to let it fly 
if he should say it was dead, and thus in either case to put the 

* Job xiv. 7, 8, 9. 



THE NECESSITY OF SALVATION. 225 

pretended magician to shame. But the soothsayer sus 
pected the design, and answered : " The bird is in your hand 
to kill it or to let it live." So I answer you, my brethren. 
Your souls are in your hands, to kill them or to let them 
live. You can crush them in your grasp and smother their 
convictions, or you can open your hand and let them fly 
forth in freedom and gladness. Oh, have pity on your souls ! 
Your souls are yours. No one will be the loser by the loss 
of your souls but yourselves. God will not be the less happy 
if you are damned ; the saints will not lose any of their hap 
piness if you fail of your salvation ; the angels will be as 
light and blissful ; the earth will go on just the same as when 
you were on it ; only you, you yourselves will feel it, and 
you will feel it hopelessly. Ah, then, take pity on your 
souls ! You will one day wish that you had done it. One 
of the courtiers of Francis the First of France, when he was 
dying, said : " Oh ! how many reams of paper have I written 
in the service of my monarch ! Oh ! that I had only spent 
one quarter of an hour in the service of my soul !" A quar 
ter of an hour ! And you have days and weeks. Oh, then, 
once more I beg you to take pity on your souls ! If you 
have never before seriously taken to heart your eternal in 
terest, at least do so now. Improve the time of this mission. 
It is the time of grace. It may be to you the last call, the 
last opportunity. Make, then, a good use of this time. Set 
aside the thought of other things, and give yourself to this 
alone. Now you have an opportunity of making your peace 
with God, and saving your soul. Think, now the hour has 
come, foreseen by God from all eternity, when, answering to 
the call of grace, I shall regain His favor, which, alas ! I have 
lost too long. What shall keep me back ? See what is the 
difficulty, and weigh it in the scales with your immortal 
soul. Is confession difficult ? A confession before the whole 
universe will be more so. Is it hard to lose a little gain ? 
It will be more so to lose your soul. Is it hard to break a 

10* 



226 MORTAL SIN. 

tie of long standing ? It will be hard to break every tie, and to 
live in eternal desolation. Is it hard to bear the remarks of 
companions ? But how will you bear the taunts and jeers of 
the devil and his angels ? And those very companions who 
have led you to hell will taunt you for your base compliance 
to them. Let nothing, then, keep you back. 
(Peroration, according to the circumstances.) 



SEKMON II. 

MORTAL SI 1ST. 

(MISSION SERMON.) 

" Know thou, and see, that it is an evil and a bitter thing for thee, to have 
left the Lord thy God." JER. n. 19. 

IN the book of the prophet Ezechiel it is related that God 
showed to the prophet in a vision the city of Jerusalem. It 
was all stretched out before him in its greatness and in its 
beauty. The magnificent temple was there, with its stones 
and spires glittering in the sun ; its streets were full of peo 
ple, prosperous and happy ; a people who were in possession 
of the true religion, who had been adopted by God as His 
children, and over whom He had exercised a special pro 
tection. It was a beautiful sight ; beautiful to the eye, and 
well fitted to excite the most religious emotions in the mind. 
But there was something that checked these feelings of 
pleasure and delight. God permitted the prophet to see the 
interior of that city. He unfolded before him the secret 
abominations that were practised there. He showed him the 
idolatries and impurities to which his chosen people the Jews 
had delivered themselves up, and then in wrath and indigna 
tion God complained of the people and said : " The iniquity 
of the house of Israel and of Juda is exceeding great ; and 
the land is filled with Hood ; and the city is fill: 3, with per- 



MOKTAL SIN. 227 

verseness, for they have said : The Lord hath forsaken the 
earth, and the Lord seeth not" * Then the joy of the prophet 
was turned into sorrow. 

To-night, my brethren, a vision meets my eye hardly less 
beautiful than that which met the eye of the prophet. How 
beautiful a sight is this church and this congregation! This 
church is raised to the honor of the true God. Its walls are 
salvation and its gates praise. And this congregation, beau 
tiful as it is in the assemblage of a multitude of living, in 
telligent beings where I see the old man with his crown of 
silver hair, the young man and the young woman in the 
freshness of their bloom and youth is much more so re 
garded as a Catholic congregation, as professing the true 
faith. But tell me for I cannot look into your hearts as the 
prophet did tell me, does God see, beneath this beautiful, out 
ward appearance, the abominations of iniquity ? Does God 
this night see in this church some heart that is in mortal sin ? 
Some Catholic who has renounced, if not his faith, at least 
the practice of his faith ? Some child of passion who has 
swerved from the path of justice, lost his conscience and the 
sense of sin, and given himself to the service of the devil ? 
Are there any here to-night in mortal sin ? There may be. I 
will confess, and you will not think me uncharitable in doing 
so, I believe there are some. I know not how many, but 
from what I know of the world, I believe there are some 
here, in this congregation, whose consciences tell them they 
are in mortal sin. Oh ! then, let me tell them what they have 
done. Let me show them what mortal sin is. Let me prove 
to them that it is an evil and a bitter thing for them to have 
left the Lord their God. This is my subject to-night. I 
will show you the dreadfulness of mortal sin : first, from its 
nature ; secondly, from its effects on the soul ; and thirdly, 
from its eternal consequences. 

You know, my dear brethren, that we were created to 

*Ezechiel ix. 9. 



228 MORTAL SIN. 

love and serve God in this life, and to be happy forever with 
Him in heaven. God has given us this world, and our own 
nature, all that we have or are; and He is willing that we 
should enjoy the world and act out our nature. It is true, 
there are certain restrictions which He has given us. These 
restrictions are contained in His law, embodied in the ten 
commandments. In these commandments God has circum 
scribed our liberty, has put limits to what we may do ; but I 
need not "say that these limits have been so fixed, not in order 
to abridge our happiness, but really to increase it. So the 
case stands on God s part. But now, on our part, we have 
an inclination to disregard the limits God has put on our use 
of the world, and to place our happiness in the creature. 
The world smiles before us, and we think this or that enjoy 
ment would make us happy. It may often happen that the 
very enjoyment and comfort is one which God has forbid 
den ; but no matter, we are strongly inclined to seize it, 
nevertheless, and to gratify our desire in spite of the prohibi 
tion. This inclination is what is called concupiscence, and 
is sometimes exceedingly strong, so that it is very difficult 
to resist it. God has, however, always given us reason and 
faith, free will and grace, to enable us to overcome it. This, 
then, being so, you see that man stands between two claimants : 
the world on the one hand, inviting him to follow his own 
corrupt inclinations ; on the other, God requiring him to re 
strain his passions by the rules of virtue and religion. Now, 
what takes place under such circumstances? Alas, my 
brethren, I will tell you what too often takes place. I will 
tell you what takes place so commonly that men take it for 
granted that it must be so so commonly that the majority 
of men cease to wonder at it what happens every day, every 
hour, every minute. It happens that men listen to the voice 
of passion, renounce virtue and reason, stifle grace, and turn 
away from God, to satisfy their desire for the creature. This 
is what happens daily, hourly, momentarily ; and this is mor- 



MORTAL SIN. 229 

tal sin, which is in its nature the greatest of all evils, con 
sidered in its relation both to God and man, as I am about 
to show you in this first part of my discourse. 

Understand me, my brethren : the sin I am going to speak 
of is mortal sin. I do not say that every transgression of 
the law of God is mortal. You know that it is not so. 
You know that there some actions which, men commit, which 
are forbidden, but by which a man does not mean really to 
give up the friendship of God some sins which are not com 
mitted with full deliberation, some sins in which the matter 
is very small, some sins which come more from ignorance or 
frailty than from malice ; and which God, "Who sees things 
just as they are, does not regard as grievous. He is dis 
pleased with them, but not mortally offended. He punishes 
them, but not with the utter withdrawal of His favor. If 
He did, who of us could be saved ? But every sin in which 
the soul sees clearly that she must choose between the friend 
ship of God and the gratification of unlawful passion in 
which, with full deliberation, in full defiance of any grave 
precept of God or the Holy Church, she obeys the call of 
corrupt nature, evjf such sin is mortal, that is, grievously 
offends God and cuts off the soul from His grace. Do you 
want to know what a mortal sin is ? It is an insult offered 
to God Almighty God. One trembles to say it, but so it 
is. Yes ! if you have committed one mortal sin, you have 
insulted Almighty God. And there is every thing in the 
act to make the insult deep and deadly. The greatness of 
an insult is measured by the comparative importance of the 
persons between whom the offence passes. If one should 
come into the church and strike the bishop on his throne, 
would you not feel more indignant than if a common man 
in the street were the object of the insult ? You have heard 
how Pius the Sixth was insulted ; dragged about from place 
to place, until he died ; and did you not feel indignant that 
such outrages were committed on the person of God s vice- 



230 MORTAL SIN. 

gerent ? Now, when you committed a mortal sin you in 
sulted, not the vicegerent of God, but God himself. You 
contemned His authority and despised His greatness. Would 
you know Who it is Whom you have offended ? Look at 
that mountain trembling with earthquakes, and breathing 
forth smoke and flame, hear the thunder roll around its head, 
and see the lightning flash ! Mark the people, how they fall 
back affrighted and terrified ! What is the cause of these 
convulsions of nature, and this terror of the people ? God is 
speaking. He spake in Mount Sinai and the earth trem 
bled before Him ; and it is His words then spoken that you 
have defied, O sinner ! Are you not afraid of His vengeance 
Whom you have offended ? Open the heavens and see the 
angels, thousands of thousands and ten thousand times ten 
thousand, prostrate before Him. See all the saints adoring 
Him the Blessed Virgin Mary herself trembling before His 
greatness. And you insult Him ! What are you ? A crea 
ture, a dependant, a slave. What would a master do if his 
slave should strike him \ And you, a servant, a slave, a mere 
nothing, have not hesitated to raise your hand against Al 
mighty God ! 

And for what have you done all this ? For the pleasure 
of sin. You have preferred a vile, temporary gratification, 
to the favor of Almighty God. When you sinned, there was 
on one side the beauty of God, the beauty of perfection, the 
splendor of grace, the joy of saints, peace of conscience, 
heaven ; on the other there was the false pleasure of sin. 
You weighed them in the balance one with another, and, oh 
folly ! in your estimation a moment s sin outweighed God 
and heaven and eternity. This is what the Almighty com 
plains of in Holy Scripture : " They violated me among my 
people for a handful of ~barley and a piece of bread to kill 
souls which should not die"* Oh ! for how small a thing it 

* Ezech. xiii. 19. 



MORTAL SIN. 231 

is that you have been content to lose God a few dollars of 
unjust gain, human respect, the gratification of revenge, a 
night s debauch, a half-hour s indulgence of sinful thoughts, 
a forbidden word, an intoxicating glass : for this you have 
thrown to the winds God and heaven. What has He not 
done for you ? He takes care of you and gives you all you 
have. It is He who warms you by the sun, refreshes you 
by the air, gladdens and nourishes you by the green field. 
It is He who brought you through the dangerous time of 
childhood, who led you up through manhood, who redeemed 
you by His blood, made you a Catholic, and gave you your par 
ents, friends, every blessing, and the hope of heaven beyond 
this life, and you have grieved and hated Him. See Jesus 
Christ before the Jews. He has spent His life in. doing the::i 
good. He has labored for them and is about to die for them. 
And now they spit on Him, thoy buffet Him, they crown 
Him with thorns and bow the knee in mockery before Him. 
[Ray, O sinner ! thou art the Jew who did this. Thou by 
thy mortal sin hast made him an object of scorn. Thou hast 
spit upon Him, thou hast stabbed Him to the heart. Would 
you excuse a son from the guilt of parricide who should 
strike a knife to his- father s heart, and should miss his aim ? 
So, the sinner is no less guilty of the crime against the life 
of God because God cannot die. If God could die or cease 
to be, mortal sin is that which w T ould kill Him. You have 
aimed a blow at the life of your best benefactor, of your 
God. And this is what passes in the world for a light thing. 
This is what men laugh at and boast of over their cups. 
This is what the world excuses, and takes for a matter of 
course ; yes, this is what even boys and girls, as they grow 
up, desire not to be ignorant of that they may know how 
to offend God. This is sin, so easily committed and so 
often committed, so quickly committed and so soon forgotten. 
Such it is in the sight of God and the holy angels. O sin 
ner! when you smile, often when you arS rejoicing over 



232 MORTAL SIN. 

your wicked pleasure, the heavens are black overhead, and 
God is angry, and the angel of vengeance stands at your side 
with a glittering spear, that he may plunge it in your heart. 
While you are careless, heaven and earth are groaning over 
your guilt. " Wonder, ye heavens, and fie in amaze 
ment" says God by the prophet. " My people have done 
two evils. They have left me, the fountain of living water, 
and have digged out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold 
no water" " Hear, heavens, and give ear, earth, for the 
Lord hath spoken. I have brought up children and exalted 
them, but they have despised me. The ox knoioeth his owner 
and the ass Jiis master s crib, but Israel hath not known me, 
and my people hath not understood. Woe to the sinful nation, 
a people laden with iniquity, a wicked seed, ungracious 
children : they have forsaken the Lord, they have blasphemed 
the Holy one of Israel, they have gone away backward" 

But in the second place, mortal sin is the greatest of all 
evils as regards the sinner himself. Let us consider what are 
its effects. Ah, my brethren, some of these effects are obvious 
enough. "We have not to go far to seek them. "We know 
them ourselves. What is the cause of much of the sickness 
that affects our race ? What but sin ? What is it that has 
ruined so many reputations, that once were fair and umblem- 
ished ? What is it that has destroyed the peace of so many 
families ? It is sin. What is it that makes so many young 
persons prematurely old, which steals the bloom from the 
cheek and the lustre from the eye, and gladness from the 
heart, and strength from the voice, and elasticity from the 
gait ? Ah ! it is sin. Yes ! the effects of sin are visible and 
obvious to all around us, and these external effects of sin arc 
dreadful enough, but they are not so dreadful as the internal 
effects, on which I purpose particularly to dwell. Well, my 
brethren, I just said that the nature of a mortal sin is. to turn 

* Isai. i. 2, 3, 4. 



MORTAL SIN. 233 

away from God to the creature. Now, its effect is to kill the 
soul. . There is a twofold life of the soul. One is a natural 
life, and this it can never lose, not even in hell, since it can 
never cease to be ; and the other is the life of grace. You 
know, my brethren, that in the heart of a good Christian 
there dwells a wonderful quality, the gift of the Holy Ghost, 
which we call grace. It is given first in baptism, and 
resides habitually in the soul unless it is lost by mortal sin. 
This it is which makes the soul acceptable to God, and 
capable of pleasing Him, and of meriting -heaven. This 
grace was purchased for us by the blood of Jesus Christ, and 
is the most precious gift of God. It ennobles, beautifies, 
elevates, strengthens, and enlightens the soul in which it 
dwells : in a word, it is the life of the soul. This grace abides 
in the soul of every faithful Christian, the little child, the vir 
tuous young man and young woman, the old man and the 
matron, the rich and the poor. Every one who is in the state 
of friendship with God is possessed of this grace. He may be 
poor, sick, weak in body, disgusting as Lazarus was, but if 
he is the friend of God, his soul is endowed with the gift of 
grace. Now, the moment that one commits a mortal sin, the 
moment that a baptized Christian turns away from God to the 
creature, that moment his soul is stripped of this divine grace. 
The moment that a mortal sin is committed, in an instant, in 
the twinkling of an eye, that robe of grace falls off from the 
soul and leaves it in its deformity and weakness. It cannot 
be otherwise. " Can two walk together," says Holy Scrip- 
, ture, " and not be agreed ?" Can God remain united to the soul 
which has cast Him off by an act of complete and formal rebel 
lion? Oh, no! God bears much with us, He retains His 
friendship for us as long as He can, He restrains His displeas 
ure when we are weak and irresolute and tired in His service ; 
yes, when we a little turn our heads and hearts toward that 
world which we have renounced, when we do things that, 
although wrong, are not altogether so grievous as to amount 



234: MORTAL SIN. 

to a renunciation of His friendship : but once make a full 
choice between God and the creature, and God s friendship 
is lost. You cannot reject it and retain it at the same time. 
God sees things exactly as they are : as you act toward Him, 
He will act toward you. By mortal sin you renounce Him, 
and therefore He must renounce you. How can 1 describe 
to you the change that takes place in that moment ? It has 
more resemblance to the degradation of a priest than any 
thing else. If a priest commits certain great crimes, the Church 
prescribes that he be solemnly degraded from the priesthood ; 
and nothing is more dreadful than the ceremonial. He stands 
before the bishop, clad in his sacred vestments, with alb and 
cincture, and maniple and stole, and with the chalice in which 
he has been wont to consecrate the blood of the Lord in his 
hands. Then when the sentence of degradation has been 
pronounced, the chalice is taken out of his hands he shall 
offer the sacrifice of the Lord s body no more ; the golden 
chasuble is taken off his back, no more shall he bear the glory 
of the priesthood ; the stole is seized from off his neck he has 
lost the stole of immortality ; the white alb is torn from him 
he has lost the beauty of innocence ; and last of all, his hands, 
on which at his ordination the holy oil was poured, are 
scraped he has lost the unction of the Holy Ghost. So it is 
in the moment that one commits a mortal sin.- The Holy 
Scripture calls every Christian a king and a priest, because in 
his soul he is noble and united to God ; and the soul of the 

f - * * 

meanest Christian is far more beautiful in God s sight than the 
grandest monarch, dressed in Ms richest robes, is to our sight. 
Well, now, as soon as a mortal sin is committed, and God de 
parts, then the degradation of the soul takes place. The devil 
tears away the garment of justice, the splendor of beauty, the 
whiteness of innocence, the robe of immortality, which make 
the soul worthy of the companionship of angels, and the 
friendship of God. All, all are gone. Oh, how abject and 
wretched is such a soul ! Oh ! how quickly will this awful 






MORTAL SIN. 235 

change go on, and even the poor soul herself thinks not of it ! 
And do not think this horrible history is of rare occurrence. 
No I it takes place in every case of mortal sin. Look at that 
young man. See, his air and bearing show you that he knows 
something of the world, and that life has no secrets for him. 
Still there was once a time when that young man was inno 
cent. He was a good Catholic child, his soul glistened with 
the brightness of baptismal grace. God looked down from 
heaven and smiled with pleasure ; his guardian angel followed 
him in watchfulness indeed, but with joy and hope. He had his 
little trials, but what was it all what was poverty or sickness 
or disappointment ? Was he not a Christian ? Was he not a 
friend of God, was not his soul beautiful in God s sight ? 
Such he was ; but a day came, a dark and dreadful day, when 
a voice, a seducing voice, spoke in the paradise of that heart : 
" Rejoice, therefore, young man, in thy youth, and let thy 
heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways 
of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes"* He listened 
to that voice and he fell : he was a changed being, he had com 
mitted his first mortal sin. Oh ! if he could have seen the 
angry frown of God, the sad and downcast look of his guardian 
angel. Oh ! if he could have heard the shriek of triumph that 
came up from the devils in hell. " Thou art also wounded as 
well as we, thou art become like unto us. Thy pride is brought 
down to hell. Thy carcass is fallen down" f But he hears 
nothing, he sees nothing, his brain is on fire, his heart is burned 
by passion. The world opens to him her brilliant pleasures, and 
he is perverted. His tastes and thoughts are all corrupted. 
He does not like the sacraments any more, or Mass or prayer ; 
his delight is in haunts of dissipation, in drinking and de 
bauchery. He commits every mortal sin, and each deepens 
the stains of his soul and increases his misery. Perhaps here 
and there, for a while, he comes to confession, but he falls 

*Eccles. xi. 9. flsai. xiv. 10, 11. 



236 MORTAL SIN. 

back. He neglects his church, begins to curse and blaspheme 
holy things, and then he is a wretched being, astray from 
God, with God s curse upon him, the slave of the devil, the 
heir of hell, fair indeed without ; but look within full of rot 
tenness and uncleanness. Oh, weep for him " Weep not for 
ike dead" says Holy Scripture, u lament for him that goetli 
away, for he shall not return again."* Weep for that 
young man who has wandered away from his God. Weep 
for that young woman who has stained her soul with mortal 
sin. Weep for that old man who has let years go by in sin, 
and whose sins are counted by the thousand. Weep not for 
your child who leaves you to go to a distant land, but weep 
for him who is on his way to the land of eternal night, where 
everlasting horror inhabiteth. Weep for him who is on his 
way to hell. Is it not a story to make one weep ? The ruin 
of a soul ! " How is the gold become dim, the fairest color is 
changed, the noble sons of Sion, and they that were clothed 
with the best of gold, how are they esteemed as earthen ves 
sels, and the iniquity of the daughter of my people is made 
greater than the sin of Sodom" f Once you were innocent, 
now you are guilty. Once you had a fair chance of heaven, 
now heaven is closed to you. Once, perhaps, you had rich 
merits laid up for heaven, you had gone through many trials, 
you had borne many sufferings, had achieved many labors of 
piety, and for each of them the good God, who never allows 
any good work to go unrewarded, had added many a jewel 
to your crown ; but, alas ! that crown is broken, those jewels 
scattered and crushed, those merits lost. And what has done 
this. That mortal sin ! that rebellion against God, that sin 
ful gratification, that turning away from God and loss of 
grace which it brought with it. Ah ! my brethren, when I 
think of these things, when I think that Christians are falling 
into sin, and, for a very trifle and a nothing, losing the favor 

* Jer. xxii. 10. fLam. iv. 1, 2, G. 



MORTAL SIN. 237 

of God, I feel as if I wished all preachers should go out to the 
whole world and cry out : " Know thou and see that it is an 
evil and a bitter thing for thee to have left the Lord thy God." 
I am not surprised that St. Ignatius said he would be wil 
ling to do all he did for the prevention of one mortal sin. 

But, my brethren I have not as yet described the full 
effects of mortal sin. It immediately makes us liable to the 
eternal punishment of hell. That is what hell is made for. 
It is the prison for mortal sin. Apostates from the faith, 
drunkards, murderers, adulterers, the impure, the dishonest, 
the profane, the impious, calumniators, and all sinners " shall 
have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, 
which is the second death." The sentence of damnation is 
in the next life, but damnation itself begins in this. Each 
one of us is a candidate for heaven or hell, at this present 

moment. Hell is not something which is assigned to us 

^ 

arbitrarily. "We dig our own hell for ourselves. When we 
first commit a mortal sin we open hell under our feet, and 
every time we commit a fresh mortal sin we deepen that 
hell. It may happen even that the sentence is passed in the 
same instant that we sin. Many men die in the very act of 
sin. The fallen angels, themselves, sank into hell the very 
instant they committed mortal sin, and the instant they 
committed the first mortal sin. You know, my brethren, 
that the angels were created very beautiful and powerful. 
There were myriads and myriads of them. They were 
as beautiful as Gabriel or Michael or Raphael ; and yet, 
as soon as they committed one mortal sin, notwithstanding 
their glory, their beauty, their number, their splendid 
intellects, their power, they were hurled from the thrones of 
heaven ; not only defaced, degraded, and dishonored by the 
loss of sanctifying grace, but condemned to hell, chained in 
everlasting darkness, waiting for the judgment of the great 
day. If God dealt so with the angels, surely there is nothing 
unjust in cutting off the days of a sinner in the very moment 



238 MORTAL SIN. 

of sin. Oh ! my brethren, I will tell you what happens 
when one sins : the devils come and claim this soul as their 
own : this poor soul becomes the slave of the devil, the heir of 
hell and of damnation. It is not for nothing, then, that 
conscience makes such a terrible alarm in the soul when we 
commit a mortal sin. Tell me, did you not at the moment 
you sinned hear a stern voice speaking in the depths of your 
heart? Tell me, O my brethren, did you not, when you 
were deeply plunged in sinful enjoyment, feel a dreadful 
pang at your heart ? Tell me, now that you stand in God s 
holy presence, tell me now, is there not something within 
you that tells you, you are ruined ? What is that ? Ah ! 
that is the beginning of the remorse of the damned. That 
is the sting of the worm that shall never die. That is the 
shadow of thine eternal doom in thy soul. It tells thee 
that thou art the child of the devil; it tells thee that 
thou hast lost God, and that thou art not fit for heaven, 
but art an heir of hell. And it tells thee truly. If this 
moment thou wert to die, like Dives, thou wouldst be 
buried in hell. And why ? For a momentary gratification 
of appetite ? Is that what you will be punished for ? No ; 
but because, for a momentary gratification of appetite, thou 
hast forsaken the Lord thy God, broken His law, lost His 
grace. Thou hast made thy choice. Thou hast chosen sin 
and not God, and death overtakes thee before thou hast 
returned to God by penance, and thou art lost ; lost on 
account of thy sin, lost forever on account of thy sin. 
Go down to the chambers of hell, ask Dives, ask Judas, 
ask the fallen angels, ask each one who in that dark abode 
drags out a long eternity ; ask them what it is that brought 
them there, and they will tell you, mortal sin. It is mortal 
sin that kindles that flame, that feeds that fire, that makes 
them burn unceasingly, and forever. Oh then, tell me ! if 
you will not listen to reason, to God, to the angels ; will 
you not listen to your companions lost ? Hearken to them as 



THE PARTICULAR JUDGMENT. 239 

from their dark prison they cry out, " It is an evil and a 
bitter thing to have left the Lord thy God." 

Such, my brethren, is mortal sin. Such is one mortal 
sin. It does not require many mortal sins to lose God s 
grace or incur damnation. One is enough one final de 
liberate rebellion against God and his holy law. * * * 

(Peroration, according to the circumstances.) 



8EKMON III. 

THE PARTICULAR JUDGMENT. 

(MISSION SERMON.) 

" It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." HEB. x. 31. 

THEEE is a moment, my brethren, in the history of each 
immortal soul, which, of all others that precede or follow it, 
is the fullest of experience : the moment after death. The 
moment of death is indeed the decisive moment of our his 
tory. Then the question is settled, once for all, whether we 
are to be happy or miserable for all eternity ; but, for the 
most part, we do not know that decision. Many men die in 
sensible. By far the largest* part of those I have seen die, 
have died insensible. And even when the power of the mind 
remains to the last, it is extremely difficult to form any true 
conception of that state of things into which the soul is 
about to be ushered. It is difficult to conceive aright before 
hand of any thing to which we are unaccustomed. Did it 
ever happen to you to visit a strange country, and to form 
anticipations of what it would seem like, and did not the 
reality falsify all your anticipations ? Well, how much more 
difficult to realize those things which the soul sees immedi 
ately after death, and which are so much farther removed 



240 THE PARTICULAR JUDGMENT. 

from our former experience ! According to Catholic theology, 
immediately after death, the soul appears in the presence of 
Jesus Christ to be judged to receive an unalterable sentence 
to heaven or to hell. If to hell, no prayers can benefit it ; if 
to heaven, it goes there immediately or not, according to the 
degree of its goodness. But it is judged unalterably to heaven 
or hell, the moment after death. And Catholic theologians 
teach that this judgment takes place in the very chamber of 
death itself. There, in that room, while they are dressing the 
body for the grave, closing the eyes, bandaging the mouth, 
arranging the limbs in order, that soul has already learned 
the secrets of the eternal world. Naked and alone, it had 
stood before its Judge, and heard its doom pronounced. To 
every one, no doubt, even to the most pious, to those who 
have meditated on the truths of faith, there will be something 
alarming in this moment ; but, oh ! what will it be to the 
sinful Catholic ? "What will be the thoughts and feelings of 
that large class of Catholics, now careless about their salva 
tion, who are obeying every impulse of passion, and breaking 
every commandment of God? This, indeed, is a difficult 
question to answer. There is but little in this world that 
can help us to portray the emotions of the lost Catholic, the 
moment after death ; but I will not on this account desist 
from attempting to describe it. I will consider your ad 
vantage rather than my own satisfaction, and though I feel 
deeply that I shall not be able to describe the scene I under 
take in anything like the colors of truth, I will undertake to 
do what I can. 

First, then, following the soul beyond the limits of this 
world, I see her overwhelmed with a conviction of the reality 
and truth of the objects of her faith. ]STow, in saying that 
th .s soul obtains a conviction of the truths of faith, I do not 
mean to suppose the case of one who has been a sceptic in 
this world. The truth is, faith is so strong a principle in the 
heart of a Catholic, that it is exceedingly difficult to put it 




THE PARTICULAR JUDGMENT. 241 

out or shake it. And although it sometimes happens that a 
Catholic; from reading bad books, or frequenting the society 
of those who blaspheme his religion, or from becoming ac 
quainted suddenly with some of the difficulties which science 
seems to present to faith, and not knowing the answer to 
them, or from the petty pride of seeming wiser than his 
neighbors, and making objections which unlearned Catholics 
cannot answer, may use the language of a sceptic; yet such 
cases are very rare, and the scepticism is not very deep. A 
little guidance from one who knows better, and a little hu 
mility on the part of such an objector, will set all right. 
But there is a kind of infidelity not so easily cured, and far 
more common among Catholics a practical infidelity, an in 
sensibility and indifference to the truths of faith. The truths 
of faith I mean, heaven and hell, God and the soul are 
not seen by the eye it requires reflection to realize them ; 
but the world, and the objects which it presents, are visible 
and tangible. The former are lost sight of, while the latter 
absorb all our thoughts. The body clamors for necessities 
and pleasures, and the soul, and things of eternity, are 
simply forgotten. It is almost the same to many men as if 
there were no God, no eternity, no heaven, or no hell. 
Really, one hardly sees in what the lives of many Catholics 
would differ from what they are now if there were no God, 
no heaven or hell. I do not mean to say that they have no 
faith at all, for even the heathens have some faith ; or that 
they never think of God, for then they would be brutes ; but 
that these things have no real hold on their minds or influ 
ence over their hearts. They never reflect. They stay away 
from the sacraments. They do not listen to sermons. They 
have no correct idea at all of the advantage they enjoy in- 
being Catholics ; in a word, they break the commandments 
of God on the slightest temptation, are children of this world 
and immersed in its cares and enjoyments. JSTow, one of 
these men meets with a sudden death. He goes out in the 
11 



24:2 THE PARTICULAR JUDGMENT. 

morning perhaps lie is a mechanic and he falls from a 
height. He is taken up and put in a litter hastily made, and 
carried home. It is apparent that life is ebbing fast. In a 
few minutes he becomes speechless. He has lost his sight. 
Ah ! does he breathe at all ? It is hard to say. The doctor 
comes in great haste. He feels his pulse, looks at him, and 
says, "It is all over. He has received an injury in a vital 
part. He is dead." Yes, he is dead. This morning he was 
alive and well, he was making his plans, he was talking of 
the weather now he is dead. All his old thoughts and ex 
perience are all rolled back by a new set of things that are 
forcing themselves on. his vision. He is dead. He died sud 
denly ; but not without warning. Others have died in his 
home before he is not young. He has seen wife and chil 
dren die. It made him weep for a while ; but he forgot it, 
and now his turn is come he is dead. I will not stop to 
notice the grief of the friends he leaves behind. No ; I will 
follow his soul, as it enters eternity. The voice of his friends 
dies on his ear he begins to hear other voices. As he ceases 
to see the people in his room he begins to see other objects. 
Who is that, that is standing at the foot of his bed ? A 
neighbor was standing there but just now ; but this is another 
form, a form beautiful, indeed, but majestic and terrible. 
No ; it is not any one he has ever seen before, and yet, he 
ought to know that face. He has seen it before ; it is the 
face his mother looked on as she was dying the face 
he had often seen in Catholic churches. Yes, it is Jesus 
Christ. He knows it ; it is the same, and yet, how different ! 
When he saw that face in pictures, it was crowned with 
thorns ; now it is crowned with a diadem of matchless glory. 
When he saw that form in the church, it was naked, and 
hanging on the Cross ; now it is clothed with garments of re 
gal magnificence. Yes, it is Jesus Christ ! and He is looking 
upon him with eyes of fire. He turns to escape those eyes, 
and he sees there are other figures in the scene. There are 



THE PARTICULAR JUDGMENT. 243 

two figures one at the right hand, and one at the left. Who 
are they ? He ought to know them, for they know more of 
him than any one else they have been his companions for 
life. One is very beautiful a being with golden locks and 
cloud-like wings that is his angel guardian ; he looks sad 
now, for he has nothing good to say. And the other is the 
black and hideous demon of hell, that crouches at his side, 
full of hate and malice, and triumph, too, for he has dogged 
the steps of this poor sinner from youth to age, and now the 
time has come for him to seize his prey. And now, as the sin 
ner looks from one to another, the meaning of it all breaks 
upon him. Conviction flashes upon his mind. He may not 
have been an infidel before ; but putting his past feelings by 
the side of his present experience, it seems almost as if he 
had been. Did it ever happen to you to be talking quite 
unconcernedly, and all at once to find that others were list 
ening, before whom for worlds you would not have used such 
unreserve. Well, to compare small things with great, some 
thing like this will be the feeling of the sinner when the cur 
tain of time draws up, and shows him the realities of eternity. 
The whole tide of his past thoughts and feelings will be ar 
rested, and, with a great check, rolled back before the new set 
of experiences and sights that rush in on him. Oh ! he will 
say, what is this that I see and hear ? Has Jesus Christ al 
ways been so near me ? Have my guardian angel and the 
demon that has tempted me been always in this very room ? 
Ah, yes ! it is even so. I have been living in a dream all 
my life, and pursuing shadows. It is true, as I learned in 
the catechism, and as the Church taught me, I was not made 
for the world or for sin, but for God. I had a soul, and the 
end of my being was to love and serve my Maker. He has 
been watching me all my days, and I have thought little of 
Him. I heard of judgment, but I did not give heed to it, 
or I placed it far off in the future ; but now it is here at the 
door. There is my Saviour, there my angel guardian, there* 



244: THE PARTICULAR JUDGMENT. 

the demon. Once I heard .of these things, now I see them 
with my eyes. Yes, it is all true. The world did not seem 
to believe it, the world forgot it ; but the world was wrong. 
The poor and the simple were right, after all, and the wise 
ones taken in their own craftiness. Yes, Christianity is true, 
Catholicity is true; I cannot doubt it, if I would, for there it 
stares me in the face ! O, overwhelming conviction ! 

You have heard of the answer of a self-denying old monk 
to a wild, licentious youth, who reproached him with his folly 
in living so severe a life for the sake of a hereafter he had 

o 

never seen. " Father," said the youth, "how much wiser I 
am than you, if there be no hereafter !" " Yes, my son," re 
plied the aged man, " but how much more foolish, if there 
be !" O fearful discovery, to come on one for the first 
time, with a strong and deep impression, at the very thresh 
old of eternity ! O miserable man ! why did you not think 
of these things before ? Why did you rush into the presence 
of your Maker without forethought*? ISTow, for the first 
time, to think seriously, when there is no longer freedom in 
thought, or merit in faith. O, the folly and the misery ! 

But I must pass on, for these are but the beginning of sor 
rows. The conviction, then, that the soul acquires in the first 
moment of her experience in the other world is accompanied 
by a mortal terror. Why is Jesus Christ there ? Why are 
the angel and the demon there ? Ah ! he knows well. It is 
to try him. Yes, he is to be tried, and to be tried by an un 
erring judge by Jesus Christ. To be tried; and that is 
something he is not used to. He never tried himself. He 

o 

never examined his conscience. He was afraid to do it, and 
if sometimes the thought of a hereafter intruded itself into 
his mind, he banished it, and thought he would escape some 
how or other. Perhaps he built on the very name of Cath 
olic, or on the sacraments, as if they possessed a magical 
power, and would change him at once, in the hour of death, 
from a sinner to a saint. Perhaps he thought that God 



THE PARTICULAR JUDGMENT. 245 

would strike a balance between the good and the evil that 
was in him, and pardon him for being as wicked as he was 
because he was no worse. Perhaps he built simply on the 
mercy of God. So far as he thought at all, he built his 
hopes on some such foundation as this. He did not know 
how, but he thought somehow he would get off. It is the 
old story. Almighty God said to Eve: "In the day thou 
eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." And Eve said to the 
serpent : "" We may not eat it, lest we die." And the ser 
pent said : " Ye shall not surely die." So it is ; man s self- 
love reasons, and the devil denies. But the time has come 
when the deceits of sin and the devil are discovered. The 
sinner is to be tried. He stands as a culprit to be judged. 
And by what law is he to be tried? By the ten command 
ments, of which he has heard so often, and which he has 
neglected so completely. God says : " Thou shalt not break 
my commandments, and in the day thou bleakest them thou 
shalt surely die." God had said : " Thou shalt not commit 
adultery." He had committed it. God had said : " Thou 
shalt not steal ;" and he had stolen. God had said: "Thou 
shalt keep holy the Sabbath day." lie had broken the Sun 
day and neglected the Sunday s Mass. God had said : 
" Thou shalt do no murder ;" and he had murdered his own 
soul by drunkenness. He had grown bold in sin, and 
thought that God had hidden away his face, and would 
never see it. And now he is brought to trial. There is no 
hope that his transgressions against the commandments can 
be hidden. The demon is there as his accuser. 

" I claim this soul as mine. Look at it ; see if it does not 
belong to me ? Does it not look like me ? Wilt thou take 
a soul like that and place it in thy paradise ?" At these 
words the sinner looks down upon himself and sees his own 
soul. He has never seen it before. Oh, what a sight ! As 
a man is horror-struck the first time he sees his blotched and 
bloated face after an attack of small-pox, so is he horror- 



246 THE PAKTICULAR JUDGMENT. 

struck at the sight of his own soul. Oh, how horribly ugly 
and defiled it is! What are those stains upon his soul 2 
All ! they are the stains of sin. Each one has left its sepa 
rate mark ; and to look at that soul you might see its history. 
There is the gangrene of lust, and the spot of anger, and the 
tumor of pride, and the scale of avarice. Ah ! how hid 
eous it is, and how horrible to think how it is changed, for it 
was once like that beautiful angel that stands by its side, all 
radiant with light and beauty. It has no resemblance now. 
The words of the demon are true ; it resembles him. But 
the accuser goes on : "I claim this body as mine." He 
turns to the body, as it lies in the bed : " I claim those eyes 
as mine, by the title of all the lascivious looks they have 
given. I claim those Jiands as mine, by the title of all the 
robberies and acts of violence they have committed. I claim 
those feet as mine, because they were swift to carry him to 
the place of forbidden pleasures, and slow to go to the house 
of God. I claim these ears as mine, by the title of all the 
detraction they have drunk in so greedily. I claim this 
mouth as mine, by the title of all the blasphemies and impu 
rities it has uttered. See," says he, " this body is mine ; it 
bears my mark ;" and as he speaks he points to a scar in the 
forehead, the remnant of a wound received in a drunken 
affray in a house of ill-fame. Surely he has said enough ; 
but he is not accustomed to be believed. He has now spoken 
the truth indeed, because truth serves his purpose better 
than falsehood would have done. But he knows he is a liar, 
and therefore needs confirmation ; so he goes on : "I have 
witnesses, if you want them. Shall I bring them up?" 
Jesus Christ gives his permission. And now see, at his 
word, a band of lost spirits come up from hell. Oh ! how 
pale and haggard they look, and how they glare on the sin 
ner as they fix on him a look of recognition. "Who is that 
who speaks to him first, and holds out her long withered 
fingers to him, and says, with a horrid laugh : " I think you 



THE PARTICULAR JUDGMENT. 247 

know rne." Oh ! that is the poor girl he seduced. She 
says : " I followed thee to ruin ; it is fitting thou should st 
follow me to hell." But there is another woman. "Who is 
that 2 That is his poor wife ; his poor wife, who had to put 
up with all the cruelties and violence he practised in his 
beastly drunkenness ; who was led by want to steal, and by 
despair to drunkenness. She looks upon him with a blood 
shot eye. " My husband," she says : " thou wert my tor 
mentor in time ; I will be thy tomentor in eternity." But who 
are those young people, that young man and young woman ? 
Oh, they are his eldest children, his boy and girl, of whom 
he took no care ; who, finding nothing but a hell at home, 
went out the one to the tavern and the gaming-room, 
the other to the ball and the dance and the lonely place of 
assignation, and, after a short career of dissipation, were both 
cut off in their sin. They meet him, and now they say : 
" Father, thou didst pave the way of perdition for us, and now 
we will cling to thee, and drag thee deeper, who art at once the 
author of our life and of our destruction." Ah ! lias not the 
demon made out his case ? Can there be hope for one like 
that ? Are you not ready to condemn him yourselves to hell ? 
But wait perhaps he did good penance. And the Judge, 
turning to the angel guardian says : " My good and faithful 
servant, what has thou to say in behalf of this soul, which 
was committed to thy especial care ?" The angel looks down 
upon the ground and sighs, and answers, " Most just and 
holy Sovereign, alas! I have nothing to say that can set 
aside the accusation Thou hast heard. All I can do is to vin 
dicate Thy justice and my fidelity. I have given to the man 
all the graces Thou hast prepared for him. He was a Cath 
olic. He had the sacraments. He had warnings. He had 
faith. He had many special graces. He had the mission ; 
and I myself often spoke to him in his heart, calling him 
to do penance, but he never did do penance. He was 
careless in attendance at Mass. He was seldom at the 



248 THE PARTICULAR JUDGMENT. 

confessional, and when lie did come he made his confes 
sion without a sincere purpose of amendment, and soon re 
lapsed into his former sins, and at last he died without 
penance. Therefore there is nothing left for me but to 
resign my charge and to return the crown " here the angel 
takes up a beautiful crown " to return the crown which Thou 
hadst made for him, that Thou mayst place it on another 
brow." " Dost Thou not hear," the demon once more cries out 
impatiently " Dost thou not hear what the angel says ? Yes, 
this man is mine, has always been mine. I did not create 
him, and yet he always served me. Thou didst create him, and 
yet he has refused to obey Thee. I never died for him, yet 
he has been my willing slave. Thou didst die for him, and yet 
he has blasphemed Thy name, broken Thy laws and despised 
Thy promises. Thou didst allure him by kindness, butwert 
not able to win his affection. I led him to hell, and found him 
willing to follow. O Jesus, thou Son of the living God, if 
Thou dost not give me this soul, there is neither truth in 
Thy word nor justice in Thy awards." The demon speaks 
boldly, but Jesus Christ suffers him to speak so, because he 
he speaks truly; and oh, with what terror does the poor 
sinner hear that truth ! But terror is not the only feeling 
that is to fill his heart. Despair is to come in, to make his 
misery complete. He begins to cry for mercy. " O God, 
mercy ! have mercy, O Jesus Christ ! Do not let me perish 
whom Thou hast redeemed. I have had the faith ; oh, do not 
let me come to perdition ! Only one quarter of an hour to do 
penance 1" Can Jesus Christ resist such an appeal ? !N"o, my 
brethren, if there were a real disposition to do penance in the 
heart. I will undertake to say that if the devils of hell were 
willing to do penance, God would forgive them. But there 
is no penance in the other world. There is only the desire 
to escape punishment, not the desire to escape sin ; and being 
out of the order of the present providence of God, which 
leaves the will free, there is no real conversion there. There- 



THE PARTICULAR JUDGMENT. 249 

fore Jesus Christ answers : " O wicked man, thy deeds con 
demn thee. Thou callest for mercy, but it is too late. The 
time for mercy is over! Mercy! thou hast shown no 
mercy to thyself, to thy wife or children. Mercy ! I have 
shown thee mercy all the days of thy life. I sent thee my 
preachers, and thou didst refuse to listen. There is no mercy 
now but justice and therefore I pronounce the everlasting 
sentence. I consign this man s soul to hell, and his body to 
the resurrection of damnation." Did you hear that howl ? 
That was the devil s howl of triumph. Jesus Christ is gone. 
The angel is gone ; and the devil goes to the body. They 
have not done washing it. lie begins to wash too. What is 

fD O 

he doing. He is washing the forehead ; for on that forehead, 
the mark of Christ, the holy cross, was placed in baptism, 
and he is washing it out, and with, a brand from hell he places 
there his own signet the signet of perdition. And now the 
soul, feeling the full extent of her misery, cries out : " I am 
damned. I am damned ! no hope more ; not even Purga 
tory. Oh, I never thought it would come to this ; I did but 
do as the others. I was no worse than my companions, and 
now I am lost. I that was a Catholic, I that had always a 
good name, and was liked by my friends. And oh, are the 
judgments of God so strict ? What will become of my com 
panions whom I left on the earth, wild and reckless like my 
self? Will they too follow me to this place of torment ! Oh, 
why did not the priest speak of this ? Alas ! he did, but I 
would not hear. Alas, alas, it is too late now ! Shall I 
never see Jesus Christ again ? Must I forever despair ?" And 
a voice rises from the walls of eternitv with ten thousand re- 

ts 

verberations : "Despair." Can there be any thing more dread 
ful still ? Yes, the sinner s cup has one more ingredient of 
bitterness remorse. You know what a comfort it is to be 
able to say, " It was not my fault, I did what I could." 
But the sinner will not have that comfort. On the contrary, 
he will say, " I might have been saved. It is all true which 



to 

11* 



250 THE PAETICULAR JUDGMENT. 

the angel said. I was a Catholic, and had the means of sal 
vation. I might have been saved, saved easily, more easily 
than I was lost. I was never happy ; sin never made me 
happy. I sinned, and gained for myself misery even in the 
other world. Fool that I was, I might have done penance, and 
been happier after it, in time and in eternity. How little 
God asked of me I I had the mission, if I had but made it 
well. Oh> what trouble I took to be damned, and how little 
was required of me to be saved ! Yesterday, God was ready ; 
the sacraments were at hand, the church door open, the 
priest was awaiting me ; but now all is closed. Oh, if I had 
them now !" But his complaints are silenced. An iron grasp 
is on his throat. The demon has his black hand on his throat 
and chokes him ; then he puts his horrid arms around him, 
and hugs him as the anaconda hugs her victims. He carries 
him swiftly through the air : down, down they go until at 
last they reach the gates of hell. They creak upon their 
hinges, they open, the demon enters with his prey, and casts 
it on the bed of names prepared for it. Then a yell is heard 
throughout those dismal regions : " One more Catholic voca 
tion thrown away, one more soul lost, one more devil in hell." 
Come, let us go back to that room where the corpse is laid 
out. They have just finished preparing it for the grave, and 
all that we have described has been taking place in that very 
room too, and they have not known it. They have smoothed 
the body and laid a white cloth over it ; and they say, how 
natural it looks. It wears the smile they remember it used 
to wear in youth, and that poor soul they are talking of is 
damned. Jesus Christ has been there, and adjudged it to 
hell. And this is going on every day. Wherever death takes 
a man, there judgment meets him. Jesus Christ meets men 
in all kinds of places. You know how death met Baltassar. 
He was a drunkard, an adulterer, a sacrilegious robber; and 
one night, when he was drunk, and held a grand feast, sur 
rounded by his concubines, and with the vessels of God s 



THE PARTICULAR JUDGMENT. 251 

house on his table, a hand appeared on the wall and wrote 
this sentence : " Mene, Mene, Thecel, Phares;" and that night 
he died. Yes ! in the midst of their sin ; in the place where 
they go, Jesus Christ meets the soul, and condemns it to hell. 
He meets it in the grogshop, where wild companions are gath 
ered together, and one of them falls to the ground, under the 
blow of a companion, and dies. There upon that spot, with 
those bad companions standing around, with the sound of 
blasphemy in his ear, Jesus Christ, unseen, meets that soul 
and condemns it to hell. Another is shot in the street, on 
his way to keep an assignation, and then and there, in the 
street, Jesus Christ meets him and condemns him to hell. 
One dies in the low hovel, where squalid vice and misery 
have done all they could to brutalise the inmates, and then 
and there Jesus Christ, in that hovel, meets the soul and con 
demns it to hell. Another dies in a bed covered with silken 
tapestry, and as he dies he sees the face of Jesus Christ look 
ing in through the silken curtains to pronounce the sentence 
against him, who had made a god of this world. Another 
dies in prison, and there in that cell where human justice 
placed him, divine justice meets him, and in that prison 
Jesus Christ meets him and condemns him to hell. Yes, 
wherever death meets you, O sinner, there Jesus Christ will 
meet you, and there he will condemn you. It may be to 
morrow. It may be in the very act of the commission of sin. 
It may be without any opportunity of preparation, you will 
stand before an inflexible and unerring Judge. Oh, then, do 
not delay now to propitiate Him while you can. In that 
tribunal after death, there is no mercy for the sinner ; but 
there is another tribunal, which He has established, where 
there is mercy the tribunal of penance. There the accuser 
is not the demon, but the sinner himself; and he is not only 
his own accuser, but his own witness against himself. There 
the angel guardian waits with joy, not with sorrow. There 
Jesus Christ is present, but not in wrath. There the sentence 



252 HEAVEN. 

* 

is, " I absolve thee from thy sin," not " I condemn thee for 
thy sin." Oh, then, appeal from one tribunal to the other. 
Appeal from Jesus Christ to Jesus Christ. Appeal from Je 
sus Christ at the day of judgment to Jesus Christ in the con 
fessional. And if thou wouldst not be condemned by Him 
when thou seest Him after death, be sure thou gettest a fa 
vorable sentence from Him now in the Sacrament of Pen 
ance. "Make an agreement with thy adversary quickly, 
whilst thou art in the way with him : lest perhaps the adver 
sary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to 
the officer, and thou le cast into prison. Amen. I say to 
thee, thou shalt not go out from thence till thou pay the last 
farthing"* 



SEEM01ST IY. 

HEAVEN. 

(MISSION 8EEMON.) 

Rejoice and be exceeding glad, because your reward is very great in hea 
ven." ST: MATT. v. 12. 

SOME of you may remember the joy with which, after a 
sea voyage, you arrived at home. The voyage had been 
very long and wearisome. You had suffered, perhaps had 
been in danger. At last you heard the sailors cry " Land ;" 
and after a while, your less practised eye began to discern the 
blue hills of your native country. Oh, how that sight re 
vived you ! How your sufferings and dangers were all for 
gotten in the thought of the welcome that awaited you at 
home ! "Well, life is a voyage on the ocean of time ; often a 

* St. Matt. v. 25. 



HEAVEN. 253 

tempestuous, always a dangerous voyage ; and in order to 
animate our courage, to cheer and console us, God has al 
lowed us from time to time to catch a glimpse by faith of our 
distant home of heaven. Let us lift up our thoughts now to 
that happy land, the land that is very far off, the land that 
is wide and quiet ; the celestial paradise, the home of the 
blessed, the city of God. I know that we cannot gain any 
sufficient idea of it. I know that eye hath not seen its 
beauty, ear hath not heard the story of it, neither hath the 
heart of man conceived its image; but we must do as men do 
with some costly jewel : turn it first on one side, then on 
another, to catch its brilliancy ; and if at the last we fall 
down, blinded and dazzled by the splendors which meet us, 
we shall in this way at least conceive something of the great 
ness of those things which God has provided for those who 
love Him. 

The Holy Scripture represents the pleasures of heaven in 
three different lights : tirst, as Rest ; second, as Joy ; third, 
as Glory. Let us, then, meditate upon them for a while, 
under each one of these three aspects. 

First, then, heaven is a place of rest, by which I under 
stand the absence of all those things which disturb us here. 
True, there is happiness even in this life, but how unsatisfac 
tory, how fleeting ! Here we are never far off from wretched 
ness, and never long without trouble. You go into a great 
city : how rich and gay every thing looks ; what crowds of 
well-dressed people pass you ! Ah ! in the next street there 
is the dismal hovel where poverty hides its head, and the chil 
dren cry for bread, and there is no one to break it to them. 
You are strong and healthy, and it is a strange, fierce joy for 
you on a cold day to struggle with the buffetings of the win 
try blast ; but see, the rude wind that kindles a glow on your 
cheek steals away the bloom from yonder sick man, whose 
feeble step and sharpened features tell of suffering and 
disease. You have a happy family, and when you go home 



254 HEAVEN. 

your children clamber up on your knees, and your wife meets 
you -with a smile of affection. Alas ! next door, the widow 
weeps the night long, and there is none to comfort her, for 
the young man, the only son of his mother, has been carried 
to his long home. And as if this were not enough, as if sick 
ness and poverty and death did not cause misery enough in 
the world, men s passions, hate and envy, lust, avarice, and 
pride, unite to make many a moment wretched that might 
else have been happy. But in heaven these things shall be 
no more. In heaven there shall be complete and perfect 
rest. The poor man will no more be forced to toil hardly 
and anxiously to put bread in his children s mouths to rise 
up early, and late take rest ; for there they shall not hunger 
nor thirst any more. The sick man then shall leap as a 
hart ; he shall run and not be weary ; he shall walk and not 
faint. The widow s tears shall be dried, for husband and son 
shall be again restored to her. Oh, what a day shall that 
be, when dear friends shall meet together, never to part 
again, and God shall wipe all tears from their eyes, and sor 
row and sighing shall flee away ; when the bodies of the 
saints, glorious and immortal, no longer subject to decay or 
fatigue or death, clothed in light, shall enter the gates of the 
celestial city, and shall have a right to the tree of life ! And 
there shall be no sin there, no gust of passion, no reproach of 
conscience, no sting of temptation. In this life, says St. 
Augustine, we have the liberty of being able not to sin, but 
in heaven we shall have the higher liberty of not being able 
to sin. Brother shall not rise up against brother, neither 
shall there be war any more, for the former things are passed 
away. There shall be no strife or hatred or envy ; no wrong 
or oppression; no unkindness or coldness; no falsehood or 
insincerity ; but within a perfect peace, and without an un 
alterable friendship between all the inhabitants of this happy 
land, each rejoicing in the other s happiness and glory. And 
there is no end to these joys of heaven. Here our best pleas- 



HEAVEN. 255 

ures are alloyed by their transitoriness ; but there, there is no 
fear for the future. No wave disturbs the deep, clear sea of 
crystal that lies before the throne of God. The angel has 
sworn that time shall be no longer, and the great day of eter 
nity has begun. O heavenly Jerusalem ! O city of God ! 
which has no need of sun or moon to enlighten it, for there 
is no night there ! welcome haven of rest to the poor exiles 
of earth ! Blessed are they that shall enter thy gates of 
pearl and tread thy streets of gold, for thou art the perfection 
of beauty and the joy of the whole earth. In thy secure re 
cesses the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at 
rest. " Blessed are they that die in the Lord, for they rest 
from their labors. They shall not hurt or destroy in all 
my holy mountain, saith the Lord. My people shall be i.ll 
just ; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my 
planting, the work of my hands, to glorify me." 

But though it is easier to describe heaven as a place of 
rest, that is not the whole description of it. Heaven is also 
a place of joy, and of joy the most complete, the most pure, 
the most satisfying that the human heart can possess. Joy 
in seeing and loving God, or, as it is called, in the Beatific 
Vision. This it is in which consists essentially the Christian 
idea of heaven. I say the Christian idea, for our faith 
teaches us to look forward to a happiness very different from 
what we could have expected by nature. Of course natural 
reason teaches us to look forward to a future life, but it 
promises no other knowledge of God but such as is possible 
to our own natural powers when fully developed. But 
Christianity promises us a knowledge of God to which our 
natural powers, however enlarged, could never aspire. It 
teaches us that we shall see Him as He is not only think 
about Him and commune with Him and adore Him, but 
actually look upon His unveiled Divinity, gaze upon Him 
face to face. It is not of our Lord s glorified humanity that 
I speak. That, too, we shall see, and that will be a sight of 



256 HEAVEN". 

unspeakable beauty and joy ; but we shall &ee more : we shall 
look upon and into the Divine Essence. Now to our natural 
powers this is impossible. A blind man can know a great 
deal about the sun. He may hear it described, he may reason 
about it, he may feel its effects, but he cannot lift up his eyes 
to heaven and see it. So, naturally speaking, we have not 
the faculty whereby to see God. "No man hath seen God 
at any time" says St. John. " Whom no man hath seen, or 
can see, who inhabiteth the light inaccessible" says St. Paul."* 
Clearly there must be some great change in us, something 
given to us that does not belong- to us as men, in order to 
enable us to see God, and the Holy Scripture tells us what 
that change shall be : " We shall he like to Him, for we shall 
see Him as He is" says St. John.f "We ourselves shall be 
come divine and godlike. The human intellect shall be 
marvellously strengthened by a gift which the Church calls 
the light of glory, which shall enable us to look upon God 
and live. We are told in Scripture that God walked in the 
garden of Eden and talked with Adam and Eve in the cool 
of the day. This high companionship was broken by the 
fall. Man was reduced to the rank that essentially belonged 
to him, and was deprived of that which had been accorded 
to him of grace. But by baptism, he acquires once more a 
right to that familiar intercourse with God, and in heaven 
he enters upon its enjoyment. For this -reason heaven is 
called our fatherland. It is our lost inheritance recovered. 
There we ourselves shall be the sons of God, and God will 
be our Father. Think what is the relation of an affection 
ate son to a good and wise father. What submission with 
equality what complete sympathy and community of inter 
est what intimate communication of thought and feeling ! 
So, O Christian soul 1 shall it be between you and God. 
God will be your God, and you will be His child. Thou 

* St. John i. 18 ; I. Tim, vi. 16. f I. Ep. St. John iii. 2. 



HEAVEN. 257 

shalt dwell in His home, and all that He hath shall be thine. 
"All things are yours, the world, or life, or death, or things 
present, or things to come / for all are yours, and you are 
Christ s, and Christ is Gotfs" * Yes, God himself shall be 
yours. You shall look around you and see His towering 
altitudes, and count them as your own. You shall look deep 
down into the depths of His wisdom and be wise as God is. 
You shall find yourself upborne by His power and good 
ness, enveloped by His glory, and adorned with His beauty. 
Oh ! my brethren, is not this joy ? Tell me, tell me, young 
men, tell me, children, tell me truly, one and all, what have 
been the happiest moments of your life ? Was it the mo 
ments you have spent in sin ? Was it the hour of some 
earthly success or triumph ? Or was it not rather at some 
hour when God was near to you, and you felt the music of 
His voice and the perfume of His breath some time when 
you were praying, or when you had made a good confession 
or communion, or when you were listening to a sermon ? I 
know it was. I know there are times when every man has 
felt the words of the Psalmist : " What have Tin heaven? 
and besides Thee what do I desire upon earth? Thou art 
the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion for- 
ever"\ What are all the attainments of learned men to 
Him who is all-wise ? What are all the conceptions of 
genius to Him who is all-beautiful, or the moral excellencies 
of good men to Him who is all-holy ? Yes, the thought of 
God is the source of the purest and highest pleasure on 
earth. That thought has ravished the saints with ecstasy, 
and made the martyrs laugh at their torments. And if 
merely to think about God in this life can make us so happy, 
what. must it be to see Him in the life to come ? To know 
God and to love Him, to know Him as we are known by -, 
Him, to love Him with our whole souls, to possess Him I 

A 

* 1 Cor. iii 23. f Ts. Ixxxii. 26. 



258 HEAVEN. 

without the fear of losing Him, to take part in His counsels, 
to enter into His will, and to share in His blessedness this 
is a joy, perfect and supreme; and this is the joy of 
heaven. This is the joy offered to you. This is all-satisfy 
ing. The soul can desire nothing more. This is permanent, 
for heaven is eternal. This is always new, for God is riches 
and beauty inexhaustible and infinite. Oh, my brethren, 
do not envy those who were near our Lord s person when 
He was upon earth. I know it is natural to do so. I know 
it is natural to say, " If I could but have seen His face, or 
heard the sound of His voice ;" but no ! yours is a still 
happier lot. Do not envy Magdalene, who kissed His feet, 
nor St. John, on whose breast He leaned, nor the Blessed 
Virgin, who bore Him in her arms. Is it not permitted to 
the poorest and the weakest of you to see Him, not in His 
humility, but in His glory to converse with Him and dwell 
with Him in the land of the living ? Oh ! blessed are they 
that dwell in Thy house ! The world passeth away, and the 
lust thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth for 
ever. Blessed are they that hear the Word of God and do 
it ! Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God ! 

One would have thought that this was enough. To be 
free from all the trials and sufferings of this present life, and 
to enjoy the fullest happiness a human soul is capable of one 
would think that were heaven enough, and that no more 
could be added. But the bounty of God has added another 
element to the happiness of heaven. Heaven is a place of 
glory not of rest only, but of glory also. " Glory, honor 
and peace," says the apostle, " to every man that doeth well." 
Heaven is the place of God s glory, and it is also the place 
of the glory of the saints. Even here the good are honored 
the really good. True, for a while they may be despised 
and persecuted, but, in the long run, nothing is honored so 
much as virtue. During the lifetime of Nero and St. Paul, 
Nero was a powerful emperor, praised and nattered by his 



HEAVEN. 259 

courtiers, and St. Paul a friendless and despised prisoner; 
now, Neio is abhorred as the wicked tyrant, and St. Paul 
honored by all men as the saint and hero. But this is not 

enough. In heaven the honor of the saints will be magnifi- 

s 

cent. God himself will honor them. This is one reason for 
the last judgment, that God may publicly give honor to the 
good. " Whosoever shall glorify ra<?, him will I glorify" 
says the Almighty ; * and they who are saved will be admitted 
to heaven with respect and solemnity, as those whom the 
King delights to honor. This is represented to us in the 
description of the last judgment : " Then shall He turn to 
tfiem on the right hand and say : 4 Come, ye blessed of my 
Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you from the 
foundation of the world. See how He praises them. See 
how He honors them and makes kings out of them. They 
are astonished : it seems too much. They know not how 
they have deserved it. But He insists upon it as their right. 
He repeats the good actions they have done. "I was 
hungry and ye gave me meat, I was thirsty and ye gave me^ 
to drink. I was naked and ye clothed me." Do you hear 
this, my brethren I So will it be with you when you stand 
before God to be judged. He will hold in His hand a beau 
tiful diadem of gold, and he will say : " This is for thee." 
And thou shalt be amazed and shalt say : " No, Lord, this 
is not for me. I am nothing but a laboring man. I am but 
a poor boy. I am only a servant-girl. I am not the child 
of the rich and great. No one ever made way for me in the 
street, or rose up when I came into their company." But 
Christ shall say : " Nay ! a prince thou art, for thou hast 
done the deeds of a prince." Then He will begin to men 
tion them one by one your kindness to your old mother and 
father your humble confession that it was so difficult to make, 
and which you made so well the time you overcame that 

*lKi. ii. 30. 



260 HEAVEN. 

great temptation, and resolved, once for all, to be virtuous 
the occasion of sin you renounced the prayers yoti said in 
humility and sincerity the sacrifices you made for your 
faith the true faith you kept with your husband or wife 
the patience you practised in pain or vexation. Then He 
will show you your tlirone in heaven, so bright you will 
think it an apostle s, or the Blessed Virgin Mary s, or that it 
belongs to God himself; and then the tears of joy and sur 
prise will drop from your eyes, and your heart will be nigh 
bursting with confusion ; but He will smile upon you, and 
take you by the hand, and say : "Yes, tbou hast been faith 
ful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many 
things." Then He will give thee a certain jurisdiction, a 
certain power of intercession ; make thee an assessor in.His 
high court of heaven, and make thee to sit on a throne with 
Him, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And others shall 
honor thee. The saints shall honor thee. The Blessed Vir 
gin shall honor thee. Now thou honorest her, so much at a 
Distance from thee, and callest her Lady ; but then it shall 
be as it was when St. John and the Blessed Virgin dwelt 
together in one home. Thou shalt still honor her as the 
Mother of Jesus, and she shall honor thee as His disciple. 
St. Peter and St. John and St. James and St. Andrew shall 
honor thee. Now thou makest thy litanies to them ; but then 
it will be as it was when Peter an-d Thomas and Nathanael 
and the sons of Zebedee were together, and Jesus came in 
the midst and dined with them. The saints shall be one 
family with thee. They will walk with thee, and sit with 
thee, and call thee by name, and tell thee the secrets of 
Paradise. And the angels shall honor thee. Now thou ad- 
dressest thy angel guardian on bended knee ; but then he will 
say to thee: "See thou do it not; I am thy fellow-servant, 
and of thy brethren, who have the testimony of Jesus." 
And the Church on earth shall praise thee. As long as time 
shall last, she shall make mention of thee as one of those who 



HEAVEN. 261 

rejoice with Christ in His glorious kingdom, and, clothed 
in white, follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. Yes, 
and the wicked and the devils shall honor thee. Now they 
may x affect to despise you now they may persecute you 
and trouble you ; but then they will be forced to do you 
honor, and, groaning within themselves for anguish of spirit, 
and amazed at the suddenness of your unexpected salvation, 
shall say : " These are theyivhom we had sometime in derision, 
and for a parable of reproach. We fools esteemed their life 
madness and their end without honor. Behold how they are 
numbered among the children of God^ and their lot is among 
the saints" * 

Such*, my brethren, are the joys of heaven, or, rather, such is 
the faintest and poorest idea of the joys of heaven. Men seek 
for wealth as the means of defending themselves from the ills 
of life, but there is perfect rest only in heaven. Men seek 
for pleasure, but earthly joys are short and unsatisfactory ; 
the pleasures at God s right hand are for ever sure. Men 
seek for honop, but the real honor comes from God alone. 
And these are within the reach of each one of you. "When 
Father Thomas of Jesus, was dying in captivity, his friends 
came around his bedside, and expressed their regret that he 
should die, away from his home, and their hope that the 
King of Spain would even yet ransom him ; but the holy 
man replied : " I have a better country than Spain, and the 
ransom has long been paid. That country is heaven, that 
ransom is the blood of Christ." The Holy Church says : 
" When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou 
didst open the Tdngdom of heaven to all believers." Yes 
by the blood of Christ, by the sacrament of baptism, the 
gates of heaven are opened before us. The path is straight 
and plain. If by sin we have strayed from it, by penance 
we have been recalled to it, and now there is nothing to do 

*Wis<Lv. 3,4, 5. 



262 HEAVEN. 

but to advance and persevere, and heaven is ours. Will you 
draw back, Christian ? Will you, by mortal sin, throw away 
that immortal crown ? No drunkard or adulterer, nothing 
that is defiled, can enter there. There is only one road that 
leads to heaven the road of Christian obedience. Will you 
renounce your birthright ? Will you, by sin, take the course 
that leads you away from your heavenly home ? " Oh !" I 
hear you say, " I will choose heaven." But, remember, 
heaven is to be won. " Heaven," says St. Philip Eeri, " is 
not for the slothful and cowardly." Strive then, henceforth, 
for the rewards that are at God s right hand. Strive to 
attain abundant merits for eternity. Remember that he that 
soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly, and he that soweth 
plentifully shall reap plentifully. God is not unmindful of 
your works and labor that proceedeth from love. Things so 
small as not to be taken notice of, things that happen every 
day, add a new glory to our mansions in heaven. With this 
aim, then, let us henceforth work. " Oh, happy I," says St. 
Augustine, " and thrice happy, if, after the dissolution of the 
body, I shall merit to hear the songs that are sung in praise 
of the Eternal King, by the inhabitants of the celestial 
city !" Happy I, if I myself shall merit to sing those 
strains, and to stand before my Lord and King, and to see 
Him in Plis glory, as he promised ! " He that loveth me 
shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and will 
manifest myself to him." " How amiable are thy taber 
nacles, Thou Lord of Hosts ! My soul hath a desire and 
a longing to enter into the courts of the Lord." Grant me 
this, O Lord. Give and withold what Thou wilt. I do not 
ask length of days. I do not ask for earthly honor and pros 
perity. I do not ask to be free from care, or labor, or suffer 
ing. But this I do ask, O Lord : when this life is over, shut 
not up my soul in hell, but let me look on Thy face in the 
land of the living. Make me so to pass through things 
temporal that I lose not the things eternal. Hail, Heavenly 



DUTY OF GROWING IN CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. 263 

Queen ! our life, our sweetness, and our hope ! to Thee do 
we cry, poor, exiled children of Eve. Oh, then, from Thy 
throne in heaven, lift upon us, who are struggling in this 
world, those merciful eyes of Thine ! and when this our 
exile is over, show us the blessed fruit of Thy womb, 
JESUS ! 

NOTE. This was the last Sunday-Sermon which F. Baker preached, two 
weeks before he was seized with his last illness. 



SEEMOK Y. 

THE DUTY OF GROWING- IX CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. 

(FIRST SUNDAY IK ADVENT.) 

" The first man knew not wisdom perfectly, no more shall the last find her 
out. For her thoughts are vaster than the sea, and her counsels deeper than the 
great ocean." ECCLES. xxiv. 38, 39. 

I THINK we Catholics, when we lay claim to the possession 
of the whole truth the entire revelation imparted to the 
world from Christ through the apostles sometimes forget how 
small a share of that truth each one of us possesses in par 
ticular. It is the Church that the Holy Ghost leads into all 
truth, not individuals. Each Catholic, who is sufficiently in 
structed, knows some truth ; he knows what is necessary to sal 
vation ; but there are many things which he is totally ignorant 
of, many things concerning which his conceptions are inade 
quate or distorted. Now if this be so, it cannot but be useful to 
remember it, and I will, therefore, this morning, show you how 
it must be so, and some of the consequences which flow from it. 

Each one s knowledge of truth must be more or less partial 
and incomplete, because it varies with each one s capacity for 
receiving truth. When God gave man reason, He conferred 



264 DUTY OF GROWING IN CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. 

on him the faculty of receiving truth ; but the degree in 
which this or that man is capable of receiving truth, depends 
upon the strength and cultivation of his particular reason. 
The eye is the organ of sight, but one man s eye is stronger 
and truer than another s. Slight variations of color or form, 
wholly indistinguishable by one man, are detected in a mo 
ment by anotner. So, one man s reason is stronger than 
another s. "What makes the difference, is, of course, in part 
the diversity in natural endowments, but it is not altogether 
due to this cause ; it is due in great measure also to cultiva 
tion. Moral dispositions, too, have a great deal to do with it ; 
and in the case of Christian truth, the grace of God also 
exerts a special influence. The degrees in which these various 
elements are found in particular cases, are so different, that 
there is an almost infinite gradation in the measure in which 
men are capable of receiving truth. No two men can re 
ceive it in exactly the same degree. In all this congregation, 
where we recite the same Creed and use the same prayers, 
there are, perhaps, no two of us who mean by them precisely 
the same thing. The intelligence of each one, his past his 
tory, his moral dispositions, will determine how far the faith 
that is in him corresponds to the faith that is without him 
the faith as it is in itself, the object of faith as it is in God. 
I can make what I mean plain to you by an illustration. 
Let us suppose a beautiful picture of the crucifixion, for 
instance, put up in a public gallery. Men of every kind enter 
and pass before it. There comes a man who has never heard 
of Christ ; he is ignorant and uneducated. He looks up and 
sees the representation of extremest human agony, mingled 
with superhuman dignity and patience. Some ray enters his 
mind ; he pauses, is startled then passes on. Now there 
comes another, who is an anatomist, and he is arrested by 
the skill with which the body is proportioned, and the play 
of the muscles and nerves is exhibited. Every line is a study 
to him, and he stops a good deal longer than the first. Then 



DUTY OF GROWING IN CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. 265 

there comes an artist, and lie sees in the picture something 
greater even. He takes in the genius of the conception, the 
fitness of attitude and expression, the light and shade, the 
tints of color, the difficulties overcome by art ; and he comes 
and sits before it, day after day, for hours, absorbed in the 
study of its beauties. And another comes who is a poet, and 
to him it brings back the scene of Calvary. In a moment he 
is far away, and the sun is darkened, and the earth quakes, 
and there are thunderings and lightnings, and once more the 
Holy City pours forth its multitude to witness the death of 
Jesus. And then there comes a sinner. Ah ! that story of 
love and suffering ! which tells how God so loved the world, 
and gave his only-begotten Son, that all who believe in Him 
should not perish, but have everlasting life. To him, that 
picture speaks of the horrors of sin, of mercy, of heaven and 
hell, and thoughts are awakened by it which lead him back 
to God. There hangs the picture, unaltered. It is just what 
the artist made it, neither more nor less, yet see how different 
it has been to different beholders. 

Now, just so it is with the preaching of the truth. As we 
recite the Creed, as we preach to you, Sunday after Sunday, 
the Creed itself is indeed unchangeable, but it is a different 
thing to each one of us who preach, and to each one of you 
who hear, according to your intelligence, your past history 
and your present dispositions. How can it be otherwise? 
Does not the very word, God, mean something different to us 
from what it does to a saint ? Do not the words Presence of 
God, mean something different to you and me from what they 
did to St. Teresa, to whom the soul of man appeared as a castle 
with seven chambers, each one more sacred than the others, as 
you advanced into the interior, until the innermost shrine was 
reached, where God and the soul were joined together in a 
manner which human language knows not how to utter ? Do 
you not see that the doctrine of the Incarnation is something 
very different to us from what it was to St. Athanasius, who 

12 



266 DUTY OF GROWING IN CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. 

spent his whole life in conflict for it, who endured years of 
exile and calumny, the estrangement of friends, the suspicion 
even of good men, rather than falter the least in fidelity to 
that verity on which his soul had fed ? Or the Real Prep 
ence is that not a different thing to the crowd who come to 
church and kneel from custom, but hardly remember why, 
from what it was to St. Thomas, who composed in honor of 
it the wonderful hymns Pange Lingua and Lauda Sion, or to 
St. Francis Xavier, who spent nights in prayer, prostrate upon 
the platform of the altar ? Why, St. Thomas, who has so writ 
ten of the Christian faith that the Church has named him 
the angelical doctor, threw down his pen in hopelessness of 
being able to expresss the high knowledge of divine things 
which filled his soul. And St. Paul confesses, in writing to 
the Hebrews, that even in that primitive community, taught 
by apostles and living in a perpetual call to martyrdom, 
there were some points of Christian truth which he found 
himself unable to utter, " because you are become weak to 
hear."* 

I know that you are Catholics, that you have the Apostles 
Creed by heart, that you believe in one God in Three Per 
sons, in the Incarnation and Death of the Second Person of 
the Blessed Trinity, and in the two eternities before us ; but 
neither you nor I know what all this implies. Our knowl 
edge is very imperfect : we are but babes in Christ, lisping 
and stammering the Divine alphabet children, wetting our 
feet in the waves which dash on the shore of the boundless 
ocean of truth. 

It is good for us, as I have already said, to remember 
this, for it gives us at once the true method of forming an 
estimate of Christianity. A tree is known by its fruit, but 
it is by its best fruit. If you have a tree in your garden 
bearing only a small quantity of very delicious fruit, you 

* Heb. v. 11. 



DUTY OF GROWING IN CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. 267 

prize it highly and take great care of it, though many of the 
blossoms fall off, and a great deal of the fruit never ripens. 
So you must judge of the Catholic Church, by its best and 
most perfect fruit, that is, by the men of great wisdom and 
great virtue whom it produces, and not by its imperfect 
members. Who is lively to be the best exponent and the 
truest specimen of his religion, a man of prayer and study, 
deeply versed in the Holy Scriptures and sacred learning, 
or one of small capacity, little learning, and little prayer ? 
Evidently, the former ; and yet how often do men take the 
contrary way of judging of the teaching and spirit of the 
Church. They visit some Catholic country, they see some 
instance of popular error, ignorance, or disorder, and they 
say : " This is Catholicity." Or, at home, they see or hear a 
Catholic do or say something which gives them offence, and 
they exclaim : " That is your doctrine ! " That is your reli 
gion 1 Now, supposing the offence they take to be justly 
taken, which is not always the case, what does it prove ? It 
may prove that the rulers of the Church have not done their 
duty ; but it may prove just the contrary, that they have 
done their duty that in spite of the obstacles of ignorance 
and rudeness, they have succeeded in imparting to some 
darkened souls enough knowledge to lead them to God, 
though it be the very least that is sufficient for that purpose. 
But it does not show what the doctrine of the Church really 
is as intelligently understood. To find out this, you must 
look at men who are in the most favorable circumstances for 
understanding it, and they are the saints of God : St. Basil, 
St. Augustine, St. Francis of Sales, St. Teresa, St. Yincenfc 
of Paul. 

O my brethren ! how can men turn away from Catholicity ? 
I understand how they can turn away from it as you and I 
express it ; how we can fail to remove their difficulties, or 
even put new perplexity in their way. But how can they 
turn away from Catholicity as it is expressed by the great 



268 DUTY OF GROWING- IN CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. 

saints of the Church ? What a divine religion ! "What 
majesty, what sweetness, what wisdom, what power ! How 
it commands the homage of the world ! What a universal 
testimony it has in its favor, after all ! Do you know, my 
brethren, I believe men are far more in favor of Catholicity 
than we suspect. I believe half the difficulties they find in 
our religion are not in our religion at all, but in us ; in our 
ignorance, in our prejudices, in our short-sightedness and 
narrow-heartedness. "What renders the world without excuse 
is the line of saints, the true witnesses to the genius and 
spirit of the Catholic religion. And yet, even the saints 
themselves are not the perfect exponents of the faith, 
for even the saints were not altogether free from ignorance 
and error. To understand fully the nobleness of the Chris 
tian faith, we should need the help of inspiration itself. Did 
it never occur to you, my brethren, that the expressions of 
the prophets and apostles in reference to the light and grace 
brought by Jesus Christ into the world, were extravagant ? 
" Behold, I will lay thy stones in order, and will lay thy 
foundations with sapphires, and I will make thy bulwarks 
of jasper : and thy gates of graven stones, and all thy "borders 
of desirable stones. All thy children shall he taught of the 
Lord: and great shall be the peace of thy children" " TJiou 
shalt no more have the sun for thy light by day, neither 
shall the brightness of the moon enlighten thee: but the 
Lord shall be unto thee for an everlasting light, and thy 
God for thy glory" * 

Does the Catholic Church, as you understand it, come up 
to these descriptions ? Is Catholic truth, as you appropriate 
it, so high and glorious a thing as this ? No ! And the rea 
son is, that you are straitened in yourselves. Your concep 
tions are so low, your knowledge of the truth ip so partial 
and limited, that you do not recognize the description when 

* Isaiah liv. 11-13; Ix. 19. 



DUTY OF GROWING IN CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. 269 

the Holy Ghost presents that truth as it is in itself, as it is 
seen and known by God. 

This thought leads us naturally to another ; namely, that it 
is the duty of each one of us to extend his knowledge of 
Christian truth as far as possible. There is a story told of a 
foreign gentleman visiting Home, who went one day to St. 
Peter s Church, and, after entering the vestibule, admired its 
noble proportions, and returned home fully satisfied that he 
had seen the church itself, which he had not even entered. 
So it is with many persons who never pass beyond the vestibule 
of Christian knowledge. They never enter the inner temple, or 
catch even a glimpse of its vast heights and its dim distances, 
its receding aisles, its intricate archings, its glory, its rich 
ness, and its mystery. O misery of ignorance ! which has 
ever been the heaviest curse of our race. O Morning Star, 
harbinger of eternal truth, and Sun of Justice, when wilt thou 
come to enlighten those that sit in darkness and in the 
shadow of death ! Alas ! this is our grief, that the true 
Light is come into the world, but our eyes are holden that 
we cannot see it. Truths, the thought of which rapt the 
apostles into ecstasy, truths which the angels desire to look 
into, are published in our hearing, and awaken no aspiration, 
no stirring in our hearts. We go away, to eat and drink, 
and work, and play. O brethren ! burst for yourselves 
these bonds of ignorance. Do not say, I am not learned, I 
am not acute or profound, I cannot hope to understand much. 
Remember that there were some servants to whom one 
talent was given, who were called to account as well as those 
who had ten. Do what you can. A pure heart, a blameless 
life, and prayer, are great enlighteners. Read, listen, medi 
tate, obey. Ask of God to enlarge your knowledge, and to 
teach you what it means to say you believe in Him. Ask of 
Jesus Christ to teach you what it means to say that He was 
made man and died for us on the cross ; what it is to receive 
His body and blood ; what is the meaning of heaven and hell. 



270 DUTY OF GROWING IN CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. 

Awake thou that sleepest, and Christ shall give thee light ! 
He will make you understand more and more what it is to 
be a Christian. Often have I seen the fulfilment of this 
promise. I have been at the bedside of poor people, who 
would be called rude and illiterate, but to whose pure hearts 
and earnest prayers God had imparted so clear a knowledge 
of the faith, that I have felt in their humble rooms like 
Jacob when he awoke from sleep and said : " Indeed the 
Lord is in this place." * 

Men are talking about a Church of the future. They say 
the old Church is decrepid, her theology is obsolete, she 
stimulates thought no more. But we know better. The 
Church of the future is the Church of the past. That 
Church is ever ancient and ever new. Her truth is not 
exhausted. Men know not the half nor the hundredth part of 
her hidden wisdom. O the victory ! when men shall under 
stand this when they shall come confessing to the Holy 
Church, as the Queen of Saba did to Solomon : " The report 
is true, which I heard in my own country, concerning thy 
words and concerning thy wisdom. And I did not believe 
them that told me, till I came ony self and saw with my own 
eyes, and have found that the half hath not been told me 
thy wisdom and thy works exceed the fame which I heard. 
Blessed are thy men, and blessed are thy servants who 
stand before thee always, and hear thy wisdom "-\ 

Yes ! the history of the Church is not accomplished, her 
triumphs are not yet all written. Why does she, Advent 
after Advent, publish again the glowing predictions of the 
evangelical prophet, but because she knows that they await 
a still more magnificent fulfilment ? Take courage the 
cloud that rests on the people shall be lifted off, and the bur 
den taken away. The Ancient Church " shall no more be 
called forsaken, nor her land desolate."^: "Arise, be enlight- 

* Gen. xxviii. 16. f III. Ki. x. 6-8. J Is. Lrii. 4. 



THE MISSION OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST. 271 

ened, Jerusalem : for thy light is come, and the glory of 
the Lord is risen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall walk in 
thy light, and Icings in the brightness of thy rising. Then 
shalt tliou see and abound, and thy heart shall wonder and ~be 
enlarged. And the children of them that afflict thee shall 
come lowing down to thee, and all that slandered thee shall 
worship the steps of thy feet, and shall call thee the city of the 
Lord, the Sion of the Holy One of Israel."* 



SERMON VI. 

THE MISSION OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST. 
(SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT.) 

[ This is lie of whom it is written : Behold I send My messenger before Thy 
face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee." ST. MATT. xi. 10. 

THE Scriptures of the Old Testament had foretold that a 
special messenger should immediately precede the coming of 
the Messias, whose duty would be to prepare men s hearts 
for His reception. Now, our Lord in the text tells us that 
St. John the Baptist was this messenger. It is for this 
reason that the Gospels read in the Church for the season of 
Advent are so full of the sayings and doings of this saint. In 
Advent the Church desires to prepare us for the twofold 
coming of Christ at His Nativity and at the Last Judg 
ment ; and it is natural that she should avail herself of the 
labors of one who was divinely appointed for the same pur 
pose. Accordingly, from Sunday to Sunday, during this 
season, she brings St. John the Baptist from his cell in the 
desert, clad in his rough garment, to preach to us Christians 

* Isai. Ix. 1-14. 



272 THE MISSION OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST. 

the same lessons lie preached to the Jewish people centuries 
ago. It has seemed to me, then, that I could not better sub 
serve the intentions of the Church, than by considering this 
morning in what the mission of St. John the Baptist as a 
preparation for Christ s coming specially consisted, and what 
practical lessons it suggests to us. 

St. John the Baptist was of the priestly race, yet he never 
exercised the office of a priest. He was not a prophet, at 
least in the sense of one who foretells future events. He 
worked no miracles. He had no ecclesiastical position. 
"What was he then ? What was his office ? How did he pre 
pare men for the coming of Christ ? The Scriptures tell us 
what he was. He was a " Voice " and a " Cry " the cry of 
conscience, the voice of man s immortal destiny. His mission 
was simple, elementary, and universal. It went deeper than 
ecclesiastical or ritual duties. It touched human probation 
to the very quick. He dealt with the great question of sal 
vation, protested vehemently against sin, and published aloud 
that law of sanctity which is written on every man s heart by 
the finger of God. 

"We have some remains of his sermons, from which we can 
learn his style. " Begin not to say" so he speaks to the Jews, 
"we have Abraham to our father , for God is able to raise 
up of these stones children to Abraham" * See, how he 
sweeps away external privileges, and goes straight to every 
man s conscience. " The axe is laid now to the root of the 
trees, and every tree that bring eth not forth good fruit shall 
be cut down and cast into the fire" Nothing but what is in 
ternal, nothing but what is sound at the core, can bear the 
scrutiny. He descends to the particulars of each man s state 
and condition of life. The people came to him and asked 
him, " What shall we do ?" And he said : " He that hath 

two coats, let him impart to him that hath none ; and he that 

i 

* St. Luke iii. 8. 



THE MISSION OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST. 273 

hath meat let him do likewise? That was a short and pithy 
sermon ! Then the officers of the custom came and asked : 
" What shall we do ? " And he answered : " Take noticing 
more than that which is appointed you? Do not rob or 
swindle. Do not use bribery or extortion. And the soldiers 
asked him, saying: "And what shall we do?" And he 
said : " Do violence to no man : neither calumniate any 
man and he content with your pay? 

Such was the preaching of St. John the Baptist, pointed, 
direct, homely, practical : an -echo of that trumpet-blast which 
once shook the earth, when God gave the Ten Command 
ments out of the Mount. And it did its work. Our Lord 
himself lias testified to the success of St. John s mission. It 
prepared men to believe in Christ. It was the school which 
trained disciples for Christianity. They that believed in St. 
John believed afterwards in Christ. On one occasion the 
evangelist gives it as the explanation why some believed and 
some rejected the words of Jesus, that they had first believed 
or rejected the words of the Baptist. u All the people" 
such is the language I refer to, "justified God, being bap 
tized with the baptism of John, but the Pharisees and the 
lawyers despised the counsel of God against themselves, being 
not baptized of him? * 

]STor is it difficult to explain how his preaching effected this 
result. Christ came to save sinners. In point of fact, we 
know that this is the reason why He has come into the world. 
He has come to seek and save that which was lost. 
He has come to heal the broken-hearted. He has- 
come to give us a new law, higher and holier than the 
old, yet easier by the brightness of His example, and the 
graces He imparts, ^Now, unless a man feels the evil of sin, 
unless he wants to keep the law, unless he feels an interest, 
and a deep interest, in the question 1 of his destiny, he does not 

* St. Luke vii. 29, 30. 



274 THE MISSION OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST. 

care for Christ. True, our Lord has given to the understand 
ing proofs of His divine mission, so that belief in Him may 
be a reasonable act ; but until the conscience is stirred up, 
the understanding has no motive for considering these proofs. 
To the carnal and careless Jews, the announcement of Christ s 
coming was, I suppose, simply uninteresting. In some points 
of view, indeed, they might have welcomed Him. As a tem 
poral prince and deliverer, His advent would have been 
hailed by them, but salvation from sin was a matter in which 
they felt no great concern. What did they want with 
Christ ? Why does He come at all to consciences which do 
not crave rest, and wills that need no strength ? What need 
of a Saviour, if there is no sin to be shunned, no hell to be 
feared, no heaven to be won, no great struggle between good 
and evil, no eternity in peril ? 

But once let all this be fully understood. Let a man s 
conscience be fully awakened. Let him realize his destiny, 
above and beyond this world ; let him appreciate the evil of 
sin that defeats his destiny ; let him, if the case be so, perceive 
how far out of the way he has gone by his sins ; and then how 
full of interest, how full of meaning, becomes the exclamation 
of St. John, as he points to Christ and says : " Behold* the 
Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world ! 
Let a man s spiritual nature be stirred within him ; let him 
aspire to what is pure and high ; aim at regulating his pas 
sions ; struggle, amid inordinate desires and the importuni 
ties of creatures which encompass him like a flood, toward 
the highest good and the most perfect beauty ; and, oh ! with 
what music do these words of Christ fall on his soul : " Come 
unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and 1 will 
refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, and 
you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is sweet, 
a id My ~burden is light" * It seems too good to be true. 

* St. Matt. XL 29, 30. 



THE MISSION OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST. 275 

He listens, and asks, " May I believe this ?" " Is there really 
a way through this world to heaven? a sure, clear, easy 
way ?" He finds that his understanding not only allows, but 
compels him to believe in Christ : he is happy ; he believes ; 
his faith is a conviction into Vhich his whole nature enters ; 
it entwines itself with every fibre of his soul. 

The connection, then, between the preaching of the Baptist 
and the coming of Christ was not a temporary one. It is 
essential and necessary. St. John is still the forerunner of 
Christ. The preaching of the commandments is ever the 
preparation for faith. The awakening of a man s conscience 
is the measure of his appreciation of Christ. Our Lord 
gives many graces to men without their own co-operation. 
Many of the gifts of Providence, and the first gifts in the 
order of grace, are so bestowed. But an enlightened appre 
ciation of Christianity, a personal conviction of its truth, a 
real and deep attachment to it, will be always in proportion 
to the thoroughness with which a man has . sounded the 
depths of his own heart, to the sincerity with which sin 
is hated and feared, and holiness aspired after. Christ is 
never firmly seated in the soul of man till he is enthroned 
on the conscience. " Unto you that fear My name, shall 
the San of Justice arise, and health in his wings." * 

And, here, my brethren, in this law or fact which I 
stated, we have the key to several practical questions of 
great importance. 

Here we have, in great part at least, an explanation why 
conversions to the Catholic Church are not more frequent 
than they are. Surely the Catholic Church is prominent 
enough in the eyes of men. From her church towers she 
cries aloud. In the streets, at the opening of her gates, 
she utters her word, saying : " O children of men, how long 
will you love folly, and the unwise hate knowledge f Turn 

* St. Matt. iv. 2. 



276 THE MISSION OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST. 

ye at my reproof" Her antiquity, her unity, her universality, 
the sanctity of so many of her children, are enough to arrest 
the attention of every thoughtful man. But how few heed 
her voice ! True, here and there, there are souls who recog 
nise in her the true teacher sent by Christ, the guide of their 
souls, and submit themselves to her safe and holy keeping. 
Altogether, they make a goodly company ; but how small in 
proportion to those who are left behind ! It reminds us of 
the words of the prophet : " I will take one of a city, and 
two of a family and bring you into Sio7i" * They come 
by ones and twos, and the mass remains behind. And what 
does that mass think of the Catholic Church ? Some are 
entirely ignorant of her, almost as though she did not exist. 
Some have wrong ideas about her, and hate her. Some know 
a good deal about her doctrines, and are conversant with the 
proofs of them, and argue about them, and criticise them. 
Some are favorably inclined to her. Some patronise her. It 
was just so with Christ. To some He was simply unknown, 
though He was in their midst. To some He was an impostor 
and a blasphemer. To many He was an occasion of dispute, 
some affirming Him to be a "good man," others saying, 
" Nay, He deceiveth the people." To some He was an inno 
vator on the established religion, the religion of the respecta 
ble and educated. To others, His mysteries were an offence, 
and the severity of His doctrine a stumbling-block. Why is 
this ? Why is it always thus ? Why are men so slow to be 
wise, and to be happy ? I do not wish, my brethren, to give 
too sweeping an answer. I know there is such a thing as 
inculpable ignorance. I believe there are many on their way 
to the Church who are not suspected of it, and who, perhaps, 
do not suspect it themselves. I know that God has His 
seasons of grace and providence. I know that each human 
mind is different from every other, and has its own law of 

* Jer. iii. 14. 






THE MISSION OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST. 277 

working, its own way of arriving at conviction. But after 
all sucli deductions, are there not very many of whom it is a 
plain matter of fact to say that they will not give their 
attention to this subject ? They may even have conscious 
doubts on their minds, and live and die with these unattended 
to, unresolved. It is a want of religious earnestness. Men 
do not ask : " What shall I do to be saved ?" Or at least, 
they do not give to that question their supreme attention. 
They do not grapple with their destiny. They are indifferent 
to it, or hopeless about its solution. They let themselves 
float on, leaving the questions of the future to decide them 
selves as they may, and live in the pleasures and interests of 
the present. 

Oh, fatal supineness ! unworthy a rational being, defeating 
the end of our creation, and entailing countless miseries here 
and hereafter. Nothing can be hoped for from the world, till 
it awakes from its lethargy of indifference. Men must be 
men before you can make them Christians serious, thought 
ful earnest men, before you have any reason for expecting 
them to become Catholics. There is more hope of a con 
scientious bigot, than for a man indifferent to his salvation. 
He, at least, is in earnest. If his mind should become en 
lightened, if he should recognise the Catholic Church as the 
divinely-appointed guide to that heaven which he is seeking, 
there is reason to hope that he will avail himself of her 
blessings. He will not make frivolous objections ; he will 
not stumble at the Sacrament of Confession, or catch at everv 

t; 

scandalous story of immorality on the part of a Catholic, or 
quarrel with every minute ritual arrangement ; but in a bet 
ter, higher, nobler spirit, in that spirit of obedience which so 
well becomes a man, in that spirit of faith, in which man s 
reason asserts most clearly its high character, by uniting 
itself to and embracing the Reason of God, when he finds 
that the Church is the guide to his immortal destiny, he 
" will come bending to her, and will worship the steps of her 



278 THE MISSION OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST. 



) and will call her the City of the Lord, the Sion of the 
Holy One of Israel." 

And now, to turn our eyes within the Church, we can in 
the same way account for those dreadful apostasies from the 
Catholic faith which are here and there recorded in history. 
Mahometanism, which in numbers is a rival to Catholicity, 
possesses some of the fairest lands once owned by Christ. In 
modern times, one of the most refined and enlightened 
nations of Christendom, in a moment of frenzy, threw oif 
the faith with which her history had been so adorned, and 
professed Atheism. Now, how did these things happen? 
Not of a sudden, or all at once. Men are not changed from 
Christians into Turks or Infidels in an hour. There must 
have been some secret moral history, which accounts for this 
wonderful change. And so there was. Men became lax in 
their conduct. The Catholicity they practised was not the 
Catholicity of Christ and the Apostles. Public morals were 
conformed to the standard of heathenism rather than that 
of the gospel nay, sometimes outraged as much the de 
cencies of heathenism as the precepts of Christ. It was the 
old story. St. John the Baptist imprisoned by an adulterous 
king ; St. John the Baptist, conspired against and murdered 
by an ambitious queen ; the head of St. John the Baptist, 
eloquent and reproachful even in death, brought in to point 
the jest and stimulate the revelry of a lascivious feast this 
is but a figure of the treatment which conscience has received 
in Christian courts, and at the hands of Christian princes. 
Morality and decency grew out of date, and were cast aside 
like old-fashioned garments, and the restraints of the Law of 
God were as feeble as cobwebs before the power of passion. 
Now, what else could be the result of all this, but a disesteem 
of Christianity itself? True, it might retain some hold upon 
men s minds for a time. The fact that it was the religion of 
their ancestors, the fact that they were baptized in it, the 
heauty of its ceremonies and architecture, the soothing influ- 



THE MISSION OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST. 279 

ence of its ordinances, the services it has rendered to civilisa 
tion, might keep it standing in its place for a time ; but these 
considerations are not strong enough to withstand the power 
of hell, when it is exerted in the way of persecution, or a 
general apostasy. " Every plant thai my Heavenly Father 
hath not planted, shall he rooted up" said Christ.* It must 
be a supernatural motive that binds us to our faith. Christ 
and the Law cannot long remain divorced. A people without 
conscience will soon be a people without faith ; and a nation 
of triflers only waits the occasion, to become a nation of 
apostates. 

It is not, then, without a special providence of God, that 
in these later days the missionary orders of the Church have 
been multiplied. In the sixteenth century the intellectual 
defence of the faith was the Church s greatest need, and that 
was most successfully accomplished. But there is needed 
something more to uphold the falling fabric of modern society. 
Men need to be reminded of the first principles of morality. 
And, therefore, a St. Alphonsus appears in Naples, a St. 
Vincent of Paul in France; missionary orders in every land 
go about teaching the people, before it is too late, the very 
first and fundamental truths the doctrine of repentance and 
good works. Here, in every age, and every country, is the 
real danger to faith. "We speak often of the dangers to faith 
in this country ; and unquestionably we have our special 
trials here. Some of our children are lost by neglect. Some 
grow cold in the unfriendly atmosphere that surrounds them. 
But the real danger to be dreaded is, that the love of the 
Church herself should grow cold; that a wide-spread de 
moralisation should take place among ourselves; that we 
should forget the keeping of the Ten Commandments. This, 
indeed, would be the prelude to our destruction. Practical 
morality makes a strong Church ; but let morality be forgot- 

* St. Matt. xv. 13. 



280 THE MISSION OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST. 

ten, and the Church, while it has a name to live, is dead. 
And as a corpse long decomposed sometimes retains the human 
form until it is exposed to the air, when it crumbles into 
dust ; so a dead Church will be blown to atoms and swept 
away, the first strong blast that hell breathes against it. 

And, in fine, by the light of the thought which I have been 
endeavoring to present to you this morning, we see the means 
by which we ought to make sure our personal union with 
Christ. Christ is coming. He is coming at Christmas to 
unite Himself with those whom He shall find prepared. He 
is coming again, and the mountains shall melt before Him ; 
for He is coming to judge the world. " Who shall stand to 
see Him f For He shall he as a Refining Fire, and shall try 
the Sons of Levi as gold and silver" * How shall we abide 
His coming, my brethren I how shall we prepare to meet 
Him ? I know no other way than that which St. John the 
Baptist recommended to the Jews a true and solid conver 
sion. "Whether a man has committed mortal sin or not, 
whether he is born a Catholic or not, there comes upon him, 
if he is a true Christian, some time in his life, a change which 
Catholic writers call conversion. It may not be sudden. It 
may be all but imperceptible. It may be more than once. 
But at least once, there comes a time when religion becomes a 
matter of personal conviction with him. He is different from 
what he was before. A change has passed over him. He 
has awakened to his moral accountability. His manhood is 
developed. His conscience is aroused. And until that hap 
pens, you cannot count on him. He may seem innocent and 
pious, but you cannot tell whether it will not be " like the 
dew that passeth away in the morning." You cannot say 
how he will act in temptation. You cannot reckon on what 
he will be next year. Perhaps then he will draw sin " as with 

a cart-rope." The trouble with such men is not that they 

. 

* St. Matt. iii. 2, 3. 



THE MISSION OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST. 281 

sin sometimes. Alas ! such is human frailty that a single 
fall would not dishearten us ; but the real misery is, that 
they have no principle of not sinning. They are not pre 
paring for Christ s judgment. Their contrition, such as it is, 
is intended to prepare them for confession, not for eternity. 
See, then, what we want ! 

And this is what I understand by the penance which St. 
John the Baptist preached. He practised it himself. It is 
thought that in St. John s case the use of reason was granted 
before birth ; and when as a babe he leaped in his mother s 
womb, it was for conscious joy at the presence of his Lord 
and Saviour. And since the Blessed Virgin and St. Eliza 
beth were cousins, doubtless St. John and our Blessed Saviour 
knew each other as children. It is more than probable that 
they used to play together when they were boys, as the paint 
ers loved to represent them. And oh ! what an effect did 
the knowledge of Christ have on St. John ! It took the color 
out of earthly beauty, and the music out of earthly joy. 
There was with him afterward one overpowering desire 
the desire of sanctity. He had seen a vision of heaven. Not 
because he despised the world, but because a higher beauty 
was opened to his soul, he went into the desert, and his meat 
was locusts and wild honey. One aim he had : to purify his 
heart. One thought : to prepare for heaven, and to help 
others also to prepare. 

Oh, let us heed his words and example. Let us follow him, 
if not in the rigor of his fastings, at least in the sincerity of 
his penance. Be converted, and turn to the Lord your God. 
There is no other way of preparing for judgment. Remem 
ber what the Church says to you at the Font : " If thou wilt 
enter into life, keep the commandments." Listen to what 
God Himself counsels, when prophesying the terrors of the 
last day : " Remember the law of Moses, My servant, which I 
commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, the precepts and 
judgments" * The law commanded in Horeb that eternal 



282 GOD S DESIEE TO BE LOVED. 

law of right, and justice, and purity, and truth examine* 
yourself by this standard ; forsake every evil way and live a 
Christian life. Happy are they who do so ! Happy and se 
cure shall they be in the evil time. When the earth and 
heaven shall be shaken, and sea and land give up their dead, 
and the Son of Man appear in the heavens, and the Throne 
shall be set for judgment, then look up and lift up your head, 
for your redemption draweth nigh. You have been true to 
your conscience ; you have believed in Christ ; you have 
kept His law ; now to you belongs the promise, " Then they 
that feared the Lord spoke every man with his neighbor, and 
the Lord gave ear, and heard it : and a book of remembrance 
was written before the Lord for them that fear the Lord, and 
think on His Name. And they shall be My special posses 
sion, saith the Lord of Hosts, in the day that I do judgment : 
and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that 
serveth him" \ 



SERMON VII. 

GOD S DESIRE TO BE LOVED. 

. 

(CHRISTMAS DAT.) 

" Thou art beautiful above the sons of men : grace is poured abroad in Thy 
lips ; therefore hath God blessed Thee forever. Gird Thy sword upon Thy 
thigh, Thou most mighty. With Thy comeliness and Thy beauty, set out, pro 
ceed prosperously and reign." Ps. XLIV. 3-5. 

THE Church calls on us to-day to rejoice and be glad for 
the Incarnation of the Son of God. With a celebration 
peculiar to this Feast, she breaks the dead silence of the night 

* St. Matt. iv. 4. f St. Matt. iii. 16, 17. 



GOD S DESIRE TO BE LOVED. 283 

with her first Mass of joy. She repeats it again as the east 
reddens with the dawn. And still again, when the sun is 
shining in full day, she offers anew a Mass of thanksgiving 
for a blessing which can never be sufficiently praised and 
magnified. I have thought that I could not better attune 
your hearts to all this gladness and gratitude than by 
reminding you of one of the motives of the Incarnation. 

O *J 

Why did our Lord become man ? and why did He become 
Man in the way He did ? I answer, out of His desire to be 
loved by us. There is a love of benevolence, which is con 
tent simply with doing good without asking a return. God 
has this love for us. Nature and reason tell us so. "He 
maketh His sun to rise on the good and the bad, and raineth 
upon the just and the unjust" And there is another love, 
the love of friendship, which seeks to be united to the object 
of its love. And the Incarnation shows us that God has this 
kind of love for man. His love makes us lovable in His eyes, 
and this again makes Him vehemently desire our love. This 
will be my subject this morning the Incarnation, an evi 
dence of God s desire to be loved by us. 

And, first, observe, that there is no other reason given for 
the Incarnation which sufficiently accounts for it in all its 
circumstances. There are several reasons for the Incarnation. 
It is the doctrine of many Catholic theologians that God 
would have become Man even if man had never sinned ; that 
it was part of His original plan in forming the creature thus 
to unite it to Himself. Again, it is said that our Lord 
became Man in order to make satisfaction for sin. And a 
third reason alleged for His becoming Man, is, that He might 
give us a perfect example. Now all these reasons are true : 
but neither of them alone, nor all of them together, entirely 
account for the Incarnation with all its circumstances. Not 
the first, for even if God had predetermined that His Son 

* St. Matt. v. 45. 



284 GOD S DESIRE TO BE LOVED. 

should become Man, irrespective of man s transgression, cer 
tainly in that case He would not have come poor and sorrow 
ful, as He did. The necessity of a satisfaction for sin accounts 
indeed for our Lord s sufferings in part, but not altogether ; 
for He suffered far more than was necessary. Besides, it was 
not necessary for a Divine Person to have suffered for us un 
less it had pleased God to require a perfect satisfaction, 
which He was free to demand or dispense with. The desire 
to give a good example may be suggested as the explanation 
of our Lord s humiliation ; but when we consider a moment, 
we will see that though a good man really does give a good 
example, he does very fe\t, if any of his actions, for the 
mere sake of giving it. There are many things, then, in our 
Lord s becoming Man, and His life as Man, that need some 
further reason. What is that reason \ It is His great desire 
to be loved by us. Suppose this, and every thing is clear. 
I do not mean to say that this account of our Lord s Incar 
nation makes it any less wonderful it makes it more so- 
but it gives a motive for it all. Suppose Him influenced by 
an intense desire to gain our love, and then we see w r hy He 
stooped so low, why He did so much more than was neces 
sary, why he was so lavish in condescension in a word, this 
is the explanation of what would otherwise seem to be the 
excess of His love. 

Then, again, let us consider how our Lord s Incarnation is 
adapted to win our love. When we see means perfectly 
adapted to an end, we are apt to conclude that they were 
chosen in view of that end. ISTow, our Lord s humiliation is 
in all its parts wonderfully calculated to attract love. 

His taking our nature is especially so. There is a won 
derful power in blood. To be of kin is a tie that survives 
all changes and all times. ISTow, here our Lord makes Him 
self of kin to us, of the same blood. He is no stranger, be 
fore whom we need feel at a great distance, but our relation, 
of our flesh and blood. 



GOD S DESIRE TO BE LOVED. 285 

And then as Man, He has clothed Himself with every thing 
that can make Him attractive in the eyes of man. He 
makes His first appearance in the world as an Infant, a beau 
tiful Babe. How attractive is a beautiful child ! Men even 
of rugged natures are softened by looking at it. A little 
child brings a flood of grace and light into a house. Now, 
to-day, the Son of God is a Babe at Bethlehem. He has 
the beauty of infancy, but there is also a superadded beauty, 
a light playing on His features that is not of earth, the light 
of Infinite "Wisdom and Eternal Love. See, He looks around 
and smiles, and stretches out His hands, as if inviting us to 
caress Him. 

In many children this beauty of infancy is evanescent, but 
in our Lord it was the earnest of a grace and loveliness that 
followed Him through life. It is evident that there was 
something most attractive about our Lord to those who ap 
proached Him. As He grew in stature He increased in 
favor, not only with God but with men. When He had at 
tained to manhood, He was such a one that children willingly 
gathered around Him in the streets, and people stopped to 
look at Him as He passed, and men fe minds were strangely 
stirred in them as He spoke, and the thought came into 
women s hearts, " How happy to be the mother of such a 
Son !" Who but He knew how perfectly to mingle dignity 
with familiarity, zeal with serenity, and austerity with com 
passion ? Even at the distance of time that we are from His 
earthly life, His words reach us like the sweetest music. 
What other preacher can say the same words again and again, 
and never make us weary ? Whose tones are there that linger 
in our ears like His, and come like a spell to our hearts in 
times of temptation and sorrow ? Why, even scoffers have 
acknowledged this. The beauty and excellence of our Sa 
viour s character have wrung a eulogium from a celebrated 
opponent of Christianity, and at least a momentary confession 
that its author was Divine. 



286 GOD S DESIRE TO BE LOVED. 

Then, to the attractions of His character, our Lord has 
added the destitution of His circumstances, in order to gain 
our love. It is natural for us to love any thing that is de 
pendent on us. The sick child that needs to be nursed, the 
helpless and depressed, the poor that appeal to us, even the 
bird and the dog that look to us for their food, come to have 
a place in our hearts. Now, our Lord, at least even in this 
way to win us, has placed Himself in a state of complete de 
pendence on us. From the cradle to the grave, and even 
beyond the grave, He appeals to man for the supply of every 
want. 

Think what it might have been. Think of the twelve 
legions of angels that are impatient to come and minister to 
Him. But no ! He restrains them. For his swathing-bands, 
He will be a debtor to Mary s care. For a habitation, He 
will put up with the stall of the ox and the ass. The man 
ger from which the cattle are fed shall be His cradle. St. 
Joseph shall bear the expenses of his early years ; and when 
St. Joseph is gone, and He has begun His ministry of 
preaching, Joanna and the other holy^ women shall minister 
to Him of their substance. And at last, Magdalene shall 
anoint His body for burial, and Joseph of Arimathea shall 
give Him a winding-sheet and a grave. 

I said He carried His poverty beyond the grave. And so 
He does. For His churches, for the glory of His altars, for 
His priests, for His sacraments, even for the bread and wine 
which shall serve as veils for His presence, He depends on 
us, that out of love we may minister to Him, and by minis 
tering may love Him better. 

And, further : while on the one hand ^our Lord thus ap 
peals to our affections by the poverty of His condition, on 
the other He compels our love by the greatness of His sacri 
fices for us. In His Sermon on the Mount, He bids us, " If 
any man force us to go with Him a mile, to go with him 



GOD S DESIRE TO BE LOVED. 287 

other two;"* and certainly it has been by this rule that He 
has acted toward us. I have already said our Lord has done 
far more than was necessary to redeem us. Why, in strict 
ness of justice, He had ransomed us before He was born. 
The very first act of love He made to His Father, after His 
conception, was enough to redeem countless worlds. But 
He did not then go back to His Father. He staid on earth 
to do more for us. He would not leave any thing undone 
that could be done. He would not leave a single member 
of His body, a single power of His soul, that was not turned 
into a sacrifice for us. 

No doubt, if, at the birth of any child, we could foresee all 
it would have to suffer during its life, there would be enough 
to mingle sadness with our joy. But this child was pre 
eminently a child of sorrow ; and Simeon, when he took 
Him up in his arms, foresaw that the sad future would break 
His mother s heart. Yes, that little Child is the willing vic 
tim of our sins. On that little head the crown of thorns 
shall be placed. Those tiny hands shall be pierced with nails. 
Those eyes shall weep. Those ears shall be filled with 
reproach and blasphemy. That smooth cheek be spit upon. 
That mouth be filled with vinegar and gall. And why was 
all this ? He Himself has told us : " And I, if I be lifted up 
from the earth, will draw all things to Myself." f That was 
the hope that urged Him on. That was the key to His 
whole life. It was all an effort, a struggle, to gain our 
love. 

And, once more : the effect of the Incarnation has been 
love. We read God s purposes in their fulfilment. We see 
what our Lord ^intended in His humiliation, by looking at 
what it has produced. There is no doubt that the love of 
God has been far more general among men, and far more 
tender, since the Incarnation. Only compare St. Antony of 

* St. Matt. v. 41. f St. John xil 32. 



288 GOD S DESIRE TO BE LOVED. 

Padua, fondling the Infant Jesus, with Elias, covering his 
face with his mantle before the Lord in the cave at Horeb. 
Compare the book of Job with the epistles of St. Paul or St. 
John. God is in both books; but the Prophet sees Him 
through a glass darkly : the Apostles " have seen and 
handled the "Word of Life." One of the most beautiful 
passages in the Old Testament, and one which approaches 
the nearest to the New, is the history of the martyrdom of 
the seven sons with their mother in the time of Judas Macha- 
basus. But how this story pales before the Acts of -the 
Christian Martyrs ! In these Jewish heroes we see, indeed, 
faith in God, and remembrance of His promises, and hope in 
the Resurrection ; but how different is this from the glowing 
language of an Ignatius, who claimed to carry Christ within 
him ; or of an Agnes, who claimed to be the Spouse of Christ, 
whom He had betrothed with a ring, and adorned with 
bridal jewels! 

JSTor is it only in highly spiritual people, or highly gifted 
people of any kind, that we see this Christian, personal love 
of God. The poor, the dull, the ignorant cannot understand 
the abstract arguments about God, but they can understand 
a crucifix, they know the meaning of Bethlehem and Calvary. 
And many an old woman, who knows little more, has learned 
enough to make her happy, in the thought that " God so 
loved the world as to give His only begotten Son, that whoso 
ever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life ever 
lasting." * 

Then there are children ; some people complain that they 
find it very hard to interest them in religion. I will tell you 
how to succeed. Tell them the story of Joseph and Mary, 
and the Babe lying in a manger. Tell them about the 
shepherds that were watching their flocks by night, and the 
angels that came and talked to them. Tell them about the 

* St. John ill 16. 



GOD S DESIRE TO BE LOVED. 289 

garden in which Jesus was betrayed, and the cross on which 
he died, and you will see their little eyes open wide with 
interest. I knew a boy who, when he read the story of 
Peter s denial of our Lord, got up from his seat, and, with 
tears in his eyes, exclaimed, " Oh, mother, what made Peter 
do that !" And I have heard of a little boy who, when he 
was dying, called his mother to his side, and told her that he 
had kept all the money she had given him, in a little box, 
and when he was dead he wanted her to take it and buy a 
coat for the Infant Jesus. I know it was a strange, childish 
conceit ; but it showed that our Saviour had found His way 
to that little boy s heart ; and sure I am that when, in Para 
dise, he stood before the bright throne of Christ, and heard 
from those divine lips the praise of his short life, that legacy 
was not forgotten. 

Yes ; our Lord has found out the way to win hearts. He 
has succeeded. The issue proves the wisdom of his plan. 
As heaven fills up with saints flaming with love, He says, 
"Whence are these? and who hath begotten them ?" Then 
He remembers that they are the fruit of the travail of His 
soul, that they were born to Him at Bethlehem and Calvary, 
and He " is satisfied." 

The truth is, we are not so sensible of this effect of the In 
carnation, because we are so familiar with it. We hardly 
realize how meagre men s notions about God naturally are. 
Of course, we know by reason the existence of God, and many 
of His attributes; but without revelation, these are very in 
distinct. We know that He is great and good and beauti 
ful ; but still there is a gulf between us and Him. Partly, 
no doubt, this arises from our sense of guilt. We fear God, 
because we have offended Him. But there is a dread of God, 
and a sense of distance from Him, that does not come from 
guilt. The most innocent feel it the keenest. I know not 
why, but we dread Him because He is so spiritual. He is so 
strange and mysterious. We cannot think what He is like. 

13 



290 GOD S DESIRE TO BE LOVED. 

We lose ourselves when we try to think of Him. There are 
so many things in the world that frighten us. We do not 
know how God feels toward us. We have a diffidence in 
approaching Him which we cannot shake off. Now, all the 
while, God is full of the most wonderful love to man. Heaven 
is not enough for Him. Even with the angels, it is a wilder 
ness because man is absent. At last He resolves what He 
will do. He will lay aside .altogether that majesty which 
affrights man so much. " The distance is too great," He 
says, u between Me and My creatures. I Myself will become 
a creature. Man flies from Me. I will become Man. Every 

v 

thing loves its kind. I will make Myself like him. i I will 
draw him with the cords of Adam, with the bands of love. * 
I will tell him how the case stands that I love him and 
desire his love. I will tell him to love Me, not for his sake, 
but Mine ; and when I have made him understand this when 
I have gained his love ; when I have healed his wound and 
made him happy then I will come back, and call on all the 
angels of heaven, and say, i Kejoiee with Me, for I have 
found the sheep that I had lost. 

Such is the enterprise that our Lord enters on to-day. He 
comes to tell you how He loves you, and how He desires your 
love. " Behold, I bring to you glad tidings of great joy, and 
this shall be the sign to you : you shall find the Infant wrap 
ped in swaddling-clothes, and laid in a manger." It is a sign 
of Humanity. It is a sign of Beauty. It is a sign of Humil 
ity. It is a sign of Love. He speaks to you, not in words, 
but in actions. The cold wind whistles in His cavern, but 
Re will not have it otherwise. David said : " / will not en 
ter into the tabernacle of my home : I will not go up into my 
led. I will not give sleep to my eyes, or slumber to my eye- 
lidsy or rest to my temples, ^lntil I find out a place for the 
Lord, a tabernacle for the God of Jacob" f So the new-born 

* Osee xi. 4. f Isai. cxxri. 3-5. 



GOD S DESIKE TO BE LOVED. 291 



Saviour will not take any comfort til] He lias got your love. 
He is waiting in the manger, and until you come and take 
Him home, He will accept no other. The palaces of the 
world, and all the jewels and the gold are His, but He will 
have none of them. He wants to abide in your lowly house, 
and in your poor heart. His head is full of dew, and His 
locks of the drops of the night, and He knocks for you to open 
to Him. Oh, to-day, I do not envy those who will not re 
ceive Him. I do not envy those who are wandering about 
in error, and know not the true Bethlehem, the House of 
read, the Holy Church of God. I do not envy the disobe 
dient Christian. I do not envy the indifferent man, for whom 
Christ is born in vain. But I praise those who make it their 
first care to keep themselves united to Jesus Christ. And 
most of all, I praise those who strive to maintain a holy fa 
miliarity with Jesus Christ; who by prayer, by communion, 
by self-denial, by generous obedience, return their Saviour 
love for love. 

O my brethren, why do we grovel on earth, when we might 
have our conversation in heaven ? Why do we set our hearts 
on creatures, when we might have the Creator for our friend ? 
Why do we follow the Evil One, when He that is beautiful 
above the sons of men is our Master and our Lord ? Why 
are we so weak in temptation, so despairing in trial, when we 
might have the peace and joy of the children of God ? What 
more can we want ? God has given us the Only-begotten 
Son, the Mighty God, the Wonderful Counsellor, the Prince 
of Peace ; and how shall He not with Him freely give us all 
things ? All we want i* to recognize our happiness. When 
Jacob woke from sleep, he said : " The Lord is in this place, 
and I knew it not." So we do not realize how near God is 
to us. What is the sound that reaches us to-day ? It is the 
voice of the Beloved, calling to us : " My love, My spouse, 
My undefiled !" Yes, my Lord, I answer to Thy call. I 
enter to-day into the school of Thy Holy Love. I make now 



292 THE FAILURE AND SUCCESS OF THE GOSPEL. 

the resolution tliat " henceforth neither life nor death, nor 
height nor depth^ nor any other creature shall he able to sep 
arate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our 
Lord? * 



SEEMON YIII, 

4fr - 

THE FAILURE AND SUCCESS OF THE GOSPEL. 

(SEXAGESniA.) 

"Saying these things he cried out: He that hath ears to hear, let bun hear." 

ST. LUKE VIIL 8. 

THERE is one measure by which, if our Lord s work were 
tried, it might be pronounced a failure ; and that is by the 
measure of great immediate, visible results. The thought 
might come into our mind, that it is strange our Lord was 
not more successful than He was. He was the Son of God, 
no one ever spake as He did. He conversed with a great 
number of men in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Galilee. He 
was always going about from place to place. He died in the 
sight of a whole city. Yet what was the result of all ? On 
the Day of Pentecost, His disciples were gathered together 
in the upper chamber, and they numbered, all told, one 
hundred and twenty. So it is, likewise, with the Church. 
After all, what has she done? Put her numbers at the high 
est. Say she has two hundred millions of souls in her commu 
nion. What are they to the eight hundred millions that inhabit 
he globe ? f And how many of her members are there who 

* Romans viii. 39. 

f Recent estimates of the population of the globe vary from 840,000,000, to 
a,300,000,000, and of the number of Catholics from 160,000,000 to 208,000,000. 
Other Christians are about 130,000,000. 



THE FAILURE AND SUCCESS OF THE GOSPEL. 293 

can be called Catholics or Christians, only in a broad, exter 
nal sense ! Has Christianity, then, accomplished the results 
that might have been looked for? Is it not a failure? 

I will attempt this morning to give some reasons showing 
that Christianity is not a failure, although it has accom 
plished only partial results. And the first remark I make is 
this : that partial results belong to every thing human. Al 
though Christianity is a divine religion, by coming into the 
world it became subject in many respects to the laws that 
govern human things. To specify one, Christianity demands 
attention. "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." With 
out attention, Christianity will never produce its impression 
on our conduct. Now, attention is a thing hard to get from 
men. It is one of the greatest wants in the world, the want 
of attention. " With desolation is all the land made desolate" 
says the Holy Scripture, " because there is none that consid- 
ereth in the heart"* We see examples of this on every 
side. Take the instance of young men at college. After 
passing several years there, at a considerable expense to 
their parents, professedly for the sake of acquiring an edu 
cation, a certain number of them know nothing but the 
names of the things they have been studying. This is the 
entire result of all they have heard or read, an acquisition 
of some of the terms made use of in science. Others have 
gained some confused and partial knowledge, which for 
practical purposes is all but useless ; while those who have 
acquired precise, accurate, useful information, that is, who 
have gained any real science, are few indeed. It is the same 
in business. Every trade and profession is crowded with bun - 
glers who do not know their own business, because they have 
been too lazy to learn it, and who grumble at the success of 
others who have not spared the pains necessary to become 
masters. So also it is in politics. We hear a great deal 

* Jer. xii. 11. 



294: THE FAILUEE AND SUCCESS OF THE GOSPEL 

about the general diffusion of intelligence in this country, 
and are told how the sovereign people watch the actions of 
public men and call them to account. Now, I suppose there 
is more wide-spread information on public matters in this 
country than in any other in the world, but what does it 
amount to after all ? A great many read the newspapers 
without passing any independent judgment on their state 
ments, while those who really shape political opinions and 
action are but a small clique in each locality. 

This being so, it ought not to surprise us that men give 
but little attention to religion. If learning, business, poli 
tics, things that touch our present interests so closely, can 
only to a superficial extent engage the thoughts of men, will 
religion, which relates chiefly to man s future welfare, be 
more successful? In one sense, Christianity is as old as the 
world ; for there has been a continuous testimony to the 
truth from the first, but it has never yet had a full hearing. 
How do men act about religion ? Some listen to its teach- 

O 

ing only with their ears, as a busy man in his office listens 
to a jew s-harp or a hand-organ on the street. So Gallio lis 
tened, who "cared for none of these things." Some listen 
with their hearts, that is, with attention enough to awaken a 
passing emotion or sentiment. So Felix listened, when he 
trembled at St. Paul s preaching, and promised to hear him 
again at a more convenient season. Only a few listen with 
attentive ears and hearts and hands, the only true way of 
listening, the way St. Paul listened, when he said, "Lord, 
what wilt Thou have me to do ?"* "When you say, then, that 
Christianity has produced but partial results, you are but 
saying that men are frivolous and thoughtless, that there are 
many who do not listen to religion, or do not listen to it with 
earnestness and lay to heart its practical lessons. " Wisdom 
preacheth abroad / she uttereth her voice in the streets / at 

* Acts is. 6. 



THE FAILURE AND SUCCESS OF THE GOSPEL. 295 

the head of multitudes she crieth out /" but it is of no avail 
to the greater number, " because they have hated instruc 
tion, and received not the fear of the Lord" * Moreover, 
our Lord foresaw that the success of His gospel would be 
but partial. We see this in the very passage from which the 
text is taken. There is something melancholy in the way 
the evangelist introduces the parable of the sower : "And 
when a very great multitude was gathered together and has 
tened out of the cities to him, lie spoke by a similitude : A 
sower went out to sow his seed" etc. This was the thought 
which the sight of a very great multitude pressing around 
Him awoke in the mind of our Lord : how small a part 
would really give heed to His words, or really appreciate 
them : how in some hearts the word would be trodden down, 
in others be choked or wither away : and this is the secret 

t/ / 

of the energy with which He cried out at the end of the 
parable, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear" The same 
thought comes out in the conversation which he had after 
ward with His disciples, when they asked an explanation of 
the parable : " The heart of this people is grown gross ; and 
with their ears they have been dull of hearing, and their eyes 
they have shut : lest at any time they should see with their 
eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their 
heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But 
blessed are your eyes because they see, and <your ears "because 
they hear."\ 

Our Lord was as far as possible, then, from expecting that 
the course of things would stand still, and all men comply 
instantly with his preaching. Nor were His predictions 
respecting His Church such as to warrant more sanguine 
expectations of her success. In His charge to His disciples, 
He let them know what they were to expect : " WJien you 
come into a house salute it, saying : Peace be to this house. 

* Proverbs i. 20, 21, 29 f St. Matt. xiii. 15, 16. 



296 THE FAILURE AND SUCCESS OF THE GOSPEL. 

And if that house ~be worthy , your peace shall come upon it 
but if it "be not worthy, your peace shall return to you. And 
when they shall persecute you in this city, flee into another" * 
Nor were their trials to be altogether external. "And then 
shall many be scandalised, and shall "betray one another, and 
shall hate one another. And "because iniquity hath abounded, 
the charity of many shall wax cold" f 

When, then, you say, See ! in that country the Church 
has all but died out ; in that country faith is weak, and the 
most active minds in it are estranged from religion ; in that 
country scandals abound ; in that country there was a great 
apostasy ; that other was fruitful in heresies : I reply, you 
are only verifying our Lord s predictions; you are only say 
ing what He said before the event. If religion has not ac- 

o o 

complished all that could be desired, it has at least done 
what it promised. 

Nor is this all. Not only did our Lord foresee that many 
would reject His grace, but He acquiesced in it. His work 
is not a failure, because He does not account it so. What 
though many refuse to listen? They that will be saved, 
those of good will and honest hearts, they will be saved, and 
that is enough. He saw of the travail of His soul, and was 
satisfied. Our Lord shed His blood for all men ; He willed 
seriously the salvation of all men ; but since all will not be 
saved, He is content to give it for those who will. He "is 
the Saviour of all men, especially of the faithful" ;f When 
He came to Jerusalem to die, looking at the city, He wept 
to think how many were there who knew not the time of 
their visitation ; but that did not deter Him from marching 
on to Mount Calvary. When He foretold to St. Peter, be 
fore His passion, all He was about to suffer, St. Peter, with 
mistaken affection, begged Him to spare Himself. u Far be 
this from Thee." How much more would he have dissuaded 



* St. Matt. x. 12, 13, 23. f !*> xxiv - 10 > 12 - J T Tim - iv - 10 



THE FAILURE AND SUCCESS OF THE GOSPEL. 297 

our Lord, if lie could have foreseen in how many eases these 
labors and sufferings would have been fruitless. Would he 
not have said to Him, " O Lord ! do not suffer so much, 
turn away thy face from the smiter, and thy mouth from 
gall. Do not crush Thy heart with cruel grief, or bathe Thy 
body in a sweat of agony. The very men for whom Thou 
diest will disbelieve Thee, or, believing, will disobey Thee." 

Can we doubt to what effect our Saviour would have an 
swered ? u If I be lifted up I will draw all men to Me, and 
all will not resist Me. I shall see of the travail of My soul, 
and shall be satisfied." 

Or I can imagine that at the Last Supper, as our Lord 
was about to institute the Blessed Sacrament of His body 
and blood, the same warm-hearted disciple, laying his hand 
on his Master s arm, might have said, "Do not do it ! Thou 
thinkest they cannot withstand this proof of love. But, alas ! 
they will pass by unheeding. Thou wilt remain on the 
altars of Thy churches night and day, but the multitude will 
not know Thee, or ask after Thee, and they that do know 
Thee will insult Thee in Thy very gifts, will treat Thee 
with disrespect, and receive Thee with dishonor." But our 
Lord gently disregards his remonstrance, and having loved 
His own who were in the world, loves them to the end, and 
for them is contented to make Himself a perpetual prisoner 
of love. Oh, my brethren, our statistics and our arithmetic 
are sadly at fault when we are dealing with divine things. 
When Abraham went to plead with Almighty God to spare 
Sodom, he began by asking as a great matter that the city 
might be spared if fifty just men were found in it, and the 
answer was prompt and free, " I will not do it for fifty s 
sake." Somewhat emboldened, he came down by degrees 
to ten, and received the same answer, but stopped there, 
thinking that he could make no further demand on the mercy 
of God. It is a thing we will never understand, how much 
God has the heart of a father. When news was brought to 

13* 



298 THE FAILUKE AND SUCCESS OF THE GOSPEL. 

the patriarch Jacob, that Joseph, his son, was yet living, all 
his woes and hardships were forgotten in a moment, and he 
said : It is enough. Joseph, my son, is yet alive." So, all the 
unkindness, disobedience,. unbelief of men, are compensated 
to the heart of Christ by the fervor of His true children, His 
servants whom He hath chosen, His elect in whom His soul 
delighteth. Weary on the cross, His fainting eye sees their 
fidelity and their love, and His heart revives, and He says : 
" It is enough." Christ accounts the fruits of His redemp 
tion great, and they are great. This is our temptation, to 
undervalue the good that is in the world. Evil is so obtru 
sive, that we are but too apt to attribute to it a larger share 
in the world than it really holds. How much of good, then, 
has been and is in the world ? The Blessed Yirgin, the 
Queen of Heaven, the perfect fruit of Christ s redemption, 
once walked the earth, engaged in lowly, every-day duties, 
like any maid or mother among us. Moses and Elias and 
St. John the Baptist once lived our life here on the earth ; 
and the hundred and forty-four thousand who sing a new 
song before the throne of God, and the great multitude that 
no man can number out of all people and kindreds and tribes 
and tongues, clothed in white and with palms in their hands. 
You talk of failure ! Why has not the sound of the gospel 
gone into all lands, and its words to the end of the world? 
Have not empires owned its sway, and kings come bending 
to seek its blessings? Have not millions of martyrs loved it 
better than their lives ? Has not the solitary place been 
made glad by the hymns of its anchorites, and the desert 
blossomed like a rose under their toil ? Is there a profession, 
or trade, or court, or country which has not been sanctified 
by moral heroes who drew in their holy inspirations from its 
lessons ? And who can tell us the amount of goodness in 
every-day life, to some extent necessarily hidden, but of 
which we catch such unearthly glimpses, and which is the 



THE FAILURE AND SUCCESS OF THK GOSPEL. 299 

practical fruit of its principles ? The virtuous families, the 
upright transactions, the glorious sacrifices, the noble chari 
ties, the restraint of passion, the interior purity, the patient 
perseverance ! Listen to the description which God Himself 
gives of the results of the gospel : 

" Who are these, that fly as clouds, and as doves to their 
windows f For the islands wait for me, and the ships of 
the sea in the beginning; that I may bring thy sons from 
afar / their silver and their gold with them, to the fiame of 
the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because He 
hath glorified thee. Iniquity shall no more be heard in thy 
land, wasting nor destruction in thy borders and salvation 
shall possess thy walls, and praise thy gates. Thy sun shall 
go down no more, and thy moon shall not decrease : for the 
Lord shall be unto thee for an everlasting light, and the days 
of thy mourning shall be ended. And thy people shall be all 
just they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my 
planting, the work of my hand, to glorify me. The least 
shall become a thousand, and a little one a most strong nation. 
I, the Lord, will suddenly do this thing in its time" * 

Now, this is the Catholic Church, as God saw it in the future, 
and as He sees it now. These beautiful words are true in 
their measure, of every diocese, of every parish, in our day. 
To-day, as the Holy Church throughout the world flings open 
her doors and rings her bells, and the crowd press in, in cities, 
in villages, in country places, God recognizes thousands of 
his true worshippers, who worship Him in spirit and in truth. 
We see and know some of them, but only His all-seeing eye 
sees them all, and only His omni science, which foreknows the 
number of those who shall be His by faith and good works, 
can measure the greatness of the harvest of souls which He 
will reap at the end of the world. The Lord cometh with 
ten thousand of His saints. The Last Judgment is the vic- 

* Isai. Ir. 8, 9, 18, 20, 21, 22. 



300 THE FAILURE AND SUCCESS OF THE GOSPEL. 

tory of Christ. Then again, surrounded by the fruit of His 
passion, He may repeat the words which He spoke at the 
close of His earthly ministry : " I have glorified thee upon 
the earth. I have finished the work which thoti gavest me 
to do. Those whom thou gavest me I have kept, and none 
of them hath perished except the son of perdition." * 

These thoughts point the way to two practical lessons, one 
relating to our duty to others, the other relating to our duty 
to ourselves. 

We see here the spirit in which we ought to labor for the 
conversion of others. There is certainly a great deal of good 
to be done around us. How many in this country are out 
of the Ark of safety, the Catholic Church of Christ ! How 
many in her fold need our efforts and labors to make them 
better ! Why are we not more active in laboring for them ? 
"We say it is of no use ; we have tried and failed. Those 
whose conversion we had most at heart seem farther off from 
the truth than ever. It is no use hoping for the conversion 
of those who are not Catholics ; they are too set in their 
ways. Many of those Catholics, too, who were doing well as 
we hoped, have fallen off again, and we are weary of laboring 
with so little success. Oh ! what a mean spirit this is ; how 
unlike the spirit of Christ ! How unlike the spirit of that 
apostle who made himself all things to all men that he might 
save some. You will put up with no failures. Christ and St. 
Paul were content to meet with many failures for the sake of 
some success. How unlike the spirit of St. Francis of Sales, 
who labored so hard during so many discouraging years, for 
the conversion of his misguided Swiss. Christ was rejected 
and crucified by those whom He came to teach. The apos 
tles were despised and their names cast out as evil. And 
you will not labor because you cannot have immediate and 
full success. But some success }^ou will meet with. You 

* St. John xvii. 4, 12. 



THE FAILURE AND SUCCESS OF THE GOSPEL. 301 

may not convert the one you desire to convert, but you will 
convert another. You may not succeed in the way or at the 
time you look for, but you will succeed in some other way 
and at some other time. There is nothing well done and 
charitably done for the truth that falls to the ground. God s 
word does not return to Him void, but accomplishes the thing 
whereunto He sent it. "We labor, and other men enter into 
our labors. But the good work is done, and the fruits are 
garnered in heaven. Be of great hopes, then. You, my 
brethren of the priesthood, dare to undertake great things for 
the honor of our Lord and the extension of His kingdom. 
Use every means that prudence and charity can suggest to 
gain souls to Christ. In the morning sow your seed, and in 
the evening withhold not your hand. Labor in season and 
out of season. For Sion s sake hold not your hand, and for 
Jerusalem s sake do not rest, until her justice come forth as 
a brightness, and her salvation be lighted as a lamp ! And 
you, my brethren of the laity, labor each in your place, as far 
as may be given you, in the same work. Blessing must come 
from labor, and reward from Him who has promised that 
"they that instruct many to justice shall shine as stars for 
all eternity." * 

The other lesson we learn is one which teaches us how to 
guide ourselves in a world of sin and scandal. It is no un 
common thing for men to draw injury to their own souls from 
the disorders around them, by making them a pretext for 
, neglecting their own salvation, or taking a low standard of 
duty. One says, there is a man who does not attend to his 
religioas duties, and makes out of this an excuse for his own 
neglect. " What is that to thee ? Follow thou Me," is the 
answer of Christ. There is another who does go to the 
sacraments, but whose life is disedifying. He is profane, 
quarrelsome, untruthful, and artful. Perhaps he is guilty of 

* Dan. xii. 3. 



302 THE FAILURE AND SUCCESS OF THE GOSPEL. 

worse sins than these. "What is that to theef" is again the 
answer : " Follow thou Me. My love, my life, my teaching is 
to be the rule of thy conduct, not the doctrines of others." 
Oh ! how this cuts the way open to a solution of that ques 
tion with which we sometimes vex ourselves. Are there few 
or many that will be saved ? There are few if few, many if 
many. Few if few hear and obey, many if many hear and 
obey. Wisdom crieth aloud, she uttereth her voice in the 
streets ; he that hath ears to hear, let him hear. One hears, 
lays up and ponders in his heart, like Mary, what he hears, 
and becomes a saint. Another hears as one who looks in a 
glass and immediately forgets what he saw reflected in it. 
Here is the distinction which produces election and repro 
bation, salvation and damnation. This is the practical ques 
tion for each one of us : To which of these classes do I belong ? 
This is the prayer which, ought to be our daily petition : Give 
me, O Lord, an understanding heart, to know the things that 
belong to my peace, before they are forever hid from my 
eyes. How great the misery of passing through life slothful, 
careless, inattentive, and so losing the heavenly wisdom we 
might learn ! How great the happiness of keeping the word 
in a good heart, and bringing forth fruit with patience ! 
Those who do this not only secure their salvation, but they 
console Christ for all His cruel sufferings, for they constitute 
the fruit of His Passion, the success of His Gospel, the crown 
of Glory which He receives from the hand of His Father, the 
Royal Diadem which He will wear for all eternity. 



THE WORK OF LIFE. 303 



IX. 

THE WORK OF LIFE. 

(SEPTUAGESIMA.) 
"Why stand ye here all the clay idle." ST. MATT. xx. 6. 

THE parable in to-day s Gospel is intended to describe the 
invitations which God has given, from time to time in the 
history of the world, to various races and peoples, to enter 
the true Church and be saved. But it may be applied by 
analogy to His dealings with each individual soul, and (mi- 
Lord s question in the text may be understood by each one of 
us as addressed directly to himself. Taken in this sense, it 
affords instruction and admonition, useful at all times, but 
more especially suitable on this day, when the Church first 
strikes the keynote of those stirring lessons of personal duty 
and accountability which are to be the burden of her teach 
ings through the coming season of Lent. 

And, first, it reminds us of that solemn truth, that we have 
an appointed work to do on earth. It is difficult for us not 
to be sceptical sometimes on this point. Life is so short and 
uncertain, man is so frail and erring, that it seems strange 
the few years spent here on earth should exert any great in 
fluence on our eternity. Some such feeling as this was at 
the bottom of the old idea of heathen philosophy that God 
Joes not concern Himself with the affairs of men, that we 
and our doings are of too little consequence to occupy His 
attention. The book of Wisdom well expresses this creed : 
" For we are lorn, say they " (that is, the unbelieving), " of 
nothing, and after this we shall be as if we had not been ; and 
our life shall pass away as the trace of a cloud, and shall be 
dispersed as a mist, which is driven away by the beams of 
the sun, and overpowered by the heat thereof. And our 



304 THE WORK OF LIFE. 

name in time shall be forgotten : and no man shall have any 
remembrance of our works" * But such a view of life does 
not acree either with, reason or revelation. God, being: In- 

O 7 O 

finite Wisdom, mast have an end in every thing which He 
created. If it was not beneath Him to create, it cannot be 
beneath Him to govern His creatures ; and reason and free 
will must have been given to His rational creatures to guide 
them to their end. It is absurd to suppose a moral and in 
tellectual being without a law and a destiny. And revelation 
confirms this decision of reason. It seems as if the Bible 
were written, in great part, to dispel the notion that God is a 
mere abstraction, and to exhibit Him to us as a personal God, 
interfering in His creation, giving to each created thing its 
place, and taking note of its operation. In the pages of 
Scripture the world is not a chance world, where every thing 
is doubt and confusion ; but an orderly world, where every 
thing has its place. It is a vineyard, into which laborers are 
sent to gather the harvest. It is a house, in which each part 
has its order and use. It is a body, in which each member 
shares the common life, and contributes to it. It is a school, 
in which each scholar is learning a special lesson. It is a 
kingdom, in which citizen is bound to the other in relations 
of duty or authority. Yes, God has left a wide field for the 
free exercise of human choice and will. The pursuits of men, 
their studies, their pleasures, may be infinitely varied at their 
will; but not to have a mission from Heaven, not to have a 
work to do on earth, not to be created by God with a special 
vocation this is not possible for man. He is too honorable 
and great. The image of God, which is traced on his soul, 
is too deep and enduring : his relation to God is too direct 
and immediate. No man can live unto himself, and no man 
can die unto himself. Each man that comes into the world 
is but an agent sent by God on a special embassy. And each 

* Wisdom ii. 2-4. 



THE WORK OF LIFE. 805 

man that dies, but goes back to give an account of its per 
formance. 

Do not accuse me of saddening and depressing you by thus 
covering man s life, from the cradle to the grave, with the 
pall of accountability. If God were a tyrant, if He reaped 
where He did not sow, if He exacted what was beyond our 
strength, if His service did not make us happy, if in His 
judgment of our actions He did not take into account the 
circumstances of each one, his opportunities, his ignorances, 
and even his frailties, then, indeed, the thought of our ac 
countability would be a dreadful and depressing one. But 
while our Master and Judge is a God whose compassion is as 
great as His power, whose service is our highest satisfaction, 
who knows whereof we are made, and who in His judgment 
remembers mercy, the thought that each one of us has an ap 
pointed work to do is not only an incentive to duty, but the 
secret of .happiness. There is nothing pleasant in a life with 
out responsibility. Rest, indeed, is pleasant, but rest implies 
labor that has gone before, and it is the labor that makes the 
rest sweet. " The sleep of a laboring man is sweet" says the 
Holy Scripture. But a life all rest, with nothing special to 
do, without aim, without obligation, is a life without honor 
and without peace. They who spend their time in rushing 
from one amusement to another are commonly listless and 
wretched at heart, and seek only to forget in excitement the 
weariness and disappointment within. God has made the law, 
" In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread," medicinal 
as well as vindicative. When, then, you tell me that this 
world is not my all ; that I have an immortal destiny, that 
life is a preparation for it ; that the infinite truth is mine to 
know, the infinite beauty mine to possess ; that I have a mis 
sion to fulfil ; sin to conquer ; duties to perform ; merits to 
acquire ; an account to render ; you tell me that which indeed 
makes my conscience thrill with awe, but which, at the same 
time, takes al] the meanness, the emptiness, the littleness out 



306 THE WORK OF LIFE. 

of life, covers it with glory, blends it with heaven, expands 
the soul, and fills it with hope and joy. 

O truth too little known ! Religion is not meant to be 

j_> 

only a solace in affliction, a help in temptation, a refuge 
when the world fails us. All these it is, but much more. It 
is the business and employment of life. It is the task for 
which we were born. It is the work for which our life is 
prolonged from day to day. It is the consecration of my 
whole being to God. It is to realize that wherever I am, 
whatever I do, I am the child of God, doing His will, and 
extending His kingdom on earth. This is the secret of life. 
This is the meaning of the world. This is God s way of look 
ing at the world. As He looks down from heaven, all other dis 
tinctions among men vanish, distinctions of nationality, differ 
ences of education, differences of station, and wealth, and influ 
ence, and only one distinction remains the distinction between 
the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God 
and him that serveth Him not. When we look at the world, 
it dazzles us by its greatness, and overpowers us by its multi 
plicity. It is so eager and restless. It is so importunate and over 
bearing. Here is the secret which disenchants us from its spell. 
The world is not for itself. It is not its own end. It is but the 
field of human probation. It is but the theatre on which 
men are exercising each day their highest faculty, the power 
of free will. It is the scene of the great struggle between 
good and evil, between heaven and hell, the battle that be 
gan when " Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, 
and the dragon fought and his angels." * Into this arena 
each generation has entered, one after another, to show their 
valor. Once the saints of whom we read in the Bible and 
the history of the Church were upon the earth, and it was 
their turn, and heaven and earth were watching them. They 
did their work well. So penetrated were they with the great 
thought of eternity that some of them, like Abraham, left 

* Apoc. xii. 7 



THE WORK OF LIFE. 307 

home and kindred, and went out not knowing whither they 
went ; and others, like the martyrs, gave their hearts blood 
for a sacrifice. And there were others who were not saints, 
for they were not called to deeds of heroism, but they were 
good men, who in simplicity of heart fulfilled each duty, and 
served God with clean hands and pure hearts. And penitents 
have come in their turn. Once they were unwise, and the 
world deceived them, and they followed their own will, but 
afterward they turned to God, and redeemed their former sins 
by a true penance, and died in the number of those who 
overcame the Wicked One. And now it is our turn. There 
are many adversaries. All things are ready. The herald 
has called our name. And as the primitive martyrs, con 
demned to the wild beasts in the amphitheatre, nerved them 
selves for the encounter by the thought of the thousand spec 
tators ranged around, so to animate our courage let us give 
heed to the sympathizing witnesses who watch our strife, and 
who cry to us from heaven and from earth : Be valiant ! Do 
battle for the right ! Acquit you like men ! Be strong ! 

And again, as our Lord s words in the text remind us that 
we have an appointed work to do, they remind us also that 
we have an allotted time to do it in. All men acknowledge 
that religion is a thing to be attended to. But when ? Some 
seem to think that it is enough to attend to religion at Eas 
ter and Christmas, and that at other times it may be left 
alone. Some at still more distant intervals, when the time 
has been too long, and the number of sins too great, and the 
burden on the conscience too heavy. Others propose to at 
tend to it in the leisure of old age, or just before they leave 
this world. And very many imagine that, if a man actually 
makes his peace with God at any time Before he dies, there 
is not much to be regretted. How different is God s inten 
tion in this matter ! "Man goeth forth to his work and to 
his labor until the evening." Think of a day-laborer. He 
rises very early in the morning, in the winter, long before it 



308 THE WORK OF LIFE. 

is light, and goes off to his work. He works all day until 
the evening, pausing only at noon, when he seeks some hol 
low in the rock, or the shelter of some overhanging shrub, to 
protect him from the cold or the heat, while he eats his fru 
gal dinner. Now, it is after this pattern that God wishes us 
to work out our salvation. The Christian should work from 
the morning till the evening, from the beginning of life to 
the end of it. There is not a day that God does not claim 
for his own. There- is not an hour over which He has re 
signed His sovereignty. A man who perfectly fulfils his 
dutv begins to serve God early in the morning. In the morn- 

t/ O J CJ 

ing of life, in early youth, when the dewdrops sparkle in the 
sunshine, and. the birds sing under the leaves, and the flow 
ers are in their fresh bloom and fragrance, and every thing 
is full of keen enjoyment, there is a low, sweet voice that 
speaks to the soul of the happy boy : "My son, give me thy 
heart" And he heeds that voice. It is time for first com 
munion, and he has leave to go. He does not know fully the 
meaning of the act. It is too great and deep. But he knows 
that he is making choice of God. He knows that God is 

o 

very near him, and he is v^ry happy. By and by the time 
has come for confirmation. The candidates stand before the 
bishop, and see, that boy is among the number. He is changed 
from what he was. He has grown to be a youth now. He 
is more thoughtful and reserved. He knows now what temp 
tation means ; he has seen the shadow of sin ; he has caught 
the tones of the world s song of pleasure ; but he does not 
waver ; he is bold and resolute for the right, and he is come 
to fortify himself for the conflict of life by the special grace 
of the Almighty. And now time goes on, and he passes 
through the most dangerous part of life: he is a young man, 
he goes into business, he marries. There are times of fierce 
temptation, there are times when the objects of faith seem 
all to fade away from his mind, there are times when it seems 
as if the only good was the enjoyment of this world, but 



THE WORK OF LIFE. 309 

* 

prayer and vigilance and a fixed will carry him through, and 
he passes the most critical period of life without any griev 
ous stain on his soul. Thus passes the noonday of his life, 
and he comes to its decline. It draweth toward evening. 
The shadows are getting long. The sun and the light and 
the moon are growing dark, and the clouds return after the 
rain. He is an old man and feehle, but there he is with the 
same heart he gave to God in youth ; he has never recalled 
the offering. He has been true to his faith, true to his prom 
ises, true to his conscience, and at the hour of death he can 
sing his Nunc dirnittis, and go to the judgment seat of Christ 
humbly but confidently to claim the reward of a true and faith 
ful servant. Beautiful picture ! Life to be envied ! A life spent 
with God, over which the devil has never had any real power. 
But you tell me this is a mere fancy picture ; no one lives 
such a life. I tell you this is the life God intended you and . 
I should live. There have been men who have lived such lives, 
though, indeed, they are not many. But the number is not 
so small of those who approximate to it. Even suppose a 
man falls into mortal sin, and more than once, all is not lost. 
Suppose him, in some hour of temptation, to cast off his 
allegiance to God, and in his discouragement to look upon 
a life of virtue as a dream ; yet, if such a one gathers up his 
manhood, if in humble acknowledgment of his sin he returns 
with new courage to take his place in the Christian race, 
such a man recovers not only the friendship of God, but the 
merits of his past obedience. There is a process of restor 
ation in grace as well as in nature. Penance has power to 
heal the wounds and knit over the gaps which sin has made. 
What does the Holy Scripture say ? " I will restore to you 
the years which the locust, and the canker-worm, and the mil- 
dew, and the palmer-worm hath eaten"* Many a man s 
life, which has not been without sin, has yet a character of 
continuity and a uniform tending toward God. I believe 

* Joel ii. 25. 



310 THE WOEK OF LIFE. 

there are many who have this kind of perfection. They can 
not say, " I have not sinned," for they have had bitter 
experience of their own frailty ; but they can say, " I 
have sinned, but I have not made sin a law to me. 
I have not allowed myself in sin, or withdrawn myself 
frpm Thy obedience. I have not gone backward from 
Thee. I have fallen, but I have risen again. O Lord, Thou 
hast been my hope, even from my youth, from my youth un 
til now, until old age and gray hairs." 

And now, my brethren, if we try our past lives and our 
present conduct by the thought of the work we have to do on 
earth and the persevering attention we ought to pay to it, do 
we not find matter for alarm ? and does not our Lord s ques 
tion convey to us the keenest reproach ? " Why stand ye 
here all the day idle ?" Yes, idle ; that is the word. There 
is all the difference in the world between committing a sin in 
the time of severe temptation, for which we are afterward 
heartily sorry, and doing nothing for our salvation. And is 
not this our crime, that we are idlers and triflers in religion ? 
What have our past lives been ? What years spent in 
neglect, or even in sin ? What long periods of utter forget 
fulness of God ? What loss of time ? What excessive anxiety 
about this world ? What devotion to pleasure ? And are 
we now really doing any thing for heaven ? Are we really 
redeeming the past by a true penance ? Are we diligent in 
prayer, watchful against temptation, watchful of the com 
pany we keep, watchful of the influence we exert, watchful 
over our tempers, watchful to fulfil our duties, watchful 
against habits of sin? Are we living the lives God intended 
us to live ? Can we say, " I am fulfilling the requirements 
of my conscience, in the standard which I propose to myself?" 
Ah ! is not this our misery, that we have left oii striving ? 
that we are doing nothing, or at least nothing serious and 
worthy of our salvation ? " Why stand ye all the day idle ?" 
All the day. Time is going. Time that might have mado 



THE WORK OF LIFE. 311 

us holy, time that has sanctified so many others who set ou 
with us in life, is gone, never to return. The future is uncer 
tain ; how much of the day of life is left to us we know not 
And graces have been squandered. No doubt, as long as we 
live we shall have sufficient grace to turn to God, if we will ; 
but we know not what we do, when we squander those 
special graces which God gives us now and then through 
life. The tender heart, the generous purpose that we had in 
youth ; the fervor of our first conversion ; the kind warn 
ings and admonitions of friends long dead ; these have all 
passed away. Oh, what opportunities have we thrown away ! 
What means of grace misused! "Why stand ye all the day 
idle? You cannot say, " No man hath hired us." God has 
not left you to the light of natural reason alone, to find out 
your destiny. In baptism He has plainly marked out for you 
your work. And now in reproachful tones He speaks to your 
conscience : u Creature of my hand, whom I made to serve 
and glorify me ; purchase of my blood, whom I bought to love 
me ; heir of heaven, for whose fidelity I have prepared an 
eternal reward, why is it that you resist my will, withstand 
your own conscience and reason, despise my blood, and 
throw away your own happiness?" 

But the words of Christ are not only a reproach, but an 
invitation. " Why stand ye here all the day idle ?" It is not, 
then, too late. God does nothing in vain ; and when He 
calls us to His service, He pledges himself that the -necessary 
graces shall not be wanting, nor the promised reward fail. 
Church history is full of beautiful instances of souls that, 
after long neglect, recovered themselves by a fervent 
penance. Some even, who are high in the Church s Calendar 
of Saints, had the neglect and sin of years upon their con 
sciences when they began. There is only one unpardonable 
sin, and that is to put off conversion until it is too late. As 
long as God calls, you can hearken and be saved. To-day, 
then, once more He calls. To-day, once more the trumpet- 



312 THE CHURCH S ADMONITION 

blast of penance sounds in your ears. Another Lent is com 
ing, a season of penance and prayer. Prepare yourself for 
that holy season by examination of your conscience. Refuse 
no longer to work in the Lord s vineyard. Offer no more 
excuses ; make no more delay. Work while it is called to 
day, that when the evening comes, and the Lord gives to the 
laborers their hire, you may be found a faithful workman, 
u that needeth not to be ashamed." 



SEBMON X. 

THE CHURCH S ADMONITION TO THE INDIVIDUAL SOUL. 

(ASH- WEDNESDAY.) 

" Take heed to thyself."! Tnr. iv. 16. 

THE services of the Church to-day are very impressive. 
The matter of her teaching is not different from usual. The 
shortness of life, the certainty of judgment, the necessity of 
faith and repentance, are more or less the topics of her teach 
ing at all times of the year. But this teaching is ordinarily 
given to the assembled congregation, to crowds, to multi 
tudes. But to-day she speaks to us as individuals. She 
summons us, one by one, young and old, and, as we kneel 
before her, she says to us, while she scatters dust on our 
foreheads, " Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return." 
It is in this individual and personal character of her warning 
that I find its special significance and impressiveness. There 
is no mistaking what she means. "Kemember, O man, that 
thou art dust, and unto dust shalt thou return." She separ 
ates each one of us from all others, and gives her message to 
him in particular. It is an emphatic mode of conveying St. 
Paul s admonition to St. Timothy: "Take heed to thyself." 



TO THE INDIVIDUAL SOUL. 313 

If we take only the sound of the words, it might seem that 
no such admonition was necessary. For, in one sense, men 
attend to themselves quite enough. But, in fact, there is 
more than one self in a man. There is the self that is made 
up of our passions, our failings and disgusts, our comforts 
and conveniences : this is the self that speaks so loudly in 
the heart, and obtrudes itself eo disagreeably on others. 
This, when indulged, is what we call selfishness, and this it 
is which it is one main object of religion to repress. But 
there is another self in a man, his true and noble self, that 
self which makes him an individual being, which asserts 
itself most distinctly in that part of his soul where it comes 
into closest contact with God, namely, his conscience. And 
this self it is very possible for men to forget. A man may 
be a priest and have the care of souls, and be employed in 
preaching and administering the sacraments, or he may be 
a bishop, and live an active life in governing his church, and 
yet he may forget himself in this sense. St. Timothy was a 
bishop, a sharer in apostolic character and apostolic gifts, 
aud yet St. Paul did not think it unnecessary to give him 
the warning of the text. How must, then, a man forget 
himself whose occupation is more secular ? Tell me : those 
eager crowds one meets with in the streets, hurrying hither 
and thither, do you think each one of these realizes that in 
some sense there is no other*in the world but God and he ? 
Or in a crowded church, on Sunday, when the preacher, in 
God s name, is enforcing this duty, or denouncing that vice, 
that woman sitting in the pew, that man standing in the 
aisle, does he, does she realize that the words are spoken to 
them individually, that it is a lesson they are to lay to heart 
to practise ? ~No ! I must say what I think, that there are 
some who pass through life, from the cradle to the grave, 
almost without ever once fully awakening to their own self- 
consciousness ; to their own individual existence, apart from 
the world around them ; and their own individual relations to 

14 



314: THE CHURCH S ADMONITION 

God. A man may even practise his religion, may know a great 
deal about it, may talk about it, may listen to every word of the 
sermon in the church, may say his night prayers, may even gc 
through some kind of a confession and communion, without 
fully awaking to these things. Paradoxical as it may seem, I 
believe that there are not a few men, who, of all persons in the 
world of whom they have any knowledge, are on terms of 
the slightest and most distant acquaintance with themselves. 
And I will give you one proof that this is true. You 
know how troubled many men are in sickness, or on a sleep 
less night, or in tirnes of great calamity. Some persons are 
greatly troubled in a storm, when the thunder rolls over their 
heads, and the lightning flashes in their eyes. Now, of course, 
nervousness, physical causes, mental laws, and social con 
siderations, may enter more or less into the production of this 
uneasiness, but is there not very often something deeper than 
any of these ? Is it not something that the man has done 
yesterday, or last week, or last year, and that he has never 
set right ; some unjust transaction, some evil deed, some act 
of gross neglect of duty, some miserable passion cherished, 
some impure words spoken, some cruelty or shrinking from 
what is right, or falsehood, or mischief-making. It is not a 
matter of imagination. It is not fancy, but fact. He re 
members but too well ; he knows when it was done, and all 
the consequences of it, every thing comes up distinctly. He 
shuts his eyes, but he cannot shut it out. You know the 
clock ticks all day long ; amid the various cares of the day 
you do not hear it, but oh, how distinct and loud it is at 
night when your ear catches it. Did you ever have an 
aching tooth, which you could just manage to bear during 
the excitement of the day, but which began to throb and 
become intolerable when all was still at night, and you had 
gone to bed ? So the uneasiness I have denoted is a rea] 
pain of the soul, which we manage to* keep down and forget, 
or deaden, during our seasons of business and enterprise, but 



TO THE INDIVIDUAL SOUL. 315 

in hours of loneliness and danger makes itself felt. And 

~ 

what does this show but that you do not attend to your real 
self; that there is some dark corner of your heart in which 
you fear to look. You keep the veil down, because you 
know there is a skeleton behind it, and you are afraid to 
look at it. And so you go through life, playing a part, 
something that you are not, with smiles on your lips and 
honeyed words in your mouth, laughing and jesting, eating 
and drinking and sleeping, working and trading, going in 
and out, paying visits and receiving them, seeking admira 
tion and flattering others, while all the while, deep down in 
your soul, there is that nameless something, that grief like 
lead in the bottom of your heart, that wound that you are 
afraid to probe, or to uncover, or even to acknowledge. 

And now, it is this deceitful way in which men deal with 
themselves, this forgetfalness of themselves, that makes death 
and judgment so terrible. Death brings out the individual 
ity of the soul in the most distinct light. Every thing that 
hides us from ourselves shall then be removed, every veil 
and shred torn away, and only ourselves shall remain. A 
well-known writer has expressed this in a few short words : 
"I shall die alone:" and the same thought is suggested 

o ~o 

by the language of the Gospel, in reference to the end of 
the world: "Two men shall be in the field, one shall be 
taken and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at 
the mill, one shall be taken and the other left." One shall 
be taken, and he shall be taken alone out of all the sur 
roundings which have enveloped him here like an atmos 
phere, and into which he has been fitted like a long-worn 

fj 

garment. When our first parents heard the voice of the 
Lord God calling to them in the garden after the fall, they 
hid themselves, and Adam said : " I was afraid, because I 
was naked, and I hid myself." So will it be when the soul 
stands before God in. its nakedness, ashamed because of its 
guilty self-consciousness. So it was with the rich man in our 



316 THE CHURCH S ADMONITION 

Lord s parable. He lived like the multitude. He had four 
brothers, and they were all alike. They had heard the ser 
mons of Moses and the Prophets, but little did they think it 
all concerned them. But at last one of them died, and then 
he woke up to himself. His life is all before him. " Thou in 
thy lifetime receivedst thy good things." That was the story 
of it. He sees it all now : he sees what a glutton, what a 
proud, hardhearted, avaricious man he had been ; he sees what 
a creature of sensuality and self-indulgence he is. Yery dif 
ferent is his judgment of himself now, from what it was when, 
in his purple robes, he revelled in his banqueting-hall, the 
air heavy with perfume, and the table flowing with silver 
and flowers, and the slaves bringing in the costly dishes, 
while Lazarus, the beggar, sat at his gates, full of sores, 
and hungering for the crumbs that fell from his table. 
And so it will be with us : awakened to a full consciousness 
that our relations to God are the only reality. Stripped of 
all the circumstances that deceived and misled and blinded 
us here ; with conscience fully awakened, with all the conse 
quences of sin open before me and all its guilt manifest ; I 
shall be brought face to face with myself, with what I am, 
with what I have been, with what I have done, with my sins, 
and niy self-will, and my pride. Yes, this is the real terror 
of death and judgment. "We think its fearfulness will be in 
the frowning Judge, and the throne set amid thunder and 
lightnings. Oh, no ! the Judge does not frown, He is calm 
and serene. He sits radiant in beauty and grace. " When 
these things begin to come to pass," says the evangelist, 
speaking of the signs of the end of the world, " then look 
up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth 
nigh." No ! Christ is not transported with anger. He is 
always the same ; but the way of His coming is different as 
they to whom He comes are different. The object is 
unchanged, but the medium through which we view it 
will be different. There shall be an apparition of terror to 






TO THE INDIVIDUAL SOUL 317 

the wicked, but it will not be Christ, it will be themselves. 
The face of Christ shall be a mirror hi which each man 
shall see himself. Young man, after your career of vice and 
profligacy, you shall see yourself, the moral leper that you 
are. There the extortioner, the fraudulent merchant, shall 
see himself as he is, the unconvicted thief and robber ; there 
the unfaithful husband or wife shall see themselves branded 
with the mark that tells their shame. The proud woman 
shall see there the deep stains of her soul in all their black 
ness, and her worldly, guilty heart, all laid bare. O sight of 
piercing anguish ! " O hills and mountains fall on us, and 
cover us, and hide us from the wrath of God and of the 
Lamb." But no, it is not from the wrath of God and of the 
Lamb, that we need to be hidden, it is from ourselves. 
Which way I fly is hell, myself am hell. A lost destiny, an 
existence bestowed in vain. A life passed as a dream; 
capacities for happiness never used; graces refused; time 
gone ; opportunity lost ; not merely a law broken, a punish 
ment inflicted ; but I, myself, with my supernatural grace 
and destiny I, with all my lofty hopes and powers I, 
ruined and crushed forever : that is the hopeless, boundless 
misery. This is the sore affliction of the guilty after deatli ; 
and it is the dread of this dismay that keeps thee trembling 
all thy life. But, on the other hand, for a man to face him 
self, to excite himself to a consciousness of his own individ 
uality, and to a fulfilment of his own personal obligation to 
God, is the way to a peaceful and happy life. The Scripture 
uses a notable expression when describing the return of the 
prodigal: "He came to himself;" and in our ordinary 
language, when we wish to express the idea of a man s seri 
ously reflecting on his destiny and duty, we say he enters into 
himself. These expressions are full of significance. They 
teach us that something is to be done that no one can do for 
us. Others can help us here, but each one for himself must 
make his own individual and personal election sure. Each must 



318 THE CHURCH S ADMONITION 

go down into bis own heart, search out all the dark corners, 
repent of its sins, resist its passions, direct its aims and 
desires. It is not a work done in a day. It is sometimes a 
difficult work. There are times in which it pierces to the very 
quick of our sensitive being, but it is the real and only way 
to true peace. And oh ! it is true and living peace when the 
soul in its deepest centre is anchored to God ; when nothing 
is covered over, nothing kept from His sight. There may be 
imperfections, there may be sins and repentances, but there 
must be, when such a course is habitual, a true and growing 
peace. Do not look abroad, my brethren, for your happiness. 
It is to be found in yourselves. Happy he who knows the 
meaning of that word : " My God and I." This is to walk 
with God like Abraham. Of this man the Almighty says, 
as he did of Jacob, " I have known thee by thy name." His 
relations to God are not merely those general ones that grow 
out of creation and redemption : to him God is his life, his 
very being, the soul of his soul. 

To-day, my brethren, if I have led your thoughts in the 
direction I have wished, you see that each one of you has a 
great work to do, that he must do himself. It will not do 
for you that you have had a pious mother or a good wife. It 
is not enough that some one around you, who lives near you, 
or sits near you in the church, is a good Christian. It is not 
enough that you are a Catholic, one of the vast body of be 
lievers in the world. Religion is a personal, individual 
thing. All other men in the world may stand or fall : that 
does not affect you. Each one of us has his own independent 
position before God. If you are one of a family, if you live 
in a house with others, or work in a room with many com 
panions, if you are one of a gang of laborers, or a clerk in 
an office where many others are employed, or a scholar in a 
school where there are many others of your age, there is a 
circle around you that separates you from each one of your 
companions. If you were to die to-night, your sentence 



I 

TO THE INDIVIDUAL SOUL. 319 

would be different from that of every other. It might be 
contrary to those of all the others. They might be friends of 
God, and you His only enemy. And the difference would be 
not from any outward cause, but from yourself. " I shall see 
God" says the prophet, " whom I myself shall see, and my 
eyes shall behold and not another."* And now, if your 
conscience tells you that there is something unsatisfactory in 
your character, something sinful in your conduct, it is for 
you to set it right, and to do it without delay. It is the first 
duty of Lent. The forty days of grace and penance are given 
for redeeming our sins and saving our souls. "What, then, 
should be each one s resolution? I will enter into myself, 
not we will do this, or I will do it if my friend does, but /, 
myself, I will enter into myself. I will ask myself what this 
strange, mysterious life of mine in earnest means, and 
whether I am to-day advancing to my destiny. I will break 
off my sins, and I will pray. It is in prayer that I shall 
understand my duty. It is in God that I shall find myself. 
The solemn words of the Church shall not be uttered in vain 
for me : " Thou art dust, and unto dust tliou shalt return." 
How many have heard that warning and are now no more. 
The young have died, the old, the pious, the careless, the 
rich, and the poor, and each has gone to his own place, the 
place and portion fitted to his deeds and his character. Per 
haps it will not be very long before these words will be verified 
in me. The Mass shall be said for me, the holy water 
sprinkled over my lifeless form. What shall it then profit 
me what others have said in my favor or against me ? 1 
shall be simply what I am before God. " What shall it 
profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" 
"I shall see God, whom I myself shall see, and my eyes shall 
lehold and not another" 

* Job xix. 27. 

NOTE. This appears to be the last sermon which F. Baker wrote. It was 
preached on the evening of the Ash-Wednesday before his death, as the first of 
the Lenten Course of Sermons. 



320 THE NEGLIGENT CHRISTIAN. 



SERMON XI. 

THE NEGLIGENT CHRISTIAN. 
(THIED SUNDAY IN LENT.) 

"He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me, 
scattereth." ST. LUKE xi. 23. 

THEKE are many seeds planted in the groun$ that never 
come up. There is a great deal of fruit on the trees that 
never comes to ripeness. So among Christians there is a 
great deal of good that always remains incomplete and in 
adequate. Who of us has not seen such ? "Who of us does 
not know such? They, have some faith, some religion, but 
they bring no fruit to perfection. Now, what is the blight 
that destroys all their goodness? It is sloth, negligence, 
tepidity, call it what you will. Religion influences them, 
but does not control them. They do not reject it, but they 
do not obey it, at least consistently and in principle. They 
are languid Christians. They are not the worst, but they 
are not good. They seek with eagerness the pleasures of 
the world, and make no conscience of avoiding smaller sins, 
even when wilful and deliberate. They neglect the means 
of grace, prayer, sermons, and sacraments, with but little 
scruple, or approach them carelessly. They allow themselves 
a close familiarity with evil, dally with temptation, and now 
and then fall into mortal sin. So they go through life, con 
scious that they are living an unsatisfactory life, but making 
no vigorous efforts, to better it. It is of such men that I 
would speak this morning ; and I propose to show how dis 
pleasing this negligence of our salvation is to God, and how 
dangerous it is to ourselves. 

The negligent Christian displeases God because he does 



THE NEGLIGENT CHRISTIAN 321 

not fulfil the end for which he was created. What is the 
end for which God created us? Certainly it is not for our 
selves, for before God created us we were not, aud could not 
have been the end for which He made u=.. lie must have 
made us for Himself, for His glory. Yes, this is the end 
for which He does every thing, for Himself. From the very 
fact that we are created, our end must be to love and serve 
God. We are bound, then, to love and serve God, and we 
are bound to do it with perfection and alacrity. What kind 
of creature is that which renders to God a reluctant and 
imperfect service ? Suppose a king were to appoint a day 
to receive the homage of his subjects, and while he was hold 
ing his court, and one after another was coming forward to 
kiss his hand or bend the knee, some one, ill-attired, and with 
slovenly demeanor, should approach and offer a heedless 
reverence. Would it not be taken as an act of contempt 
and an offence ? Now, God is our King, and He holds a 
levee every morning and invites the creation to renew its 
homage. The world puts on its best array. The sun comes 
forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a 
giant to run his course. The mountains and hills clothe 

o 

themselves in blue, and the trees put on their robes of green. 
The birds sing, and the waters move and sparkle. Holy and 
humble men of heart rise from their beds to enter on their 
daily course of duty and of prayer, while within the veil the 
spirits of the just and "the ten thousand times ten thousand 
angels bow before the Throne of Him that lives forever. 

~ 

And now in this great Act of Praise, this ceaseless sacrifice 
that creation is offering to its Maker, there comes in the 
negligent Christian, cold, distracted, and unprepared to take 
his part. He does not kneel down to pray. He goes to work 
without a blessing. He does not think of God. Nay, in^ 
His very presence says and does unseemly things. Oh ! is 
he not a blot on the scene? Is not his presence an offence 1 ? 
In the Old Testament, God complains of the Jewish priests 
u* 



322 THE NEGLIGENT CHRISTIAN. 

because they brought to Him the halt and the blind and the 
sick for sacrifice. He says : " Offer it now to thy prince, 
will he be pleased with it, or will lie regard thy face ?" * 
So in like manner, negligent Christian, God complains of 
you. You bring to Him a "lame sacrifice," those feet of 
thine that stumble so often in the way of justice ; a " blind " 
and " sick sacrifice," that heart of thine, so fond of the world 
and so weak in the love of God. 

Yes, God requires of us all fervor and perfection of each 
one of us. It is a great mistake to suppose that perfection 
is required only of priests or religious ; it is required of every 
one. We are not all required to seek perfection in the same 
way. The married seek it in one way, the unmarried in an 
other. The man of business seeks it one way, the recluse in 
another. But every one is required to seek it in such way 
as accords with his state in life. " That is a faithful serv 
ant," says St. Gregory, " who preserves every day, to the end 
of his life, an inexhaustible fervor, and who never ceases to 
add fire to fire, ardor to ardor, desire to desire, and zeal to 
zeal." Our own hearts tell us this when they are really un 
der the influence of the Spirit of God. Take a man at his 
first conversion, either to the faith or to a good life, and how 
fervent he is ! It is not enough for him to come to Mass al 
ways on a Sunday, he will come now and then on a week 
day. It is not enough for him to keep from what is sinful, 
he will not allow himself all that is innocent. He does not 
think of bargaining with God. This is his thought that 
God is All, and he is a creature, and that God deserves his 
best, his all. By-and-by, alas! as he becomes unfaithful, 
another spirit comes over him** He asks : " Is this binding 
under mortal sin ? That dutv is irksome : is it a great mat- 

v O 

tor if I omit it now and then ?" God tells us what he 
thinks of such a man in the parable of the Talents. "When 

* Mai. i. 8. 



THE NEGLIGENT CHRISTIAN. 323 

tlie Lord came to reckon with his servants, he that had re 
ceived one talent came and said, "Lord, 1 knoio that tlwu art 
a hard man thou reapest where thou hast not sown, and 
gatherest where thou hast not strewed. And being afraid, 1 
went and hid thy talent in the earth." And his Lord in answer 
said to him : " Thou wicked and slothful servant ! tJiou knew- 
est that I reap where I sow not and gather where I have not 
strewed. Thou oughtest therefore to have committed my money 
to the bankers , and at my coming I should have received my 
own with usury. Cast ye the unprofitable servant into exte 
rior darkness." * 

Again, if fervor in our duties is due to God as our Crea 
tor, it is none the less due to Christ as our Redeemer. Oh, 
how strong are the words of St. Paul : "The love of Christ 
presseth us; judging this, that if one died for all, then were 
all dead. And Christ died for all, that they also that live 
may not now live to themselves but to Him who died for 
them."\ You see what his idea was that the love of Christ 
was a debt that could never be paid, that it was a claim on 
us that pressed continually, and was never satisfied. And 
surely it is so. When we think at all, we must all acknowl 
edge that it is so. "Who is Christ ? the Son of God, the 
Splendor of His Father s Glory, and the Image of His Sub 
stance. Who are we ? lost sinners. And for us " He did not 
abhor the Yirgin s womb." He did not refuse " to bear our 
infirmities, and carry our sorrows." He gave His body to 
the smiters, and turned not away from those that rebuked 
Him and spat upon Him. He gave His blood a ransom for 
many, and laid down His life for sin. Was there ever love 
like this ? While gratitude lives among men, what shall be 
the return given to Christ by those whom He has redeemed ? 
Is the return we are actually making such as He deserves \ 
Was it for this that He died, that we should not commit 

* St. Matt. xsv. 24. f II. Cor. v. 14. 



324: THE NEGLIGENT CHRISTIAN. 

quite so many mortal sins ? Was it for this that He hung on 
the cross, that only now and then we should omit some im 
portant duty ? Was it for this that He sweat those great 
drops of blood, that we should live a slothful and irreligous 
life ? O my brethren, when I see how men are living ; when 
I look at some Christians, and see how when Easter comes 
round it is an even chance whether they go to their duties or 
not ; when I see them on Sunday stay away from Mass so 
lightly, or listen to the word of God so carelessly ; when I 
see them omit most important duties toward their families ; 
when I see how freely they expose themselves to temptation, 
and how easily they yield to it ; when I see how slow they 
are to prayer, how cold, sluggish, sensual and worldly they 
are ; above all, when I hear them give for an answer, when 
they are questioned about these things, so indifferently, " I 
neglected it" I ask myself, Did these men ever hear of Christ ? 
Do they know in whose name they are baptized ? Did they 
ever look at a crucifix, or read the story of the Passion ? 
Alas ! yes, they have seen and heard and read, and have 
taken their side, if not with Judas in his deceitful kiss, or 
the soldiers in their mockery, with the crowd of careless men 
who passed by, regardless and hard-hearted. But let these men 
know that their Saviour sees and resents their neglect. "Be 
cause thou art lukewarm" He says, " and neither cold nor 
hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth" * His soul 
loathes the slothful and half-hearted. Yes, slothful Chris 
tian, far different will be the estimate thou wilt make of thy 
life when thou comest to die, from what thou makest now. 
Then that negligence of thine, of which thou makest so little, 
will seem the crime it really is ; and bitter will be the ac 
count thou shalt render of it to Christ thy Judge. 

But if it be not enough to rouse us from our torpor, to think 
that we are offending God, let us reflect how great is the 

* Apoc. iii. 16. 



THE NEGLIGENT CHRISTIAN. 325 

danger which we are bringing on our own souls. A negligent 
Christian is in very great danger of being lost. I said just 
now that he falls into mortal sins now and then. It is hardly 
possible it should ba otherwise. One will certainly fall 
into mortal sin if he does not take pains to avoid it. We all 
have within us concupiscence, or a tendency to love the 
creature with a disordered love, and this tendency is much 
increased in most men by actual sins of their past lives . Now, 
this principle acts as a weight on the will, always dragging it 
down to the earth. Fervent men make al]owance for this. 
They aim higher than it is necessary to reach. They leave a 
margin for failures, weakness, and surprise. They build out 
works to guard the approaches to the citadel. But with the 
negligent Christian it is the contrary of all this. Unreflecting, 
unguarded, unfortified by prayer, in his own weakness, and 
with his strong bent to evil, he must meet the immediate and 
direct temptations to mortal sin w r hich befal him in his daily 
life. Is not his fall certain ? Not to speak of very strong 
temptations which can only be overcome by a special grace, 
which grace God has not promised to grant except to the 
faithful soul even ordinary temptations are too much for 
such a man. He falls into mortal sin almost without 
resistance. 

And what is also to be taken into the account is, that the 
difference between mortal and venial sin is often a mere 
question of more or less. So much is a mortal sin : so much 
is not. The line is often very difficult, nay, impossible to be 
drawn, even by a theologian. Now, who can tell us in prac 
tice when we have arrived at the limit of venial sin, when 
we have passed beyond it and are in mortal sin ? Will not a 
careless, thoughtless man, such as I have described, will he 
not be certain sometimes to go over the fatal line ? Yes, my 
brethren, negligent Christians commit mortal sins. They 
commit mortal sins almost without knowing it. They com 
mit mortal sins oftener than they imagine. Without 



326 THE NEGLIGENT CHRISTIAN. 

opposing religion, without abandoning themselves to a repro 
bate life, just by neglecting God and their duties, they fall 
into grievous sins ; bad habits multiply upon them apace, 
their passions grow stronger, grace grows weaker, their good 
resolutions less frequent and less hopeful, until they are near 
to spiritual ruin. The wise man gives us in a striking pic 
ture the description of such a soul: "I passed by the field 
of the slothful man and by the, vineyard of the foolish man : 
And "behold, it was all filled with nettles , and thorns had 
covered the face thereof : and the stone wall was broken 
down, which when I had seen, I laid it up in my heart, and 
by the example I received instruction. Thou will sleep a 
little, said 1 : thou will slumber a little : thou will fold thy 
hands a little to rest : And poverty shall come upon thee as 
one that runneth, and want as an armed man"* 

And what is to secure you from dying in such a state ? 
Our Lord says, " If the master of the house had known in 
what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, 
and would not have suffered his house to be broken open"\ 

But he knew not, and so in the dead of night, when deep 
sleep falleth on man, the thief came. And so it is with death. 
It comes like a thief in the night. Death is almost always 
sudden. Sometimes it comes without any warning at all. A 
man is sent into eternity in a moment, without time to utter 
-a prayer. Sometimes it comes after sickness, but sickness 
does not always prepare for death. The sick man says : " Oh, 
it is nothing ; I shall soon be well." His friends say the same. 
If he gets worse the priest is sent for ; he would like to 
receive the sacraments. But too often he has not yet looked 
Death in the face, he has not heard the dreadful truths he 
has to tell, he is much as he was in life, slothful and negli 
gent. And after the priest is gone, when he is alone, at mid 
night, that comes to pass of which he has thought so little. 

* Proverbs xxiv. 30. f Matt. xxiv. 43. 



THE NEGLIGENT CHRISTIAN. 327 

Death enters the room, and with his icy hand unlocks the 
prison of the body, whispering to the soul with awful voice, 
" Arise, and come to judgment." O my brethren, how 
dreadful, if at that hour you find yourself unready! If like 
the foolish virgins you are forced to cry : "Our lamps are 
gone out." " Cursed is he that doeth the worJc of the Lord 
negligently"* saith the Holy Scripture. The work of the 
Lord is the work of our salvation. That is the work of our 
life, the work for which we are created, and he, who 
through negligence leaves this work undone, shall hear at 
the last that dreadful sentence : " Depart ye cursed." 

We come back, then, to this truth, that the only way to 
secure our salvation is to be not slothful in that business, but 
fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Salvation is a serious 
work. We are not sufficiently aware of this. We seem 
somehow to have got in the belief that the way of life is not 
strait, and the gate not narrow. Certainly we feel very differ 
ently about our salvation from what our fathers in the Cath 
olic Church felt. How many have gone out into the desert 
and denied themselves rest and food, and scourged themselves 
to blood ! How many have devoted themselves to perpetual 
silence ! How many have willingly given up wealth and 
friends and kindred ! How many, even their own lives ! 
Will you tell me they were but seeking a more perfect life ? 
they were but following the counsels of perfection, which a 
man is free to embrace or decline ? I tell you they were seek 
ing their salvation. They were afraid of the judgment to 
come, and were trying to prepare for it. " Whatever I do," 
says St. Jerome, " I always hear the dreadful sound of the 
last trumpet: Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment. 1 
Now, can salvation be a work so serious to them and so triv 
ial for us ? Grant that you are not bound to do precisely 
what they did, are you at liberty to do nothing ? If you are 

* Jer. xlviii. 10. 



328 THE NEGLIGENT CHRISTIAN. 

not bound to a perpetual fast, are you at liberty to darken 
your mind and inflame your passions by immoderate drink 
ing ? If you are not required to walk with downcast eyes 
and to observe perpetual silence, are you free to gaze on every 
dangerous object, and to speak words of profanity, falsehood, 
impurity, or slander ? If you are not required to flee from 
your homes, are you not required to forsake the occasions of 
sin? If you are not called to forego all innocent pleasures, 
are you exempt from every sort of self-denial ? If no rule 
obliges you to spend the night in prayer, are you not obliged 
to pray often ? Yes, it was the desire to place their salvation 
in security that led our fathers into the desert. Surely, we 
have to work out our salvation with fear arid trembling, who 
remain behind in a world which they left as too dangerous, 
and have to contend with passions which they felt wellnigh 
too strong for them. "We must be what they were. " The 
time is short : it remaineth that they who have wives l)e as 
those who have not and they who weep as they who weep 
not j and they who rejoice as they ivho rejoice not / and they 
who l)uy as they who possess not / and they who ^ise this 
world as if they used it not j for the figure of this world 
passeth away" * 

My brethren, then be earnest in the work of your salvation. 
While we have time let us do good, and abound in the work 
of the Lord. Serve the Lord with a perfect heart. He de 
serves our very best. Our own happiness, too, will be secured 
by it, for He says : " Take my yoke upon you, and learn of 
me, and you shall find rest to your souls. "f And to the fer 
vent : " An entrance shall be ministered abundantly into the 
everlasting ~kingdom of Jesus Christ "\ This is my desire 
for you, to see you fervent Christians. I would like to know 
that you are anxious to assist at the Holy Mass on week-days 
as well as on Sundays. I would like to know that you pray 

* I. Cor. vii. 29, 30. f Matt. xi. 29. \ II. Pet. i. 11. 



THE CROSS, THE MEASURE OF SIN". 329 

morning and evening. I would like to believe that you 
speak with God often as the day goes on. I would like to 
know that you are watchful over your lips for fear of giving 
offence with your tongue; that you are prompt to reject the 
iirst temptations to evil ; that you are exact in the fulfil 
ment of your duties ; that you are careful in confession, and 
devout at communion in a word, that you are living a life 
of watchfulness against the coming of Christ to judgment. 
This includes all. This is what our Saviour enjoined on us : 
" Take heed / watch and pray / for you know not when the 
Lord of the house cometh : at even, or at midnight, or at cock- 
crowing, or in the morning. Lest coming of a sudden. He 
find you sleeping" * 



SEEMON XII. 

THE CROSS, THE MEASURE OF SEN". 

(PASSIOX SUNDAY.) 

" For my thoughts are not as your thoughts ; nor your ways my ways, saith 
the Lord. For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways ex 
alted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts." ISA. LY., 8, 9. 

TO-DAY, my brethren, is the beginning of Passion-tide, the 
most solemn part of the season of Lent, The two weeks be 
tween now and Easter are set apart especially for the remem 
brance of the sufferings of Christ. Therefore the Church 
assumes the most sombre apparel, and speaks in the saddest 
tone. The actual recital of the Passion, the following; of our 

t3 

Blessed Saviour step by step in His career of woe, she re 
serves for the last three days of this sorrowful fortnight, In 
this, the earlier part of it, her aim is rather to suggest some 

* St. Mark xiii. 35. 



330 THE CROSS, THE MEASURE OF SIN. 

thoughts which lead the way to Calvary, and prepare the 
mind for the great event that happened there. I shall then 
be saying what is suitable to the season, and at the same 
time directing yonr minds to what I regard as one of the 
most useful reflections connected with this subject, by asking 
you this morning to consider the sufferings of Christ as a 
revelation of the evil of sin. 

But, it may be asked, does man need a revelation on this 
point? Is not the natural reason and the natural conscience 
sufficient to tell us that sin is wrong? Undoubtedly a man 
naturally knows that sin is an evil, and without this knowl 
edge, indeed, he would be incapable of committing sin, since 
in any action a man is only guilty of the evil which his con 
science apprehends. But this natural perception of sin is 
more or less confused and indistinct. Our Saviour on the 
cross, prayed for His murderers in these words : " Father, 
forgive them ; for they know not what they do." He did not 
mean that they were ignorant that they were doing wrong, 
for then they could have needed no forgiveness, but that they 
did not realize the full atrocity of the deed. They were act 
ing guiltily indeed, but inadvertently and blindly. And the 
same may be said of very many sinners. Sin is for the most 
part a leap in the dark. A man knows he is doing a danger 
ous thing, but he does not realize the full danger. He does 
not take in the full scope of his action, nor its complete con 
sequences. St. Paul speaks of the deceitfulness of sin, and 
the expression describes very well the source of that disap 
pointment and unhappiness which often overtakes the trans 
gressor when he finds himself involved in difficulties from 
which it is all but impossible to extricate himself, and sorrows 
which he never anticipated. It is the old story. Sin " be- 
ginneth pleasantly, but in the end it will bite like a snalce and 
will spread abroad poison like a serpent" * Oh ! how many 

* Prov. xxiii. 31, 32. 



THE CROSS, THE MEASURE OF SIN. 331 

are there who are finding this true in their own experience 
every day. 

Tell me, my brethren, do you think that young persons 
who contract habits of sin that undermine their health know 
all they are bringing on themselves the weakness of body, 
the feebleness of mind, the early decay, the shame, the re 
morse, the impotence of will, the tyranny of passion, the bro 
ken vows and resolutions, the hopelessness, the fear perhaps 
the premature disease and death ? No, all this was not in 
their thoughts at first. These are the bitter lessons which 
the youth has learned in the school of sin. He has not found 
out what he was doing till it was all but too late. Or that 
married woman who lias stepped aside from the path of virtue, 
did she realize what she was doing ? Did she think of the 
plighted faith broken ; did she think of the horrible guilt of 
the adulteress, of the agony, the remorse, the deceit, the 
falsehood, the trembling fear of her whole future life ; did 
she realize the moment when her guilt would be detected, 
the fury of her wronged husband, her family dishonored, her 
children torn from her embrace, her name infamous, herself 
forlorn and ruined ? Oh, no ! these things she did not real 
ize. There was indeed, on the day when she committed the 
dreadful crime, a dark and fearful form in her path, that 
raised its hands in warning, and frowned a frown of dreadful 
menace. It was the awful form of conscience, but she turned 
away from the sight, and shut her ear to the words, and 
heard not half the message. And so the dreadful conse 
quences of her sin have come upon her almost as if there had 
been no warning. Or that drunkard, when he was a handsome 
young man, with a bright eye and a light step, and was neatly 
dressed, and was succeeding in his business ; when he first 
began to tipple, did he realize that he would soon be a 
diseased, bloated, dirty vagabond; that his children would 
be half naked, and his wife half starved ; or that he would 
spend the last cent in his pocket, or the last rag on his back, 



332 THE CROSS, THE MEASURE OF SIN. 

in the vain effort to allay that thirst for drink which is 
almost as unquenchable as the fire of hell ? No, he little 
foresaw it, and if it had been told him, he would have said 
with Hasael, the Syrian captain, when Elisha showed him 
the abominations he was about to commit, " What, am I a 
dog, that I should do such things?" Or that thief, when he 
yielded to the glittering temptation, and made himself rich 
for a while with dishonest riches, did he then see before him 
the deeper poverty that was to follow ; the loss of all that 
makes a man s heart glow and his life happy ; the lies that 
he must tell, the subterfuges he must resort to, the horrible 
detection, the loss of situation, the public trial, the imprison 
ment? ~No. Of course these were all daily in his thoughts, 
for they were part of the risk he knew he was running ; but 
BO little did he bring them home to himself, and the suffering 
he was to endure, that when they came it seemed almost 
hard, as if a wholly unlooked-for calamity had overtaken 
him. So it is. Wherever we look it is the same thing. 
Men imagine sin to be a less evil than it really is. It is so 
easy to commit it, it is so soon done, the temptation so 
strong, that it does not seem as if such very bad consequences 
would come of it. So it is done, and the bitter consequences 
come. It seems as if the lie that Satan told to Eve in the 
garden, when he tempted her to eat the forbidden fruit, 
" Thou shalt not surely die," still echoes through the world 
and bewitches men s ears so that they always underrate the 
guilt and punishment of sin ; and although the lie has 
been exposed a thousand times, although in their own bitter 
experience men find its falsehood, yet they do not grow wiser, 
they still go on thoughtless, insensible to their greatest dan 
ger and their greatest evil, and when they stand on the shore 
of time, and hear God threatening eternal punishment here 
after to the sinner, they still set aside the warning with the 
same fatal insensibility. If they are not Catholics, they deny 



THE CROSS, THE MEASURE OF SIN. 333 

or doubt the existence of hell ; if they are Catholics, they 
think somehow they will escape it. 

Oh, my brethren, before you allow yourselves to act on 
this estimate of sin, so prevalent in the world, ask yourselves 
how it accords with God s estimate of sin. That is the true 
standard. God is Truth. He sees things as they are, and 
every thing is just what He considers it. He is our Judge, 
and it will not save us when we stand on trial at His bar to 
tell Him that we have rejected His standard and taken our 
own. What, then, is God s estimate of sin ? Look at the 
Cross, and you have the answer. Let me for a moment 
carry you back to the scene and time of the Crucifixion. 
It is the eve of a great festival in the city of Jerusalem. It 
is the Parasceve, or Preparation of the Passover. On this 
day the Jews were required, each family by itself, to kill a 
lamb and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 
They were required to eat it standing, with loins girded, and 
with staves in their hands, because this feast was in memory 
of the sudden deliverance of their fathers from the bond 
age of Egypt, when God smote the first-born of the 
Egyptians with death, passed over the houses of the 
Israelites, and conducted them miraculously through the 
waters of the Red Sea. It was a great feast among the 
Jews, and always collected together a great multitude of 
strangers in the holy city. But on this occasion a new ex 
citement was added to the interest of the holy city, for there 
was a public execution. on Mount Calvary, and turbaned 
priests, and Pharisees with broad fringes on their garments, 
and scribes and doctors of the law, mingled in the throng 
of mechanics and laborers, and women and children, who 
hastened to the spot. The day is dark, but as you draw 
near the Mount, you see, high up in the air, the bodies of men 
crucified ; and sitting on the ground, or standing in groups, 
talking and disputing among themselves, or watching in 



334 THE CROSS THE MEASURE OF SIN. 

silence with folded arms, are gathered a vast multitude of 
spectators. 

"What is there in this execution thus to gather together all 
classes of the people ? The punishment of crucifixion was 
inflicted only on slaves or malefactors of the worst kind, and 
two of the three that are hanging there are vulgar and in 
famous offenders. What is it, then, that gives such interest 
to this scene ? It is He who hangs upon that cross, at whose 
feet three sorrowing women kneel. Read the title, it will 
tell you who He is. " This is Jesus, the King of the Jews." 
Yes, this is Jesus, the merciful and kind ; He who went about 
doing good, healing all manner of sickness, and delivering all 
that were possessed with the devil ; He who spoke words 
of truth and love. This is Jesus, the King of the Jews, 
whom a thousand prophecies fulfilled in him and a thou 
sand miracles performed by Him pointed out as the promised 
Messias : Jesus, whom the Eternal Father, by a voice from 
heaven, had acknowledged as His own Son. " This is my 
beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Why is this ? 
Why is it that the just man perisheth? The apostle tells 
us : " Christ must needs have suffered." He was the true 
Paschal Lamb that must die that we might go free. He was 
the victim of our sins. Pilate and Herod and the Jews were 
but the instruments by which all the consequences of our sins 
fell upon Him who came to bear them. " Surely He hath 
borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows / and we have 
thought Him, as it were, a leper, and as one struck l>y God 
and afflicted. But lie was wounded for our iniquities. He 
was bruised for our sins. The chastisement of our peace was 
upon Him, and by His bruises we are healed. All we like 
sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his 
own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us 
all" * Yes, every sin of every kind received its special 

* Isia. liii. 4, 5, 6. 



THE CEOSS THE MEASURE OF SIN. 335 

\ 

reparation in the sufferings of Christ. His mouth is filled 
with vinegar and gall to atone for our luxury. His ear 
is filled with revilings to expiate the greediness with which 
we have drunk in poisonous flattery. His eyes languish 
because ours have been lofty, and His hands and feet are 
pierced with nails because ours have been the instruments of 
sin. He suffered death because we deserved it. He was 
accursed, because we had made ourselves liable to the curse 
of God, and hell had its hour of triumph over Him, because 
we had made ourselves its children. Nor was it our Lord s 
body alone that suffered. It would be a great mistake to 
suppose that His sacrifice was merely external. The chief 
part of man is his soul. St. Leo says that our Lord on the 
cross appeared as a penitent. It was not only that He suf 
fered for the sins of men, but it was as if He had committed 
them. The horror of them filled His soul ; sorrow for the 
outrage they had done to the Majesty and Holiness of God 
consumed Him. " My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even 
unto death," He said. Afterward the evangelist says He 
began to be very heavy, and it was sinners that on the cross 
made Him bow His head and give up the ghost. He was 
not killed. His enemies did not take His life. The flood 
of sorrow for sin came into His soul, and overwhelmed Him. 
It was too much. His heart was broken. Oh, the weight 
of that sorrow ! He bowed His head and gave up the 
ghost. Then sin was expiated. Then the work of man s 
atonement was completed. At last man had done adequate 
penance. At last sorrow for sin had reached its just propor 
tion as an offence against God. 

Here, I say, we have a revelation of the evil of sin. God 
does nothing in vain : His works are as full of wisdom as they 
are of power. Since, therefore, Christ died for sin, the cross 
of Christ is the measure of sin. " From the consideration of 
the remedy," says St. Bernard, " learn, O my soul, the great 
ness of thy danger. Thou wast in error, and behold the Son 



336 THE CROSS THE MEASURE OF SIN. 

of the Virgin is sent, the Son of the Most High God is ordered 
to be slain, that my wounds may be healed by the precious 
balsam of His blood. See, O man, how grievous were thy 
wounds, for which, in the order of Divine wisdom, it was 
necessary that the lamb Christ should be wounded. If they 
had not been unto death, and unto eternal death, never would 
the Son of God have died for them. The cross of Christ 
is not only an altar of sacrifice, but a pulpit of instruction. 
From that pulpit, lifted up on high, Jesus Christ preaches a 
lesson to the whole world." The burden of the lesson is the 
evil of sin. " The law was given by Moses, but grace and 
truth came by Jesus Christ." And yet, my brethren, the 
law was published afresh by Jesus Christ. Mount Calvary 
but repeats the message of Mount Sinai nay, repeats it with 
more power. Here, indeed, God does not speak in thunders 
and lightnings, as He did there, but He speaks in the still 
small voice of the suffering Saviour. Oh, what meaning is 
there in those sad eyes as they bend down upon us ! Oh, 
what power in those gentle words He utters ! He does not 
say, " Thou shall not commit adultery ; thou shalt not steal ; 
thou shalt not bear false witness." No. He cries to a guilty 
people, a people w T ho have already broken the law, and He 
says to them : " See what you. have done. See My thorn- 
crowned head. See My hands and feet. Look at Me whom 
you have pierced. Is it a light thing that could have reduced 
Me to such a state of woe ? Is it a light thing that could have 
bound Me to this cross ? Me, the Creator of all things, to 
whom you owe all life and liberty ? Who by My word and 
touch have so often healed the sick and released them that 
were bound to Satan. They say of Me, i He saved others, 
Himself He cannot save. And they say truly. Here must 
I hang. ~Not the Jews have nailed Me to this cross, but My 
love, and thy sins. Yes, see in My sufferings your sin dis 
played. See in the penalty I pay the punishment you have 



THE CROSS, THE MEASURE OF SIN. 337 

deserved. See your guilt in My sorrow. Look at Me, and 
see what sin is in the presence of the All Holy God ! 

Can any thing show more than this what a mysterious evil 
sin is, that it is an offence against God, an assault upon His 
throne, an attack upon His life, an evil all but infinite ? All 
the other expressions of the evil of sin, the cries of misery 
which it has wrung from its victims, the warnings which 
natural reason has uttered against it, the tender lamenta 
tions with which the saints have bewailed it, the penalties 
with which God has threatened to visit it, all pale before the 
announcement that God sent His Son into the world to die 
for it. I do not wonder that, as the evangelist tells us, the 
multitudes who came together at the sight of our Saviour s 
crucifixion returned smiting their breasts. Oh, what an 
awakening of stupefied consciences there must have been that 
day ! How many, who came ont in the morning careless and 
thoughtless, went back to the city with anxious hearts, with 
a secret grief and fear within they had never felt before. I 
suppose th%t even the scribes and Pharisees, who had plotted 
our Saviour s death, felt, for the moment at least, a guilty fear. 
"Why, even Judas, when he saw what he had done, repented, 
and went and hanged himself, saying : " I have sinned in 
that I have betrayed the innocent blood." And this book 
of the Passion has been ever since the source from which 
penitents have drawn their best motives for conversion, and 
saints their strongest impulses to perfection. Here, on the 
cross} is the root of that uncompromising and awful doctrine 
about sin the doctrine, I mean, that sin is in no case what 
ever to be allowed, that even the smallest sin for the greatest 
result can never be permitted ; that it is an evil far greater 
than can be spoken or imagined ; that it must never be trifled 
with, or made light of; that it is to be shunned with the 
greatest horror, and avoided, if need be, even at the cost of 
our life which has always been so essential a part of Chris 
tianity. 

A tJ 



338 THE CROSS, THE MEASURE OF SIN. 

And now, my brethren, it is because men forget the cross, 
because their minds no longer move on a Christian basis, that 
they make light of sin. There is a tendency in our day to do 
so. Crime men acknowledge that, an offence against law, 
an offence against good order. Yice they acknowledge that, 
a hurtful and excessive indulgence of passion ; but sin, a 
creature s offence against God, that they think impossible. 
" What ! can I, a frail creature," say they, " ignorant and 
passionate, can I do an injury to God ? I en* by excess or 
defect in my conduct ; I bring evil on myself it is true ; but 
what difference can that make to the Supreme Being ? Can 
He be very much displeased at my follies ? "Will His serene 
Majesty in heaven be affected because I on this earth am 
carried too far by passions ? Can He care what my religious 
belief is ? or will He separate Himself from me eternally be 
cause I have happened to violate some law ?" Such language 
is an echo of heathenism, and heathenism not of the best kind, 
for some heathens have had a doctrine about sin which ap 
proached very near to the Christian doctrine. It i%. moreover, 
a degrading doctrine ; for, while it leaves a man his intellect 
and animal nature, it takes away his conscience. What is 

f t> 

that conscience within us but a witness that God does concern 
Himself about us that my heart is His throne, and that my 
everlasting destiny is union with Him. " Every one that is 
born of God," says the apostle^" doth not commit sin, for he 
cannot sin, because he is born of God." Not that sin is a 
physical impossibility with him, but it is in contradiction to 
his regenerate nature. In order, then, to soothe yourself into 
the belief that sin is not so very bad, that God cannot be 
very angry with you for it, you* have got to tear conscience 
from your heart, you have got to give up the good gift, and 
the powers of the world to come, which came upon you at 
your baptism ; and you have to give up all the brightest hopes 
of Christianity for the life hereafter. Nay, more, you have 
got to deny the cross, to deny our Lord s divinity, to deny 



THE CROSS, THE MEASURE OF SIN. 339 

His sufferings for sin, and thus to render yourself without 
faith as well as without conscience. 

I conclude with the affectionate exhortation of St. John the 
Apostle. "J/y children, these things I write to you that ye 
sin not" "All unrighteousness is sin" Every breach of the 
moral law is a, failure in that homage, that obedience, that 
service we owe to God. It fe a direct offence against God. 
It is a thing exceedingly to be feared and dreaded. A wrong 
word spoken or a wrong action done has consequences 
which go far and wide. Do not say, you have sinned, but 
have done harm to no one. You have done harm to God, 
and you have certainly done harm to yourself. Do not sin. 
Do not commit mortal or venial sin. Do not make light of 
sin. Do not abide in sin. If you are in sin now, remember 
at this holy time to repent and turn back to God : and if 
your conscience tells you that you are now in the friendship 
of God, oh, let it be all your care to avoid sin. Fly from 
the face of sin. Fly from the approach of sin. Avoid the 
occasions of sin. Watch against sin, and pray continually, 
not to be led into sin : and when your hour of trial conies, 
when some strong temptation assails you, then be ready to 
say, as the prophet Joseph, " What ! shall I do this wicked 
thing, and offend against God ?" This is that fear of God 
which is the beginning of wisdom. This is the happiness 
of which the Psalmist spoke : " blessed is the man that hath 
not walked in the council of the ungodly, nor stood in the way 
of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence ; ~but his will is 
in the law of the Lord, and on His law he shall meditate 
day and night. And he shall be like a tree which is planted 
near the running waters, which shall bring forth its fruit in 
due season. And his leaf shall not fall off; and all, what 
soever he shall do, shall prosper." * 

* Ps. L 1-3. 



340 DIVINE CALLS AND WARNINGS. 



SEBMON XIII. 

DIVINE CALLS AND WARNINGS. 

(A SERMON FOR LENT.) 

" Seek ye the Lord while He may be founj^ call upon Him while He is near." 

ISAI. LY. 6. 

THE Wise Man tells us that " all tilings have their season, 
and in their times all things %> a ss under heaven" * Cer 
tainly, it is so in the natural world. There is a time for the 
birds to migrate. "The kite in the air knows her time, the 
turtle and the swallow and the stork observe the time of their 
coming" f There is a time for seeds and shrubs to grow. 
Seed-time and harvest do not fail. There is a busy time and 
a slack time in the world of commerce. There is a time for 
education, a time when the mind is inquisitive and the mem 
ory retentive, and it is easy to acquire knowledge ; and 
another time, when the powers of the mind, like the limbs 
of the body, seem to grow stiff and rigid, and can be em 
ployed only with difficulty. But does this law reach also to 
the supernatural world ? Has the grace of God also its sea 
sons and its times? I believe it has ; and it is to this fact, 
so important in its bearing on our salvation, that I wish now 
to direct your attention. 

But you may ask me what I mean by saying that the grace 
of God has its special times and seasons. Are not all times 
alike to God ? Is not God always ready to save the sinner, 
and to bestow the graces necessary to his salvation ? Un 
doubtedly He is. We, Catholics, believe that God gives to 
every man living sufficient grace, that is, He gives him the 
grace to pray ; and if he prays, God is ready to give him 
other and higher graces, which will carry him on to salva- 

* Eccl. iii. 1. f Jer. viii. 7. 



DIVINE CALLS AND WARNINGS. 341 

tion ; but, ordinarily speaking, men do not use this common 
grace, unless some special and particular grace is given 
which excites them to do so. Now, it is of these special 
graces of which. I speak, when I say that they have their 
times and their seasons. I refer to those Divine Calls and 
Warnings, those Providences, those sacred inspirations, which 
stir the heart beneath its surface, and bring it, for a time at 
least, in conscious contact with the Infinite and Eternal. 
These, I say, come and go. They have a law of their own. 
We cannot have them all the time. We cannot appoint a 
time, and say we will have them to-morrow, or next year. 
They are like the wind that blows ; we hear the sound of it, 
but we cannot tell whence it comes and whither it goes. 
They are like the lightning, that shines from the east even 
unto the west. They come suddenly, and dart a flash of 
light upon our path, then they are gone. They are like the 
visit of Christ to the two disciples at Emmaus : as soon as 
their hearts began to burn within them, and they discovered 
who it was that talked with them, He vanished out of their 
sight. 

Certainly there are proofs enough that such is the law of 
God s dealings with the soul. If we look back at our own 
lives, do we not see that we have had our special times when 
Christ visited us ? our times of grace ? red-letter days in the 
calendar of our life ? I know God s grace acts secretly ; and 
oftentimes when we are under the strongest influence of grace, 
we are least conscious of it. But when the time is past and 
over, and we look back upon it, we can see that there was a 
Divine influence upon us, especially if we have corresponded 
to it. I think each one of us, if he looks back upon the past, 
will see clearly the times when he has been under the im 
pulse of some unusual movement of the mind, the result of 
some special grace of God. Perhaps it came in the shape of 
some great affliction. You had a happy home. The purest 
of earthly joys was yours domestic happiness, perfect syrn- 



342 DIVINE CALLS AND WARNINGS. 

patliy in gladness and in sorrow. But death entered your 
abode, and tlie loving voice was silenced, and the kindly eye 
was closed. And in that deep grief, in that darkness and 
loneliness Christ spoke to your sinking heart, saying, u Fear 
not ;" and you came forth out of that affliction with a new 
strength, with purer aims, with a quietness and peace of 
heart which only suffering can give. 

Or, perhaps, the crisis in your history was your attendance 
on a " mission." You had lived in neglect of religion, al 
most complete. Confession w r as a bugbear to you. Years 
of sin and forgetfulness of God had hardened your conscience. 
But suddenly all was changed. You seemed a new man. 
Your faith was illuminated with a new brilliancy. Sin had 
a new horror. The string of your tongue was loosed, and 
oh, with what ease, with what fidelity and exactness, you 
made that dreaded confession ! What comfort vou derived 

ti 

from it ! and with what energy and determination did you 
enter on the duties of a Christian life ! 

Or, it might have been in less striking ways that grace did 
its work. It may have been a book, a word, an interior in 
spiration, some of the seasons of the holy Church, holy com 
munion, some of the lesser changes of life, a fit of sickness, 
a violent temptation : these may have been the instruments 
which God made use of, from time to time, to convey special 
graces to your soul. Sometimes the aim of these graces was 
to arouse you out of some deeply-seated habit of sin ; some 
times to draw your heart away from the world to heaven ; 
sometimes it was a call to prayer ; sometimes a warning of 
danger : in fine, for some purpose bearing on your salvation, 
there they are, those visits of grace in your past life, as dis 
tinct and unmistakable as any other part of your history. 
When we read the Bible story of such saints as Abraham, 
Moses, and Elias, what strikes us as most wonderful and 
most beautiful is the familiarity in which they lived with 
God, how God drew near to them and spoke to them. ISTow, 



DIVINE CALLS AND WARNINGS. 343 

such passages have a parallel in the history of each one of 
us. There are times in our lives, and not a few such times, 
when God draws near to the soul, when He confronts it, 
makes special demands upon it, addresses it no longer in gen 
eral, but particularly and individually ; when lie says to the 
soul, Go and do this, Do not do that, as unmistakably as 
when I^e said to Abraham : " Go forth out of thy country, 
and from thy kindred, and out of thy father 1 s house, and 
come into the land which I shall show thee"* 

And if this be so, the mode in which we receive these 
divine communications must have a great deal to do with 
our guilt or innocence before God. We read in the Book 
of Judges, that on a certain occasion an angel of the Lord 
appeared to Manue and his wife, with a message from on 
high. He appeared to them in a human shape, and spoke 
with a human voice, and they did not know that he was an 
angel. It was not until they saw him ascend to heaven in 
the flame from the altar that they understood that they had 
been talking with one of the heavenly host. Then they 
said : " We shall certainly die because we have seen God!"\ 
Now, there is a sense in which this exclamation is neither 
superstitious nor strange, as the expression, that is, of their 
anxiety lest in their ignorance they might have treated their 
heavenly visitor in some unseemly way. O my brethren, 
it is no light thing for Grod to draw near to a human soul. 
It is no light thing for Him to speak to us. When He speaks 
we cannot be as if He had not spoken. "His word shall not 
return to Him void." The relation between the Creator and 
the creature is such, that the moment He speaks our position 
is altered. When He calls we must either follow or refuse 
to follow ; there is no neutrality possible. 

Oh, what a thought, that if indeed God has spoken to us 
often in our past lives, if He has given us special calls and 

* Gen. xii. 1. f Judges xiii. 22. 



344 DIVINE CALLS AND WARNINGS. 

warnings, we must often have resisted Him ! There are 
many of us, I fear, who have altogether too little conscience 
on this subject. A man comes to confession after an absence 
of several years. He confesses his more prominent sins 
against the divine commandments, but perhaps he does not 
even mention his failure to perform each year his Easter duty. 
And if the confessor calls his attention to it, he has nothing 
to say but, " Oh, yes, I neglected that." You see, he does 
not realize at all that God has been calling him from year to 
year, has met him again and again, and exhorted him to 
repent, and he has refused. 

Another man hears a sermon which thoroughly awakens 
his conscience. He sees in the clearest light the danger of 
his besetting sin. His conscience is stirred, he almost re 
solves to break off his sin, but he does not quite come to the 
point, he postpones his conversion, and, after a little, dismisses 
the subject from his mind. Now, here again, you see, is a 
distinct resistance to grace. The man has not only continued 
in sin, but has continued in sin in spite of God s warning. 

Again, a person, free from the grosser forms of sin, has 
some radical fault of character ; some fault which is apparent 
to every one but himself; a deep obstinacy; a dangerous 
levity; an inveterate slothfulness ; an overbearing temper; 
a domineering spirit faults which are the source of innu 
merable difficulties and he is plainly warned of these faults, 
but refuses to acknowledge them, strengthens himself in his 
self-deception, and clings to these faults as if they were a 
necessary part of his character. What is he doing, but frus 
trating the designs of God, despising His reproof, and reject 
ing the grace which was meant to make him so much better, 
so much happier, so much more useful ? 

Eesisted grace ! What is that but to withstand God to 
His face, and to say : / will not serve f To resist grace, 
what is that but to despise the precious Blood of Christ. To 
obtain for us those graces, the Blood of Christ and all His 
sufferings were given, and without them we should have 



DIVINE CALLS AND WARNINGS. 345 

been left in our sins and miseries ; and so to refuse these 
graces is to make light of Christ s most bitter Death and 
Passion. To resist grace, what is that but to refuse glory. 
For each grace of God has a corresponding degree of glory 
attached to it ; and, if we refuse the one, we reject the other. 
The truth is, we forget too much God s personal agency in 
our salvation. We are on earth, and God is far away 
in heaven. He has indeed left us His Law, and He is 
coming to judge us at the last day, but He is not now a pres 
ent, watchful, living, speaking God to us. "We forget that 
"He is not far from every one of us" We forget that He is 
about our path, and about our bed ; that He watches us with 
the eagerness and tenderness of a mother for her child ; that 
He intensely desires our salvation ; that He pleads with us, 
warns us, calls to us, stretches out His Hand to us all the 
day long. It is nothing that He Himself tells us He stands 
at the door and knocks ; it is nothing that He calls to us 
from without, saying : " Open to Me, My love, for My head 
is wet with dew, and My locks with the drops of the night y" 
we open not ; we heed Him not ; we hear Him not. Oh ! I 
believe, at the Judgment Day, many a man will be appalled 
to see how he has treated Christ. In the description which 
our Lord has given us of that day, He tells us that the wicked 
shall say, in answer to His reproofs : " When saw we Thee 
hungry or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in 
prison, and did not minister to Thee ?" So, I believe, many 
will say: "O Lord, when did we refuse to hear Thee 2 
When did we ohut our hearts to Thy grace ?" And He will 
answer : " When, at the voice of My preacher, you refused 
to forsake that sin ; when, at the invitation of My Church, 
you refused to repent and amend ; when, at the call of My 
Spirit, you refused to awake from your sloth, and follow after 
that perfection I demanded of you. In rejecting My agents, 
you. have rejected Me. It was I ; I, your God and your 
Saviour; I, your End and Reward, who walked with you on 

15* 



346 DIVINE CALLS AND WAKNINGrS. 

your way through life, who opened to you the Scriptures, 
and sought to enter in and tarry with you." 

And, again, as resistance to grace is a special sin in itself, 
and a special matter about which we must render an account 
to God, so, when persisted in, it is the sure road to final im 
penitence and reprobation. Let me bring before your mind 
some of our Lord s emphatic teaching on this point. 

Toward the latter part of our Lord s life, in preaching to 
IJis disciples on a certain occasion, He used this parable : 
"A certain man had a Jig-tree planted in his vineyard, and 
he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said 
to the tiller of the vineyard : Behold, these three years I came 
seeking fruit on this Jig-tree, and I find none. Cut it down 
therefore / why doth it take up the ground f Bid he answer 
ing, said to him : Lord, let it alone this year also, until I 
dig about it and dung it. And if happily it hear fruit : 
hut if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down"* The 
same lesson which in this parable Christ conveyed to the ear, 
He addressed, aout the same time, by a striking action, to 
the eye. As He was going from Bethany to Jerusalem, He 
saw a fig-tree by the wayside. " And he came to it, and 
found nothing hut leaves only, and he said to it : May no 
fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And immediately 
the fig-tree withered away. And the disciples seeing it, won 
dered, saying : How is it presently withered away ?" f The 
apostles could not fail to connect this action with the para 
ble quoted above, and to understand them both as referring 
to the rejection of the Jewish people. For three years He 
preached to that people, warned them, and instructed them. 
Then, at last, when they refused to listen to Him, He with 
drew from them His presence, grace, and blessing, and left 
them to the consequences of their unbelief and hardness of 
heart ; left them to " wither away." Listen to His lamenta- 

* St. Luke xiii. 6-9. f St - Matfc - xxi - 19 - 



DIVINE CALLS AND WARNINGS. 347 

tion over that guilty city. It is Palm Sunday, lie is com 
ing to the city in triumph. The crowds are shouting ho- 
sannas. At last, in His journey He comes to the Mount of 
Olives, whence the Holy City is full before His view. . He 
looks at it ; He thinks of all He has done to warn that peo 
ple and convert them ; He thinks of the ill success He has 
met with ; He knows that he is going there for the last time, 
and that in a few days they will fill up the measure of their 
sins by nailing him to the cross ; and, as he looked upon it, 
He wept over it, and said : "Jf thou hadst known, and that 
in this thy day, the things that are for thy peace : lut nmv 
they are hidden from thy eyes. For the days shall come 
upon thee, and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and 
compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side, and heat 
thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee : and 
they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone, because thou 
hast not known the time of thy visitation" * !Behold the 
end ! a people resisting grace, until at last grace forsakes 
them, and they are left to their own impenitence and hard 
ness of heart ! And behold the fearful image of a soul which 
has resisted grace, until its final reprobation ! 

Yes, my brethren, this is but the fearful image of what 
passes in many a soul. What does the Holy Scripture say? 
"The man that with a stiff neck despiseth him that reproveth 
him shall suddenly he destroyed and health shall not follow 
him" f God does not desire the death of the wicked. God 
never entirely ceases to strive with man. God never leaves a 
man altogether destitute of grace. But then God is not bound 
to impart special graces ; and when He finds that these graces 
are uniformly rejected, when he meets only a hardened heart 
and a will obstinately bent on evil, He withholds them, or gives 
them less frequently. Meanwhile bad habits increase ; sins 
multiply ; the root of sin in the heart becomes deeper and 

* St. Luke xix. 41-44. f Prov. xyjy. 1. 



348 DIVINE CALLS AND WARNINGS. 

stronger: years pass on in sin, and at last death comes. 
What kind of a death naturally follows such a life 1 What 
kind of death often, in point of fact, follows such a life ? I 
will tell you : an impenitent death ; the death of the repro 
bate and the lost. Perhaps the man dies a sudden death. 
He may die in his bed, but die a sudden death for all that ; 
for he may die out of his senses, and unable to do any thing 
whatever toward making his peace with God. Or, he may 
die in daring rebellion against God. It is possible for men 
to die so. It is possible for a man who has a deep enmity in 
his heart to refuse to give it up at the last hour ; and it does 
happen. It is possible for a man who has dishonest wealth 
in his possession to clutch it even while his fingers are cold 
and blue in the last agony ; and that does happen. It is pos 
sible for a man who has lived in shameful sins of unchastity 
to refuse to dismiss the partner of his guilt, though in five 
minutes his soul will be in hell ; and that too has happened. 

Or, a man may die in despair. The devil may bring the 
fearful catalogue of his sins before his mind, in all their black 
ness and enormity ; the remembrance of bad confessions and 
broken resolutions may paralyze his will ; and the dreadful 
record of communions made in sacrilege may complete the 
temptation, and the poor soul turn away from the crucifix, 
turn away from the priest, and die pouring forth the ravings 
of despair. 

Or, on the contrary, he may die in presumption, in self- 
deceit. He may indeed go through the form of a confession, 
may receive the sacraments, and cheat himself into thinking 
it is all right, and be all the time a hypocrite, turning 
from his sins, not because he hates them, but because he 
can no longer enjoy them; and may receive the absolution 
of the priest only to hear it reversed the moment he gets 
into the presence of the unerring Judge, before whom are 
open all the secrets of the heart. 

Death in some such form is, I say, the natural end of 



DIVINE CALLS AND WARNINGS. 349 

neglect of divine calls and warnings ; and such a death is, in 
point of fact, not unfrequently the actual end of such a 
course. " For" says the apostle, " the earth that drinketh 
in the rain, which cometh often upon it, and bringeth forth 
herbs useful for them by whom it is tilled, receiveth blessing 
from God. But that which bringeth forth thorns and briers, 
is rejected, and very near to a curse, whose end is to be 
burnt"* 

And, O my brethren, if this is so, you who are putting off 
your conversion, putting off your return to God, to what a 
risk are you exposing your salvation ! You say you will go 
to your confession at some other time. You are young ; you 
imagine it will be easier in coming years ; you think your 
passions will be weaker, your temptations less. But you are 
deceiving yourselves. You are counting on that which you 
do not know will ever be yours. You cannot promise your 
self another year. How many who were here a year ago are 
now numbered with the dead ! some of them as young as you 
are, and who a year ago felt as you do now. You count on 
special graces, and you have no right to count on them. 
You are deceiving yourselves, my brethren, you are deceiving 
yourselves. The freeness and abundance of grace, the cheap 
ness of grace, if I may so express myself, deceives you. God 
invites, and seems to plead and to beseech you to be saved, 
and you think it will always be so. You think a time is 
coming when God will save you in spite of yourselves. You 
know that you are not now on the road to heaven, you know 
that you are living in sin, but you think somehow God will 
interfere and make it right. We are told in the gospel that 
there was at Jerusalem a pool, around which usually lay a 
great multitude of sick and afflicted people, waiting for the 
moving of the water ; for an angel came down at certain 
times and troubled the water, and whoever stepped in first 

* Heb. VL 7, 8. 



350 DIVINE CALLS AND WARNINGS. 

after the troubling of the water was healed. So it is with 
slothful, negligent, procrastinating Christians. They lie in 
their sins, waiting for some aid which will raise them to 
their feet, and make them whole without any effort of their 
own. Yain hope! They will die in their sins. "You 
shall seek me" said Christ, " and you shall die in your 
sins." These fearful words are addressed to you, O des- 
piser of God s grace ; to you, O young man, who deferrest 
conversion ; to you, lover of pleasure, who will not break with 
your idols ; to you, O drunkard, who will not throw away the 
intoxicating glass ; to you, O avaricious man, who are getting 
rich by fraud or by the blood of souls. " You shall die in 
your sins}" 1 That is the end to which you are tending. As 
you have despised God, so He will despise you. You shall 
seek Him, but you shall not find Him. You shall call upon 
Him, but He will not hearken. At your dying hour, every 
thing will fail you. Prayer will die on your lips, unused to 
pray. Your mind, so long accustomed to love sin, will find 
it hard to turn from it with true contrition. The priest, ah ! 
the priest cannot save you. He can only help you, can only 
give you the consolations of religion if you are rightly dis 
posed. And how can you dispose yourself at that dreadful 
hour, when your mind is filled with a fearful looking for of 
judgment, when all your sins, and all the graces you have 
rejected, rise up before your guilty conscience ? Oh ! meet 
this danger. Do not run this risk. Resist no longer the 
grace of God. Behold, now once more God calls you to His 
fear. Behold, the days have come " to do penance, and to 
redeem your sins." God by His Holy Church makes you 
another offer. " Turn unto me, and I will turn unto you" 
saith the Lord. " .Let the wicked forsake his way, and the 
unjust man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord, 
and he will have mercy on him"^ " To-day, then, if you will 

* St. John viii. 21. f Isai. Iv. 7. 



DIVINE CALLS AND WARNINGS. 351 

hear His voice, harden not your hearts" Resolve to prepare 
for your Easter confession. If you caine.last Easter and 
have persevered, bless God, and come now. If you have 
fallen away, see where the error was, and learn a deeper 
humility, and make a stronger purpose, and come again. 

And, oh ! if you have stayed away in former years, and 
are purposing to stay away this Easter, too or if you are too 
negligent to have formed any purpose ; if you are just float 
ing on, heedless and careless, then know, that for all these 
things God will bring you into judgment, that the severest 
part of your account will be for graces resisted and rejected ; 
and that you are preparing for yourselves the retribution 
threatened in those dreadful words: " Because 1 called and 
you refused: I stretched out My Hand / and there was 
none that regarded. You have despised all my counsel, 
and have neglected my reproofs. I also will laugh in your 
destruction : and will mock, when that shall come upon you 
which you feared. WJien sudden calamity shall fall upon 
you, and destruction as a tempest shall he at hand: when 
tribulation and distress shall come upon you: Then they 
shall call upon Me, and I will not hear : they shall rise in 
the morning, and shall not find Me : Because they hated 
instruction, and received not the fear of the Lord, nor con 
sented to My counsel, hut despised all My reproof. There 
fore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and shall be 
filled with their own devices." * 

* Prov. L 24-31. 



352 THE TOMB OF CHRIST, 



SERMON XIY. 

THE TOMB OF CHRIST, THE SCHOOL OF COMFORT. 

(EASTER SUNDAY.) 

" Jesus saith to her: "Woman why weepest thou? "Whom seekest thou?" 

ST. JOHN xx. 15. 

How full of tenderness are these, words ! They were 
spoken on the first Easter Day. This weeping woman was 
Mary Magdalene, she that had been a great sinner, and was 
converted, and loved our Lord so much. She had been at 
His Cross : she is now at His Tomb, with her spices and oint 
ments to anoint His body. But our Lord s body was not 
in the grave. The stone is rolled away. The tomb is open, 
and He is not there. And yet He is not far away. Risen 
from the dead to a new and mysterious life, He hovers about 
the garden, and draws near to her as she approaches the 
sepulchre. At the outburst of her grief on finding the sepul 
chre empty, He breaks silence. " Woman why weepest thou f 
Whom seekest thou f These are the first words our Lord 
spoke after His Resurrection. They are the same words that 
were used by the angel a little before. They seem to be the 
antiphon, the key-note wdiich Heaven has given us to guide 
our Easter thoughts. ISTo tears on Easter Day. Nay, no 
tears any more of the bitter, hopeless kind, for Christ is Risen. 
St. Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Christ represents Hu 
manity sitting in the region and shadow of death. Now to 
day Christ comes forward, and speaks comfortable words to 
the human race. " Why weepest thou f Whom seekest thou?" 
He challenges us. " I, thy risen Saviour," He seems to say, 
" am thy consoler. "What grief is there that I have not re 
moved ?" And is it so ? Are all our real sorrows removed 
or alleviated by the resurrection of Christ ? Yes ; heavenly 
messengers have appeared bringing good tidings. Christ is 



THE SCHOOL OF COMFOKT. 353 

risen. " The stroke of our wound is healed. " To them 
that sat in the region of the shadow of death, light is sprung 
iip" " The Day-Spring from on high hath visited us." The 
earth feels herself to be lightened of her darkness, and in 
every church in Christendom the cry is again and again re 
peated : " Alleluia : Praise the Lord." 

It would be too long to attempt to show how every human 
sorrow can gather consolation from the Resurrection of Christ. 
All I can hope to do this morning is to show how the three 
heaviest troubles of our race doubt, guilt, and bereavement 
find their relief in that event. 

I call doubt, guilt, and bereavement the heaviest woes of 
man. In regard to the first, religious doubt, many of you 
have had no experience. Brought up in the Catholic Church, 
with her teaching always sounding in your ears, you have 
never known what it was to have real doubts about religious 
truth. But there are others who have known that anguish 
by experience. The soul of man thirsts for truth. Deep in 
every man s soul is a desire for God. It may be stifled, it 
may be silenced for a time by passion, but there it is, that 
stretching forth to the Fountain of Goodness and Beauty, 
that longing to know Him and His will. In generous souls, 
in souls that are conscious of their dignity, the finding of 
truth is an indispensable necessity. The search for truth is 
an occupation that must be pursued with whatever pain and 
trouble, and until it be found life is really insupportable. O 
my brethren, I do believe that there are souls around us who 
hunger for truth as a famishing man hungers for food. They 
labor and toil harder than any day-laborer. They are like 
men exploring a dark and many-chambered mine. They go 
with stooping head, and the sweat rolls off their foreheads, 
and their feet stumble, and with their dim light they can see 
but a little way before them, and they are in danger of los 
ing their way. No doubt they learn something ; for God is 
everywhere; God is in our hearts, and in Nature, and in 



354 THE TOMB OF CHRIST, -* 

men, and in books, and in the past, and we cannot look for 
Him anywhere without finding His footprints ; but we want 
more than this. We want God to speak to us. We sigh for 
the lost happiness of Eden, where God walked with our first 
parents in " the cool of the day." This is what men need. 
They need God to reveal Himself to them, to give them cer 
tainty in religious truth, at least on the most important 
points. Everywhere men have been seeking this. "Olt, that 
God would rend the heavens and come down /"* This is 
the cry of humanity, that God would speak to us and make 
us hear His voice. And they have sought for this voice. 
They have strained their ears to listen to it. They have 
sought it of the moon and stars as they moved through the 
heavens by night ; they have sought it in the whispers of the 
grove ; they have sought it at the lips of men of science and 
pretended religious teachers. But they have met in such 
sources only with disappointment or deceit. And yet that 
voice has always been in the world. It spoke at first feebly 
and low, but louder and louder as time went on, until Jesus 
Christ came and u spake as never man spake." He claimed 
to be the Son of God, taught us clearly about God and our 
destiny, promised His unfailing protection to His Church in 
transmitting His doctrine to all generations, and confirmed 
the truth, both of His Teaching and Promises, by rising 
from the dead according to His Word. To Him, therefore, 
belongs the glorious title : " The faithful and True Wit 
ness, the First-Begotten of the Dead." f Eighteen hundred 
years have passed away, but His Word has lost none of its 
authority, and now this morning we can say, as to every 
point of the Catholic creed, with as much certainty as on the 
morning of the Resurrection the Apostles felt in regard to 
all the words of Christ " I believe" O glorious privilege of 
a Catholic ! " Hejoice" says the prophet, " and be glad in 

^ 

* Isaias Ixiv. 1. f Apoc. i. 5. 



THE SCHOOL OF COMFORT. 355 

the Lord, children of Sion, because He hath given to you 
a Teacher of Justice"* Obedient to this inspired injunc 
tion, the Church requires the Creed to be sung at her great 
solemnities. It is not enough to recite it. No ; it must be 
sung, sung in full chorus, accompanied with instruments of 
music. And fitting it is and right. Worship would be in 
complete without it. Litanies and hymns are the means by 
which the heart does homage to God ; but CREDO, " I believe," 
that is the intellect s cry of joy at its emancipation from the 
bondage of doubt. Oh, how mistaken are those who imagine 

C) ^s 

that the articles of the Creed are like fetters on the mind. 
On the contrary, they are to us the evidences of that liberty 
wherewith Christ has made us free. We reject temptations 
against faith, as attacks on our happiness. We feel that to 
doubt tha doctrine of faith would be to doubt the Son of 
God, and to doubt Him would be to discredit our own soul. 
Be firm, then, my brethren in faith. Remember that faith 
is part of your birthright and privilege as Christians. The 
Sepulchre of Christ is the gate to the Palace of Truth. See, 
the door is open. The stone is rolled away. Oh, enter and 
be blest. With Thomas look at His wounded side and say, 
" My Lord and my God !" With Magdalene fall at His 
feet and call Him "Master" Listen to His words and 
doubt no more. " Being no more children, tossed to and fro, 
and carried about with every wind of doctrine, but holding 
the truth in charity, in all things grow up in Him who is 
the Head, Christ "\ 

Again, as doubt is the bondage of the intelleet, so guilt is 
the burden of the conscience. Who can give peace to a soul 
that has sinned ? The prophet Micheas well describes the 
anxiety of such a soul. " What shall 1 offer to the Lord that 
is worthy f WJierewith shall I kneel before the High Godf 
Shall I offer holocausts unto Him, and calves of a year old f 

*Joelii. 23. 



356 THE TOMB OF CHRIST, 

Will He le appeased with thousands of rams f Shall I give 
my first-born for my wickedness , the fruit of myl)odyfor the 
sin of my soul f " Now, must we for ever go on in this un 
certainty ? Shall we never, after we have sinned, have again 
the assurance that we are pardoned ? Must we go trembling 
all our days, and be terror-stricken at the hour of death ? Are 
we left to our own fancyings and feelings to decide whether 
we are pardoned or not \ Shall we never hear that sweet 
consoling word : " Go in peace, thy sins are forgiven thee ?" 
Yes, Christ is risen. He is come from the grave " with heal 
ing in His wings." He is come as a conqueror, with the tro 
phies of victory. Hear what He says of Himself: "7 am 
He thai liveth and was dead, and behold Hive forever, and 
have the keys of Hell and Death" \ He has come back 
from the grave with the keys of Hell in His hand. While 
He was yet among men He had promised to give those 
keys to St. Peter and the Apostles, but it was only after 
His death, by which He had merited our pardon, and after 
His Resurrection, by which His Father had attested His 
acceptance of the Ransom, that He proceeded solemnly to 
deliver them. "Now when it was late" says St. John, 
"that same day r (Easter day) "Jesus came and stood in 
the midst and said to them : Peace he to you. As the 
Father hath sent Me, I also send you. When He had said 
this, He breathed on them, : and He said to them, Receivethe 
Holy Ghost : Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven 
them" and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained" \ 
Do you hear this, O sinner ? He offers you pardon, and He 
assures you of it. All He asks of you is a true sorrow ; all 
He asks is a fervent and true purpose to offend Him no more. 
Come, confessing your sins ; come, forsaking them, and He 
has promised that His priest shall declare to you, in His 
name : " I absolve thee from thy sins." He has promised to 

* Mich, vl 6 f Apoc. i. 18. \ St. John xx. 19. 



\ 



THE SCHOOL OF COMFORT. 357 

ratify the sentence in heaven. Can you doubt His power 1 
Can you doubt His truth? No : He has risen for our justifi 
cation. " What shall we say then to these things f If God 
~befor us, who shall be against us ? Who shall lay anything 
to the charge of the elect of God ? It is God that justifieth. 
Who is he that shall condemn f It is Christ that died, yea also 
Who is risen again." * Do not look on us, the ministers of 
His grace, weak and frail as we are. Look at the Saviour. 
Lool^at Him dying on the cross, a ransom for our sins. Look 
at Him, rising from the dead on the third day, having accom 
plished a complete victory over our spiritual enemies, and 
bringing to us life and pardon. See Him in His divine 
power, instituting sacraments by which that life and pardon 
might be communicated to us. Believe His word, trust His 
merits, have recourse to His sacraments, and thus, "being 
justified by faith have once more peace with God, and rejoice 
again in hope of the Glory of God"\ Come, forgiven sin 
ner, lift up your head, for God hath cleansed you. Be happy : 
be a Christian : be a man once more, for you are clothed 
again in the garments of innocence and sanctity. It is no 
incomplete and grudging pardon He has given you. Though 
your sins " were as scarlet," they are now as " white as snow ;" 
though they were " red like crimson," they are " as white as 
wool." "He hath cast your sins into the bottom of the sea." 
They shall never be mentioned to you again. He has even 
restored to you again the merits you had acquired in days of 
innocence, and lost again by sin. He has u restored to you 
the years which the locust and the caterpillar and the mil 
dew and the palmer-worm hath eaten?\ Let, then, gratitude 
fill your -heart, let joy be written on your face, and let holy 
resolves for the future correspond to the mercy you have 
received. 

Yes, my brethren, Christ at His Sepulchre satisfies the in 
tellect and heals the conscience and He also silences another 

* Rom. viii. 33. f Rom. v. 1. \ Joel ii. 25. 



358 THE TOMB OF CHRIST, 

cry of human woe. It is that of which the prophet spoke 
when he said : " A voice was heard of lamentation, of 
mourning and weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and 
refused to be comforted, because they are not."* Oh ! it is 
hard to see one we- love die, but is it not harder to our sensi 
tive nature to bury them ? That makes us feel what we have 
lost. Reason tells us that the soul is immortal, but we need 
something more for our comfort. The heart asks, " What is 
to become of the body that I loved so much?" Talk o/ the 
lifeless and speechless corpse. It is not lifeless and speech 
less to me. Those cold lips smile the old smile on me, and 
whisper in my ear a thousand words of kindness. And oh, 
to part with that ! To lose even that sad comfort! To have 
the body of the dead taken away from us, is not that a grief? 
Such was Mary Magdalene s sorrow. " They have taken 
away my Lord out of the Sepulchre, and I know not where 
they have laid Him"\ She could bear any thing but that. 
She had borne up at our Lord s death. It was a bitter thing, 
but then she stood at the foot of the cross on which He hung, 
and she could look up at Him and see Him. She had borne 
up on Friday evening, for then she was busy preparing her 
spices and ointments. She had borne up on Saturday, for 
she was thinking all day of her visit to the grave next 
morning. But on Sunday, to go and find His body gone 
never again to look upon those lips that had spoken peace to 
her soul ; never again to kiss with affection those sacred feet, 
oh, this was too much. And Mary stood at the Sepulchre 
weeping. But lo ! what voice is that which speaks : " Wo 
man, why weepest thou?" It is the voice of Jesus himself, 
of Jesus whom, she mourns. Himself, flesh and blood, the 
very Jesus whom she had known and loved. So, my breth 
ren, as you weep at the graves of your friends, those very 
friends stand near you and say, " Why weepest thou ?" Weep 

* Jer. xixi. 15. f St. John xx. 2. 



THE SCHOOL OF COMFORT. 359 

not for me. Weep not for me, childless mother ! Weep not 
for me, my orphan child ! Weep not for me, nry sorrowing 
friend ! Leave my body awhile in the grave. It is not dead 
but sleeps. " For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and in 
the last day I shall arise out of the earth. And I shall be 
clothed again with my skin and in my flesh 1 shall see my 
God : Whom I myself shall see, and my eyes shall behold, 
and not anotJier t 8"* Touch me not yet : wait awhile, and 
you shall see my hands and feet, that it is I myself. " For 
as in A dam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. 
But every one in his own order / the first fruits Christ, then 
they that are of Christ, who have believed in His coming "\ 

Strange it is that our comfort and joy should come out of 
the grave. But so it is. By the resurrection of Christ all 
our woes are healed. Our new life springs from the sepulchre 
of Christ. Christ is risen ; we believe. Christ is risen ; we are 
pardoned. Christ is risen ; death loses its power to separate 
Christians. Mourn then no longer, my brethren, it is Easter. 
Believe, and rejoice. Forsake your sins, and rejoice. Bury 
your dead in Christ, and rejoice in hope. The former things 
are passed away ; all things are become new. " The winter 
is now passed the rain is over and gone. The flowers have 
appeared; the time of pruning is come / the voice of the dove 
is heard in our land"\ It is Easter. This is that day 
"which the Lord hath made." This is the Lord s Passover. 
The Red Sea is crossed : we are delivered out of Egypt, and 
are marching to the promised land. It is Easter. Mary has 
been at the sepulchre early this morning and has seen the 
Saviour. Jesus has appeared in the midst of the disciples, 
saying, " Peace be with you." Some have known Him in 
breaking of bread. To some He has drawn near as they 
walked along and discoursed together. Some that were sad 
He has comforted. How has it been with each of you? Has 

* Job xix. 25. f I. Cor. vr. 22. \ Cant, ii 11, 12. 



360 ST. MARY MAGDALENE AT THE SEPULCHRE. 

this day been a clay of joy to you ? Has it awakened you to 
new life, new hopes, new aspirations? or does it find you 
cold, dead to spiritual things, perhaps not even in the grace 
of God, and in love with your sins ! Oh, at least now awake 
to the hopes and desires of a Christian. " The day is far 
spent j it draweth toward evening" Let not this glorious 
feast depart and leave you as you are. While angels and the 
Son of God are abroad on the earth, scattering grace and 
consolation, do not you alone remain unblest. Claim your 
privileges as a Christian, and, risen with Christ in baptism, 
seek those things that are above, where Christ sitteth at the 
right hand of God. 

And you, faithful souls who have done your duty, who 
have found in this Feast a joy and comfort that passes under 
standing, know that the gladness of Easter is but an earnest of 
another day, the great day of eternity, which will open on 
the morning of resurrection, and which knows no evening ; 
which has no need of the sun, for God is the light thereof; 
when God shall wipe away all tears ; and death shall be no 
more ; and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 



SERMON XY. 

ST. MARY MAGDALENE AT THE SEPULCHRE. 

(EA.STEB SUNDAY.*) 

" But He rising early the first day of the week, appeared first to Mary Mag. 
dalene." ST. MARK xvi. 9. 

ST. MAKY MAGDALENE may be called the Saint of the Re 
surrection. She is intimately associated with that event in 
the pages of the Scriptures, and in the minds of Christians. 

* 

* The substance of this sermon is from St. Thomas of Yillanova. 



ST. MARY MAGDALENE AT THE SEPULCHRE. 361 

Indeed, the Gospel account of the Resurrection embraces an 
almost continuous record of the actions of this holy woman 
from the Crucifixion until Easter day ; and I have thought 
that in tracing that record this morning, while I am present 
ing to you the great mystery of to-day s celebration, I shall 
at the same time be pointing out to you the means of obtaining 
those graces which our risen Lord has come to impart. St. 
Mary Magdalene s history for these three days is a history 
of love. Every thing she does, every thing she says, is a proof 
of her love for our Lord. And the distinguishing favors our 

o o 

Lord bestowed on her are a pledge of what we may look for 
to-day, if we imitate her love. 

First, then, we are told, that when our Lord was taken down 
from the cross, and laid in the new tomb of Joseph of Ari- 
rnathea, she went " and saw how the body was laid." One 
might have thought it would have satisfied her to stand by 
the cross, through those fearful hours, till it was all over, and 
then to have returned home. ISTo ; love will see the last. 
She will follow on to the grave. It is true the dead bodies 
of our friends feel not our kindness, but still we want them 
treated with tenderness and care. So Mary follows the 
corpse to the burial, and, when it is laid in the sepulchre, she 
looks in to see how it is laid. Not a superficial look : no, 
an earnest scrutinizing gaze. She sees how the drooping 
head lays on its stony pillow, and how the pierced hands 
and feet are disposed. She makes a picture of it all in her 
own mind, and " then returns to the city to prepare spices 
and ointments." Now, there was no need at all of this. 
Nicodemus had come, as soon as Pilate had given the dis 
ciples possession of our Lord s body, and brought " a mixture 
of myrrh and aloes, a hundred pounds weight." But Mary 
does not care for that. Others may do what good works they 
choose, but she will not be cheated of hers. And what she 
does she will do prodigally, too. It was her way. You 
remember how, at the house of Simon, she brought her ala- 

16 



362 ST. MARY MAGDALENE AT THE BEPULCHBE. 

baster box of ointment, and broke it, and scattered it over 
the feet of Jesus, so that the whole house was tilled with the 
perfume ; and how Judas found fault with her, saying, " This 
ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred 
pence, and given to the poor." Our Lord attempted then to ex 
cuse her extravagance, saying, " She hath done this against the 
day of my burial." No, she would do itthen, and she would do it 
at His burial, too. Nicodemus and u the holy women " may 
bring as much as they like, but she will do her part. Precious 
and costly shall, her offering be as she can make it, not be 
cause He needs it, but because her heart is straitened to ex 
press its love. It is her pleasure to spend and be spent for 
Him whom she loved ; and all she can do is too little. 

But while Mary s love was impulsive and generous, it was 
obedient. u She rested on the Sabbath dav, according to the 

v J O 

commandment." Here is a test of true love. We want to 
do something very much ; we think the motive is good; but 
there comes a providential obstacle in the way. We cannot 
do it just now. We cannot do it just in the way we want. And 
too often our love is not pure enough for this test. We mur 
mur and complain, and commit a thousand disobediences, and 
show how much self-love had to do with our undertakings. 

o 

It was not so with this holy woman. She waited all the 
Sabbath day. It was God s command. The seventh day 
was kept by the Jews with a ceremonial strictness that for 
bade all work ; and she would keep the commandment to the 
letter. So not a step would she take on the Sabbath, not 
even to the Saviour s grave. I am sure that Sabbath was a long 
one to her. Never was time s foot so heavy. Never 
did the hours go so slow. Never were the sacred services so 
tedious. A thousand times she goes to the window to see if 
the shadows were getting long, and each time it seems to her 
that the sun is standing still. O loving heart ! loving in 
what she did not do, as well as in what she did. She will 
not take liberties with her conscience. She will not be 



ST. MAKY MAGDALENE AT THE SEPULCHRE. 363 

officious or intrusive. She will not please herself on pretence 
of doing something for God. And so, though her heart is at the 
sepulchre all day, though she yearns to go thither, not a foot 
will she stir, not a hand will she lift, till she knows that the 
fitting time is come. Her love was that orderly charity of 
which the Holy Scripture speaks.* 

But the longest day has an end, and the end of that Sab 
bath at last arrived. The sun sinks beneath the horizon. 
The evening sacrifice is over. Darkness falls upon the temple 
aisles, and the last worshipper departs. By degrees the streets 
of Jerusalem become silent and deserted. It is night, a 
glorious night; for the full paschal moon pours down its 
floods of light upon the holy city. And now the good 
woman, laden w r ith her ointments and spices, sets out for the 
sepulchre. Alone, or only with a feeble woman like herself, 
she goes out late at night, and whither ? To a garden out 
side the city, where a band of soldiers keep watch over a 
grave, closed with a great stone, and sealed with the seal of 
state. Is she not afraid ? Does she not run a thousand risks ? 
Even supposing she reaches the place in safety, will she be 
permitted to approach the grave ? Who will roll the stone 
from the door? Who will dare to break the seal? O holy 
boldness of love ! which, when a duty is to be done, asks uo 
questions, and knows no difficulties. O love ! stronger 
than death, despising torments and casting out fear ! Here 
is the wisdom of the saints. Here is the secret of all the great 
things that have been done for God. There is a higher wis- 

O O 

domand a higher prudence than the wisdom and the prudence 
of this world. There is a trust in God which is ever regarded 
as daring and enthusiastic, but which God justifies, and men 
themselves are forced at last to applaud. 

Such were the sentiments with which St. Mary Magdalene 
went to the sepulchre. But here a new circumstance de- 

* Cant. ii. 4. 



364 ST. MARY MAGDALENE AT THE SEPULCHRE. 

mands our attention. She set out, we are told, " while it was 
yet dark." It was night, the dead of night, when she left 
her house, and she did not reach the sepulchre till " the sun 
was risen." How did this happen ? The place in which our 
Lord was crucified was, as the evangelist tells us, " near the 
city." And, one reason why Pilate suffered the disciples to 
lay our Lord s body in Joseph s tomb was, because it was 
close to the place of crucifixion, and the body could be laid 
there before the Passover began. What, then, delayed St. 
Mary Magdalene so long? What is the meaning of this? 
so prompt and eager in setting out, so tardy in arriving ? 
Love, again, my brethren, is the explanation. She had to 
pass through the city. Her road was what is called the " "Way 
of Sorrows," which Jesus took when he was led to Calvary, 
and along which she had followed Him on -Good Friday. 
How could she go fast ? Every step brought its own memo 
ries. There was the house of Caiaphas. There the judgment- 
hall of Pilate. There the balcony at which Jesus had been 
presented to the crowd, clad in a purple robe and crowned 
with thorns. There stood the pillar at which He had been 
scourged, and there was the spot at which he had fallen un 
der the weight of His cross, and it was given to Simon of 
Gyrene to carry. No, her course was a pilgrimage. Each 
step was a holy station, at which she stopped awhile to pray 
and call to mind the events of that dreadful morning. And 
when she came to Calvary, where the cross was still standing, 
and threw herself on the ground to kiss the sod still wet with 
the Saviour s Blood, the hours pass by unheeded, for Jesus 
hangs there again, and Mary, His mother, is by her side, and 
each tender word, each look of sorrow is again repeated. 
Love meditates. Love lingers in the footsteps of its beloved, 
and the shortest, sweetest hours it finds on earth are hours 
of prayer. "What wonder, then, that Mary kneels, embracing 
the foot of the cross, in perfect forgetfulness of all else be 
sides, until, as she raises her eyes to cast an adoring glance, 



ST. MARY MAGDALENE AT THE SEPULCHRE. 365 

slie sees that tlie cross is gilded by the red gleam of the com 
ing Easter sun that it is already day. Thus recalled to 
herself, she kisses that sacred tree for the last time, tears her 
self from it, and hurries off to fulfil the work she had in 
hand. 

And she arrived at the sepulchre just in time, or rather 
God was there to meet her to reward her love. For the mo 
ment she arrived, " there was a great earthquake, and an an 
gel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled 
back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was 
like lightning and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him 
the guards were struck with terror, and became as dead men. 
And the angel, answering, said to the woman : Fear not 
you, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 
lie is not here, for He is risen, as He said. Come and see 
the place where the Lord was laid. And go quickly, tell his 
disciples that He is risen, and behold, He will go before you 
into Galilee. And they went out quickly from the sepulchre 
with fear and great joy, running to tell his disciples. * See 
her running from the sepulchre as fast as she had so lately run 
to it ; for love easily changes its employment at the voice of 
its beloved. She had come to anoint the body of Jesus; 
there is no need of that now, for Jesus is alive ; but still 
there is something to do for Jesus to tell His disciples. 
Peter, James, John, and the other disciples are at home, 
sorrowful and fearful. He whom they loved and trusted is 
no more; and they, whither shall they go? Besides this, 
there was an additional sorrow. They had forsaken their 
good Master in the day of His distress ; Peter had even de 
nied with an oath that he knew Him ; and they now sat 
depressed and anxious in that upper chamber in which so 
lately they had eaten the Passover with Him. But He is 
alive ! and Mary knows it ! Shall she wait to see Him ? No, 

* St. Matt, rsviii. 2-8. 



366 ST. MARY MAGDALENE AT THE SEPULCHRE. 

she must go quickly and tell His disciples. " This command 
ment have we from God, that He that loveth God, love his 
brother also."* And Mary leaves the sepulchre, leaves 
Christ, to go and carry the joyful news to His afflicted breth 
ren. With nimble feet, with eager countenance, she returns 
to the city, seeks out the well-known house, and appears in 
the midst of the sorrowing group, with the exclamation: 
u Jesus is alive ! He is risen from the dead !" 

Alas ! poor Magdalene ! " Her words seemed to them as 
an idle tale." To us, familiar with the doctrine and proofs 
of our Lord s Resurrection, it is wonderful how slow the 
apostles were to believe it. No doubt, their slowness to 
believe is a benefit to us, because it was the occasion of mul 
tiplying the proofs. Perhaps, too, it was not unnatural ; for 
faith does not come all at once. There is often a period be 
tween doubt and faith, a period of inconsistency ; in which 
one is at one moment all Christian, and at another believes 
nothing. Certainly it was so with the apostles on Easter 
Day, and Mary Magdalene seems to have shared their infirm 
ity. The apostles, as soon as they had heard the news that 
Christ has risen, set out for the sepulchre. When they came 
to the place, they found indeed the grave open, and the 
linen cloths, in which the Lord s body had been wrapped, 
lying in it, and the guard gone ; but Him they saw not. 
Mary Magdalene accompanied them, and when she saw 
neither the Lord Himself, nor the angel who had spoken to 
her, and when she saw the incredulous looks of the disciples, 
she herself began to doubt. But though her faith was w r eak, 
her love was strong ; and she stood at the door of the sepul 
chre, weeping. At least she will not give up the idea of find 
ing the Lord s body, and carrying out her first intention of 
embalming it. So she stands at the sepulchre, and looks in. 
She had looked in many times already ; she had every corner 

*I. St. Johniv. 21. 



ST. MARY MAGDALENE AT THE SEPULCHRE. 367 

of it by heart ; but she looks in again. She will see the 
place where the Lord lay, if she cannot see Himself: and 
lo ! this time she sees a new sight. There are two angels, 
in white, sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, 
where the body of Jesus had lain. Angels again ! but this 
time not angels of fear, with a terrible countenance, as the 
first had been, but angels of comfort and peace. And they 
spoke to her: "Woman, why weepest thou? Why dost 
thou seek the living amon^; the dead ?" One would have 

o o 

thought it was something to see an angel, and hear his voice : 
but this good woman makes very little of it. ~No angel will 
satisfy her now. " They have taken away my Lord," she 
replies, " and I know not where they have laid Him ?" Is 
not this grief enough ? to have lost a Lord, a Friend, a Sa 
viour, such as Jesus was, "and not even to have so much as 
His lifeless body left on which to lavish her endearments. 
O my brethren, no created thing can satisfy the soul. I say 
not, though we had all the treasures of earth, but though we 
had all the treasures of heaven ; though angels and saints 

* O O 

were ours ; though we had visions and revelations ; yet all 
would be nothing if we had not God. Heaven would be 
hell without Him, and at the very gate of Paradise the soul 
would weep and say, " They have taken away my Lord." 

But at this point a new actor appears on the scene. A 
man approaches, and addresses Magdelene in the same words 
that the angels had used: "Woman, why weepest thou? 
Whom seekest thou ?" She takes him for the gardener, and 
suddenly a suspicion seizing her that he might know some 
thing of the treasure she had lost, turned upon him and said : 
" Sir, if thou hast borne Him away, tell me where thou hast 
laid Him ; and I will take Him away." She does not answer 
his question. She does not tell him whom she is seeking. 
For, as St. Bernard observes, " Love imagines every one is as 
full of the object of its love as it is itself;" and so she says: 
"If thou hast borne Him away, tell me where thou hast laid 



368 ST. MARY MAGDALENE AT THE SEPULCHRE. 

Him, and I will take Him away." No need to mention His 
Name. All things knew it. The sun publishes it. It is 
written on the leaves. The wind utters it. It is the Name 
that is above every name the Name at which every knee 
must bow. " Tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will 
go and carry Him away." What, you ! a weak woman ! 
Can you carry away a heavy corpse ? Yes, she can ; and 
they that doubt it do not know how strong love is, how great 
a weight it can carry, what hard things it can do, and how it 
makes a man do what is above nature, or, rather, how, with 
faith and grace, it brings out the power that is in these hu 
man hearts of ours, and awakens their latent energies. 

And now Jesus can restrain Himself no longer ; for Jesus 
it is who now speaks with her. She had charged Him with 
taking away the Sacred Body, and she was right. He it 
was who had taken it from the grave. " I have power to 
lay it down," said He,^and I have power to take it up 
again."* Yes, it was Jesus. He had seen her tears, listened 
to her complaint, watched her efforts, and now the time had 
come when He would disclose Himself to her. He said to 
her : " Mary !" Oh ! what voice is that ? What sweet and 
tender memories it wakes up ! The home of Bethany, the 
banqueting-hall of Simon, Mount Calvary, all are brought 
before her. She turns and looks keenly at the speaker, and 
one look is enough. It is He ? the same the very same who 
spoke pardon and peace to her soul, when first, a guilty 
woman, she had washed His feet with her tears. It is Jesus. 
He lives again. And, with her accustomed salutation, she 
kneels before Him, and says : " Eabboni !" which is to say, 
Master ! 

How much is expressed in this brief interview. u Mary !" 
It is a word of gentle reproach. Mary, dost thou not remem 
ber My words My promise that I would rise again ? Mary, 
dost thou not believe My angels, bearing testimony to 

* St. John x. 18. 



ST. MARY MAGDALENE AT THE SEPULCHRE. 369 

Resurrection ? Mary, whose brother Lazarus I have raised 
from the grave, dost thou not think that I am as powerful to 
rise from the dead as to restore life to others? "Mary /" It 
is a term of affection. As much as to say : I am risen ; but 
I am still thy friend. I do not forget the past, and now, on 
this glorious morning of My Resurrection, I tell thee that I 
know thee by thy name, and love thee with the same love 
with which I loved thee in the days of My sorrow. And, 
"Master /" is her fitting reply. " Master of my heart, whom 
only I have loved !" " Master of my faith, whom now I 
acknowledge as indeed risen from the dead !" "Master, whose 
Truth and Power I have been so slow to understand 1" 
"Master, whom all my future life shall honor and obey !" 
O happy Magdalene ! Her search is ended. Her tears are 
dried. O joy beyond all thought ! She has seen Him, and 
talked with Him ! 

O my brethren, need I say more? Has not St. Magdalene 
preached an Easter sermon ? Love is the way to keep this 
feast. Love is the way to faith and joy. It is the way to 
faith, for our Lord says : " If any man shall do the will of 
God he shall know of the doctrine, whether it is of God."* 
It is said of Magdalene that she loved much because she was 
pardoned much ; I say she believed much because she loved 
much. And love is the way to joy. Who are they that are 
truly happy on this day ? They who with Magdalene have 
sought Jesus ; they who by a true confession and a devout 
communion have united themselves to the risen Saviour, and 
conversed with him in sweet familiarity. For to them our 
Lord speaks and says : " Fear not, I have called thee by thy 
name, thou art mine. I am the Lord, thy Saviour, thy Re 
deemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. Behold My hands and 
feet, that it is I myself! Fear not, Israel my -chosen, and 
Jacob mine elect, for I am He that liveth and was dead, and 
have the keys of hell and death. And behold ! I am alive 
for ever more !" 

16* * St. John vii. 17. 



370 THE PREACHER, 



SEEMON XYI. 

THE PREACHER, THE ORG-AN OF THE HOLY GHOST. 
(FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTEB.) 

" When He the Spirit of Truth shall come, He will lead you into all truth." 

ST. JOHN xvi. 13. 

I NEED hardly say that the words " all truth " in this prom 
ise mean all truth relating to our salvation. It is no part of 
our Lord^te plan to teach us the truths of natural science. 
He leaves us to discover these by our own intelligence. He 
comes to teach us faith and morals what we are to believe, 
and what we are to do, in order to be saved. He did this 
while He was on earth by His conversations with His disci 
ples, and by His public sermons to the Jews ; but He prom 
ised that this work should be carried on after His death 
more extensively and systematically. Thus, in the words of 
the text : " When He the Spirit of Truth shall come He will 
lead you into all truth"* And again : " The Paraclete, the 
Holy Ghost) Whom the Father will send in My name. He 
will teach you all things and will bring all things to your 
mind whatsoever I shall have said to ypu"\ It Cannot but 
be a matter of interest to inquire in what manner this prom 
ise has been fulfilled. 

I answer, the Holy Ghost leads us into all truth necessary 
to our salvation by the public preaching of the Word of God. 
If we examine our Lord s words attentively, we shall be led 
to the conclusion that the ministry of the Holy Ghost to 
which He alludes is a public ministry. His own ministry 
was a public one, and in promising that the Holy Ghost 
should carry it on and complete it, He leads us to anticipate 
that the ministry of the Holy Ghost would also be public. 

* St. John zvi. 13. f St. John xiv. 26. 



THE ORGAN OF THE HOLY GHOST. 371 

And His own subsequent language shows that this if, really 
so, and acquaints us with the way in which this ministry is 
to be exercised. Just before our Lord s Ascension He met 
the Apostles on a mountain in Galilee, and said to them : 
"All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye. 
therefore, and teach all nations ; baptizing them in the na~n><- 
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; teaching 
them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you 
and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation 
of the world."* August and extensive as this commission 
was, it did not by itself qualify the Apostles for their great 
work. They were to wait in Jerusalem " till they were en 
dued with power from on high." This " power " was the 
Holy Ghost which actually did descend on them at the feast 
of Pentecost. Here we find a company of men commis 
sioned by Christ to teach the world in His name, and em 
powered by the Holy Ghost for that purpose. We find these 
men afterward everywhere claiming to be the organs of 
the Holy Ghost. Thus, at the council of Jerusalem, they 
did not hesitate to publish their decrees with this preface : 
"It hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us"^ And 
St. Paul tells the bishops of Epheius, that they were placed 
over the Church " "by the Holy Ghost "$ 

Kow, who does not see here the realization and fulfil 
ment of the great promise of Christ which I have quoted as 
my text ? That teaching of the Holy Ghost which was to 
follow His, which was to bring all things to remembrance 
which He had said, which was to abide forever, and which 
was to make known all necessary truth, was the teaching of 
the Apostles and their successors. It is the teaching of the 
Holy Ghost, because the Holy Ghost moves them to preach, 
furnishes them with the rule of their doctrine, and gives them 
their warrant and authority. In this sense it is that our 
Lord s promise is to be understood. It is a promise that 

* St. Matt, rtviii. 18-20. f Acts xv. 28. \ Acts xr. 28. 



372 THE PREACHER, 

reaches to all time. It concerns us here and now. It as 
sures us that at this day, far removed as we are from the 
times of Christ, across so many centuries, the Holy Ghost 
through the agency of the Church still brings to us the echoes 
of His words. He does this in the most solemn and authori 
tative way by those great decisions of the Church to which 
He sets the seal of His Infallibility : but he does it in less 
solemnity, less authoritatively, but more frequently, by the 
preaching of each individual priest. It is for this end that 
the priest is ordained. He is consecrated and set apart, not 
merely to say Mass, not merely to receive the confessions of 
penitent sinners and absolve them, but to publish the Word 
of God ; and He is empowered by the Holy Ghost for this 
very purpose. The Christian preacher is no mere lecturer, 
but an authorized agent and messenger of God, to deliver 
to the people the will of God. It is chiefly by the ordinance 
of preaching, in its various forms, that the Holy Ghost car 
ries on the work of instructing men s faith, and regulating 
their morals. 

And here, I think, is to be found the real answer to a mis 
conception of our principles so common among Protestants. 
It is very commonly said and believed that the Catholic 
Church wishes to keep the people in ignorance of the Scrip 
tures. Now, this is not true. The Church does not wish to 
keep the Scriptures from the people. On the contrary, in 
all cases in which they are likely to prove beneficial she ap 
proves and encourages their use ; but she does not regard the 
reading of the Scriptures as the necessary, or even as the 
ordinary mode of familiarizing the people with the Word of 
God. Thousands have gone to heaven who never read one 
page of the Bible. St. Irenseus instances whole nations who 
professed and practised Christianity in entire ignorance of 
the Divine Records. How many people in every generation 
are unable to read. Now, God has not made a twofold sys 
tem of salvation ; one for the ignorant and one for the cdu- 



THE ORGAN OF THE HOLY GHOST. 373 



cated. No : according to the Catholic idea, for rich and 
poor, for learned and unlearned alike, there is one way of 
truth the living voice of the preacher. This is God s way. 
This is the Voice of the Holy Ghost. This is the publication 
of the Word of God. This is the sword of the Spirit. The 
decree has never been revoked : "The priest s lips shall keep 
knowledge; and the people shall seek the law at his mouth 
because he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts" * 

But an objection may be drawn against this high view of 
the ordinance of preaching, from the infirmities of the 
preacher himself. It may be said : You tell us that the 
Holy Ghost speaks by the voice of the preacher, yet the 
preacher is but a Mliblem an, ignorant of many things, 
liable to be deceived himself, not free from passions which 
may affect his judgment. May he not falsify his message ? 
May he not dishonor it ? I do not deny the fact on which 
this objection is founded. Undoubtedly, the preacher may be 
unfaithful in the delivery of his message. In the Catholic 
Church, however, the watchfulness of discipline, and the 
general acquaintance on the part of the people with the 
standards of faith and practice, will prevent any very serious 
error finding its way into the public teaching of the priest. 
"Who supposes, for instance, that any Catholic congregation 
would tolerate from the pulpit a denial of Transubstantia- 
tion, or the true Divinity of our Lord, or the necessity of 
good works 1 But within a certain limit, no doubt, there 
may be much imperfection in the preacher, much that de 
tracts from the purity, the majesty, and the dignity of the 
Word of God. What then? I affirm, nevertheless, that 
preaching is the great instrument of the Holy Ghost for the 
conversion of souls. Strange, that we should start back at 
every new manifestation of a law that goes all through 
-Christianity, and even through all the arrangements of the 

* Mai. ii. V. 



374 THE PREACHER, 

natural world. In every department of human life, God 
makes man His representative man fallible and weak. 
The judge on the bench represents God s Wisdom and 
Equity, though his decisions are often far enough from that 
Divine pattern. The magistrate represents God s authority, 
though in his hands that authority is sometimes made the 
warrant for tyranny and oppression. So, in like manner, 
the preacher represents the Holy Ghost, though he does not 
always represent Him worthily either in manner or matter. 
It is part of a plan. He who chooses man, sinful like our 
selves, and encompassed with infirmities, to convey His par 
don to the guilty, chooses as the organ of the Eternal Wis 
dom, u holy, one, manifold, subtle, eloquent, undefiled, hav 
ing all power, overseeing all things, the Brightness of Eter 
nal Light, the unspotted mirror of God s Majesty* man, 
with stammering lips, with a feeble intellect and an impure 
heart. And there is a reason in this plan. When the 
Church goes out to evangelize a new and strange people, she 
seeks, as soon as possible, to secure some of the natives to 
aid her in her work, who know the speech, and the manners, 
and the habits of thought, of those with whom they have to 
deal. No doubt her old, tried missionaries could furnish an 
instruction which would be more complete in itself, but the 
words of the neophyte will be better understood and received. 
So God, when He speaks to man, chooses as His instrument 
one who understands the dialect of earth. An angel would 
be a messenger answering better to His dignity, but less to 
our necessities ; so He considers our welfare alone, and 
passes by Raphael, " who is one of the daily angels," and 
Michael, " who is one of the chief princes," and Gabriel, 
who is the strength of God, and chooses Moses, who was 
" slow of speech," and Jeremias, who was diffident as a 
child, and Amos, who was but a herdsman, following 

*Wisd. vii. 22-26. 



THE ORGAN OF THE HOLY GHOST. 875 

flock to utter His will to man. The human alloy in the 
Divine Word, no doubt, makes it less accurate, but it makes 
it more easily understood. Oh ! it is a mercy of God thus 
to disguise Himself and dilute His Word. The children of 

o 

Israel said to Moses : "Speak tJiou to us, and we will hear. 
Let not the Lord speak any more to us, lest we die" Who 
could look upon the Lord and live ? Who could listen to 
His voice in its untempered majesty and not be afraid? 
" The word of God is more penetrating than any two-edged 
sword, reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, 
of the joints also, and the marrow." f Do not be displeased, 
then, because God has sent to thee a messenger like thyself, 
one who speaks thy language, who shares thy ignorance and 
thy frailties ; pardon him, forgive him his defects, strain 
your ear to detect in his lowly language some notes of that 
great message of Eternal Truth and Infinite Love, the story 
so old yet ever new the love of Christ, the will of God, the 
end of man, grace, holiness, and eternity, those things on 
which depend our happiness here and our salvation here 
after. 

But here I feel as if I ought to add a word or two of ex 
planation. When I say that the Holy Ghost teaches by the 
voice of the preacher, I do not mean to assert that He teaches 
in no other way. A very great part of the preacher s mes 
sage consists of truths which are already written by the finger 
of God on every man s natural conscience. A preacher is 
not required to make us understand that it is wrong to break 
the precepts of the moral law. Natural reason, the light 
that enlighteneth every man that comes into this world, tells 
us that. I could not but be struck the other day, as I passed 
two young men in the street, at hearing the honest protest 
with which one of them met the sophistry in which his com 
panion was evidently trying to indoctrinate him : * What !" 

* Exod. xx. 19. f Heb. iv. 12. 



376 THE PREACHER, 

said he, " you don t mean to say it isn t a sin to get drunk !" 
Indeed, it is seldom that men justify themselves for actions 
that are plainly wrong. They are still too full of the Holy 
Ghost for that. Passion corrupts their will, but does not 
always darken their understanding. They know the right 
while they pursue the wrong. But this circumstance does 
not make the office of the preacher unnecessary ; by no 
means. On the contrary, it is from this that the preacher 
derives a great part of his power. What he says iinds an 
echo in the hearts of his hearers. One of the strongest 
things that St. Paul said in his defence before Agrippa was the 
appeal: "King Agrippa, fielievest tlwu the prophets? I 
know that thou lelievest." * And so when the preacher is 
speaking before a congregation, of justice, of temperance, of 
judgment to come, do you know what it is that gives him 
such boldness and daring ? My brethren, I will tell you a 
secret. Perhaps you may sometimes have felt surprise when 
you have heard us, who have so many reasons for feeling dif 
fident before you, so keen in denouncing your sins, so vehe 
ment in urging you to your duties. Are we not afraid of 
wounding your pride, of alienating your affections ? No : 
it is in your hearts that we have our strength. We would 
not dare to speak so unless we knew that we had a powerful 
ally in your hearts your better nature, your reason, your 
conscience, the divinity that is within you. It is the greatest 
mistake in the world to suppose that it is unnecessary to tell 
people what they know already. Half the good advice that 
is given in the world consists of the most commonplace and 
familiar truths, but will any one say for that reason that it 
is useless ? ISTo : the fact is, it is a great help to hear our 
own convictions uttered outside of us. A man believes 
more, is more conscious of his belief, his belief becomes more 
distinct, more serviceable, when he hears it from another s lips. 

* Acts xxvi. 27. 



THE ORGAN OF THE HOLY GHOST. 377 

What a mercy of God it is, then, in a world like this, where 
there are so many temptations, where there are so many evil 
examples, so much to draw off the mind from God, where it 
is so easy to obscure the line between right and wrong, that 
there should be an authoritative voice lifted up from time to 
time in warning ! What a mercy, in those dreadful moments 
when the conflict rages high between passion andprinciple,and 
the soul, weary of the strife, is on the point of surrender, to be 
re-enforced by God Almighty s aid to hear His voice amid 
the strife, saying : " This is the way / walk ye in it / 

And then it must be remembered, too, that there is much 
of the preacher s message that is not known to man s natural 
reason, consisting of mysteries deep and high, which at the 
best can be known only in part ; and it is apparent how 
much it must depend on the preacher s office to keep these 
mysteries in men s minds, and to secure for them a place in 
men s intelligence and affections. The Christian Faith has 
always, from the beginning, been surrounded by adversaries 
who have attacked it, now on one side, now on another. 
We are apt to think it our peculiar misfortune to hear con 
tinually the doctrines of our faith disputed ; but in fact such 
has been, more or less, the trial of each generation of Chris 
tian believers. Now, amid such ceaseless controversies, what 
means has our Lord left to protect and defend His people from 
doubt and error ? The ministry of preaching. Therefore, 
says the Holy Scripture : "Some He gave to ~be Apostles, and 
some prophets, and others evangelists, and others pastors and 
teachers, that we may not now be children., tossed to and fro, 
and carried about with every wind of doctrine, in the wick 
edness of men, in craftiness by which they lie in wait to de- 
ceive"\ It is the office of the preacher to declare Christian 
doctrine, to defend and explain it, to show its consistency 
and excellence, to answer objections against it, and thus to 

** Isaiah xxx. 21. f Eph. xi. 11-14. 



378 THE PKEACHER, 

add to the power of hereditary faith the force of personal 
conviction. The Church has always understood this, and 
therefore, whenever a new heresy arises, she sends ont a new 
phalanx of preachers to confront it by good and sound doc 
trine. And the enemies of the Church have always under 
stood it, and therefore, in times of persecution, when they 
wished to deal the Christian faith a deadly blow, they sought 
in the first place, by the murder of bishop and priest, to si 
lence the voice of the teacher. It was one of the last woes 
threatened against Jerusalem that the people should seek in 
vain for a vision of the prophet, and that the law should 
perish from the priests ;* and when in the Christian Church 
there shall be heard no more the message of truth, when 
there shall be no more reproof, no more instruction in justice, 
the iniquity shall come in like a flood ; then shall be the 
abomination of desolation, and the time of Antichrist. 

Great, then, nay brethren, is the dignity of preaching. It 
is God speaking on Mount Sinai. It is Jesus preaching on 
the Mount. It is the Divine Sower scattering the seeds of 
truth and virtue. The Holy Ghost has not left the world. 
In every Christian church, at every Mass, the day of Pente 
cost is renewed. See, the priest has clothed himself to cele 
brated the unbloody sacrifice. He has ascended the altar. 
Already the clouds of incense hang over the mercy-seat, and 
hymns of praise ascend ; but he stops, he turns to the peo 
ple. Why does he interrupt the Mass? Has he seen a 
vision ? Has an angel spoken to him, as of old to the prophet 
Zacharias ? Yes, he has seen a vision. He has heard a 
voice. A fire is in his heart. A living coal hath, touched 
his lips, the Breath of the Spirit hath passed over him, and 
he speaks as he is moved by the Holy Ghost. Listen to him, 
for he is a prophet. He speaks to thee from God. "What is 
thy misery? What is thy sorrow? What is thy trial? 

* Ezech. vii. 26. 



THE ORGAN OF THE HOLY G-HOST. 379 

Now thou shalt find relief. Are you in doubt about religious 
truth ? Listen, and you shall find the answer to those doubts. 
Are you sorely tempted to sin ? Now God will give you an 
oracle to strengthen you. Are you distressed and suffering ? 
Have you a secret sorrow ? Now you shall receive an answer 
of comfort. Do you wish to know how to advance in God s 
love ? Now the way shall be made plain before your face. 

blessed truth ! God has not left Himself without a wit. 
ness. The world is not to have it all its own way. The 
teachings of Satan are not to go on all the week uncontra- 
dicted. The dream of the heathen, that there are sacred 
spots on earth whence Divine Oracles issue, is fulfilled. The 
Chair of Truth is set up for the enlightenment of the nations. 
" The people that walked in darkness have seen a great 
light to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of 
death light is sprung up" " The earth is filled with the 
knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." This 
subject suggests some very practical reflections. I am not 
unmindful that some of them concern the preacher himself. 

1 do not forget that the thought of the high dignity of his 
office calls for the greatest purity of purpose and diligence of 
preparation ; but while I remember this, suffer me also to 
remind you of your duty in listening to the preacher. St. 
Paul praises the Thessalonians because they listened to his 
words, not as the words of man, but as the words of God. 
In the sense in which the teaching of an uninspired man can be 
so designated, have you thus listened to the preacher s words ? 
Has it been a task to you to listen to the sermon ? Have 
you sought only to be amused ? Have you been critical and 
captious? Or, acknowledging the truth you have heard, 
have you been careless about putting it in practice ? Oh, 
how much the preaching of God s word might profit us, if 
we brought the right dispositions to the hearing of it ! If 

* Isaias iz. 2, 19. 



380 THE TWO WILLS IN MAN. 

we came to Church, eager to know more of God, with a sin 
gle heart desirous to nourish our souls with His Truth, what 
progress we should make ! A single sermon has before now 
converted men. St. Anthony, hearing but a single text, 
embraced a saintly life. If we had such dispositions, if each 
Sunday found us diligent hearers of God s Word, anxious to 
get some new thoughts about Him, some new motive to love 
Him, some new practical lesson, some new help against sin, 
it would not be long before the effect would be visible in us 
all. We should make progress in the knowledge of our re 
ligion. The devil and the world would assail us in vain. 
Scandals and sins would become rare. Heavenly virtues 
would spring up. Piety would become strong and manly. 
And that which the prophet describes would be fulfilled : 
" The Lord will fill thy soul with brightness. And thou 
shalt be like a well-watered garden, and like a fountain of 
water, whose waters shall not fail"* 



SEEMON XYII. 

THE TWO WILLS IN MAN 

(FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.) 
" The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." ST. MATT. xxvr. 4] . 

THE word "flesh 1 here does not mean the body, but the 
lower or sensitive part of the soul in which the fleshly appe 
tites reside. Our Lord is warning St. Peter of the necessity 
of prayer in order to meet the temptation which was coming 
upon him, and He tells him not to trust to the willingness of 
his spirit, that is, his good intentions and resolutions, because 
he had an inferior nature which might easily be excited to 

* Isaias Iviii. 2. 



THE TWO WILLS IN MAN. 381 

evil, and which in the hour of temptation might, without a 
special grace of God, drag his will into sin. What our Lord 
is declaring, then, is the fact attested by universal experience, 
that there are in the heart of man two conflicting principles 
inordinate passion on one side, and reason and grace on the 
other. This truth, though so well known, touches our hap 
piness and salvation too closely not to possess at all times an 
interest and importance for each one of us ; and I propose, 
therefore, to make it the subject of my remarks this morning. 
In the first place, then, what is the source and nature of 
the conflict thus indicated by our Lord ? Whence does it 
arise ? How does it come to pass that there are those two 
principles within us ? How does it happen that every child 
of man finds himself drawn, more or less, two contrary ways, 
toward virtue and toward vice, toward God and toward the 
devil, toward Heaven and toward Hell ? The answer com- 

r 

monly given is, that this conflict we feel within us comes from 
the fall, that it is the fruit of original sin. But the fall, ac 
cording to the Catholic doctrine, introduced no new principle 
into our nature, infused no poison into it, and deprived it of 
none of its essential elements. We must look farther back, 
then, than the fall for the radical source of this conflict ; and 
we find it in the very essential constitution of our nature. 
Man, in his very nature, is twofold. He is created and finite, 
yet he has a divine and eternal destiny. He has a body and 
a soul, and therefore he must have all the passions which are 
necessary to his animal and sensible life, as well as the intel 
lectual and moral powers which are necessary to his spiritual 
life. Here, then, we have, in the very idea of man s nature, 
the possibility of a conflict. We have two different princi 
ples, which it is conceivable might come into collision. Man s 
appetites and passions, no less than his reason, are given to 
him by God, are good, are necessary, but since his appetites 
and passions are blind principles, it is conceivable that they 
might demand gratifications which would not be in accord- 



382 THE TWO WILLS IN MAN. 

ance with his reason and spiritual nature. As human nature 
was at first constituted by the Almighty, any actual collision 
between these parts was prevented by a gift, which is called 
" the gift of integrity," a gift which was no essential part of 
our nature, but was conferred on it by mere grace, and which 
bound together the various powers of the soul in a wondrous 
harmony, so that the movements of passion were always in 
submission to reason. When Adam sinned, this grace was 
withdrawn from him ; and since it was no necessary part of 
our nature, since it was given of mere grace, it was withdrawn 
from the whole human race. Hence men now find in them 
selves an actual conflict between the higher and lower parts of 
the soul. In a complicated piece of machinery, if a bolt or belt 
is broken that bound it together, the parts clash. Each part 
may in itself remain unchanged, but it no longer acts harmo 
niously with the other parts. So in fallen man, the bolt that 
braced the soul together is broken, and the powers of the soul 
clash together. The passions, the will, the reason, all, in 
themselves, remain as they were, undepraved ; but they are 
no longer in harmony together, and man finds himself weak 
ened by an intestine conflict. This, together with the loss 
of supernatural grace and a supernatural destiny, is the evil 
which, according to Catholic theology, accrued to man by the 
fall. 

This conflict, then, which we find within us ; this clamor 
of the lower nature against the higher ; this propensity of the 
passions to rebel against reason in other words, this prone- 
ness to sin, which is the universal experience of humanity, 
does not prove that we have lost any constituent part of our 
nature, that there is any thing positively vicious in us, nor 
does it prove that we are hateful to God. It proves, indeed, 
that we are not divine, that we are not angels, that we are 
not in the condition of human nature before Adam s trans 
gression; it proves that a source of weakness, inherent in our 
nature, has been developed by the fall, that we need grace ; 



THE TWO WILLS IN MAN. 383 

but it gives not the slightest reason for supposing that our 
manhood has been wrecked, that the will is not free, that the 
reason of man has been extinguished, or that the passions are 
not in themselves good, and have not their legitimate sphere 
and exercise. So true is this, that this propensity to sin re 
mains even in the baptized. Baptism does a great deal for 
a man. It takes away original sin, by supplying that justi 
fying grace which our race forfeited in Adam. It restores 
to man his supernatural destiny. In the language of the 
Council of Trent, it renders the, newly-baptized "innocent, 
immaculate, pure, harmless, and beloved of God, an heir of 
God, and a joint heir with Christ, so that there is nothing 
whatever to retard his entrance into heaven." But there is 
one thing it does not do. It does not remove the propensity 
of the passions to rebel. And the Council uses this fact 
that concupiscence remains in the baptized to prove that 
concupiscence, or the propensity to evil, cannot itself be sin ; 
and enforces its conclusion by the seal of its infallibility and 
the warrant of its censures, saying: "If any one is of the 
contrary sentiment" (that is, declares that the incentive to 
sin, which remains in the baptized, hath in it the true and 
proper nature of sin), "let him be anathema." * 

Thus, Christianity explains the origin of this conflict in the 
human heart, in a manner agreeable to reason and human 
experience. But it does more. It reveals to us the purpose 
of this conflict. Why does our Lord leave us subject to this 
strife? The same holy Council I have quoted already, an 
swers distinctly ; this incentive to sin is left in the soul " to 
le wrestled with" The state of the case is this : The passions 
desire to be gratified without waiting for the sanction of 
reason, sometimes even in defiance of reason. Morally speak 
ing, this is no evil. The passions are but blind instincts ; it 
is the province of the will to restrain them in their proper 

* Sess. V. Decree on Original Sin. 



384: THE TWO WILLS IN MAJS. 

* 

limits, and to help her in this work she has reason and the 
grace of God. If she fails to do her work, then she sins. 
Whenever sin is committed, it is the will that commits it. 
It is only the will that can sin. The sin lies not in the inor 
dinate desire, but in the will s not resisting that desire. The 
will is the viceroy of God in the heart, appointed to keep that 
kingdom in peace. And herein lies the root of Christian 
morality, the secret of sanctification, and the essence of human 
probation. We speak of outward actions of sin ; but all sin 
goes back to the will. There was the treason. " Out of the 
heart" says our Blessed Lord, "proceed murders, adulteries, 
fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies"* Each 
black deed is done in the secret chamber of the heart before 
the hand proceeds to execute it. Each false, impure, and 
blasphemous word is whispered first by the will before the 
lips utter it. Yes, man s heart is the battle-field. There is 
the scene of action. We speak sometimes of a man s being 
alone or being idle : why, a man is never alone ; never idle. 
He may, indeed, be silent, his hands may be still, no one 
may be near him ; but in that kingdom within great events 
are going on all the time. Angels and saints are there. The 
armies of Heaven and the armies of Hell meet there. Attack 
and repulse, parley and defiance, truce and surrender, strata 
gem and treason, victory and defeat are things of daily oc 
currence there. 

Of course, this is all very well known, very simple, very 
elementary, but yet there are some who never seem to under 
stand it. They do not understand it who confound tempta 
tion with sin. This is a mistake often made, and by those 
too who ought to know better. If a man feels a strong incli 
nation to evil, if an evil thought passes through his mind, or 
a doubt against the faith assails him, immediately he imagines 
that he has fallen under God s displeasure. To state such an 

* St. Matt xv. 19. 



THE TWO WILLS IN MAN. 385 

error is to refute it. "Never, my brethren, fall into this mis 
take. No : between temptation and sin there lies all that 
gulf that separates Heaven from Hell. Let the devil fill your 
mind with the most horrid thoughts, let all your lower nature 
be in rebellion, let you have temptations to unbelief, to des 
pair, to blasphemy ; yet if that queenly will of yours keeps 
her place, if she stand steadfast and immovable, not only 
have you not sinned, but you are purer, more spiritual, more 
full of faith and reverence than if you had had no such trial. 
When St. Agnes was before the heathen judge, he ordered 
her to be sent to the stews and thrown among harlots, but 
she answered : " I shall come* out of that place virgin as I 
entered it." Yes, all the powers of earth and hell cannot 
make a resolute soul commit a single sin. It is said that the 
walls of that house of prostitution, to which the holy maiden 
was condemned, still stand, and form the walls of a church 
dedicated in her honor a visible proof how the soul, faithful 
to itself and God, turns the very means and instruments of 
its temptations into trophies of its most magnificent victories. 
Nor do those understand the nature of the Christian con 
flict who make strong passions the pretext for the neglect of 
religious duties. There are such. Their hearts are too tu 
multuous, their passions too strong, their virtue- too weak, 
their circumstances too difncult ; and they must wait till they 
become more composed, calmer, more devout, until religion 
becomes more natural to them. Error, dangerous as com 
mon ! I tell you, Christianity takes hold of every man just 
as he is, and just where he is, and claims him. ISFo doubt, a 
quiet temper, a tranquil disposition, a devout spirit, are 
valuable gifts, but the root of religion does not lie in them, 
but in the will. That is it. God never intended religion to 
be confined to the passive and gentle, and to be neglected by 
the strong and impulsive. You, young man of pleasure ; 
you, man of business and enterprise ; you, proud and worldly 
man ; you, passionate woman, with your wild and wayward 



S86 THE TWO WILLS IN MAN. 

nature, God, this day, here and now challenges you : " Why 
are you not working with Me, and for Me ? Why are you 
not religious?" " Me !" you say, "it is impossible. I am 
sensual and avaricious, I am selfish and revengeful, I am 
full of hatred and jealousy, I am worldly to the heart s core." 
No matter : you know what is right ; are you willing to do 
it ? " Oh ! I cannot. I do not love God. My heart is cold." 
No matter : are you willing to serve God with a cold heart ? 
That is the question. " I cannot, I cannot. I have no faith. 
I cannot pray. I have not a particle of spirituality. Reli 
gion is wearisome to me, and strange. It is as much as I can 
do to stay through a High Mass." No matter, 1 say once 
more. Do you want to have faith? Are you willing to 
practise what you do believe ? Then if you are, begin your 
work here and now. You cannot be of so rough a nature 
that Christ will reject you. No matter who you are and 
what you are, no matter what your trials have been, and 
what your past life, if you are a man, with a human heart, 
with human reason and a human will, Christ calls you by 
your name, and points out a way that will lead you to peace 
and heaven. 

But least of all do they understand the nature of the 
Christian life, who make temptation an apology for sin ; who 
excuse themselves for a wrong action by simply saying, " I 
was tempted." Far be it from me, my brethren, to under 
value the danger of temptation, or to forget the frailty of the 
human heart, or to lack compassion for the fallen ; but it is 
one thing to fall and bewail one s fall, and another to make 
the temptation all but a justification of the fall. And are 
there not some who do this ? who do not seek temptation, 
but invariably yield to it when it comes across them ? who 
only steal when some trifle falls in their way ; who only 
curse when they are angry ; who only neglect Mass when 
they feel lazy and self-indulgent ; and are always sober and 
chaste except when the occasion invites to libertinism and 



THE TWO WILLS IN MAN. 887 

intemperance? What! is this Christianity? To abstain 
from sin as long as we have no particular inclination 
to commit it, and to fall into it as soon as we have! 
O miserable man, O miserable woman, go and learn the 
very first principles of the doctrine of Christ. Go to the 
Font of Baptism, and ask why you renounced Satan, and 
promised to keep God s commandments. Go to the Bible 
and learn why Christ died, and what is the duty of His fol 
lowers. Temptations come upon you in order that you may 
resist them. You are subject to gusts of anger, in order 
that you may become meek. You are tempted to unchastity, 
in order that you may become pure. You are tempted 
against faith, that you may learn to believe. That you are 
tempted, is precisely the reason that you should not yield ; 
for it shows that your hour is come, and the question is 
whether you will belong to Christ or Satan. 

Yes, my brethren, our conflict is for the trial of our virtue. 
It is a universal law of humanity. It was so even in the 
garden of Eden. In the fields of Paradise, where the trees 
were in their fresh verdure, and the air breathed a perpetual 
spring, and all things spoke of innocence and peace, there 
Adam had to meet this trial. And each child of man since 
then has met it in his turn. And Christians must meet it 
too. In the sheltered sanctuary of the Church, where we 
have so many privileges, so much to strengthen and gladden 
us, even there each one must abide the test. As the Ca- 
naanite was left in the promised land, to keep the children 
of Israel in vigilance and activity, so the sting of the flesh, 
the power of our inferior nature, is left in the baptized, to 
school us in virtue, to make us men, to make us Christians, 
to make us saints. This is the foundation principle of re 
ligion. He who has learnt this, has found out the riddle of life. 

And now, my brethren, that I have explained to you the 
source of the conflict that we feel within us, and the purpose 
it is designed to answer, you will see what the result of it 



388 THE TWO WILLS IN MAN. 

must be, how it issues in the two eternities that are before us. 
"He that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corrup 
tion ; "but he that soweth in the Spirit, of the Spirit shall reap 
life everlasting"* The Judgment Day is but the revelation 
of the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of each one of us in the 
struggle to which he has been called. Every act, every 
choice we make, tells for that great account. The day will 
declare it. Then the secret of each man s heart shall be re 
vealed, and how that battle in- his heart has been fought. 
Oh, what a spectacle must this world present to the angels 
who look down upon the solemn strife that is going on here 
below ! There is a man who has ceased to strive. No 
longer making any resistance, he is led on wholly and com 
pletely by his inferior nature. The slave of sin, he hardly 
feels the conflict in his soul, but it is because the voice of 
reason and the voice of grace have been so long resisted that 
they have become almost silent. And there are others who 
have given up the pure strife, but not so determinedly, not 
so completely. Occasionally they have better moments, 
regrets for the good they have forsaken, but still they float 
on with the careless world. And there is the young girl 
taking her first step on the downward road, looking back to 
the father s house she is leaving, reluctant, but consenting. 
Then there is the penitent, who has fallen but risen again ; 
who has learned wariness from his fall, and new confidence 
in God from His mercy and goodness, and who is striving 
by penance and prayer to make up what he has lost. And 
there is the man with feeble will, ever sinning and ever 
lamenting his sin, divided between good and evil, with too 
much conscience to give free reins to his passions, and too 
little to master them completely. And there is the soul 
severely tried, still struggling but almost overwhelmed, and 
out of the depths calling upon Gfod the Holy and True, " In- 

* GaL vi. 8. 



THE TWO WILLS IN MAN. 389 

dine unto mine aid, O God" And there is the soul strong 
in virtue, strong in a thousand victories, which stands un 
moved amid temptations, like the deep-rooted tree in a storm, 
or like the rock beaten by the waves. Oh, yes, in the sight 
of the angels, this world is full of interest. There is nothing 
here trivial and common-place. What prophecies of the 
future must they not read ! What saints do they see, ripen 
ing for Heaven ! What sinners rushing madly to Hell ! 
What unlooked-for falls! What unexpected conversions! 
What hidden sins, unsuspected by the world ! Now they 
must rejoice, and now they must weep. Now they tremble 
over some soul in danger, and now they exult because the 
danger is over. So it is now ; but when the end shall come, 
then fear and hope shall be no more, the conflict will be 
ended, the books shall be opened, and the secrets of the heart 
published to the universe. The struggle of life will be past, 
only its results will remain two separate bands, one on 
either side of the Judge, the good and the wicked, those who 
have been true to their conscience, to reason, to grace, and 
those who have not. 

Well, then, we will strive manfully against sin. There are 
untold capacities in us for good and evil. God said to Re 
becca : a Two nations are in thy womb, and two peoples shall 
be divided out of thy womb, and one people shall overcome the 
other" * So, my brethren, in each heart there are two pow 
ers struggling for the mastery the Spirit and the Flesh. 
There are two sets of offspring struggling for the birth 
" the works of the flesh, which are immodesty, uncleanliness, 
fornication, enmities, wrath, envies, emulations, quarrels, 
murders, drunkenness, revellings; and the works of the 
spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faith, 
modesty, continence, chastity." It is for the will, with and 
under God s grace, to say which of these shall overcome the 

* Gen. xxv. 23. 



390 THE TWO WILLS IN MAN 

other. Do you say that I put too much on the will 1 that 
the will is too weak to decide this fearful contest ? O 
brethren, the will is not weak. On the side of God, and 
with the help of God, it is irresistible. Look at the martyrs 
will. Did it not carry them through fire and sword ? Did 
it not enable th % em to meet death with joy ? This is our 
mistake, we do not know our strength. We know our weak 
ness, but we do not know our strength. We think God is to 
help us, independently of ourselves, and not through our 
selves. But this is not so, God helps us by strengthening 
our will, by enlightening our reason, by directing our con 
science. We cannot distinguish between what God does and 
what we do in any act. The two act together. Therefore, I 
say, you have it in your power to resist sin, you have it in 
your power to become saints. No matter though your evil 
dispositions have been increased by past sins, you can over 
come evil habits, and be what God wills you to be. Only do 
not be contented with a superficial religion, a religion of feel 
ings, and frames, and sensible consolations. Go down deep, 
go down to the will. Let the sword of the LORD probe till 
it pierces even "to the division of the soul and the spirit," 
the point at which our higher and lower natures meet each 
other. Make your religion not a sham, but a reality. School 
yourself for heaven. Day by day fight the good fight of 
faith, and thus merit at last to die like a holy man at whose 
death St. Vincent of Paul assisted : " He is gone to heaven," 
said the saint, speaking of M. Sillery, "like a monarch 
going to take possession of his kingdom, with a strength, a 
confidence, a peace, a meekness, which cannot be expressed." 



THE INTERCESSION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN. 391 



SERMON XVIII. 

THE INTERCESSION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN THE HIGHEST 

POWER OF PRAYER. 

(SUNDAY WITHIN TUB OCTAVE op THE ASCENSION.) 

"If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, ye shall ask whatever 
you will, and it shall be done to you." JOHN XT. 7. 

THERE is perhaps no Catholic doctrine which meets with 
more objection among those outside the Church, than our 
devotion to the Blessed Yirgin. Expressions of love to her, 
of hope in her intercession, which seem to us perfectly natu 
ral, which come from our hearts spontaneously, when they 
are most under the influence of Christian and holy principles, 
seem to them altogether at variance with Christianity. I do 
not believe that this comes always from prejudice, and a 
spirit of opposition on their part. It comes often, I am per 
suaded, from not understanding us. There is a link in our 
minds which connects this practice with other Christian doc 
trines, and this link is wanting in theirs ; and therefore acts 
of devotion of this kind seem to them arbitrary and useless, 
an excrescence on Christianity, and even alien to its spirit. 
If this is the case, it cannot but be a duty and charity for us 
to explain, as far as possible, what is in the mind of a Catho 
lic when he prays to the Blessed Yirgin ; and I shall accord 
ingly attempt to do so this morning. Perhaps while we are 
thus removing a stumbling-block out of some erring brother s 
way, we shall be at the same time rendering our own ideas 
on this doctrine clearer, and its practice more intelligent. 

The Blessed Yirgin Mary, then, to a Catholic, represents 
the power of intercessory prayer in its highest form and 
degree. 

I believe there are very few persons, indeed, who realize 
at all the power which is attributed to intercessory prayer in 



392 THE INTERCESSION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN 

the Bible and in Christianity. The Apostles frequently ex 
hort the Christians to whom they are writing to pray for 
them. They enjoined it upon them as a duty to pray for 
one another. "What does this mean ? Had not St. Paul and 
St. Peter influence enough with Heaven to carry their wants 
directly to the throne of grace ? "Was not the way of access 
to God open and easy for every one ? Did God require to be 
reminded of the woes and wants of any child of man, by the 
sympathizing cries of his fellow-creatures ? Was not God s 
own heart as large as theirs ? Could any thing He had made 
escape His knowledge, or any sorrow fail to awaken His 
compassion ? Or, if it did, was the intercession of Christ in 
sufficient that any other had to be called in to supplicate ? 
No, certainly. None of these suppositions are true. God s 
goodness and knowledge are infinite. He needs not to be 
told what is in man. He loves the work of His hands. The 
meanest and the poorest are in the light of His Providence. 
Christ s merits are infinite and universal. But after all, there 
stands the fact. Intercessory prayer is an ordinance of God. 
It is a duty to pray for others, and it is useful to have others 
pray for us. You may call it a mystery if you like. To 
me, it does not seem so very wonderful. No man lives to 
himself. We are not the only Christians. Many others 
walk alongside of us on the road to Heaven. Many are 
ahead of us. Many have already reached their term. Shall 
there be no sympathy between us? Is that principle so 
deeply seated in our nature to have no. play in Christianity ? 
Are we to have no interest, no feeling for each other ? Or, 
is that sympathy to be a barren sentiment, and to have no 
results ? God, in religion, makes use of and commands this 
kindness and sympathy. He makes use of it to bind all men 
together in a bond of love. In order to this, He makes it a 
law that we shall pray for one another, and suspends His gifts 
upon its execution. It is, then, to meet that nature that He 
has framed it is to exalt that nature craving for sympathy- - 






THE HIGHEST POWER OF PRAYER. 

it is to give rein to charity it is to make us always sensible 
and mindful of that great human family to which we belong 
it is for these reasons, I conceive, that God has instituted the 
ordinance of intercessory prayer. But, explain it as you 
will, the fact cannot be denied. It is an appointment of 
God, and an appointment of great efficacy. It plays a large 
part in the history of the Bible. Elias was a man subject to 
like passions with us, and he prayed earnestly that it might 
not rain, and it rained not for three years and six months ; 
and he prayed again, and the heavens gave rain. Abraham 
prayed for Abimelech, and God healed him. When Moses 
prayed for the Israelites suffering under the fire with which 
God had visited them for their sins, the fire was quenched. 
In the prophet Ezechiel, God speaks as if he could not act 
without this intercession as if it were really a necessary con 
dition for the bestowal of His graces. " / sought among 
them for a man" he says, " that might stand in the gap be 
fore me, in favor of the land, that I might not destroy it, and 
1 found none"* St. James even seems to make salvation 
depend on intercessory prayer. " Pray for one another" is his 
language, u that ye may he saved.\ These are but a sample of 
the many Scriptural proofs that might be brought to show that 
intercessory prayer is an ordinance of God. It is one of the 
forms in which the goodness of God and the merits of Christ 
flow over upon us. By it we obtain graces from God much 
more easily than we could without it. And we obtain by it 
special graces, which we would not be likely to obtain at all 
without it. In this sense, perhaps, St. James meant to imply 
that it was necessary to our salvation. Not that it was a 
matter of precept to ask the prayers of this or that particular 
person, but that their intercession might be the condition of 
our obtaining graces without which our salvation would be 

O CJ 

a work of great difficulty. 

But this is not all that the Scriptures tell us about inter- 

* Ezechiel xxii. 30. f St. James v. 16. 

IT* 



394 THE INTERCESSION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN 

cessor j prayer. They not only declare its wonderful power, 
but they make known to us that the efficacy of intercessory 
prayer depends on the goodness and merit before God of the 
one who offers it. I do not mean that no one should pray 
for another unless he is very holy. By no means. No mat 
ter how great a sinner a man may be, it is a good thing for 
him to pray for others, and the mercy and compassion of 
God, I am sure, never turn away from such a petition. But 
then, in such a case, it is mercy and compassion which moves 
God to hear the prayer. In the case of a good man praying 
for another, there is a sort of claim that he should be heard. 
Not an absolute claim, by which he can demand any thing 
for another, as of right, but a claim of fitness, a claim as if 
between friend and friend, a claim on God s bounty and gen 
erosity, which will not allow Him to turn a deaf ear to one 
who is faithfully striving to serve Him. The passages of in 
spiration which express this are very clear and very strong. 
" The continual prayer of a just man availeth much"* There 
it is the prayer of a righteous man that has this efficacy. And 
to this agree the words of our Lord : " If ye remain in me, and 
my words remain in you, ye shall ask whatever ye will, and 
it shall be done unto you"\ Could words express more 
clearly that the power of intercessory prayer is in direct 
proportion to the closeness of the union which we maintain 
with God? And St. John reiterates the same principle 
when he says : " Whatsoever we shall ask we shall receive of 
Him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things 
that are pleasing in His sight"$ God s dealings, as recorded 
in the Bible, are in exact accordance with this rule. At the 
prayer of Abraham, God desisted from His purpose of de 
stroying Sodom, because Abraham was God s friend. When 
the three friends of Job had displeased God by their wrong 
judgments and unjust suspicions, God commanded them to 
go to His servant Job, and he would pray for them, and him 

* St. James v. 15. f John xv. 7. \ I, St. John iii. 22. 



THE HIGHEST POWER OF PRAYER. 395 

He would accept. And in the prophet Ezechiel, when the 
Almighty would express, in the strongest possible manner, 
the fact that His anger was enkindled against a people and 
a city; that nothing, however strong, should stay its effects, 
He says : " And if these three men, Noe, Daniel and Job, 
shall be in it, they shall deliver their own souls only ly 
their justice"* As if to say : "Notwithstanding the inter 
cession and merit of these great saints, even though they 
were all combined in favor of that one city, they should 
nut avail to make Me spare such wickedness. What must 
be the wickedness that can force Me to withstand the power 
of such an appeal 1" 

Here, then, we have two things clearly taught in Holy 
Scripture. One is that intercessory prayer is an ordinance of 
God of great power and utility. The other is, that the degree 
of power this prayer has in any particular case depends on 
the merit of him who offers it. Who, then, shall be the 
favored child of man, the favored saint, who shall exercise 
this power in the fullest degree ? Of whom it can be said 
literally, " Whatever thou askest of Me I will do it," because 
the condition of union with God is perfectly fulfilled? Who 
shall this be whom Holy Scripture thus clothes with this tre 
mendous power, if it be not the Blessed Virgin Mary ? My 
brethren, our belief in the surpassing sanctity of the Blessed 
Virgin is no fancy of later times. It goes back to the very 
beginning of Christianity. St. Ambrose wrote her praises as 
he had learned them from those who had received them from 
apostolic men. Grave, austere men, as far as possible 
removed from any thing like fancy religion or sentimentality, 
men who had suffered for the name of Christ, and even faced 
death in its defence, employed their art and care to coin 
words which might express the virtue and purity and ex 
ceeding sanctity of the Virgin Mary, as they had learned it 
from their forefathers. And in the most ancient writings of 
the Church, in the Canon of the Mass, when the priest recalls 

* Ezechiel xiv. 14. 



396 THE INTERCESSION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN 

by name the glorious army of Christian heroes who had gone 
before, always in the first place she is mentioned, the all- 
glorious, undefiled, immaculate Mary, Mother of God, and 
ever Virgin. This being so, is not her power of intercession 
fixed beyond dispute ? Does not Scripture itself fashion out 
for her the glorious throne on which the Catholic Church 
places her ? Did any remain in Christ as she did ? Did 
His words ever so abide in any heart as in hers? Suppose a 
Christian who lived in the times of the Apostles, before the 
Blessed Virgin had gone to her rest, when she was just 
dying ; suppose such a one sorely tried and tempted within 
and without; suppose him anxious about his salvation, dis 
trustful of his own petitions, fearful of the coming storms of 
persecution; and suppose him in this state of mind to have 
read that passage of St. James, " The continual prayer of a 
just man availeth much," what more natural than that he 
should have said to himself, " I will go to ask the prayers of 
the dear Mother of Christ. I will ask her to use her power 
and influence with her Divine Son in behalf of a frail wan 
derer like me." And when he came into her presence and 
knelt before her, and kissed her hand and made his plea, and 
looked up to her and saw that sweet grave smile, and heard 
her say, " Yes, my child, when I stand in the presence of my 
Royal Son, and He holds out to me the golden sceptre, and 
says to me, what wilt thou ? what is thy request ? then I 
will remember thee !" Oh ! how light his heart ! Oh, how 
strong his soul ! what a charm against sadness 1 what a for 
tress in temptation ! Mary prays for me in heaven to Christ 
her Son ! And is there any thing in this joy and confidence 
which reason or Christianity would condemn ? If so, it must 
be either that intercessory prayer is not the power the Scrip 
tures say it is, or that Mary is not the saint the Church con 
siders her. Why, even Protestants have gone as far as this. 
Protestants who have made the primitive form of Christianity 
their study and profess to accept it as their rule, as, for 



THE HIGHEST POWER OF PRAYER. 897 

example, High-Church Episcopalians, have distinctly ac 
knowledged in the seventeenth century, and in our own day, 
that the saints in heaven do intercede for us, and that this 
was the primitive doctrine of Christianity. Why, then, find 
fault with us for invoking the saints, and say we ought only 
to ask God to hear their prayers for us, as if invocation on onr 
part were not the correlative of intercession on theirs ; as if it 
could be right to ask a saint to pray for us the moment be 
fore he died, and wrong the moment after ; as if there could 
be any moral difference before God between a direct and an 
indirect supplication for the benefit of their prayers in 
heaven ? 

Such, my brethren, is our idea when we address the 
Blessed Virgin for aid. It is not that we cannot go directly 
to God. It is not that God is not the nearest to us, and at all 
times accessible. It is not that, sinful as we are, we may not go 
with our miseries into the very presence of the Almighty. 
It is not that prayer to God is not the best of all prayers. It 
is not that we put the Blessed Virgin in the place of God. O 
cruel charge ! It is not that we derogate from the merits of 
Christ. O strange misconception ! But it is this we 
believe in intercessory prayer. "We believe that man may 
help his brother. We believe that Christianity is a human 
and a social relation ; we believe that heaven is very near this 
earth oh, how much nearer than ever we believed ! and 

that in Christ we are in communion with an innumerable 

f 

company of angels, and the Church of the First-born. We 
believe that there is joy in the presence of the angels of God 
over the good deeds done on earth, and that the litanies of 
the saints ascend over one sinner and his deeds. And we 
believe that this power of intercessory prayer culminates in 
the Blessed Virgin. We believe that she is the " one unde- 
filed," whose way has been always in the law of the Lord. 
We believe that before the foundations of the earth were laid, 
or ever the earth and the sea were made, she was foreknown 



398 THE INTERCESSION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN. 

by the Almighty, spotless in purity, matchless in virtue. "We 
believe that she was the flower of humanity, the fairest type 
of Christianity and we believe, therefore, that God is as 
good as His word, and whatever she asks of Him, He gives it 
to her. This is the doctrine on which we found our devotion 
to the Blessed Virgin. Take our strongest language. It 
means no more than this : " Pray for me." You may 
amplify as you will, but from the necessity of the case every 
thing we say cornes to that. Put prayer for the Blessed Vir 
gin, suppose prayer personified in her, and you have the key 
to the Catholic doctrine on this subject. Strong things are 
said of the power of the Blessed Virgin, but so are strong 
things said in Holy Scripture and by holy men of the power 
of prayer. Whatever can be said of prayer, can be said of 
her. Cease, then, to misunderstand us. Acknowledge that 
we are but obeying Christ in praying to the Blessed Virgin. 
And if you will still find fault, find fault, not with us, but 
with God, who has instituted intercessory prayer and given 
such power to men. 

And for you, my brethren, let these thoughts strengthen 
you in your confidence in the powerful intercession of the 
Mother of God. Our work is too severe, our difficulties are 
too great, for us to neglect any help God has offered us. 
There are many adversaries. The world, with all its seduc 
tions, passes in array before us. Why should we shut our 
eyes to the hosts of heaven that march unseen by our side? 
Why should we stay outside when we are invited to the mar 
riage supper, and Jesus and His disciples are there, and Mary, 
pleader for heavy hearts, saying, " They have no wine ;" and 
at her prayer Jesus gives them that wine that maketh glad 
the heart of man with the abundance of His grace and love ? 
I have been glad to see you these bright May mornings 
around the altar. Persevere more and more. Your labor of 
love is not in vain. God s words cannot fail. His gifts are 
without repentance. Mary s power of intercession is as fresh 



MYSTEEIES IN RELIGION". 899 



this day as it was when her prayer made the miraculous wine 
to gush forth at the wedding feast ; and until some one shall 
arise more blessed, more holy, nearer to Christ than she, it will 
remain as it is now, the highest and the most efficacious of all 
forms of prayer in heaven or on earth. 



SERMON XIX. 

MYSTERIES IN" RELIGION 
(TBINITY SUNDAY.) 

" Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God 1 How 
incomprehensible are His judgments, and bow unsearchable are His ways!" 
ROM. xi. 33. 

THE word revelation means the discovery of something 
that was not known before, or the making clear something 
that was obscure. Now, with this idea in our mind, it may 
excite surprise to find how much the Christian Revelation 
abounds in mysteries. By mysteries, I understand truths 
which are imperfectly comprehended. A doctrine which 
contradicts reason is not a mystery : it is nonsense. A doc 
trine which is wholly unintelligible is not a mystery : it is 
simply unmeaning, and cannot be the object of any intellect 
ual act on our part. But a doctrine which is in part com 
prehended, and in part not, is a mystery. Now, in Christians 
ity we meet such mysteries on every side. The Sacraments 
are mysteries. Grace is a mystery. The Person of Christ is 
a mystery. And above all, the great doctrine we com 
memorate to-day is a mystery. To-day is the Feast of the 
Most Holy Trinity. To-day we call to mind that wonderful 
Relationship which exists in God, eternal and necessary, by 
which, in the undivided Unity of His Essence, there are three 
distinct modes of subsistence, the Father, the Son, and the 



400 MYSTERIES IN KELIGION. 

Holy Ghost. It seems, then, not unfitting on this day to give 
you some reasons why you should acquiesce in that mys- 
teriousness of Christian doctrine, which is certainly one of its 
marked characteristics, and which has been urged against it 
as a serious objection. 

A nd, first, I observe that mysteries are necessary attend 
ants on religion. There can be no revelation without them. 
There can indeed be no knowledge without them. To a little 
child the earth is a plane of no great extent, and the stars are 
colored lamps hung in the canopy of the night. But as he 
grows older, he learns that the earth is very big, and that the 
stars are very far off, and that there are many systems of 
worlds above us ; and now how many questions press them 
selves upon his mind ! What is the history of this universe ? 
How old is the earth which we inhabit ? Are the stars inhab 
ited ? Science with the hard earnings of human thought and 
labor gives him some little satisfaction, but for every ques 
tion that she sets at rest there are many new ones that she 
raises, and at last in every department there comes a point 
where she gropes, and loses her way, and stops altogether. If 
you light a candle in a large room it casts a bright light 
on the table you are sitting at, and on the pages of the book 
you are reading, but gives only a dim light in the distance. 
You see that there are pictures on the walls, but you cannot 
discover their subjects. You see there are books on the 
shelves, but you cannot read their titles. When the room 
was quite dark you. did not know that they were there at 
all, and now you know them only imperfectly. So every 
light which knowledge kindles brings out a new set of mys 
teries or half-know iedges. For this reason it is that a man 
of true science is apt to be modest in his language. Your 
loud-talking philosopher, who has no difficulties, has but a 
very narrow scope of thought and vision. He is clear because 
he is shallow. But a highly educated man knows that there 
are a great many things he is ignorant of, and so his Ian- 



MYSTERIES IN RELIGION 401 

guage is modified and qualified. I believe it was Sir Isaac 
Newton -who used to say, that in his scientific investigations 
he seemed to himself like a child gathering pebbles on the 
sea-shore. It was his vast attainments that made him sen 
sible that Truth is as boundless as the sea. And when 
scientific men forget this ; when they forget how much they 
are ignorant of; when they are boastful, over-positive, or 
inconsiderate in their statements, how applicable to them 
becomes the reproof which the Almighty addressed to Job : 
" Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the 
earth ? tell Me if thou hast understanding. Upon what 
are its bases grounded ? or who laid the corner-stone thereof? 
By what way is light spread, and heat divided on the earth ? 
Who is the father of the rain, or who hath begotten the 
drops of dew ? Dost thou know the order of heaven, and 
canst thou set down the reason thereof on the earth ? Tell 
Me, if tJwu Jcnowest these things" 

And this holds good just as well in regard to religious 
knowledge. Reason teaches us that there is a God, and it 
tells something of His Nature; but it speaks to us about 
Him only in riddles. God is immutable, and yet He is per 
fectly free : who shall reconcile these together? God is in 
finite, infinite in Essence, infinite in all His Attributes try 
to comprehend infinitude if you can. Again, what a mys 
tery there is in the creation of this world ! What a mystery 
in the union of spirit and matter ! Everywhere mystery is 
the necessary accompaniment of knowledge ; and the more 
we know, the more mysteries will we have. If, then, God 
reveals to us any thing about Himself additional to that 
which reason can ascertain, mystery must still be the conse 
quence. The wider the view, the more indistinct and shad 
owy the outline. It is revealed to us that in God, without 
injury to His Simplicity, there is a Threefold Relationship 
that the Father, contemplating Himself from all eternity, 
has conceived a perfect Image of Himself, and that this Im- 



402 MYSTERIES IN RELIGION. 

age is His Son, and that the Father and the Son have loved 
each other from all eternity, and that this Love is the Holy 
Ghost that thus the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost 
are Three distinct, eternal, necessary Subsistences. Do not 
be surprised at this. Here is nothing contradictory to reason. 
True, it is wonderful. True, you cannot pierce it through 
and through. It is full of darkness. No matter. You 
know, when the moon comes out from behind a cloud, how 
sharp and well-defined the shadows become. So these dark 
nesses of doctrine come because the light is brighter. Men 
talk of the simple doctrines of the gospel. There are no 
such things. The gospel, as a scheme of doctrine at least, 
is a mystery. St. Paul called it so, and so it is. It is a mys 
tery because it reveals so much. If we did not know that 
God is both One in substance and Three in the mode of sub 
sistence, our difficulties would be less, but so would our 
knowledge. Well does the prophet exclaim : " Verily, 
Thou art a hidden God, the God of Israel, the Saviour /" * 
"What, the God of Israel a hidden God ! Did He not mani 
fest Himself to the patriarchs ? Did he not speak face to 
face with Moses ? Yes, but He is all the more hidden, the 
more He has manifested Himself. It cannot be otherwise. 
God yearns to make Himself known to man, but He cannot. 
The secret is too deep and high. Language is too weak. 
Thought too slow. Reason too narrow. The very means 
He takes to reveal Himself conceal Him. Clouds and dark 
ness gather around Mount Sinai as He descends upon it. 
The Flesh in which He was " manifested " to men serves as 
a veil to His Divinity. No, we cannot find out the Almighty 
to perfection. The time will come in heaven when by the 
Light of Glory our intellects shall be marvellously strength 
ened, and we shall see Him " as He is " but now we see as 
through a glass darkly. Our utmost happiness here is that 

* Isai. xlv. 15. 



MYSTERIES IN RELIGION. 403 

of Moses, to be hidden in the rock, while the Almighty 
passes by and lifts His Hand that we may see a ray of His 
Glory. Do not complain if the ray dazzles thy feeble sight, 
but receive each glimpse of that Eternal Truth and Beauty 
thankfully, and give heed unto it, " as unto a light shining 
in a dark place" 

But, further, mysteries are not only necessary attendants 
on revelation, they are really sources of advantage to us. 
In order to make this clear, I must remind you that Faith is 
one of the conditions of our acceptance with God. There 
was a time when men laid too much stress on faith and made 
light of works ; then the Church had to define that works 
are necessary, and that there is no salvation without them. 
Now the contrary error is afloat. Men say : u Be moral," 
"Be religious in a general way, and it is no matter what 
a man believes." Now, this is an error as great and as 
dangerous as the other. u Abraham believed God, and it was 
reputed to him unto justice."* The apostles believed Christ. 
and were praised for it. On the other hand, those who 
disbelieved are reproved as being guilty of a mortal fault. 
" The heart of this people is grown gross: and with their 
ears they have been dull of hearing, and their eyes they have 
shut : lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and 
hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and 
should be converted, and I should heal thern"\ In like man 
ner, when onr Lord took leave of unbelieving Jerusalem, 
He wept over it. Now, why is this ? What is there, in the 
act of believing or disbelieving, that is of a moral nature, 
that deserves praise or blame ? Is not faith an act purely 
intellectual? I reply, faith is an act partly intellectual, 
partly moral. The intellect demands proof that a particular 
doctrine has been revealed by God, but, when that is once 
ascertained, faith accepts the doctrine, not because it is per- 

* Rom. iv. 3. f St. Matt. xiii. 15. 



404: MYSTERIES IN RELIGION. 

fectly clear in itself, but because God reveals it. Clearly, 
there enter into such an act many elements of morality our 
reverence for God, our desire to do His Will, our humility 
and docility. You know it is an honor to a man for one to 
believe in his word, and especially for one to make ventures 
on the faith of his word. Just so, to make ventures on God s 
word is a generous, devout, and noble act. Now, it is the 
mysteriousness of Christian doctrine that gives faith this gen 
erous character or rather, that makes faith possible. The 
obscurity of the revelation throws the weight on the author 
ity of the Revealer. It is mystery which gives life to faith. 
A man is not said to believe a thing he sees. " Blessed are 
they" said our Blessed Lord, " that have not seen, and yet 
have believed"* There are certain flowers that require the 
shade to bloom. Constant sunshine burns them up. So 
Faith requires the shadow of mystery. It thrives under 
difficulties. Abraham s faith was so admirable, because he 
considered not his own decrepitude, nor- Sarah s barrenness, 
but believed he should have a son at the time appointed by 
the Almighty. The faith of the apostles was so pleasing to 
Christ because they accepted His call so readily. They 
might have stopped to ask a thousand questions, but they 
rose up without delay and followed him. 

You see, then, what I meant when I said that mysteries are 
of advantage to us. They enter into our probation. They 
are the occasion of our practising the noble virtue of faith. 
They are a test of moral character. Nay more, by calling 
into action the best principles of our nature they exalt our 
character. You know how it is in the world when some new 
and great social question is started how every one is affected 
by it. The indolent take their opinions about it from others. 
The prejudiced and interested judge of it according to preju 
dice and interest. Men of principle decide it on grounds of 



* St. John xx. 29. 



MYSTERIES IN RELIGION. 405 

morality. But every one s position is in some way changed 
by it. So it is with the gospel. Its preaching throws men 
into new attitudes. li The Cross of Christ is to them that 
perish foolishness, but to them that are saved it is the power 
of God"* The proud and the perverse stumble at this stum 
bling-stone, but men of u good will," the humble, and the 
loving, find it a precious corner-stone on which their faith 
has a solid foundation, and on which they are built up to 
everlasting life. So it was in the time of Christ. After our 
Lord had been preaching for some time, He inquired of the 
apostles into the effects of His preaching : " Whom do men 
say that the Son of Man is f r And they said: "Some say 
that thou art John the Baptist, and others Elias, and others 
Jeremias, or one of the prophets" " But whom do you say 
that I am?"\ and Faith, undaunted by difficulties, answers 
by the mouth of St. Peter: " Thou art Christ, the Son of the 
living God." On another occasion, after He had performed the 
miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, as we read in St 
John s Gospel, He taught the people the doctrine of the Real 
Presence in Holy Communion : " Unless you eat the flesh of 
the Son of Man, and drink His Hood, you shall not have life 
in you"\ Now, what happened ? Many were offended and 
walked with Him no more. It was too great a mystery. 
"How can this man give us his flesh to eat f" they said. And 
our Lord turned to His disciples and said it seems to me I 
can see His anxious countenance, and hear His tones of sorrow 
as He asks the question " Will you also go away f " And 
again Peter answered on behalf of all : "To whom sJiall we go f 
Thou hast the words of Eternal Life" As much as to say, 
" Thou art the Truth ; no mystery at Thy mouth can deter us." 
So it has been, also, throughout the history of the Church. 
"What are all the heresies that have arisen but the scandal 
which the world has taken at the Christian nrysteries, and 

* I. Ccr. i. 18. f St. Matt. xri. 13. $ St. John vi. 54. 



406 MYSTERIES IN RELIGION. 

what are all the decisions of the Church but acts of loyalty 
and submission to Him who is "the Faithful and True Wit 
ness" ? 

And the same thing is going on in our day. " Wisdom 
preacheth abroad : she uttereth her voice in the streets.* The 
Catholic Church publishes those startling doctrines which 
have come down to her from the bes-innino;, which have been 

O O * 

held everywhere and by all the principality of the Roman 
See, the Power of Forgiveness of Sins, the necessity of Pen 
ance, the grace of the Sacraments and what is the result ? 
The children of wisdom, they whose hearts .are tender, enter 
her sacred fold and are blessed. But many listen and say : 
"It is all very well, if we could believe it. If we could 
believe it! And is it, then, not credible? Has not God 
given His revelation complete credibility ? Can we not 
believe Jesus Christ ? " God, Who in times past spoke to 
the fathers by the prophets, hath in these days spoken unto 
us l>y His Son"\ " No one Jcnoweth the Father but the Son 
and lie to whom the Son will reveal Him"\. Jesus Christ has 
spoken. Miracles and prophecy attest His Truth and Au 
thority. Can you, then, innocently refuse to listen ? " Sure 
ly they will reverence my son" was the language of the 
father in the parable ; will not God the Father Almighty 
look for an equal submission to His Eternal and Coequal 
Son? Can He speak, and you go on as if He had not 
spoken ? Can you pick and choose among His doctrines, 
and take up one and reject another ? ISTo, to turn back, to 
stand still, to falter, is a crime. The trumpet has sounded : 
men are marshalling themselves for the valley of decision. 
Oh, take your part with the generation of faithful men, the 
true children of Abraham, who have " attested by their seal 
that God is true." Have courage to believe. Plunge into 
the waters with St. Peter, for it is Christ that is beckoning 
you on. To believe is an act of duty of fidelity to youi 

* Pror. i. 20. f Hek i. 1, 2. \ Matt. xi. 27. 



MYSTERIES IN RELIGION. 407 

own intelligence, of generosity and devotion to God. " With 
out faith it is not possible to please God"* Faith is the door 
to all supernatural blessings. There is a whole world that 
exists not to a man that has not faith. Faith enlarges our 
thoughts, opens our hearts, elevates us above ourselves and 
multiplies a thousand-fold our happiness. Why do men 
grope in darkness ? Why do they remain in ignorance, when 
by one generous resolve, one courageous act of faith, an act 
so noble, so meritorious, they might enter into that Glorious 
Temple of Truth that has come down out of heaven to man, 
might enter and dwell therein, and their hearts wonder and 
be enlarged ? Happy those who can say with the Psalmist : 
" Thy testimonies are wonderful ; therefore hath my soul 
sought them"-\ They are wonderful they rest for their evi 
dence on Thy Word and Thy truth, therefore I believe them 
and love them, for to believe Thee is my first duty and my 
highest wisdom. 

Let not, then, the mysteries of our holy religion disturb us, 
my brethren, but rather let them make us rejoice. For what 
are they but the evidences of the greatness of our religion ? 
They do not repel, they attract us. We believe them on the 
authority of God, and we esteem it both a duty and a delight 
to do so. Neither are they all dark in themselves. Nay, 
they are only dark from excess of light. Each one of them 
has much that addresses itself to our understanding, much 
that enlists our affections. The angels in heaven worship 
the Trinity with devoutest adoration. " / saw the Seraphim" 
says the prophet, "and they covered their faces and cried: 
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts /"; Incessantly sings 
the Church on earth : " Glory be to the Father, and to the 
Son, and to the Holy Ghost." There have been saints who 
so dwelt upon all that Faith teaches us of God, that they had 
to go by themselves, in quiet places, for their hearts were all 

* Heb. xi. 6. f Ps. cxviii. 129. \ Tsai. vi. 3. 



408 THE WORTH OF THE SOUL. 

but breaking with the sweet but awful sense of His Majesty. 
Let us, too, ]earn to love these mysteries and meditate on 
them. We live in the midst of great realities. " You are 
come to Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the 
heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many thousands 
of angels, and to the Church of the first-born, ivho are written 
in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of 
the just made perfect, and to Jesus, the Mediator of the New 
testament" * Day by day, let it be our endeavor to pierce 
into these holy truths more and more, that at last, like Moses, 
our countenances may reflect some portion of their beauty 
and brightness, that continually " beholding the glory of the 
Lord we may be transformed into the same image from glory 
to glory r ."f 



SERMON XX. 

THE WORTH OF THE SOUL. 
(THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST.) 

" There shall be joy before the angels of God over one sinner doing penance." 

ST. LUKE xv. 10. 

THIS is what theologians call an accidental joy. The 
essential joy of heaven consists in the perfect knowledge and 
love of God, and is unchangeable and eternal ; but the acci 
dental joy of heaven springs from the knowledge of those 
events in time which display the goodness and greatness of 
God. The first of these events was the creation itself, when 
the hand of God spread the carpet of the earth, and stretched 
the curtains of the heavens. Then "the morning stars 

*Heb. xii. 22, 23, 24 flL Cor. ill 18. 



THE WORTH OF THE SOUL. 409 

praised Him together, and all the sons of God made a joyful 
melody" * After this the great historic events of the world 
have been successively the burden of the angelic songs the 
unfolding of the plan of Redemption, the birth of Christ, the 
triumphs of the Church. But lo ! of a sudden these lofty 
strains are stopped. There is silence for a moment, and then 
the golden harps take up a new and tenderer theme. What 
is it that has happened ? What is the event that can inter 
rupt the great harmonies of Heaven, and furnish the Angels 
with a new song ? In some corner of the earth, in some 
secret chamber, in some confessional, on some sickbed, in 
some dark prison, a sinner is doing penance. He prays, 
whose rnouth had been full of cursings. He weeps, who had 
made a mock at sin. The slave of Satan and of Hell turns 
back to God and Heaven and that is the reason of this un 
usual joy. It is not that a recovered sinner is really of more 
account than one who has never fallen, but his recovery from 
danger is the occasion of expressing that esteem and love for 
the souls of men which always fills the heart of God and the 
Angels. Therefore, as that contrite cry reaches heaven, the 
Angels are silent, for they know that there is no music in the 
ear of God like that. And then, when God has ratified the 
absolving words of the priest, and restored the contrite sinner 
to His favor, they cast themselves before the throne, and 
break forth into loud swelling strains of ecstasy and triumph, 
while He Himself smiles His sympathy and joy. O my 
brethren, what a revelation this is ! A revelation of the 
value of the soul. There are great rejoicings on earth when 
a battle is won, or upon the occasion of the visit of some 
great statesman or warrior, or when some great commercial 
enterprise is successful, but these things do not cause joy in 
Heaven. The conversion of one soul it may be a child, or 
a young man, or an old woman the conversion of one soul, 



* Job xxxviii 7. 
18 



410 THE WORTH OF THE SOUL. 

that it is that makes a gala day in Heaven. Now, God sees 
every thing just as it is, and if there are such rejoicings in 
Heaven when a soul is won, what must be the value of a soul 1 
Let us confess the truth, we have not thought enough of the 

f O O 

value of a soul. We have thought too much of the world, of 
its pleasures, of its profits, of its honors, but too little of our 
own souls. We have not thought of them as Grod thinks of 
them. Let us, then, strive to exalt our ideas, by considering 
some of the reasons why we should put a high value on our 
souls. 

In the first place, we should value a human soul, because 
it is in itself superior to any thing else in the world. The 
whole world, indeed, with every thing in it, is good, for God 
made it. But He proceeded in a very different manner in 
the creation of the material world from what He did when 
He made the soul. He made the world, the trees, the 
rivers, the lights of heaven, the living creatures on the 
earth, by the mere word of his power. " God said, Be light 
made. And light was made" * And God said, " Let the 
earth bring forth the green herb, and the fruit tree yielding 
fruit after its kind. And it was so" f But when He 
made the soul, the Scriptures tell us, "He breathed into the 
face of man and he became a living soul" \ By this action 
we are to understand that God communicated to man a 
nature kindred to his own divinity. The Holy Ghost, the 
Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, is the uncreated Spirit 
of God, eternally breathing forth and proceeding from the 
Father and the Son ; and God, when He breathed into the 
face of man, signified that He imparted to man a created 
spirit kindred to his own eternal Spirit. The Holy Scriptures, 
indeed, expressly tell us that such was the case : " Let us 
make man to our image and our likeness" This likeness 
consisted in the possession of understanding and free will, 

* Gen. i. 3. f Gen. i. 12. \ Gen. i. 26. Gen. i. 26, 27. 



THE WORTH OF THE SOUL. 411 

the power of knowledge and love the two great attributes 
of God himself. Yon are, then, my brethren, endowed with 
a soul which raises you immeasurably above God s material 
creation. You have a soul made after God s image. This 
is the source of your power. The two things go together in 
Holy Scripture. "Let us make man to our image and like 
ness / and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea 
and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, 
and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth" 
In the state of original innocence, no doubt, this dominion 
was more perfect, but even now it exists in a great degree. 
"Every kind of beast, and of birds, and of serpents, and of . 
the rest, is tamed, and hath b-een tamed by mankind." f See 
how a little boy can drive a horse. See how a dog obeys 
his master s eye and voice. See how even lions and tigers 
become submissive to their keepers. And the elements, 
often wilder than ferocious beasts, are obedient to you. The 
fire warms you and cooks for you, and carries you when you 
want to travel for business or pleasure. The wind fans the 
sails of your vessels, and the waters make a path for them 
under your feet. Even the lightning leaps and exults to do 
your bidding and to be the messenger of your will. Thus 
every thing falls down before you and does you homage, and 
proclaims you lord and master. "What is the reason that 
every thing thus honors you ? It is on account of the soul 
that is in you the power of reason and will the godlike 
nature with which you are endowed. 

Yes, and your soul is the source of your beauty, too. In 
what consists the beauty of a man ? Is it a mere regularity 
of form and feature? Do you judge of a man as you do of 
a horse or a dog ? No ; the most exquisitely chiselled features 
do not interest you, until you see intelligence light up the 
eye, and charity irradiate the countenance then you are 

* Gen. ii. 7. { St. James iii. 7. 



4:12 THE WORTH OF THE SOUL. 

captivated. A man may be a perfect model of grace in his 
movements without exciting you, but when he becomes warm 
with inspirations pf wisdom and virtue, when his words 
flow, his eye sparkles, his breast heaves, his whole frame 
becomes alive with the emotions of his soul, then it is you 
are carried away, you are ready almost to fall down and 
worship. What is the reason that Christian art lias so far sur 
passed heathen art ? that the Madonna is so far more beauti 
ful than the Venus de Medicis ? It is because the heathens 
portrayed mere natural beauty ; the Christians portrayed 
the beauty of the soul. And if the soul is so beautiful in 
the little rays that escape from the body, what must it be in 
itself? God has divided his universe into several orders, 
and we find the lowest in a superior order higher than the 
highest in the inferior order. The soul, then, is more beau 
tiful than any thing material. " She is more beautiful than 
the sun, and above all the order of the stars : being com 
pared with the light she is found before it" * O my 
brethren, do not admire men for their form, or their dress, 
or their grace, but admire them for the soul that is in them, 
for that is the true source of their beauty. 

It is also the secret of their destiny. God did not give 
you this great gift to be idle. He gave it for a worthy end. 
He gave understanding that you might know Him, and free 
will that you might love Him ; and this is the true destiny 
of man. You were not made to toil here for a few days, 
and then to perish. You were made to know God, to be the 
friend of God, the companion of God, to think of God, to 
converse with God, to be united to God here, and then to 
enjoy God hereafter forever. Once more, then, I say, do not 
admire a man for his wealth, or his appearance, or his learn 
ing. Do not ask whether he is poor or rich, ignorant or 
learned, from what nation he springs, whether he lives in a 

* Wisdom vii. 29. 



THE WORTH OF THE SOUL. . 413 

cabin or palace. Let it be enough that he is a man, pos 
sessed of understanding and free will, spiritual and immortal, 
with a soul and an eternal destiny. That is enough. Bow 
down before him with respect. Yes, respect yourselves 
not for your birth, or your station, or your wealth, but for 
your manhood. "Let not the wise man glory in his wis 
dom, and let not the strong man glory in his strength, and 
let not the rich man glory in his riches. Rut let him that 
glorieth glory in this, t/tat HE UNDERSTANDETH AND KNOWETH 
ME." * Yes, my brethren, this is your true dignity, the soul 
that is in you the soul, that makes you capable of knowing 
and loving God. 

And yet, there is another reason why you should value 
your souls, besides their intrinsic excellence I mean, the 
great things that have been done for them. Do you ask me 
what has been done for your souls ? I ask you to look above 
you, and around you, and under you. Oh, how fair the 
earth is ! See these rivers and hills ! Look on the green 
grass ! Behold the blue vault of heaven ! Well, this is the 
palace God has prepared for your abode ; nay, not for your 
abode your dwelling-place is beyond the skies, where " the 
light of the moon is as the light of the sun, and the light of 
the^sun seven-fold, as the light of seven days," but for the 
place of your sojourn. This earth was made for you ; and, 
as your destiny is eternal, therefore the earth must have been 
made to subserve your eternal destiny. Why does the sun 
rise in the morning, and go down at night ? It is for you 
for your soul. Why do summer and winter, seed-time and 
harvest, return so regularly ? It is for you, and your salva 
tion. The earth is for the elect. When the elect shall be 
completed, the earth, having done its work, will be destroyed. 
This is the end to which, in God s design, all things are 
tending. God does not look at the world, or its history, as 

*Jer.ix. 23, 24. 



414 . THE WORTH OF THE SOUL. 

we do. We say : " Here such a great battle was fought ;" 
" there such a celebrated man was born ;" " in this epoch 
such an empire took its rise, such a dynasty came to an end." 
But God says : " Here it was a little child died after bap 
tism, and went straight to heaven ;" " there it was I recov 
ered that gifted soul, which had wandered away into error 
and sin, but which afterward became so great in sanctity ;" 
" in such an age it was that I lost that great nation which 
fell away from the faith, and in such another, by the preach 
ing of my missionary, I won whole peoples from heathen 
ism." I know we shrink from this in half unbelief. When 
it is brought home to us that this little earth is the centre of 
God s counsels, and our souls of the universe, we are amazed 
and offended. But so it is. "All things work together unto 
good to them that love God" * All things ; not blindly, but 
by the overruling Providence of Him who made them for 
this end. 

Do you ask me what has been done for your souls ? I 
answer, the Church has been established for them. Look at 
the Church, and see how many are her officers and members 
Bishops, Priests, Levites, Teachers, Students. All are 
yours all are for you. For you the Pope sits on his throne; 
for you Bishops rule their Sees ; for you the Priest goes up 
to the altar ; for you the Teacher takes his chair, and the 
Student grows pale in the search for science. That the 
Apostolic commission might come down to you, St. Peter 
and St. Linus and Cletus ordained Bishops in the churches. 
That the true doctrine of Christ might come down to you 
uncorrupted, the Fathers of the Church gathered in council, 
at Nice, and Ephesus, and Chalceclon, and Trent. That you 
might hear of the glad tidings of Christ, St. Paul and St. 
Patrick labored and died. For you, for each one of you, as 
if there were no other, the great machinery of grace, if I may 
express myself so coarsely, goes on. 

*Eom. viil 28. 



THE WORTH OF THE SOUL. 415 

Do you ask what has been done for your souls t Angels 
and Archangels, and Thrones and Dominions, and Princi- 

~ 7 7 

palities and Powers all the hosts of Heaven have labored 
for them. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to 
minister for those who shall receive the inheritance of salva 
tion T For you the whole Court of Heaven is interested, 
and one bright particular Angel is commissioned to be yonr 
guardian. For you St. Gabriel flew on his message of joy to 
the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St. Michael, the standard- 
bearer, waits at the gate of death. 

Do you ask what has been done for your souls ? From all 
eternity God has thought of them, the means of salvation have 
been determined on, the chain of graces arranged. And the 
Son of God has worked for them. Galilee, and Judea, and 
Calvary were the scenes of His labors on earth, and on His 
mediatorial throne in heaven He carries on still His unceasing 
labors in our behalf. And the Holy Ghost has worked. , He 
spake by the Prophets, and on the day of Pentecost He came 
to take up His abode in the Church, never to be overcome by 
error, or grieved away by sin, to vivify the Sacraments, and 
to enlighten the hearts of the faithful by the preaching of the 
Gospel and His own holy inspirations. 

Why, who are you, my brethren ? The woman at Endor, 
when she had pierced the disguise of Saul, and knew that she 
was talking with a king, was afraid, and " said with a loud 
voice : c Why hast thou deceived me, for tkou art Saulf "f 
So, I ask you, who are you ? I look upon your faces, and I 
see nothing to make me afraid ; but faith tears away the 
disguise, and I see each one of you radiant with light, a true 
prince, and an heir of heaven. I look above, and see Heaven 
open and the Angels of God ascending and descending on 

* * > O O 

errands of which you are the object. I look higher yet, and 
I see God the Father watching you with anxiety, and the 

* Heb. L 14 f I. Kings xxviii. 



416 THE WORTH OF THE SOUL. 

Son offering his blood for you, and the Holy Ghost pleading 
with you, and the Saints and Angels, some with folded hands 
supplicating for you, and others pointing with outstretched 
finger to the glorious throne reserved in Heaven for you. 

Have you, my brethren, so regarded yourselves ? Have 
you valued that soul of yours? Have you kept it as your 
most sacred treasure ? Is it now safe and secure ? Oh, how 
carefully do men keep a treasure they value highly ! Kings 
spend many thousand dollars yearly just to take care of a few 
jewels. The crown jewels of England are kept, as yon know, 
in the Tower. It is a heavy fortress, guarded by soldiers who 
are always on watch. At each door and avenue there is an 
armed sentinel. The jewels themselves are kept in glass 
cases, and visitors are not allowed to touch them. And all 
this pains and outlay to take care of a few stones that have 
come down to the Queen by descent, or been taken from her 
enemies ! And that precious soul of yours, before which all 
the wealth of the world is but worthless dross with what 
care have you kept that ? Alas ! every door has been left 
open. No guard has been at your eyes to keep out evil 
looks. ISTo guard at your ears to keep out the whispers of 
temptation. No guard at your lips to stop the way to the 
profane or filthy word. Nay, not only have you kept up no 
guard, but you have carried your soul where soul-thieves con 
gregate. The Holy Scripture says : " A net is spread in vain 
before the eyes of a ~bird" * Yes, the birds and beasts are 
cunning enough to avoid an open snare ; but you go rashly 
into dangers that are apparent to all but you. Sinners lie in 
wait for you. They say, in the language of Scripture: 
" Come, let us lie in wait for Hood let iis hide snares for 
the innocent without cause. Let us swallow Mm up alivr 
like hell, and whole as one that goeth down into the pit" 
and you trust yourself in their power. Oh, fly from them ! 

* Prov. i. 17. 



THE WORTH OF THE SOUL. 417 

Consider the treasure you carry.. " What shall it profit a 
man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul T Will 
you sin against your own soul? you that are made after 
God s likeness; you that are princely and of noble rank, will 
you defile that image, and degrade yourselves to a level with 
the brutes that perish ? 

But there are others whose offence is of another kind. 
They let their salvation go by sheer neglect. If a man plants 
a seed, he must water it, or it will not grow. So the soul 
needs the dew of God s grace; and prayer and the sacra 
ments are the channels of God s grace. Yet how men neg 
lect the sacraments! Even at Easter, when we are obliged 
to receive them, some absent themselves. It has been a 
matter of the keenest pain to us to miss some members of 
this congregation during the late Paschal season. You say, 
you have nothing on your conscience, and it is not necessary 
to go to confession. But is it not necessary to go to Commu 
nion ? Will you venture to deprive yourselves of that food 
of which, unless ye eat, the Saviour has said, " Ye have no 
life in you ?" Or ; you have a sad story to tell. You have 
fallen into mortal sin, and you are afraid to come. But 
do you think we have none of the charity of the Angels ? 
Only convert truly, for it is a true conversion that gives the 
Angels joy, and we can give you the promise that Thomas a 
Kempis puts into the mouth of Him whose place we fill : 
" How often soever a man truly repents and comes to me for 
grace and pardon, as I live, saith the Lord, who desireth not 
the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted 
and live, I will not remember his sins any more, but all shall 
be pardoned him." 

And to you, my brethren, who, during the Easter season, 
just past, have recovered the grace of God, I have a word of 
advice to give in conclusion. Keep your souls with all dili 
gence. Keep your souls ; that is your chief, your only -care. 
Keep them by fleeing from the occasions of sin. Keep them 

18* 



418 THE CATHOLIC S CERTITUDE CONCERNING 

by overcoming habitual sins. Nourish them by prayer and 
the sacraments. How great a disgrace, that all the irrational 
world should do the will of God, and you, the rulers of the 
world, should not do it ! " The kite in the air hath known 
her time the turtle, and the swallow, and the stork have ob 
served the time of their coming ~but my people have not 
known the judgment of the Lord?* How great an evil it is 
in a state when an unworthy ruler is at its head. The 
people mourn and languish, and at last rebel. So, when a 
man neglects the end for which he was made, the whole 
creation cries out against him. The stones under his feet cry 
out. The air he breathes, the food he eats, protest against 
the abuse he makes of them. Balaam s ass rebuked the mad 
ness of the prophet ; so, when you live in sin, the very beasts 
cry out : " If we had souls, we would not be as you. Now 
we serve God blindly, and of necessity ; but if we had souls, 
it would be our pride and happiness to give Him our willing 
service." All things praise the Lord ; " showers and dew ;" 
"fire and heat ;" " mountains and hills ;" " seas and rivers ;" 
"beasts and cattle." O sons of men, make not a discord in 
the universal harmony ! Receive not your souls in vain ! 
Serve God ; " praise Him and exalt Him forever." 



SERMON XXI. 

THE CATHOLIC S CERTITUDE CONCERNING THE WAT OP SAL 
VATION. 

(FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST.) 

"I know whom I have believed, and I am certain that He is able to keep 
that which I have committed to Him against that day." II. TIM. i. 12. 

No one can deny that this sentiment of the Apostle is a very 
comfortable one. To be confident of salvation is surely an 
excellent and desirable thing. But the question with many 

* Jer. viii. 7. 



THE WAY OF SALVATION. 419 

will be, is it possible to attain it ? Now, there is one sense 
in which we cannot have a security of our salvation. We 
cannot have personally an infallible assurance that we are 
now and shall always continue in the grace of God, and shall 
at last taste the joys of heaven. Our free-will forbids such 
an assurance, and neither our happiness nor the attributes of 
God demand it. But there is another sense in which a man 
may be said to have a security of his salvation, viz. : that he has 
within his reach, beyond all doubt, the proper and necessary 
means for attaining that end ; for if the means are certain, it 
is plain that in the use of those means he may acquire a 
moral certainty that he is doing those things which God re 
quires of him, and a well-grounded hope of everlasting life. 
Such a security it would seem a man ought to be able to 
attain. Without it the service of God must be slavish. 
There can be no free and generous service where there is not 
confidence. When one is travelling at nteht on a road he is 

cj O 

ignorant of, he goes slow, he falters ; but in the broad day 
light, in a road he is sure of, he walks with a free, bold step. 
So in religion, if we have no security that we are right, we 
can never do much for God. Man is not an abject being; 
he is erect ; he looks up to heaven ; he seems to face his Maker 
and to demand from Him to know the terms on which he stands 
toward Him. A confidence, then, at least of being able to 
secure our salvation, must be within our reach. The onlv 

v 

question is, how is it to be attained ? I answer, the Catholic 
has within his reach the security of his salvation, and he 
alone. 

In order to show this to you, I must remind you of what I 
mean by salvation. Put out of your minds that childish 
idea that salvation is an external, arbitrary reward, given to 
some men when they die, and denied to others, as a father 
gives a book or a plaything to an obedient child, and refuses 
it to a disobedient. Salvation is union with God. We are 
made for God. That is our high destiny. In God are our life 



420 THE CATHOLIC S CEKTITUDE CONCERNING 

and happiness ; and out of God our death and ruin. Salva 
tion is our union with God for all eternity, and, in order to 
be united to God for all eternity, we must be united to Him 
here. Our salvation must begin here. Now, we are united 
to God when our intelligence is united to His intelligence by 
the knowledge of His truth, and our will united to His will 
by the practice of His love. When I affirm, then, that the 
Catholic alone has the means of attaining a security of salva 
tion, I mean that he alone has the certain means of coming to 
the knowledge of His truth, and the practice of His will. 

I say the certain means of coming to the knowledge of His 
truth, for it is one thing to have a certain knowledge of a thing, 
and another to have only some ideas about it. We see this 
difference when we contrast the language of a man who is 
master of a science with that of one who has only vague 
notions about it. One possesses his knowledge knows what 
he knows can make use of it ; while the other is embar 
rassed the moment he attempts to use his knowledge is 
uncertain whether he is right or wrong is driven to guesses 
and conjectures. In the same way, in religion, it is one thing 
to have convictions more or less deep opinions more or less 
probable, to be acquainted with its history and able to talk 
about it and quite another to have certainty in religion, to 
know that one is right. This is the assurance I claim as the 
special possession of the Catholic. There can be no doubt 
that Catholics do, in point of fact, show a much deeper con 
viction of the truth of their religion than Protestants. This 
is a matter of common observation, and the proofs of it are 
on every side. Officers who come back from the army tell 
how struck they have been, with the fact that the Catholic 
soldiers believe their religion and carry it with them to the 
camp. Proselyting societies make frequent confession of the 
difficulty they find in undermining the faith even of ignorant 
and needy Catholics. Those who have experience at death 
beds, know that faith is found sometimes surviving almost 



THE WAY OF SALVATION. 421 

every other good principle, and making a return to God pos 
sible. Those who are familiar with the history of the Church 
know that this faith is strong enough to bear the severest tests 
which can be applied to it ; that it has often led men to 
despise what the world most esteems wealth, pleasures, 
honor ; that it sends the missionary to heathen countries 
without a regret for the home and the native land he leaves 
behind him ; that, in fine, it has often led men in times past, 
and still at this day leads them joyfully to the rack, the stake, 
and the scaffold. Now, whence comes this deep and fixed 
certainty in religion? Is it a mere prejudice that melts 
before investigation ? Is it a stupid fanaticism ? Or has it a 
reasonable basis, and are its foundations deep in the laws of 
the human mind ? I answer, Catholics have this undoubting 
conviction on the principle of faith in an infallible authority. 
There are but two principles of Christian belief, when we 
come to the bottom of the matter. One is the Protestant 
principle, viz. : that each one is to settle his faith for himself, 
by a study of the clear records of Christianity. The other 
is the Catholic principle, viz. : that each one is to receive his 
faith from an infallible authority. I feel as if I ought to 
pause here for a while to explain to you what is meant by 
this principle, for there exists in regard to it in some minds a 
misconception which does us the grossest injustice. Some 
persons imagine that our creed is manufactured for us by the 
Pope and the Bishops ; that whatever they may think right 
and good they may decree, and forthwith we are bound 
to believe it. But this is an enormous mistake. The au 
thority to which I submit myself is something far more 
august. It lies behind Pope and Bishop, and they must 
bow to it as well as I. The Pope and the Bishops are the 
organs of this authority, not its sources. "When we speak of 
learning from an infallible authority, we mean that a man is 
to find out the truth by putting his intelligence in communi 
cation with that living stream of truth that flows down 



422 THE CATHOLIC S CERTITUDE CONCERNING 

- 

through the channel of tradition, that living word of God, 
that public preaching of the truth in the true Church, begun 
by the Apostles, carried on by their successors, confessed by 
so many people, recorded in so many monuments, adorned jy 
so many sacrifices, attested by so many miracles. Unques 
tionably, this was the mode in which men were expected to 
learn the truth in apostolic days. It would not have been 
of the least avail for a man to have said to the Apostles that 
his convictions differed from theirs. He would have been 
instantly regarded as in error. " We are of God," says St. 
John ; " he that is of God, heareth us / he that is not of God, 
heareth not us. By this shall ye know the spirit of truth, 
and the spirit of error."* .Nor is there the least intimation in 
the New Testament that this principle was to be departed 
from after the death of the Apostles. On the contrary, we 
find that the Apostles ordained others, and communicated to 
them their doctrine and authority, that they might go on and 
preach just as they had done. And we find in the early 
Church that whenever a dispute arose about doctrine it was 
settled on the same principle, viz. : by an appeal to the tra 
dition of the churches that had been founded by the Apostles. 
Thus, when a heresy arose in the second century, Tertullian 
confronts it by bidding them compare their doctrine with 
that of the Apostolic Churches : " If thou art in Achaia," 
he says, " thou hast Corinth ; if thou art near Macedonia, 
thou hast Philippi ; if thou art in Italy, thou hast Rome. 
Happy Church ! to which the Apostles bequeathed not only 
their blood, but all their doctrines. See what she has learned, 
see what she has taught."f Such is the principle on which the 
Catholic Church acts to this day. Now, while the Protestant 
principle of private judgment in its own nature cannot lead 
to certainty, while in point of fact it has led only to endless 
dispute, until in our own day it has ended by bringing those 
Divine Records, which it began by exalting so highly, into 

* L St. John iy. 6. f Adr. Praescr. Hser. n. 32-6. 



THE WAY OF SALVATION. 423 

doubt and contempt ; the Catholic principle, which, I have 
stated, is the principle of tradition, is adapted to give a com 
plete and a reasonable certainty and assurance. The reasons 
why this public tradition of the living Church has this power 
are manifold. They are in part natural, and in part su 
pernatural universal consent, internal consistency, Divine 
Attestation, the Warrant and Promise of Christ ; all of 
which are so well summed up by St. Augustine, in that fa 
mous letter of his to the Manichees : " I am kept in the 
Catholic Church," he says, " by the consent of peoples and 
nations. By an authority begun with miracles, nourished by 
hope, increased by charity, confirmed by antiquity. By the 
succession of priests from the chair of St. Peter the Apostle 
to whom our Lord after His resurrection gave His sheep 
to be fed down to the present Bishop. In fine, by that very 
name of Catholic, which this Church alone has held possession 
of; so that though heretics would fain have called themselves 
Catholics, yet to the inquiry of a stranger, c Where is the 
meeting of the Catholic Church heldf no one of them 
would dare to point to his own basilica.""- The conviction 
which such considerations produce is so deep that a Catholic 
rests in it with the most undoubting certainty. He can bear 
to look into his belief, to examine its grounds ; he feels it is 
a venerable belief. He says it is impossible that God would 
allow error to wear so many marks of truth. To imagine it, 
would be to impugn His Truth, His Justice, His Power, His 
Goodness. And therefore, our belief in the Catholic religion 

" O 

is only another form of our belief in God. The foundation 
of that belief is deep and abiding, for it is the Eternal Throne of 
God. That desire for truth which is implanted in man s nature 
is not, then, given only to be bafned and disappointed here 
is its fulfilment. Man is not raised to a participation in Christ 
of the Divine Nature, to be left in doubt of the most essential 
truths. To the Catholic are fulfilled those pleasant words of 

* Con. Ep. Manich. i. 5, 6. 



424 THE CATHOLIC S CERTITUDE CONCERNING 

Christ : " I will not now call you servants, for the servant 
knoweth not what his Lord doeth; hut I have called you 
friends, because all tilings, whatsoever I have heard from 
my Father, 1 have made "known to you"* 

But some one may make an objection to my doctrine tliat 
certainty about truth is the result only of the Catholic prin 
ciple of faith, and say : " You do not mean to assert that Pro 
testants have no faith at all ?" A Protestant may say to me : 
" I acknowledge that we have among us a great deal of dis 
union, and a great deal of doubt, but after all there are some 
things that are believed by some of us, that are believed 
without doubt, and you will not deny it." No, I will not deny 
it. I am glad to think that it is true. But how did you come 
by that belief ? You did not come by it on the principle of Prot 
estantism. The truth is, that principle never has been, and never 
can be carried out. Thank God, it is so. Utter unbelief would 
be the consequence. You have a child a child that you love 
dearly. Will you wait, as your Protestantism requires you to 
do, till he is grown up, for him to form his religious convictions ? 
No ; if you love him, you will not. Your heart will teach 
you a better wisdom. You will tell him about God, you 
will tell him "Who Christ is, and what He has done for him. 
You will tell him these things not doubtingly, not as if he 
was to suspend his judgment on them, but as true, and as to be 
believed then and there. And as he looks up at you out of 
his trusting eyes, he believes you. But how does he believe 
you ? On the principle of a Protestant, or a Catholic ? On 
the principle of private judgment, or on faith in an infal 
lible authority ? Surely it is as a Catholic he believes ? You 
represent to him the Great Teacher, and his childish soul, in 
listening to you, hears the voice of God, performs a great act 
of religion, and does his first act of homage to Truth. His 
nature prompts him to believe you. Perhaps he is baptized, 
and then there is a grace in his heart which secretly inclines 

* St. John xv. 15. 



THE WAY OF SALVATION. 425 

him the more to credit you, and he believes without doubt 
ing. He is a Catholic. Yes, my brethren, there is many a 
child of Protestant parents who is a Catholic a Catholic, 
that is, in all but the name, and the fulness of instruction, 
and the richness of privilege. He may grow up in this way, 
perhaps continue all his life in this childish faith and trust. 
I will not say it may not be so. But let his reason fully 
awaken. Let him honestly go down to the foundation of his 
faith and see on what it rests, and then let him remain a 
Protestant, and retain his undoubting assurance if he can. 
He cannot a crisis in his history has come. The sun has 
arisen with its living heat. The flower begins to wither. It 
must be transplanted or it will die. One of three things will 
happen : either the man, finding that he has not learned all that 
the Great Teacher has revealed, will go on to accept the 
rest and will become a Catholic ; or he will learn to doubt 
what he has received already and become a sceptic ; or he 
will stick to the creed he has received from his fathers or 
picked up for himself, and doggedly refuse to add to it, thus 
rendering himself at the same moment amenable in the Court 
of Reason for unreasonableness in what he holds, and in the 
Court of Faith for unbelief in what he rejects. So true it is 
that all the faith there is in the world is naturally allied to 
Catholicity. If men were perfectly reasonable and consist 
ent, there would be only two parties in the religious world. 
Protestantism would disappear. On the one side would be 
faith, certainty, Catholicity ; on the other, doubt and un 
belief. 

Kor is this all. The Catholic has not only a certain means 
of arriving at the knowledge of God s Faith, but he has also 
the sure means of knowing what he is bound to do in order 
to salvation. Christianity is a supernatural religion, and 
therefore it suggests many questions to which natural reason 
cannot give the answer. By what means can I be united to 
Christ ? Suppose I am in mortal sin, how can I be forgiven 2 



426 THE CATHOLIC S CERTITUDE CONCERNING 

What are the precise obligations binding on me as a Christian ? 
Now, how distinctly, how promptly were such questions 
answered in the time of the Apostles ! "When St. Paul came 
to Ananias to know what he was to do, the answer was 
given to him : " Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy 
sins." In the same way in the Catholic Church of this day, 
when a convert asks the same question, he gets the same 
answer : Seek in faith and repentance the cleansing of 
baptism, and thou shalt be joined unto Christ. Dost thou 
wish to know the life thou must practise ? It is written in 
the ten commandments and the precepts of the Church. 
Dost thou wish to know where thou wilt gain strength to 
keep these laws? In prayer and the sacraments. The 
Church tells you how many there are, what is their effi 
cacy, and the conditions of their saving operation. Art thou 
in sin after baptism ? Dost thou ask the way back to God ? 
The Church tells thee that sorrow for sin is the way back, 
and that this sorrow, when it is completed by confession, and 
accepted by the absolution of the priest, has a sacramental 
efficacy. So precise are the answers of Catholicity to the im 
portant practical questions of Christianity ; and the authority 
which, I have already said, attaches to her words, gives ease 
and certainty to the conscience. But how different is all this 
in Protestantism ! How various the answers given to these 
questions by the different sects ! Nay, how contradictory 
sometimes the answers given in the same sect ! It would be 
odious to go into particulars on this subject, but I say what 1 
know when I affirm that an intelligent Protestant cannot 
have faith in his Church, if he would ; he may adopt a set 
of opinions and associate with those who hold them, but he 
cannot have faith in his Church as a Church. It is not long 
since an intelligent member of one of the most enlightened 
Protestant denominations told me that the members of that 
Church did not seem to be satisfied with it, only they did not 
know whether there was any other Church in the world that 



THE WAY OF SALVATION. 427 

would satisfy them. I say what I know when I affirm that 
there are young children in Protestant Churches who weep 
because they are told that God hates them, and they do not 
know how to gain His love. That there are numbers of 
young men, full of generous and noble thoughts and impulses, 
who are utterly destitute of any fixed Christian belief; who 
say they would like to believe, but they cannot. That there 
are multitudes and multitudes who die in this land, who die 
without one single Christian act, and many who submit at 
their last hour to take part in such acts at the request of 
friends, and on the chance that there may be some good in 
them. That there are some who openly lament that they 
were not born Catholics, that they might have had faith ; 
some who rise in the night to cry to God out of the hopeless 
darkness that surrounds them ; some who, in despair of seeing 
God with an intelligent faith, take up a substitute, the best 
of all, it is true, but still very insufficient works of benevo 
lence and philanthropy, and the beauties of a merely moral 
life ; some who would welcome death itself if it would but 
remove their agony of doubt. 

I do not say these things, my Protestant friends, if any 
such are present, to mock your miseries. Far from it. I 
know you too well. I love you too much. I say these 
things to lead you to truth and peace. I call to you strug 
gling with the waves, from the rock whereon our feet have 
found a resting-place. I speak to you to the same effect as 
Christ spoke to the woman at the well of Jacob, who was a 
member of the schismatical Samaritan Church. You wor 
ship you know not what. We know what we worship ; for 
salvation is of the Jews. You know not what you worship. 
Your religion is at the best one of doubt and uncertainty. We 
know what we worship. We are certain we are right, for 
salvation is of us. We are the Israelites. To us belongeth 
the adoption of children, and the glory, and the covenant, 
and the giving of the law, and +he service of God, and the 



428 THE CATHOLIC S CERTITUDE. 

promises. This is the mountain of the Lord established in 
the last days on the top of the mountains, and exalted above 
the hills, into which the nations flow. O you who know not 
this home of peace, God did not make you to be as you are, to 
be tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of 
doctrine, to follow blind guides, to give your money for that 
which is not bread, and your labor for that which satisfieth 
not. No, come with us and be happy. Come with us and 
be blessed. Come, let us go the mountain of the Lord, and 
to the house of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us Plis 
ways, and we will walk in His paths, for the law shall come 
forth from Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 
Incline your ear unto me and you shall live the life of 
faith the life of certainty and hope. You shall go out with 
joy and be led forth with peace. Instead of the shrub shall 
come up the fir tree : and instead of the nettle shall come 
up the myrtle tree. All nature shall sympathise in your 
happiness. The mountains and hills shall break forth into 
singing before you, and all the trees of the country shall 
clap their hands. 

And you, my dear Catholics, be not indifferent to the 
graces God has given you, nor slothful in their use. You 
have it your power to make sure your salvation. About the 
means there is no uncertainty. They are infallible. It is 
of the Catholic Church that the prophet spoke when he said : 
"A path shall ~be there, and a way, and it shall "be called a 
holy ic ay, and this shall "be unto you a straight way, so that 
even fools shall not err therein"* And again : " Thus saith 
the Lord God : I will lay a stone in the foundation of Sion, 
a tried stone, a corner-Mom, a precious stone, founded in 
the foundation ."f A way to heaven in this dark, uncertain 
world ! a straight, a sure, a certain way ! A rock under our 
feet under this swelling sea ! O my brethren, what bless 
ings are these ! Let them not be in vain. Be not found at 

* Isai. xxxv. 8. f Ibid, xxviii. 16. 



THE PKESENCE OF GOD. 429 

the last day with your lights gone out! The just shall 
live by faith. Live by yours. Do you wish to advance in 
a good life ? Your faith tells you how. Does sin wage a 
war against you \ Your faith tells you how to meet the 
combat. Are you in sin ? Your faith tells you how to be 
forgiven. Correspond, then, hoiiestly with this faith, and you 
may enjoy a firm hope of heaven, a hope not based on excited 
feelings, not claiming to be a direct inspiration from on high, 
but a reasonable hope, that will stay by you in adversity, 
and support you at the hour of death. Claim, then, your 
privilege. Assert the freedom wherewith Christ has made 
you free. Be not troubled or anxious all your days. Do 
your part, act up to your Catholic conscience, then lift up 
your heads, eat your bread with joy, and let your garments 
be always white, for God now accepteth your works. In this 
is the love of God perfected in us, that we may have confi 
dence in the day of judgment. " Wherefore^ le ye steadfast, 
unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, foras 
much as ye "know that your labor is not in vain m the Lord"* 



xxn. 

THE PRESENCE OF GOD. 



(FIFTH SUNDAY AFTEB PENTECOST.) 

" Indeed the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not. How terrible is this 
place ; this is no other than the house of God and the gate of heaven." GEN 
XVIIL 16,17. 

THESE words were spoken by the Patriarch Jacob when he 
was journeying to Syria to visit his uncle. He had stopped 
for the night at a place which was afterward called Bethel, 
and as he lay on the ground with a stone for his pillow, the 
Lord appeared to him in a vision, and blessed him, and fore- 

* I. Cor. xv. 58. 



430 THE PEESENCE OF GOD. 

told his future greatness and increase. Then, penetrated with 
a sense of the nearness and greatness of God, with whom he 
had been conversing, he rose up and exclaimed : " Indeed the 
Lord is in this place, and I knew it not." And trembling, he 
said : " How terrible is this place ; this is no other than the 
house of God, and the gate of heaven. Now, my brethren, 
we may make every morning and every night a similar 
declaration. "Wherever we are, we may say : " Indeed the 
Lord is in this place." Every spot on earth, on which a man 
tarries for a moment, becomes the house of God, and the gate 
of heaven. You understand what I mean. I am speaking 
of the omnipresence of God. Eeason and faith both proclaim 
to us this great truth of the universal presence of God. He 
is present by His immensity to all creatures in the universe, 
whether living or inanimate. When God created the world, 
He did not leave it to itself. He sustains it by His presence 
and power, and it is in Him that we live and move and have 
our being. He is present to our intellectual and moral being 
as the light of reason and the object of the will, for without 
Him there would be no rational or moral life. He is present 
with us also as the source of that supernatural life which 
begins in baptism and ends in the uncreated vision of the 
Blessed Trinity in heaven. " He that loveth Me, , shall" 
be loved by My Father ; and I will love him, and will mani 
fest Myself to him. * * * And My Father will love him, 
and We will come to him, and will make an abode with 
him."* O my brethren, what a piercing thought is this of 
the presence of God, if we did but realize it ! Think for a 
moment of the doctrine of the real presence of our Lord in 
the Holy Eucharist. We believe that Jesus Christ, true God 
and true Man, with His deity, His soul, His flesh and blood, is 
present in the holy sacrament of the altar. What conse 
quences this doctrine has ! The whole Catholic ritual, the 

* St. John xiv. 21, 23. 



THE PRESENCE OF GOD. 

ceremonies of worship, the respect paid to churches, the bow 
ing of the knees, the incense, the lights, the music all flow 
from this. In the early ages, during the times of persecution, 
it was customary for Christians to take home with them the 
Blessed Sacrament, that they might communicate themselves 
in case of necessity. Imagine that such were the custom now t 
Imagine you were to take away with you, this day, as you left 
the church, and carry to your homes, the sacred host which is 
kept in the tabernacle. How silently would you go along 
the streets ! With what care would you seek out a place for 
our Saviour s body to respose in ! With what care would 
you go about your home as long as He remained your guest ! 
How would your heart thrill as you reflected, on awaking in 
the morning, that indeed the Lamb of God, once crucified for 
you, was now a dweller in your own home ! Yet, if such 
were the case, if the Blessed Sacrament were actually kept in 
your houses and in your rooms, God would not be any more 
present to you than He is now. He is indeed present in a 
different manner in the Blessed Eucharist. That sacramental 
presence, that sweet, precious, consoling presence of the body 
once broken, and the blood once shed for us, is confined to the 
sacramental species. But the presence of the deity, the real 
presence of God, is just as much outside as it is inside the 
church ; just as much with us when we are at home as when 
we are at Mass. ]STot if His footstep shook the heavens and 
the earth, as it will on the Last Day when He comes to 
judgment, would God be one whit closer to us or more pres 
ent to us than He is now to every one of us, every day, and 
everywhere. Even sin cannot separate us from God. We 
sometimes say that mortal sin separates a man from God. As 
a figure of speech, implying the loss of God s grace and friend 
ship which sin occasions, this language may pass, but taker 
literally it is untrue. A man can never be separated from 
God. That would be annihilation. Even when we are in sin, 
even when we are committing sin, God is with us and in us, 



482 THE PRESENCE OF GO1). 

the soul of our soul, the life of our life. Yes, here is a bond 
that can never be broken. Never can we escape that awful 
presence never for a moment, here or hereafter. "We shall 
not be more in God s presence in heaven or less in hell than 
we are now at this moment. God is not a God afar off up in 
heaven. lie is here. This whole universe is only God s 
shadow. Every thing that is attests, not only God s creating 
power, but His living presence. He is in the flames and in 
the light, and in the pastures, in the air, in the ground, in th e 
body, and in the soul, in the head, in the eye, in the ear, and 
in the heart. He is in us, and we are in Him, bathed in His 
presence as in an ocean, breathing in it as in an atmosphere. 
This is what the Psalmist expresses so beautifully : " Whither 
shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from 
Thy face f If I ascend into heaven, thou art there if 1 
descend into hell, thou art present if I take my wings early 
in the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 
even there also shall Thy hand lead me / and Thy right hand 
shall hold me. And I said : Perhaps darkness shall cover 
me ; and night shall be light in my pleasures. Bui darkness 
shall not be dark to thee ; and night shall be light as the day / 
the darkness thereof, and the light thereof, are alike to 
Thee." * 

If we thought more frequently of this, how many sins 
should we avoid ! When a man is going to commit a crime, 
he takes precautions against discovery. He seeks out a secret 
place. He chooses a fitting hour. Yain precautions ! There 
is no secret place on earth, no lonely spot, no time of dark 
ness. There is a proverb among men that a walls have 
ears," and the counsel of the wise man is, " Detract not the 
king, no, not in thy thought ; and speak not evil of the rich 
man in thy private chamber ; because even the birds of the 
air will carry the voice ; and he that hath wings will tell 

* Ps. cxxxviii. 7-12. 



THE PRESENCE OF GOD. 433 

what thou hast said" *"* What is it that has impressed on men 
this universal fear of detection ? Is it not an unconscious 
acknowledgment of the presence of God ? Yes, we cannot 
shut the door against Him. We cannot leave Him out. We 
cannot draw the blind before His eye. " The eyes of the 
Lord in every place behold the good and the eml"\ " Before 
that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree^ I 
saw thee"$ said our Lord to Nathanael. I wish you thought 
more of this ; I am sure it would save you from many a sin. 
I have read of a holy man who, on hearing a person say that 
circumstances were favorable to the commission of a shame 
ful sin, because no one was present, exclaimed : " What ! are 
you not ashamed to do that before the living God which you 
would be ashamed to do before a man like yourself?" Even 
the eye of a dog has restrained men from the commission of 
crime how much more ought the eye of God ! Listen to the 
language you hear as you pass through the streets. Tho 
sacred names of God and Jesus Christ, how they are bandied 
about ! Would men speak so, if they realized that God and 
Christ were then and there present ? Would they insult God 
to His face ? Suppose our Saviour were to appear to one of 
these men as he was pouring out his oaths and blasphemies, 
in the guise in which He was as He journeyed to Calvary to 
die for man, with sorrow in His eye, and sweat and blood on 
His forehead, with weak and faltering steps, and lips mute, 
but full of appealing love and agony ; would he still go on with 
his dreadful oaths ? No ! The knee would be bent, the head 
would be bowed, and the very ground on which He walked 
would be regarded with reverent awe. Why so ? Merely 
because ho saw Him with his bodily eyes ? Would it not be 
the same, if he were to close His eyes, and yet be aware of 
His presence ? And is He not present to you as truly as if 
you saw Him, hearing each imprecation and blasphemy 

* Eccles. x. 20. f Prov. xv. 3. \ St. John i. 48. 

19 



434 THE PRESENCE OF GOD. 

which you utter ? Oh, spare Him ! spare those sacred ears ; 
spare His majesty and His goodness, and cease to profane His 
holy name. Tertullian, speaking of the early Christians, says 
they talked as those who believed that God was listening. 
Let the thought of God s presence be deeply graven on your 
soul, and it will teach you to use the language of a Christian 
at least it will cure you of blasphemy. 

It will cure you also of another sin of the tongue : that is. 
of falsehood. Lying implies a virtual denial of God s pres 
ence, as well as blasphemy. When you lie, you forget tha 
there is One who knows the truth who is Himself the 
Eternal Truth ; and you act as if He knew not, or would be a 
party to your fraud. Every lie is, in this respect, like the lie 
of Ananias and Sapphira a lie to God. 

Oh ! how much must Grod be displeased by all the sins He 
witnesses. It is said of righteous Lot, that from day to day lie 
vexed his righteous soul at all the sins which he witnessed in 
Sodom, where he dwelt. How must the Holy God be vexed 
every day at all the dark deeds, the injustices, the impurities, 
the falsehoods, the deceits, the treacheries, the cruelties, to 
which men compel Him to be a witness ! Is it not a neces 
sity that Christ should come with ten thousand of His saints 
to take vengeance on the ungodly ! Would it not seem, 
otherwise, that God made Himself a party to our sins by 
keeping silence? " These things hast thou done-" says the 
Almighty, "and I was silent. Thou thoughtest unjustly 
that I shall he like to thee : hut I will reprove thee, and set 
he/ore thy face" * David committed adultery in secret ; but 
God declared to him that He would punish him before all 
Israel, and in the sight of the sun. So the Judgment Day 
will bring to light every secret thing, and manifest, in the 
sight of all, those hidden sins which have been committed in 
the presence and with the full knowledge of God. They 

* Ps. xlix. 21. 



THE PRESENCE OF GOD. 435 

have never been hidden from God, and the disclosures of the 
Last Day are only the Presence and the Knowledge of God 
asserting and manifesting themselves to men. The thought 
of God, and of His Omnipresence, is thus the greatest pre 
servative against sin. 

But this is not all. -The thought of God s perpetual and 
universal presence is our greatest strength and consolation. 
What a comfort it would be to have a friend, who loved us 
truly, who was most sincerely desirous of our welfare and 
happiness, who was very wise and able to help us in difficul 
ties, never variable or capricious, but always true and faith 
ful and trustworthy ! The possession of such a friend will 
go as far as any thing earthly can go to make one perfectly 
happy. Now, each one of us really has such a friend. Such 
a friend ? Ah ! far better, far wiser, far more loving even 
the good God ! God, in the Holy Scriptures, represents the 
soul of man as a garden, in which it is His delight to walk 
about. What an idea this gives us of the familiarity a man 
may have with God. Why do not men take advantage of 
this loving condescension ? Why do they not converse with 
God ? Why do they not think of Him ? The face of Moses 
shone after he had been talking to God on Mount Sinai, and 
our countenance would be light and joyous if we dwelt more 
in God s presence. Oh, to think of it ! When we walk in 
the streets, when we sit down and rise up, there is one ever 
at our side no, not at our side ; but in us our very life 
and being ; God, the Beautiful and Good. God, Who made 
the heavens and the earth ; the God of our fathers. God, Who 
has been the comfort and stay of the just in all ages, Who 
talked with Abraham, and went before the children of Israel 
in a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. God, Who 
gave manna from heaven, Who spoke by the prophets, and in 
the still, small voice on Mount Horeb ; Who awoke Samuel, 
as he lay sleeping in his little crib in the priest s chamber, 
and chose David, the youth- fair and of a ruddy counte- 



i36 THE PBESENCE OF GOD. 

nance, to be the prince of His people ; and who, in these last 
days, hath revealed Himself in His Only Begotten Son, fall 
of grace and truth. 

He it is Who is with you and me, even from our youth 
unto this day. O thou who art afflicted, tossed with tem 
pests and not comforted, what dost thou want ? what wouldst 
thou have ? The Eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath 
thee are the everlasting arms. Thou hast but to open thy soul, 
and floods of comfort and strength will pour into thee. Art 
thou weak ? He is thy Strength. Art thou sad and lonely ? 
He is thy Consoler. Art thou guilty ? He is thy Redeemer 
the God ready to pardon. Does the world allure thee I 
His Beauty will make its attractions pale. Is thy heart 
weary and inconstant ? He is unfailing and unchanging. O 
source of strength, too much slighted ! O happiness, too 
often blindly rejected! In the presence of God there is 
pleasure and life. " They that hope in the Lord shall renew 
their strength they shall take wings as eagles / they shall 
run and not be weary they shall walk and not faint" 
"For He is a covert from the wind, a hiding-place from the 
storm^ as rivers of waters in a dry place , and the shadow of a 
great roc7c in a weary land" * 

Learn, then, my brethren, to keep yourselves in the pres 
ence of God. To forget God, what is it, but to plunge our 
selves into sin and misery. To remember God, what is it, 
but to be strong and happy. " Walk before Me, and be 
thou perfect," said God to Abraham. That is the secret 
of perfection, the way to heaven. It is not necessary to go 
out of your own mind. It is not necessary to lift the eye 
to heaven, or bend the knee. Closer than the union of soul 
and body is the union between God and thee. Quicker 
than thought is the communion between thy soul and its 
Maker. "Thou shalt cry" says the Almighty, " and I will 

* Isai. xl. 31 ; xxxii. 2. 



KEEPING THE LAW NOT IMPOSSIBLE. 43 T 

say : Here I am yea, even before thy call, I will hear, 
and even while thou art yet speaking I will answer."* Prac 
tise, then, attention to the presence of God. I do not speak 
so much now of daily prayers, and of your devotions in the 
church. But when you are abroad in the busy world, or in 
your homes, accustom yourselves from time to time to think of 
God. Complicated pieces of machinery require the care of 
an overseer from time, to time, lest they get out of gear. So 
we must think of God from time to time during the day, and 
keep the powers of our soul in harmony with the will of God, 
lest they fall into disorder, and the work of life be hindered. 
It is not a work of very great difficulty. The chief difficulty 
lies in its simplicity. It is so much easier to pray than we 
think, that oftentimes we have already prayed when we are 
perplexing ourselves how to pray, and busying ourselves with 
preparing to pray. God is in us, in the very centre of our 
soul. He knows its most secret thoughts, and thus a simple 
act of the will is enough to bring us into communion with 
Him. To realize this is to be men of prayer, to be as happy 
as it is possible for us to be in this life, and to begin here that 
contemplation of God which will constitute our everlasting 
beatitude in heaven. 



SEKMON XXIII. 

KEEPING, THE LAW NOT IMPOSSIBLE. 
(NINTU SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST.) 

"I can do all things in Him who strengthened me." PHIL. VI. 13. 

IF I am not mistaken, a very great number of the sins that 
men commit, are committed through hopelessness. The 
pleasures of sin are by no means unmixed. Indeed, sin is a 

* Isai. Iviii. 9 ; Ixv. 24. 



438 KEEPING THE LAW NOT IMPOSSIBLE. 

hard master ; and all who practise it find it so. I never met 
a man who said it was a good thing, or that it made him 
happy. On the contrary, all lament it, and say that it makes 
them miserable. Why, then, do they commit it ? Yery 
often, I am persuaded, because they think they have no power 
to resist it. They feel in themselves strong passions ; they 
have yielded to them in times past, they see that others yield 
to them, and so they come to think it impossible not to yield 
to them. The law of God is too difficult, they say. It is 
impossible to keep it. It may do for priests or nuns who 
are cut off from the world, or for women, or for the old, or 
for children, but for us who mix in the world, whose blood is 
warm, and whose passions are strong, it is too high and pure. 
It is all very well to talk about ; it is all very well to hold 
up a high standard to us, but you must not expect us to at 
tain it. The utmost that you can expect of us is to stop sin 
ning, now and then, and make the proper acknowledgments 
to God by going to confession ; but actually to try not to sin, 
to keep on endeavoring not to sin at any time, or under any 
circumstances, that is impossible, or at least so extremely 
difficult that, practically speaking, it is impossible. Are 
there none of you, my brethren, who recognise this as the 
secret language of your hearts? Is there not an impression 
in your minds that the law of God is too strict, or at least that 
it is too strict for you, and that you cannot keep it ? If so, 
do not harbor it. It is a fatal error. ~No it is not impossible 
to keep God s law. It is not impossible to keep from mortal 
sin. It is, I admit, impossible to keep from every venial sin, 
though even here we can do a great deal, if we try. Such is 
the frailty of human nature that even the best men, as time 
goes on, fall into some slight faults, only the Blessed Virgin 
having been able, as we believe, to pass a whole life without 
even in the smallest thing offending God. But it is possible 
for all of us to keep from mortal sin, at all times and under 
all circumstances. This, I think, you will acknowledge when 



KEEPING THE LAW NOT IMPOSSIBLE. 4C9 

you consider the character of God, the nature of God s law, 
and the power of God s grace which is promised to us. 

I say the character of God is a pledge of our ability to keep 
from mortal sin. God requires us to be free from mortal sin, 
and He requires it under the severest penalties, and therefore 
it must be possible for us. You may say, " God requires us 
to be free from venial sin too, and yet you have just said we 
cannot avoid every venial sin." But the case is far different. 
A. venial sin does not separate us from God, and does not re 
ceive extreme punishment from Him nay, those venial sins 
which even good men commit, and which are only in small 
part voluntary, are very easily forgiven but a mortal sin 
cut us off entirely from God, and deserves eternal punish 
ment. You know, one mortal sin is enough to damn a man 
one single sin of drunkenness, for instance, or impurity; 
a cherished hatred, a false* oath, or an act of grave injustice. 
One such sin is sufficient to sink a man in hell, and although 
we know very little in particular of the torments of hell, we 
have every reason to believe that they are most bitter, and 
we know that they are eternal. Now, can it be thought that 
a being of justice and goodness, as we know God to be, would 
inflict so extreme a punishment for an offence which was un 
avoidable, or could only be avoided with the utmost difficul 
ty ? Holy ^Scripture sends us to an earthly parent for an 
example of that tenderness and affection which we are to ex 
pect from our Heavenly Father. " If you, leing evil, know 
how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will 
your Father ivho is in heaven, give good things to them that 
asJv Him."* What would be the thought of an earthly 
father who laid upon his son a command which it was all 
but impossible for him to comply with, and then punished 
him with the utmost rigor for not fulfilling it ? You would 
not call that man a father, but a tyrant ; a tyrant like Pha- 

*St Matt, vii 11. 



440 KEEPING THE LAW NOT IMPOSSIBLE. 

raoh, who would not give straw to the children of Israel, 
and yet set taskmasters over them to exact of them the full 
measure of bricks as when straw had been given them. 
Why, if you were going along the street and saw a man whip 
ping unmercifully an overloaded horse, you would not bear 
it patiently. And would you attribute conduct so disgrace 
ful among men to our Father in heaven ? God forbid ! Far 
be such a thought from us ! It is not so. We must not 
think it. At least we cannot think it as long as we remain 
Catholics ; for when the earlier Protestants proclaimed the 
shocking doctrine that though God punished men for dis 
obeying his law, man was really unable to obey it, the Church 
branded the doctrine as a heresy to be abhorred of all men, 
as most false in itself, and most injurious to God. E~o ; God 
loves his creatures far more than we conceive of. He does 
not desire the death of a sinner. He wills truly the salvation 
of all men. His goodness and mercy, His truth and justice, 
are all so many infallible guarantees of our ability to keep 
His law. He would not have given us His law unless He had 
meant us to keep it. He would not punish us so severely for 
breaking it, unless our breaking it was an act of deliberate, 
wilful, determined rebellion. 

But there is another source from which I draw the con 
clusion that it is possible to keep the law of God from the 
nature of the law itself. The law of God is of such a nature 
that, for the most part, in order to commit mortal sin, it is 
necessary to do or to leave undone some external act, which 
of its own nature it is entirely in our power to do or not to 
do. For instance, the law says, "Thou sJialt not steal /" 
now, to steal, you have got to put your hand into your neigh 
bor s pocket. The law says : " Thou shalt do no murder ;" 
to murder, you must stretch out your hand against your 
neighbor s life. Nay, it requires ordinarily several external 
actions before a mortal sin is consummated. Thus the thief 
has his precautions to take, and his plans to lay. The drunk- 



KEEPING THE LAW NOT IMPOSSIBLE. 441 

ard has to seek the occasion. He seeks the grogshop. Every 
step he takes is a separate act. When he gets there, it is not 
the first glass that makes him drunk. He drinks again and 
acain, and it is only after all these different and repeated ac 
tions that he falls into the mortal sin of drunkenness. Now, 
here you see are external acts acts in which the hand, the 
foot, the lips, are concerned, and which, therefore, it is per 
fectly in our power to do or to let alone. This requires no 
proof, but admits of a striking illustration. You have heard 
of the o-reat sufferings of the martyrs ; how some of them 

O o ** 

were stoned to death, others flayed alive, others crucified, 
others torn to pieces by wild beasts, others burned to death. 
Now, what was it all about ? You answer, " They suffered 
because they would not deny Christ." Yery well ; but how 
were they required to deny Christ ? What was it they were 
required to do ? I will tell you. Sometimes they were re 
quired to take a few grains of incense and throw it on the 
altar of Jupiter ; that would have been enough to have saved 
them from their sufferings. They. need not have said, "I 
renounce Christ ;" only to have taken the incense would have 
been sufficient. Sometimes they were required to tread on 
the cross. Sometimes to swear by the genius of the Roman 
emperor ; that was all. And the fire was kindled to make 
them do these things; but they would not. The flames 
leaped upon them, but not a foot would they lift from the 
ground. Their hands were burnt to the bone, but no incense 
would they touch. The marrow of their bones melted in the 
heat, and forced from them a cry of agony, but the name of 
the emperor s tutelary genius did not pass their lips. Now, 
will you tell me that you cannot help doing what the martyrs 
would not do to save them from death ? They had a fire be 
fore them and a scourge behind them, and they refused ; and 
you say you cannot help yourself when you are under no ex 
ternal violence whatever ! They died rather than lift a hand 
to do a forbidden thing ; have you not the same power over 

19* 



X 

442 KEEPING THE LAW NOT IMPOSSIBLE. 

jour hand that they had ? They died rather than utter a 
sinful word ; have you not as much power over your tongue 
as they ? Indeed you have, for you control both one and the 
other whenever you will. I say there is no sinner whose 
conduct does not show that his actions are perfectly in his 
own power. The thief waits for the night to carry on his 
trade ; during the day he is honest enough. The greatest 
libertine knows how to behave himself in the presence of a 
high-born and virtuous female. And even that vice whicli 
men say it is naost difficult of all to restrain when once the 
habit is formed profane swearing you know how to re 
strain it when you will, for even the heaviest curser and 
swearer ceases from his oaths before the priest, or any other 
friend whom he greatly respects. Now, if you can stop 
cursing before the priest, why can you not before your wife 
and children ? If you can be chaste in the presence of a 
virtuous female, why can you not be chaste everywhere ? If 
you can be honest when the eye of man is on you, why can 
you not be honest when no eye sees you but that of God ? 

" But," some onemay say, " there is a class of sins to which 
the remarks you have made do not apply, that is, sins of 
thought. You must admit that they are of such a nature 
that it is all but impossible not to commit them." No, I do 
not admit it. I acknowledge that sins of thought are more 

O O 

difficult to guard against than sins of action ; but I do not 
acknowledge that it "is impossible to guard against them. 
To prove this, I have only to remind you that an evil thought 
is no sin until we give consent to it. To keep always free 
from evil thoughts may be impossible, because the imagina-, 
tion is in its nature so volatile, that but few men have it in 
control ; but, though it be not possible to restrain the imagi 
nation, it is always possible to restrain the will. In order 
for the will to consent to evil it is necessary both to know 
and to choose, and therefore from, the nature of the thing one 
can never fall into sin either inevitably or unawares. And 



KEEPING THE LAW NOT IMPOSSIBLE. 443 

besides, the will lias a powerful ally in the conscience, whose 
province it is to keep us from sin and to reproach ns when 
wc3 do sin so that it is scarcely possible, for one who habit 
ually tries to keep free from mortal sin, to fall into it with 
out his conscience giving a distinct and unmistakable report; 
And this is so certain that spiritual writers say that a person 
of good life and tender conscience, who is distressed with 
the uncertainty whether or no he has given consent to an 
evil temptation, ought to banish that anxiety altogether and 
to be sure that he has not consented. But suppose these 
evil temptations are importunate, and remain in the sonl 
even when we resist them, and try to turn from them ? No 
matter. They do not become sins on that account; nay, 
they become the occasion of acts of great virtue. It is re 
lated in the life of St. Catharine of Sienna that on one oc 
casion that pure virgin s soul was assailed by the most horri 
ble temptations of the devil. They lasted for a long time, 
and after the conflict our Saviour appeared to her with n, 
serene countenance. "O my Divine Spouse," she said, 
" where wast thou when I was enduring these conflicts ?" 
" In thy soul," he replied. " What, with all these filthy 
abominations?" u Yes, they were displeasing and painful 
to thee; this therefore was thy merit, and thy victory wa* 
owing to My presence." So that we see even here, where 
the danger is greatest, the law of God exacts of us nothing 
but what in its own nature is in our power to do or not to do. 
But if you wish another proof of your ability to keep 
God s law, I allege the power of Ills grace. I can imagine 
an objector saying : " You have not touched the real difii- 
culty, after all. The difficulty is not on God s side ; no doubt 
He is good^and holy. Neither are the requirements of his 
law so very hard. The difficulty is in us. We are fallen 
by nature. We have sinned after baptism. We are so 
weak, so frail, that to us continued observance of the divine 
commandments is impossible." No, my brethren, neither is 



444 KEEPING THE LAW KOT IMPOSSIBLE. 

this true. It is not true from the mouth of any man ; least 
of all from the mouth of a Christian. " JVo temptation" 
says the Apostle, " hath taken hold of you hut such as is 
human. And God is faithful, ivho will not suffer you to 
he tempted above, that which you are able hut will also 
with the temptation make a way of escape that you may ~be 
able to hear it"* The weakest and frailest are strong enough 

O ?3 

with God s grace, and this grace He is ready to give to those 
that need it. At all times and in all places He has been 
ready to give His grace to them that need it, but especially 
is this true under the gospel. The Holy Scriptures make 
this the distinguishing characteristic of the times of the gos 
pel, that they shall abound in grace. " Take courage, and 
fear not" the prophet says, in anticipation of the time when 
Christ should come in the flesh, "Behold, God will come 
and save you. Then shall the eyes of the blind he opened, 
and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then shall the lame 
man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be 
free , for loaters are broken out of the desert, and streams in 
the wilderness. And that which was dry land shall become 
a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water ."f Such was 
the promise, hundreds of years before Christ, of a time of 
peace, of happiness and grace ; and when our Lord was come, 
He published that the good time had indeed arrived : "The 
spirit of the Lord hath anointed me to preach the gospel to 
the poor. He hath sent me to heal the contrite of heart. To 
preach deliverance to the captive, and sight to the blind, to 
set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach tlie acceptable 
year of the Lord"\ Yes, the great time has come ; the cool 
of the day ; the evening of the world ; the time when labor is 
light and reward abundant. O my brethren, you know not 
what a privilege it is to be a Christian ! You enter a church. 
You see a priest in his confessional. A penitent is kneeling at 

*I Cor. x. 13. *Is. xxxv. 4-7. \ St. Luke iv.,, 18, 19. 



KEEPING THE LAW NOT IMPOSSIBLE. 445 

his feet. The sight makes but little impression on you, for you 
are accustomed to it, but this is that "fountain : promised 
by the prophet " to the house of David and to the inhabitants 
of Jerusalem, for the washing of the sinner f a fountain that 
flows from the Saviour s side, and not only cleanses, but 
strengthens and makes alive. You pass an altar. The priest 
is giving communion. Stop ! it is the Lord himself! the 
bread of angels ! the wine of virgins ! the food " whereof if a 
man eat he shall live forever" And not only in the church 
do you find grace ; it follows you home. You shut your door 
behind you, and your Father in heaven waits to hear and 
grant your prayer. Nay, at all times God is with you, for 
you are the temple of God, and He sits on the throne of your 
heart to scatter His grace on you whenever and wherever 
you ask Him. Do not say, then, Christian, that you are un. 
able to do what God requires of you. It is a sin of black in 
gratitude to say so. Even if it were impossible for others to 
keep the law of God, it is not for you. He hath not done to 
every nation as he hath done to you. When the patriarch 
Jacob was dying, he blessed all his children, but his richest 
blessing was for Joseph. So God has blessed all the Children 
of His hand, but you, Christian, are the Joseph whom He 
hath loved more than all His other sons. To others He hath 
given of " the dew of heaven ," and " the fatness of the earth" 
but you " He hath Messed with all spiritual blessings in 
Christ." 

Away, then, with the notion that obedience to the com 
mandments of God is impracticable a notion dishonorable 
to God and to ourselves. It is possible to keep free from 
mortal sin for all at all times, under all temptations. 
Nay, I will say more. It is, on the whole, easier to live a 
life of Christian obedience, than a life of sin. I say " on the 
whole," for I do not deny that here and there, in particular 
cases, it is harder to do right than wrong ; but taking life all 
through, one who restrains his passions willl have less trouble 



446 KEEPING THE LAW NOT IMPOSSIBLE. 

than one who indulges them. Heroic actions are not re- 

O 

quired of us every day. In order to be a Christian, it is not 
necessary to be always high-strung and enthusiastic. It is 
not necessary to be a devotee, to adopt set and precise ways, 
to take up with hypocrisy and cant in a word, to be un 
manly. It is just, for the most part, the most matter of fact, 
the most practical, the most simple and straight-forward 
thing in the world. It is to be a man of principle. It is to 
have a serious, abiding purpose to do our duty. It is to be 
full of courage ; not the courage of the braggart, but the 
courage of the soldier the courage that thrives under oppo 
sition, and survives defeat, the courage that takes the means to 
secure success vigilance, humility, steadfastness, and prayer. 
Before this, all difficulties vanish, and this is what we want 
most of all. It is amazing how little courage there is in the 
world. We are like the servant of Eliseus, the prophet, who, 
when he awoke in the morning, and saw the great army that 
had been sent by the King of Syria .to take his master, said, 
"Alas, alas, alas, my lord; what shall we do P But Eli 
seus showed him another army the army of angels ranged 
on the mountain, with chariots of fire and horses of fire, 
ready to fight for the servants of God, and he said, " Fear not : 
for there are more with us than with them." * Why should 
we fear ? Christianity is no new thing. The path of Chris 
tian obedience is not an untried path. Thousands have trod 
it and are now enjoying their reward. God, and the angels, 
and the saints, are on our side. And there are multitudes 
of faithful souls in the word who are fighting the good fight, 
and keeping their souls unsullied. Y^e cannot distinguish 
them now, but one day we shall know them. Oh ! let us 
join them. Yes, we will make our resolution now. Others 
may guide themselves by pleasure or expediency ; we will 
adopt the language of the Psalmist : " Thy Word is a lamp 



* IV. Kings vi. 15-17. 



THE SPIRIT OF SACRIFICE. 447 

to mi/feet, and a liglit to my paths"* We will be Chris 
tians, not in name, but in deed. Not for a time only, but 
always. ^ One thought shall cheer us in sadness and nerve us 
in weakness: " I have sworn and am determined to keep the 
judgments of Thy justice" f 



SERMON XXIV. 

THE SPIRIT OF SACRIFICE. 

(FOR TUB FEAST OF ST. LAfRENCE, MAKTYR.) 

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present 
your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, your reasonable service." 
Roif. xvn. 1. 

THERE is, my brethren, among many men who practise 
Christian duties to a certain extent, one remarkable 
want. I will call it the want of the Spirit of Sacrifice. 
Compare such men with any of the saints, and you will see 
at once what I mean. One saint may differ a great deal from 
another, but this is common to them all a vivid sentiment 
of God s greatness and Sovereignty, of His right to do with 
us what He wills, and a willing and reverent recognition of 
that right. Now the defective Christianity to which I allude 
lacks this spirit altogether. It differs from the Christianity 
of the saints not only in degree but in kind. Not only does 
it fail to produce as many sacrifices as the saints made for 
God, but the idea of Sacrifice is completely strange and 
foreign to it. It bargains about the commandments of God, 
and, when any commandment is difficult, postpones fulfil 
ment, or refuses it altogether. To prevent any of you from 
being content with so imperfect and unsatisfactory a sort 6* 

* Ps. cxviii. 105. f Ibid. 106. 



448 THE SPIRIT OF SACRIFICE. 

religion, I will give you tins morning some reasons why you 
should aim to serve God in the spirit of sacrifice. 

First, then, I assert that the spirit of sacrifice is necessary. 
God requires it of us. On this point I think some people 
make a mistake. They seem to think that a willingness to 
make sacrifices for God is one of the ornamental or heroic 
parts of religion, and that everyday people are not required 
to have it. But this is not so. The Spirit of Sacrifice is re 
quired of every one. I infer this from the fact that an ex 
ternal sacrificial worship is necessary. It is frequently said 
that there is no religion without a sacrifice. And this is true. 
There never has been, nor indeed could there be, a true re 
ligion without having some external act of sacrificial worship. 
But why is this necessary ? Not simply because we are sin 
ners and need propitiation, for some theologians have thought 
that sacrifices would have been necessary, though man had 
never sinned. What religion requires a sacrifice for, is this 
to express our sense of God s supreme Sovereignty. In a 
Sacrifice there is something offered to God and destroyed, 
thus signifying that God is the Author of Life and Death, 
our Creator, our Ruler, our Supreme Judge. The excellence 
of the Christian Sacrifice the Sacrifice of the Mass consists 
in this, that the victim offered is a living, reasonable, Divine 
Yictirn, even the Son of God Incarnate, "Who by K^ Life 
and Death rendered most worthy homage to the Divine 
Majesty, and still in every Mass, continually, offers it 
anew. 

This, then, is what the Mass is given us for, and this is why 
we are required to assist at the Mass, that we may in a per 
fect and worthy manner recognize God s Sovereignty and our 
dependence on Him. When we assist at Mass, the meaning 
of our action, if put into words, would be something like this : 
S I acknowledge Thee, O God, for my Sovereign Lord, and 
the Supreme Disposer of my Life and Death, and because I 
am not able worthily to express Thy Greatness, I beg of Thee 



THE SPIRIT OF SACRIFICE. 449 

to accept, as if it were my own, all the submission with which 
Tliv Son honored Thee on the Cross, and now a^ain honors 

/ / O 

Thee in this Holy Sacrifice." Now, it cannot be imagined 
that we are required to make this profession to God without 
at the same time being required to have in our hearts that 
sentiment of God s greatness and sovereignty which we ex 
press with our lips. Our Lord did not come to suffer and 
die, and give His life a sacrifice to the Father, to dispense us 
from the obligation of worshipping God ourselves, but to give 
to our worship a perfect example and a higher acceptability. 
Without our worship the Mass is incomplete. On our Lord s 
part, indeed, the Sacrifice of the Mass is always efficacious, 
for He is present wherever it is celebrated ; but on our part 
it is empty and unmeaning if no one really fears God, sub 
mits unreservedly to Him, is willing to do all He commands, 
and acknowledges that all that could be done for Him is too 
little. A worship of Sacrifice implies a life of sacrifice. This 
is beautifully illustrated in the life of St. Laurence, whose 
martyrdom we celebrate to-day. 

St. Laurence was one of the seven deacons of the city of 
Home in the third century of the Christian era. As deacon, 
it was his office to serve the Mass of St. Xystus, who was at 
that time Pope. When the persecution broke out under the 
Emperor Valerius, St. Xystus was seized and carried off to 
martyrdom. As he was on his way, St. Laurence followed 
him weeping and saying: "Father, where are you going 
without your son ? Whither are you going, O holy priest, 
without your deacon ? You were not wont to offer sacrifice 
without me your minister, wherein have I displeased you ? 
Have you found me wanting to my duty ? Try me now and 
see whether you have made choice of an unfit minister for 
dispensing the Blood of the Lord." And St. Xystus replied : 
" I do not leave you, my son, but a greater trial and a more 
glorious victory are reserved for you who are stout and in the 
of youth. We are spared on account of our weakness 



450 THE SPIRIT OF SACEIFICE. 

i 

and old age. You shall follow me in three days." And, in 
fact, three days after, St. Laurence was burnt to death, his 
faith rendering hi in joyful, even mirthful in his sufferings. 

l^ow, I do not look on this conversation as poetry. Times 
of affliction are not times when men look around for fine 
ways of expressing themselves. At such times words come 
straight from the heart. I see, then, in the words of St. 
Laurence the sentiments with which he was accustomed to 
assist at Mass. As he knelt at the foot of the altar at which 
the Pope was celebrating, clothed in the beautiful dress of a 
deacon, his soul was filled with the thoughts of God s great 
ness and goodness, and along with the offering of the heavenly 
Victim, he used to offer to God his fervent desire to do some 
thing to honor the Divine Majesty, the color sometimes 
mounting high in his youthful cheek as he thought how 
joyfully he would yield his own heart s blood as a sacrifice, 
if the occasion should oifer. Martyrdom to him was but 
a natural completion of Mass. It was but the realisation of 
his habitual worship. 

In the early history of the city of St. Augustine, in Florida, 
it is related that a priest, who was attacked by a party oi 
Indians, asked permission to say Mass before he died. This 
was granted him, and the savages waited quietly till the 
Mass was ended. Then the priest knelt on the altar steps 
and received the death-blow from his murderers. With 
what sentiments must that priest have said Mass ! with what 
devotion ! with what reverence ! with what self-oblation ! 
So, I suppose St. Laurence, and St. Xystus, and the Chris 
tians of the old time were accustomed always to assist at 
Mass, with the greatest desire to honor God, the most com 
plete Spirit of self-sacrifice. Now, I do not say we are all 
bound to be as holy as these great saints. I do not even say 
we are bound to desire martyrdom ; but I do say there is not 
one kind of Christianity for the saints and another for ordi 
nary Christians ; one kind, all self-denial for them, and another 



THE SPIRIT OF SACRIFICE. 451 

kind, all self-indulgence, for us. I say God is to us what He 
is to the saints our Creator and our Sovereign ; and He 
demands of us the worship of creatures and subjects the 
worship of sacrifice a willingness to do all he demands of 
us now, and a readiness to do greater things the moment 
that He makes it known to us that such is His "Will. 

How many difficulties, my brethren, such a spirit takes 
out of the way of Christian obedience ! It cuts off at one 
blow all our struggles with the decrees of God s providence. 
How much of our misery comes from murmurings against 
the providence of God! One is suffering under sickness ancU 
pain, another is overwhelmed with reverses and afflictions, 
another is irritated by continual temptations. No one can 
deny that these are severe trials ; but see how the spirit of 
sacrifice disposes of them. It says to the sick man, to the 
suffering man, what Isaac said to his father Abraham on the 
mountain : " See, here is fire and wood, but where is the 
victim for a burnt offering ?" Here are the materials for a 
beautiful act of sacrifice. It wants only a meek heart for a 
victim, and love to light the flame, to turn the sickbed, the 
house of mourning, the soul agitated by temptation, into an 
altar of the purest worship, and the language of complaint 
into the liturgy of praise. -Again: it sometimes happens 
that a man gets involved in relations of business or friend 
ship, or becomes addicted to some indulgence, which threaten 
to ruin his soul, and he is required to renounce them, to give 
up the intimacy, to change his business, to deny himself that 
indulgence. The command of God is distinct and peremp 
tory : "If. thy hand or thy foot scandalize thee y cut it off and 
cast it from thee. And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out 
and cast it from thee" * How does he receive it ? He 
says : " It is too hard." Too hard ! And is it, then, only 
God for whom we are unwilling to do any thing hard ? We 

* St. Matt, xviii. 8. 



452 THE SPIRIT OF SACRIFICE. 

must make sacrifices of some sort in life, and heavy ones, 
too. We cannot get rid of the necessity of making them, 
do what we will. The world requires them of us. Our 
families require them. Our health requires them. Our 
pleasure requires them. Nay, our very sins require them. 
And what we do willingly for the world, for our families, for 
our health, our pleasure, our sins, shall we refuse to do for 
the great and good God ? for Christ our Saviour, who did 
not refuse the Cross to give us an example of the obedience 
we owe His Father ? 

Or take another example : A person who is not a Catho 
lic finds much that is reasonable in Catholic doctrine, but 
makes a great stumbling-block of confession; or even a 
Catholic gets a dread of it, and stays away for years and 
years from the sacraments of the Church. Now, of course, 
in such cases it is only charitable to show that the difficulty 
of confession is very much magnified, and that, like man;y 
other things that frighten us, it loses its terror when we ap 
proach it ; but, to say the truth, I always feel something like 
shame when I hear one trying to prove to such persons that 
confession is easy ; partly because I know he cannot suc 
ceed perfectly, since confession is of its own nature arduous, 
and in particular cases may be very difficult ; but chiefly, 
because I cannot help thinking if God Himself were to an 
swer them, it would be in the few strong words He has used 
in the Holy Scripture : "Be still : and know that I am God" * 
A creature must not parley with his Maker, a sinner with 
his Judge. 

Yes : we shrink from the very mention of sacrifice, yet it 
is the spirit of sacrifice that makes all our duties easy. No 
doubt it -is our privilege to reason about the commandments 
of God ; and we shall often see, what we know is always the 
case, that they are full of wisdom and goodness ; but we 

* PS. xlv. 11. 



THE SPIRIT OF SACRIFICE. 453 

need in practice some principle that is ready at hand always 
to be used in every time of trial, in every difficulty, and that 
is the Spirit of Sacrifice, a profound reverence for God, an 
unquestioning conviction of His absolute right to dispose of 
us as He will. Abraham had this spirit, and therefore faltered 
not a moment when the command came to sacrifice his son 
Isaac. Moses had it, and therefore " when lie was grown 
up) refused to be called the son of Pharaohs daughter, choos 
ing rather to suffer persecution with the people of God, than 
to enjoy the pleasure of sin for a time" ~ x ~ The Christian 
saints have had it, and therefore they trampled on every 
repugnance, every attachment, when it came in the way of 
their perfection. And this principle is the life of the grea 
religious and charitable orders of the Church. These insti 
tutions are a mystery to Protestants. Soon after the " Little 
Sisters of the Poor " were established in London, a Protestant 
writer, in one of the periodicals of the day, described a visit 
he had made to their establishment, and after giving a most 
interesting account of the self-denying labors of the com 
munity, he says he was curious to trace the feelings that ac 
tuated these ladies in devoting themselves to duties so apt to 
be repulsive to their class. He supposed that benevolence 
was the impulse most concerned, but, on questioning the 
Sisters, found that this was not the case, but that the basis 
of their action was a principle of self-renunciation for Christ s 
sake. To him such a motive had in it something strange 
and unnatural; but, really, this is always the sustaining 
principle of all high religious action. Every thing fails sooner 
or later but the spirit of sacrifice. This is the spirit that 
does great things for God, that cuts down the mountains in 
our road to heaven and fills up the valleys, making straight 
paths for our feet. 

And how pleasing is such a spirit to God ! Even among 

* Heb. xL 24. 



454 THE SPIitIT OF SACRIFICE. 

men such a spirit is highly esteemed. Who does not admire 
a generous, self-sacrificing man? In a family, who is so 
much loved as the one whose thoughts are all for others ? 
"Where are such tears shed as over the fresh grave of a self- 
forgetful friend ? What makes the character of a mother so 
beautiful but the trait of self-sacrifice ? And so before God 
there is nothing so beautiful as the spirit of Sacrifice. A 
religion which does not centre in itself, but which centres in 
God, that is His delight. There is nothing abject in such a 
spirit. To serve God is to reign. God knows our nature, 
and He requires of us nothing but what gives to our whole 
being its highest harmony. The man who has the spirit of 
sacrifice is a royal man. How beautiful, my brethren, is an 
altar ! Every thing connected in our minds with an altar is 
beautiful. When we think of an altar, we think of sweet 
flowers and burning lights, and smoking incense, and a meek 
victim, and worship, music, and prayer. So, in the heart 
where the spirit or Sacrifice reigns, there are sweet flowers 
of piety, and flaming zeal, and the silent victim of a heart 
that struggles not, and the incense of prayer, and the har 
monies of joy and praise. Oh, if there is a sacred place on 
earth, a home of peace, a shrine, a holy of holies, a place 
where heaven and earth are nearest, where God descends 
and takes up His abode, it is in the heart of the man who is 
penetrated through and through with the sense of God s 
greatness, and who walks before Him in reverence and con 
tinual worship. 

My brethren, I covet for you such a spirit. I do not al 
ways find it among Catholics. I remember, some years ago, 
when collecting for a charitable object, I called on a man who 
was engaged in a large business, and asked for a contribution. 
He said, Oh yes, he thought highly of the undertaking, and 
wished to give a generous donation, say one hundred dollars. 
When I called for it at the appointed time, he asked me if I 
did not want any goods in his line. They were articles of 



THE SPIBIT OF SACRIFICE. 45") 

luxury, such as very few persons have occasion for, and I 
told him, no. Then he mentioned a rich gentleman with 
whom I happened to be acquainted, and asked me to secure 
for him his custom, intimating that this donation of one 
hundred dollars depended on my success. Now I do not 
know that this person was at all sensible of acting an un 
worthy part, but I think.you must all feel that this was very 
far from the spirit in which one ought to give any thing to 
God ; and yet, my brethren, inferior motives enter too much 
and too often into our religious actions. Selfishness mingles 
too much with our piety. Oh, how diluted, how paltry and 
feeble is our religion, compared with that of other times ! 
David refused the site for an altar that Areuna offered him 
as a gift, saying : " Nay lut Twill luy it of thee at a price; 
and will not offer to the Lord my God holocausts free cost" * 
Magdalene took a box of spikenard ointment, because it was 
the most precious thing she had, and very costly, and broke 
the box, and poured it wastefully on the Saviour s head.f 
Those who have examined the cathedrals of Europe that 
were built in the Middle Ages, tell us that away up on the 
outside of the roof, there is found carving as rich, as beauti 
ful, and as elaborate as that on the parts in full sight. A 
human eye would hardly see it once a year ; no matter : it 
was done for the eye of God and the angels. Oh that you 
had such a spirit ! I want you to think more of God. I 
want you to fear Him more deeply, and to love Him far, far 
more fervently. O my brethren, is the service you are ren 
dering Him at all worthy of Him? Look at the earth and 
sky that He has made ; look at the glorious Throne of Light 
from which He sways the universe, look at the Cross, look 
into your own hearts, and answer. " Holy things are for the 
Holy." " Great is the Lord, and greatly to le praised" ]-. 
" Lord God Almighty, just and true, who shall not fear 

* 2 Kings xxiv. 24. f St. Matt. xxvi. 7. | Psalm xlvii. I. 



456 MARY S DESTINY A TYPE OF OURS. 

Thee and magnify Thy Name!"* "As the eyes of serv 
ants are on the hands of their masters, and as the eyes of a 
handmaid are on the hands of her mistress, so our eyes are 
unto Thee, O Lord our God, Thou that dwellest in the heav- 



SEBMON XXY. 

MARY S DESTINY A TYPE OF OURS. 
(THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION.) 

"Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from 
her." ST. LUKE x. 42. 

TO-DAY is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 
To-day she entered into the enjoyment of heaven. The trials 
and troubles of life are over. The time of banishment is 
ended. She closes her -eyes on this world, and opens them to 
the vision of God. She is exalted to-day above the choirs of 
angels to the heavenly kingdom, and takes her seat at the 
right hand of her Son. I do not mean to attempt any de 
scription of her glory in heaven. I am sure whatever I could 
say would fall far short, not only of the reality, but of your 
own glowing thoughts about her. Who is there that needs 
to be told that the Blessed Virgin is splendid in sanctity, 
dazzling in beauty, and exalted in power ? But, my brethren, 
it is possible to contemplate the Blessed Virgin in sucli a way 
as to put her at too great a distance from us. It is possible to 
conceive of her glory in heaven as flowing entirely from her 
dignity as Mother of God, and therefore to suppose it alto 
gether unattainable by us ; and, as a consequence of this, to 
regard her with feelings full of admiration indeed, but almost 

* Apoc. xv. 3. f Psalm cxxii. 2. 



MAKY S DESTINY A TYPE OF CUES. 457 

as deficient in sympathy as if she were of another nature from 
us. Now, this is to rob ourselves of so ennobling and encour 
aging a part of our privilege as Christians, and at the same 
time to take away from our devotion to the Blessed Virgin an 
element so useful and important, that I have determined, on 
this her glorious Feast, to remind you that our destiny and 
the destiny of Mary are substantially the same. 

And the first proof I offer of this is, that the glory of the 
Blessed Virgin in heaven is not owing to her character as 
Mother of God, but to her correspondence to grace to her 
good works to her love of God in a word, to her fidelity 
as a Christian. This is certain, for it is the Catholic doctrine 
that the Blessed Virgin, like every other saint, gained heaven 
only as the reward of merit. Now, she could not merit it by 
becoming the Mother of God. Her being the Mother of God 
is indeed a most august dignity, but there is no merit in it. 
It is a dignity conferred on her by the absolute decree of God, 
just as He resolved to confer angelic, nature on angels, or 
human nature on men. It is no doubt a great happiness and 
glory for us to be men, and not brutes, but there is no merit 
in it ; so there is honor but no merit in the Blessed Virgin s 
being the Mother of God. Now, if she did not merit heaven 
by becoming the Mother of God, how did she merit it ? for 
it is of faith that heaven is the reward of merit. I answer. 

j 

by her life on earth. It was not as the Mother of God 
that she won heaven, but as Mary, the daughter of Joa 
chim, the wife of Joseph, the mother of Jesus. It is 
impossible to read the Gospels without seeing how careful our 
Lord was to make us understand this. He seems to have 
been afraid, all along, that the splendor of that character of 
Mother of God would eclipse the woman and the saint. 
Thus once when He was preaching, a woman in the crowd, 
hearing his words of wisdom, and, perhaps, piercing the veil 
of his humanity, and thinking what a blessed thing it must 

be to be the mother of such a son, exclaimed \ "Blessed is 
20 



458 MARYS DESTINY A TYPE OF OURS. 

the womb that bare thee, and the paps that gave thee suck" * 
but He answered immediately: " Yea rather, Messed are 
they who hear the word of God and keep it." No one doubts 
that the Blessed Virgin did hear the "Word of God, and keep 
it. So our Lord s words are as much as to say : " You praise 
my mother for being my mother ; what I praise her for is 
her sanctity." In the same way, when they came to Him on 
another occasion, when there was a great throng about Him 
and said, " Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand 
without, seeking thee" He answered, " Who is my mother f 
and who are my brethren ? And stretching forth his hand 
towards his disciples, he said: Behold my mother and my 
brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father who 
is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.^ Ex 
ternal advantages, however great, even to be related to the 
Son of God, are as nothing in his sight, compared to that in 
which all may have a part obedience to his Father s will. 
Perhaps, also, this is the explanation of his language at the 
marriage of Cana in Galilee. When the wine failed, and his 
mother came to Him and asked Him to exert his Divine 
power to supply the want, He said : " Woman, what hast 
thou to do with me f My time is not yet come?\ He does 
not allow her request on the score of her maternal authority, 
but what He refuses on this ground He grants to her virtue 
and holiness, for He immediately proceeds to perform the 
miracle she asked for, though, as He said, his time was not 
yet come. So, too, on the cross He commends the Blessed 
Virgin to St. John s care, not under the high title of Mother, 
but the lowly one of woman. " Woman, behold thy Son" 
Now, why was this ? Did not our Lord love his Mother ? 
Was He not disposed to be obedient to her as his mother ? 



* St. Luke xi. 27. f St. Matt. xii. 48. 

J St. John ii. 4 (Archbishop Kenrick a translation). 
St. John xix. 26. 



MARY S DESTINY A TYPE OF DUES. 459 

Certainly ; but it was for our sakes He spoke thus. In pri 
vate, at Nazareth, we are told, he was " subject to her," but 
on these great public occasions, when crowds were gathered 
around Kim to hear Him preach, when He hung on the 
Cross, and a world was looking on, He put out of view her 
maternal grandeur, in compassion to us, lest there should be 
too great a distance between her and us, and we should lose 
the force of her example. He wished us to understand that 
Mary, high as she was, was a woman, and in the same order 
of grace and providence with us. We might have said : 
" Oh, the Blessed Virgin obtains what she asks for on easy 
terms. She has but to ask and it is done. She enters heaven 
as the son of a nobleman comes into his father s estate, by the 
mere title of blood and lineage." But no : our Saviour says : 
To sit on my right hand is not mine to give you, but to them 
for whom it is prepared l>y my Father"* It is not a matter 
of favor and arbitrary appointment ; not even my Mother 
gains her glory in that way. She must comply with the 
terms on which my Father promises heaven to men, and there 
fore the Church applies to her words spoken of another Mary : 
" Mary hath chosen the lest part ; therefore it shall not he 
taken away^from her" Oh, blessed truth ! Mary is one of 
us. Her destiny, high as it is, is a human destiny. And she 
reached it in a human fashion. She built that splendid 
throne of hers in heaven with care and labor while she was 
on the earth. She laid the foundation of it in her childhood, 
when her feet trod the Temple aisles. She reared its pillars 
when with faith, purity, and obedience unequalled, she receiv 
ed the message of the archangel. And her daily life at 
Bethlehem, Egypt, and Nazareth, her holy, loving ways with 
Joseph and with Jesus, her perfect fulfilment of God s law, 
her interior fervent acts of prayer, covered it with gold and 
ivory. 

* St. Matt. xx. 23. 



460 MARY S DESTINY A TYPE OF OUES. 

Then, when the blind world was going on its way of folly ; 
while one King Herod was deluging villages in blood, and 
another steeping his soul in the guilt of incest, and of the 
blood of the Son of God ; while the multitude were doubting, 
and Scribes and Pharisees disputing about Christ, the lowly 
Jewish maiden, with no other secret but love and prayer, 
was preparing for herself that bright mansion in Heaven 
wherein she now dwells, rejoicing eternally with her Son. 
Oh, happy news ! One, at least, of our race has perfectly 
fulfilled her destiny. Here we can gain some idea of what 
God created us for. Here is the destiny that awaits man 
when original sin does not mar it ; when co-operation with 
grace and unswerving perseverance secure it. The Jews 
were proud of Judith. They said : " Thou art the glory of 
Jerusalem tliou art the joy of Israel tliou art the honor 
of our people" So we may say of Mary : " O Mary, thou 
art the pride of our race. In thee the design of God in our 
creation has been perfectly attained. In thee the redemp 
tion of Christ has had its perfect fruit. Mankind conceives 
new hopes from thy success." Christ, indeed, has entered 
into glory; but Christ was God. Mary is purely human, 
and Mary has succeeded. Why tarry we here in .the bondage 
of Egypt ? Mary has crossed the Red Sea, and has taken a 
timbrel in her hand and sings her thanksgiving unto God. 
True it is that she is fleet of foot, and we are all halt and 
weak ; but even she needed the grace of God, and the same 
grace is offered to us, that we may run and not faint. 
Listen to her song of triumph. She does not set herself 
above us, but claims kindred with us, and bids us hope 
for the same grace which she has received. "My soul 
doth magnify the Lord, for lie hath exalted the humble, 
and hath filled the hungry with good things. And his 
mercy is from generation to generation to them that fear 
him" 

Another proof that the destiny of the Blessed Virgin is 



MARY S DESTINY A TYPE OF OURS. 461 

substantially the same with ours, is the fact that the same ex 
pressions are used to describe her glory and ours. Sometimes 
those who are not Catholics, when they hear what high words 
we use of the Blessed Virgin, are scandalized ; but we use 
almost no words of the Blessed Virgin that may not, in their 
measure, be applied to other saints. It is true that the 
Blessed Virgin has some gifts and graces in which she stand 8 
alone as her character of Mother of God, and her Immacu 
late Conception but, as I said before, these are dignities 
and ornaments conferred on her, and are not the source of 
her essential happiness in heaven. In other respects, her 
glory is shared by all the saints. Thus, Mary is called 
" Queen of Heaven ;" but are not all the blessed called in 
Holy Scripture, "kings and priests unto GodT* Is she 
said to sit at the " King s right hand ?" and are not we too 
promised a place at his right hand, and to " sit on thrones "f 
Is she called the Morning Star?" and does not St. Paul, 
speaking of all the saints, say, " star differetli from star in 
glory f"J Is she called a "Mediatrix of Prayer?" and is it 
not said of every just man, that his " continued prayer avail- 
eth muchf" Is she called the "Spouse of God?" and 
does not the Almighty, addressing every faithful soul, say, 
"My love, my dove, my undefiledT || Is she called the 
" Daughter of the Most High ?" and are not we too called 
the Sons of God /"f The glory of the Blessed Virgin, 
then, differs from that of the other saints in degree, but not 
in kind. She is not separated from them, but is one of them. 
She goes before them. She is the most perfect of them. 
But she is one of them. And for this reason, the glory of 
the Blessed Virgin gives us the best conception of the mag 
nificence of our destiny. When a botanist wishes to de 
scribe a flower, he selects the most perfect specimen. When 



* Apoc. i. 6. f Apoc. iii. 21. $ I Cor. xv. 41. 

St. James v. 16. | Can. v. 2. ^[ I St. John iii. 2. 



462 MARY S DESTINY A TYPE OF OURS. 

an anatomist draws a model of the human frame, he makes 
it faultless. So we, to gain the truest idea of our destiny, 
must lift up our eyes to the Blessed Yirgiii on her heavenly 
throne, and say : " Oh ! my soul, see for what thou art cre 
ated." Think of this, my brethren, as often as you kneel 
before her image, or meditate on her greatness. You cannot 
be what she is, but you can be like her. She is a creature 
like you. She is a human being like you. She is a Chris 
tian like you. And her joy, her beauty, her glory, her 
wealth, her knowledge, her power 1 nay, even the "mighty 
efficacy of her intercession are only what, in their measure, 
God offers to you. " Glory, honor, and peace to EVEEY ONE 
that worJceth good ; for there is no respect of persons with 
God." * 

If these things be so, what greatness it gives to human 
life. Perhaps, if you had lived in the times of the Blessed 
Virgin Mary, you would never have noticed her ; or if you 
had known her by sight, what would she have seemed to 
you but a good little Jewish girl, lowly and retiring in her 
manners and appearance ? or, later in life, a poor young 
woman thrust away, with her husband, from a crowded inn, 
or fleeing by night with an infant child ? or, still later, the 
mother of a condemned malefactor, watching his sufferings in 
the crowd. Herod did not know her, and the nobles of Jeru 
salem were ignorant of her. She was not one of the friends of 
the queen s dancing daughters. Even the rustics of the village 
of Bethlehem looked down on her. She carried no servants 
about with her, and had no palace to live in. But Faith 
tells us of angel visits, of union with God, of heavenly good 
ness, and an immortal crown. So, in like manner, how our 
life becomes grand and dignified when it is lighted up by 
faith ! You know there are porcelain pictures, which in the 
hand are rough and unmeaning, but held up to the light 

* Rom. ii. 10. 



MARY S DESTINY A TYPE OF OUKS. 463 

reveal the most beautiful scenes and figures ; so our common, 
ordinary life, rough and unmeaning as it often seems, when 
enlightened by faith becomes all divine. There is a little 
girl who learns her lessons and obeys her parents, and tells 
the truth, and shuns every thing that is wicked ; why, as 
that little girl kneels down to pray, I see a bright angel 
drawing near to her, and he smiles on her and says : "Hail! 

Blessed art thou : the Lord is with thee" That young nian 

i/ 

who, by a sincere conversion, has thrown off the slavery of 
sin, and regained once more the grace of God what is his 
heart but another cave of Bethlehem, in which Christ is 
born, and around which angels sing: "Glory to God in the 
highest ; on earth, peace to men of good will" That Chris 
tian family, where daily prayers are offered, and instruction 
and good example are given, and mutual fidelity is observed 
between the members what is it but the Holy House of 
Nazareth ? the Home of Jesus ? Yes, good Christian, do 
not be cast down because you are poor, or because you suffer, 
or because your opportunities of doing good are limited; 
live the life of a Christian, and you are living Mary s life on 
earth. We have not, indeed, Mary s perfect sinlessness, but 
we have the graces of baptism, by which we may vanquish 
Bin. We have not, as she had, the visible presence of our 
Lord, but we have Him invisibly in our hearts, and sacra- 
mentally in the Holy Communion. We are not "full of 
grace," as she was, but we have grace without limit promised 
to us in answer to prayer. Let us assert the privileges of 
our birth-right. We belong to the new creation. Angels 
claim kindred with us. God is our Father. Heaven is our 
home. We are the children of the saints yes, of her who 
is the greatest of the saints. Let us follow her footsteps, 
that one day we may come to our Assumption, the glory of 
which surpassed even the power of St. John to utter. 
" Dearly lelov ed, we are now the sons of God, and it hath 
not yet appeared what we shall le. We know that when He 



464 MARY S DESTINY A TYPE OF OURS. 

shall appear we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him 
as He is"* 

Every thing depends on our co-operating with grace. How 
did the Blessed Yirgin arrive at such glory \ By correspond 
ing to every grace. See her at her Annunciation. The 
angel comes and tells her of the grace God has prepared 
for her. If she had not believed, if she had not assented, 
what would have come of it ? Why, she would have lost 
for all eternity the glory attached to that grace. But she 
did not refuse. She was ready for the grace when it was 
offered. She said : " Fiat" " Be it done to me according to 
thy word" Oh, how much hung on that Fiat ! an eternal 
glory in heaven. So it is with us. There are moments in 
our lives big with the issues of our future. God s purposes 
concerning the soul have a certain order. He gives one 
grace ; if we correspond to that He gives another ; if we do 
not correspond, we lose those that depended on it ; some 
times, even, we lose our salvation altogether. This is the 
key of your destiny fidelity to grace. You have an inspira 
tion from God : He speaks to your soul. Oh, listen to Him, 
and obey Him ! To one He says : " Abandon, O sinner, 
your evil life, and turn to Me with all your heart." "Now is 
the accepted time, now is the day of salvation / : To an 
other, who is already in His grace, He sends inspirations to 
a more perfect life, a life of higher prayer and more uninter 
rupted recollection. Another, by the sweet attractions of 
His grace, He draws away from home and kindred to serve 
Him as a Sister of Charity by the bed of suffering ; or as a 
nun, to live with Him in stillness and contemplation ; or as 
a priest, to win souls for heaven. Oh, speak the word that 
Mary spoke: "JBe it done to me according to thy word" 
Are you in sin ? Convert without delay. Are you leading 
a tepid, imperfect life ? Gird your loins to watchfulness and 

* St. John iii. 2. 



CARE FOR THE DEAD. 465 

prayer. Do you feel in yourselves a vocation to a religious 
or sacerdotal life ? Rise up and obey without delay. To 
morrow may be too late. The grace may be forfeited ibr- 
ever. Why stand we all the day idle 2 Heaven is filling up. 
Each generation sends a new company to the heavenly host. 
Time is going. The great business of life remains unac 
complished. By our baptism we have been made children 
of God and heirs of heaven. Labor we, therefore, to enter 
into that rest. Mary, dear Mother, lift up thy voice for us 
in heaven, that we, following thy footsteps, may one day 
share thy glory, and with thee praise forever God the Father. 
Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. 



SEKMON XXVI. 

CARE FOR THE DEAD. 
(FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST.) 

"And when He came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was 
carried out." ST. LUKE vn. 12. 

IT is not at the gate of Nairn only that such a procession 
might be met. From every city " dead men are carried out 
to the grave" nay, from every house. Death knocks alike 
at the palace and the cabin. It is only a question of time 
with him. Sooner or later he comes to all. Yes, my breth 
ren, a day will come to each home in this parish when a piece 
of black crape at the door will tell the world that death has 
been there. Within there will be stillness and sadness, and 
in some darkened chamber, wrapt in a winding sheet, will 
lie the cold and lifeless form of some beloved member of your 
family a father or mother ; a wife or husband ; a brother or 
sister ; a son or daughter. After a little while even that will 
20* 



466 CAEE FOE THE DEAD. 

be taken away from you. The time of the funeral will come. 
The mourners will go about the streets, and the dead will be 
buried out of your sight. I do not speak of this to make 
you sad. On the contrary, what I am going to say will, I 
know, be a source, the only real source, of comfort to you in 
the loss of your friends. I wish to remind you of your duties 
to the dead. Christianity does not permit us to bid farewell 
forever to our departed friends. Death, it tells us, doe s not 
sever the bond of duty and love between us and them. We 
still have duties toward them, and in the performance of 
those duties, while we are doing good to the dead, we are 
procuring for ourselves the best solace. "What are those 
duties ? 

First : To give back the dead resignedly to God. It is not 
wrong to weep for the dead. It is not wrong, for we cannot 
help it. It is as impossible not to feel pain at such a separa 
tion as it would be not to suffer when the surgeon s knife is 
cutting off an arm or a leg ; and, what nature demands, God 
does not forbid. Therefore the Holy Scripture says : " My 
son, shed tears over the dead ; and begin to lament as if thou 
hadst suffered some great harm" * Do you think that poor 
widow of whom the Gospel speaks to-day could help weep 
ing? She had known sorrow before, but then she had one 
support, a dear and only son. He was a good -lad. Every 
body knew and loved him. ..But now he too is gone. It is 
strange that he should go and she be left behind, but so it is : 
there lies his body on the bier, and she is following him to 
the grave. See her as she goes along in her coarse black 
dress, bent with age and sorrow. Can you blame her for 
weeping, as she looks, for the last time, on that dear form ? 
At least, Jesus did not blame her. He looked at her, and 
He sorrowed with her. He was moved with compassion. 
It is not wrong, then, to weep for the dead, but we must 

* Eccles. xxxviii. 1 6. 



CARE FOR THE DEAD. 467 

moderate our grief, banish every rebellious thought from our 
heart, and mingle resignation with our sorrow. The Office 
which the Church sings over the dead is made up in great 
part of joyful psalms and anthems. After this pattern ought 
to be the sorrow of a Christian family, a sorrow that is not 
violent and noisy, a sorrow that does not pass the bounds of 
decency, a sorrow, I may say, mingled with joy. How dif 
ferent it is in some families ! You come near a house and 
you hear shrieks the most appalling. You go in and find a 
woman abandoning herself to the most noisy and violent 
grief. Her language is little short of blasphemy. She re 
fuses any comfort. She is weeping over a dead husband. 
Perhaps in life she loved him none too well. Perhaps she 
made his life bitter enough to him, and often prayed that 
some harm might happen to him, and that she might see 
him dead. And now she does see him dead. She will never 
curse him again, and he will never anger her again. He is 
dead ; and now she breaks out into the most frantic grief, 
and alarms the neighborhood. She cries; she calls upon 
God ; she throws herself on the corpse. At the funeral her 
conduct is still more wild and disordered. Now, w T hat is all 
this ? I wjjll not say it is hypocritical, but I say it is brutish- 
It is not to act as a reasonable being, much less as a Chris, 
tian. This is the way with some women. The only time 
they ever show any love to their husbands is when they are 
dead. Let them be: such grief will not last long. Wait 
awhile; before her husband s body has well got cold in the 
ground she will be looking around for another match. 

Do not imitate such unchristian conduct. When Death 
enters your house, do not forget that you are a Christian. 
Do not indulge your grief. Call to your aid the principles 
of your faith. You are sad and lonely. Well, is it not bet 
ter to feel that this life is a state of exile ?- You have lost 
your protector. And has not God promised to protect the 
orphan ? You have lost such a good friend, such a bright 



468 CARE FOR THE DEAD. 

example. "Well, ought you not, then, to rejoice at his safe 
departure ? The early Christians used to carry flowers to the 
grave, and sing hymns of joy because the toils of a Christian 
warrior were ended, and he had entered into rest. Hear 
what the Church sings : "Blessed are the dead who die in the 
Lord" Will you weep because one you love is taken away 
from sin, from temptation, from the trouble to come ? Will 
you grieve because he has secured for himself the Blissful 
and Eternal Yision of God ? But you have no confidence 
that he was good, that he did die in the grace of God. Sup 
pose you are uncertain on that point, is there any thing bet 
ter than to go with your doubts and fears before the Holy 
God, and while you offer to Him your trembling prayers for 
the departed, to adore His Providence and say : " The Lord 
gave, and the Lord hath taken away : blessed be the Name 
of the Lord."* Dry up your tears, then, O bereaved Chris, 
tian. " Make mourning for the dead for a day or two,"f 
says the Holy Scripture. That is, do not abandon yourself 
to grief. Do not think, because your friend is gone, that 
God is gone, and Christ is gone, and duty gone. Do not call 
on others more than is necessary. Resume your ordinary 
duties as soon as possible and in these duties yafc will find 
the relief which God Himself has provided for our sadness, 
and His Gracd will accompany you in the performance of 
them. 

Another duty to the dead is to perform scrupulously, as 
far as possible, their last directions. When the patriarch 
Jacob was dying, he called his son Joseph to his side, and 
said to him : " Thou shalt show me this kindness and truth, 
not to hury me in Egypt, hut 1 will sleep with my fathers, 
and thou shalt take me away out of this land, and bury 
me in the hurying-place of my ancestors"^ It was not 
of itself a very important request ; it was, moreover, an 

* Job i. 27. f Ecc. xxxviii. 18. \ Gen. xlvii. 30. 



CARE FOR THE DEAD. 469 

inconvenient one. Yet see how promptly and carefully 
it was complied with. As soon as the days of mourning 
for Jacob were ended, Joseph went to Pharao and said: 
u My father made me swear to him, saying, Tliou shalt 
bury me in my sepulchre which I have digged for myself 
in the land of Canaan. So I will go and bury my 
father and return. And Pharao said to him, Go up and 
bury thy father. And they buried him in the land of 
Canaan, in the double cave which Abraham bought for a 
burying-place."* Would that the same piety were always seen 
among us ! A mother dies : the last wishes that she expresses 
to her children are that they should be true to their holy 
faith and earnest in seeking the salvation of their souls, and 
she sends a message to an absent son, which will not reach 
him in his distant home till long after she is gone, begging 
him to be faithful and regular in his duties as a Christian. 
A father dies, and tells his son of a debt, strictly due in jus 
tice, but of which there is no record, and where he will find 
the money to pay it. A poor girl dies, and confides to some 
one, whom she thinks her friend, the little earnings of her 
hard labor, asking that it may be sent to her old mother in 
Ireland. Are these wishes executed? Are these children 
faithful Catholics ? Is that boy, the object of a mother s 
dying tears and prayers, regular at the sacraments ? Has that 
debt been paid ? Did the sad news of the daughter s death 
go out to the poor mother in the old country, softened with 
the evidence of that daughter s piety and love ? or was the 
money retained and squandered ? What ! are you not afraid 
to add to the sin of irreligion and injustice the crime of 
breaking faith with the dead ? Hear what God says in the 
Holy Scripture : " The voice of thy brother s blood crieth to 
Me from the earth." \ The dead have got a voice, then a 
voice that cries to God, that cries for vengeance against those 

* Gen. 1. 4, 5, 13 f Gen. iv. 10. 



470 CARE FOB THE DEAD. 

who injure them. Pay, then, thy debts to the dead. Redeem 
the promise thou hast made to the dying. Fulfil thy duties 
as an executor or administrator with fidelity and justice. Be 
exact. It is a dead man thou art dealing with. Do not say, 
he is dead and cannot speak. Hear what the Law of God 
saith : "Thou shalt not speak evil of the deaf, nor put a 
stumbling block before the blind : but thou shalt fear the 
Lord thy God, because I am the Loi*d"* Do you under 
stand ? God hears for those who cannot hear, He speaks for 
those who cannot speak ; and if thou makest the dead thy 
enemy, thou hast the Living and Eternal God for a Foe. 

Another part of our duty to the dead is to treat their 
bodies with respect, and to give them decent burial. We 
do this for two reasons : for what they have beeii, and what 
they are to be. Their bodies have been the casket which 
held their souls, and we love their bodies for what their 
souls have been to God and to us. We love the eye that 
looked upon us with affection, the mouth that spoke to us 
words of truth and kindness, we love the ear that listened 
to our sorrows, and the hand that soothed and blessed us. 
We love that body which was the soul s instrument here in 
her works of piety and Christian chanty. And we love 
that body for what it shall be. We see it as it will be when 
it springs from the grave on the morning of the Kesurrec- 
tion, sparkling with light, beautiful and immortal. And 
this is why we follow the dead to the grave. We go with 
them as we go part of the way home with a cherished guest. 
We go with them in token that the love that united us is 
not severed by death, but that we are still joined to them in 
hope and charity. Oh yes, it is right. Let the body be laid 
out decently; the limbs composed; the eyes closed for their 
long sleep. And when the time of burial comes, let all the 
ceremonies of the Holy Church lend their aid. Walk slow ; 

* Levit. xix 14. 



CARE FOR THE DEAD. 471 

let the priest in surplice and stole go before ; light the can 
dles and hold the cross aloft; sing the sweet and solemn 
chant ; carry the body to the church and lay it before the 
Altar of God ; bring incense and holy water, and let there 
be High Mass for the repose of the soul. Fitting ceremo 
nies ! Beautiful and touching rites ! chosen with a heavenly 
still to comfort the mourner and to honor the dead. But 
alas ! alas ! how do we see this duty to the dead sometimes 
fulfilled ! A Catholic is dead. It is true there are candles 
and holy water, but where are the pious prayers? The 
neighbors are gathered together, but it is not to pray. The 
glasses and the pipes speak of a different kind of meeting. 
Yes, they have come there, there to that chamber, the Court 
of Death and the Threshold of Eternity, to hold a drunkdi 
wake. The night wears on with stories, sometimes even ob 
scene and filthy, and as liquor does its work, curses and blas 
phemies mingle with the noisy, senseless cries and yells of 
drunken men. Are these orgies meant to insult the dead ? 
Do these revellers wish to make us believe that their de 
parted friend was, body and soul, the child of Hell as much 
as they ? So the wake is kept, and now for the funeral. 
The man -died early in the week, but of course he must be 
buried on Sunday. Sunday is the worst day of the week for 
a funeral, because it is the day appointed for the public wor 
ship of God, and it is wrong to draw men away from the 
church on that day without necessity, yet a funeral must by 
all means be on a Sunday. And why ? Because a greater 
crowd can be got together on that day, and the object is to 
have a crowd, and to make people say, such a one had a de 
cent funeral. The family are poor, nevertheless a large 
number of carriages are hired, and filled with a set of people 
who regard the whole thing as a picnic or excursion. Some 
of them have already " taken a drop," and so little sense of 
religion have they left, that sometimes at the grave itself, 
sometimes in returning from it, they raise brawls and riots 



472 CAEE FOE THE DEAD. 

that bring disgrace and contempt at once on the man they 
have buried and the faith they profess. Do you call this a 
decent funeral ?" I say it is a sin. A sin of pride and 
ostentation. A sin of scandal and excess. A sin of robbery 
and cruelty of robbery and cruelty toward the poor chil 
dren from whose hungry mouths and naked backs are taken 
the extravagant expenses of this ambitious display. How 
much better to have a small funeral ! a funeral remarkable 
for nothing but its modesty and simplicity, to which only 
the few are called who knew the dead and loved him, who 
follow him to his long home with serious thoughts, like 
thinking men and Christians, remembering that before long 
they must go with him into the grave and lie down beside 
him, and who return home to remember his soul before God 
as often as they kneel down to pray. 

And this brings me, in the last place, to speak of the duty 
of praying for the dead. It is a most consoling privilege of 
our holy faith. Death indeed fixes our eternal condition 
irrevocably. "If the tree fall to the south or to the north, 
in what place soever it shall fall, there shall it &?."* But 
the good do not always enter heaven immediately. If the 
sharp process by which God purifies His children on earth has 
not wrought its full effect, it must be carried on for a while 
longer in that hidden receptacle in which faithful souls await 
their summons to the presence of God. And during this 
period our prayers in their behalf are of great avail. ~No 
part of our religion has more undeniable proofs of its an 
tiquity. As far back as the fourth century of the Christian 
era, St. Cyril testifies that it was the custom " to pray for 
those w r ho had departed this life, believing it to be a great 
assistance to those souls for whom prayers are offered while 
the Holy .and Tremendous Sacrifice is going on."f The 
tombstones of the early Christians attest the same practice , 
/ 
*Eccles. xi. 3. f St. Cyril, Cat., lect. v., n. 9. 



CARE FOR THE DEAD. 473 

and St. Augustine, speaking not as a doctor, but recording 
a chapter of liis own history, lets us into the innermost feel 
ings of the Church of his day on this subject. In his Con 
fessions he tells us that his mother St. Monica, shortly before 
her death, looked at him and said : " Lay this body any 
where, be not concerned about that, only I beg of you, that 
wheresoever you be, you make remembrance of me at the 
Lord s Altar." And the saint goes on to tell how he ful 
filled this request, how after her death the " Sacrifice of our 
Ransom " was offered for her, and how fervently he continued 
to pray for her. But his own words are best : " Though my 
mother lived in such a manner that Thy JSTame is much 
praised in her faith and manners, yet * I entreat 

Thee, O God of my heart, for her sins. Hear me, I beseech 
Thee, through that cure of our wounds that hung upon the 
Tree, and that sitting now at Thy Eight Hand maketh in 
tercession for us. I know that she did mercifully, and from 
her heart forgave to her debtors their trespasses ; do Thou 
likewise forgive to her her debts, if she hath also contracted 
any in those many years she lived after the saving water. 
Forgive them, O Lord, forgive them. Let no one 

separate her from Thy protection. Let not the lion and the 
dragon either by force or fraud interpose himself. Let her 
rest in peace, together with her husband ; and do Thou in 
spire Thy servants that as many as shall read this may re 
member at Thy Altar Thy handmaid Monica, with Patricius 
her husband."* Are we as faithful to pray for our departed 
friends, and to get prayers said for them ? They wait the 
time of their deliverance with painful longing. They can 
not hasten it themselves. They cannot merit. Their hands 
are tied. They are at our mercy. The Church indeed prays 
for these in her litanies, her offices, and her Masses, but how 
little do we, their friends and relations, pray for them. The 

* St. Augustine s, Confessions, book ix., c. 13. 



474 CARE FOR THE DEAD. 

. 

patriarch Joseph, when he foretold to Pharao s butler, his 
fellow prisoner, his speedy restoration to honor, said to him : 
" Only remember me when it shall l)e well with thee, and do 
me this kindness to put Pharao in mind to take me out of 
this prison"* But the butler, when things prospered with 
him, forgot his friend. So we forget our friends in the 
prison of Purgatory. They linger looking for help from us, 
and it comes not. Oh, pray for the dead. Death does not 
sever them from hope, from prayer, or from the power of 
Christ. Did not Martha say to our Lord in reference to her 
brother Lazarus, who was already dead: " I know that even 
NOW whatsoever thou wilt ask of God (in his behalf) He 
will give it thee !"* Yes, Christ s Mercy and Christ s 
Bounty reach even to the regions of the shadow of death. 
Christ has in His hands gifts even for the dead gifts of 
Consolation, of Refreshment, of Quiet, and of Best. Ask 
those gifts for those you love. With the widow of Nairn 
carry your dead to the Saviour, let your tears and prayers in 
their behalf meet His Compassionate Ear and Eye, and He 
will speak to the dead : " Young man, I say to thee Arise." 
And the dead shall hear His voice, and shall rise up, not yet 
to the Resurrection of the Body, not yet to be " delivered to 
his Master," but to the company of the Angels, to the spirits 
of the Just, to the home of God, where they shall be " before 
the Throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His 
Temple, and He that sitteth on the Throne shall dwell over 
them. And they shall not hunger nor thirst any more; 
neither shall the, sun fall on them, nor any heat"$ 

I have endeavored to-day, my brethren, to speak for the 
dead. They cannot speak for themselves, but they live, and 
feel, and think. And sure I am that, if they could speak, 
their words would not be in substance very different from 
what I have spoken. They would say : " I want no costly 

> 

* Gen. xl. 14. f St. John xi. 22. \ Apoc. vii. 15, 16. 



SUCCESS THE REWARD OF MERIT. 475 

monument. I want no splendid funeral. Still less do I wish, 
that God should he offended on my account. I ask a re 
membrance mingled with affection and resignation, the rites 
of the Holy Church, a quiet grave, and now and then a fer 
vent, earnest prayer. And I will not forget you in my prison 
of hope. I will pray for you, and oh ! when the morning 
comes, and my happy soul is called to Heaven, my first in 
tercession at the throne of God shall be for you, whom I loved 
BO well in life, and who hast not left off thy kindness to the 
dead. 



SERMON XXYU. 

SUCCESS THE REWARD OF MERIT. 

(FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST.) 
"What things a man shall sow, them also shall he reap." GAL. vi. 8. 

To judge by the complaints which we hear continually 
around us, we might conclude that the commonest thing in 
the world is for men to fail in their undertakings. Now, I 
admit that it is a very common thing indeed for men to fail 
in obtaining what they desire. There are many men who 
have some darling object of ambition which they cannot 
reach. But I do not think it is a very frequent thing for 
men to fail in attaining an end which they steadily aim at, 
and which they take the proper means to attain. I believe 
the rule is the other way. I believe success is the ordinary 
result of well-directed endeavor. I know indeed that the 
Holy Scriptures tell us that "the race is not to the swift, nor 
the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the 
learned, nor favor to the skilful : but time and chance is all."* 

V 

* Eccles. ir. 11. 



476 SUCCESS THE REWARD OF MERIT. 

/ 

But surely all that this means is that the providence of God, 
for its own purposes, sometimes interferes to thwart the best- 
concerted measures, and to crown feeble attempts with un 
expected success. The race is not always to the swift, but 
ordinarily it is. The battle is not always to the strong, but 
when it is not, it is an exception to the rule. The rule is, 
that success commonly attends the employment of proper 
and judicious means. The experience of life proves that 
this is true. Let us look around and see if it is not so. 

"We will look first at the business world. Here at first 
sight a succession of the most surprising changes meets our 
eye. Men that were rich a few years ago are now poor. 
Men that then were poor are now rich. The servant and 
his master have changed places. If you return to the city 
after a few years absence you will find the same handsome 
houses lining our avenues, but the occupants of many of 
them will be changed. The same, gay carriages roll along 
the street, but there is always a new set of people riding 
in them, and they that used to ride now go afoot. "What 
wonder is it that men have imagined Fortune to be blind 
fold, and the ups and downs of life the chance revolutions 
of her wheel ? But when we look closer, we see this is not 
the case. For the most part each fall and each success has 
had an adequate history. There has been a rigid bond of 
cause and effect. It is only a metaphor when we say that 
riches have wings. Gold and silver, and real estate, and 
most kinds of personal property, are solid and substantial, 
and do not melt away in a night. So, on the other hand, 
fortunes are not made by accident. The rich man becomes 
rich by aiming at it and striving for it. He does not need 
any extraordinary genius perhaps, but he bends his talents, 
such as they are, to the task. He rises early, he is constant 
ly at his place of business, he keeps himself informed of 
all its details, he thinks about it When a favorable open 
ing comes, he takes advantage of it. When a reverse comes, 



SUCCESS THE REWARD OF MERIT. 477 

he is not discouraged by it. Other men would be discour 
aged, but he is not. Perhaps he is in middle life, perhaps 
he has a growing family, but he looks out for a fresh field 
of enterprise, and begins anew to battle with the world, and 
he becomes rich again. His success is owing in part, if 
you will, to favorable circumstances, but largely to his own 
energy and industry. These were the conditions, without 
which no amount of mere external advantages would have 
insured success. 

Again, if we look to the world of Literature and Art, 
we find the same thing. Disappointed authors and artists 
often talk as if they were the victims of the world s stupid 
ity or malice ; as if men were unable or unwilling to appre 
ciate them. Now, I know it is said that such things have 
been. There have been men of rare promise, but of a sen 
sitive nature, who have been crushed by coldness and neg 
lect, or by the hard and unfair criticism with which their 
first attempts were met. But this is far from being a com. 
mon thing. The world likes to be amused and pleased. It 
is really interested in having something to praise. This 
being so, how is it possible for a man of real merit to remain 
^ng unrecognized? Who can imagine that the great 
masterpieces of painting, or the great poerns that have 
come down to us from the past, could have failed to excite 
the admiration of men? In fact, human judgment,. when 
you take its suffrages over wide tracts and through the 
lapse of ages, is all but infallible. In a particular place 
it may be warped by passion; in a particular time it may 
conform to an artificial standard ; but give it time and room, 
and it is sure with unerring accuracy to detect the beautiful 
and true. It is as far as possible, then, from being the case 
that celebrated authors or celebrated artists have become 



great by accident. There may have been favorable circum 
stances. There were undoubtedly great gifts of nature ; but 
there was also deep study and painful, persevering toil. I 



478 SUCCESS THE EEWAKD OF MEKIT. 

have been told that the manuscripts of a distinguished Eng 
lish poet show so many erasures that hardly a line remains 
unaltered. The great cathedrals of Europe were the fruit 
of life-long labor. And these are but instances of a ger 
eral rule. When we go into the workshops in which some 
of the beautiful articles of merchandise are manufactured, 
we see a great fire and hear the clank of machinery, and 
men are hurrying to and fro, stained with dust and sweat. 
Now, something like this has been going on to give birth 
to these beautiful creations in Letters and Arts which have 
delighted the world. There has been a great fire in the fur 
nace of the brain, and each faculty of the mind has toiled 
to do its part, and there have been many blows with the pen, 
the pencil, or the chisel, until the beautiful conception is 
complete. Such men were successful because they deserved 
it. The approbation of the world did not create their suc 
cess, it only recognized it. 

I will take one more example of the rule I am illustrat 
ing personal character, reputation. I believe, as a general 
rule, it is pretty nearly what we deserve. We reap what we 
sow. People Ihink of us pretty much as we really are. I 
am not unmindful of the occasional success of hypocrites, 
nor of the instances, happily not very frequent, of innocent 
persons overwhelmed by a load of unjust accusation and cal 
umny. Again, I know that when people are angry with us 
they sometimes say spiteful things which they do not mean, 
and when they wish to flatter us they say things more com 
plimentary, but just as false. But notwithstanding all this, I 
affirm that the judgments which people who know us form 
of us are very nearly correct. Indeed it must be so, for we 
cannot disguise ourselves altogether, or for a long time. We 
cannot always wear a mask. An ignorant, ill-bred man may 
go to a tailor s and dress himself out in fashionable clothes, 
but the first word he speaks, and the first movement he 
makes will betray his want of education. So, while we are 



SUCCESS THE REWARD OF MERIT. 470 

trying to pass ourselves off for something else than what we 
are, to a keen observer our habitual thoughts and character 
will pierce through and discover our true selves. Even what 
our enemies say about us, when they say what they think, 
is very likely to be true. Men have no need to invent bad 
things about us. We have all got faults enough. They 
have only to seize these, exaggerate them a little, caricature 
them, separate them from what is good in us, and they will 
make a picture bad enough, but not too bad to be recognized 
as ours. Their description of us is like a photographic like 
ness. It takes away the bloom from the cheek, and the 
brightness from the eye, and the rich tints from the hair. It 
notes down each imperfection, each frown and wrinkle and 
crookedness of feature, and there it is, a hard, severe, but 
not an untrue likeness. In fact, my brethren, one of the 
last things I would advise any man to attempt would be to 
try to seem something he is not. He is almost sure to be 
unsuccessful. There is a law in the world too strong for him 
the law of justice and truth, the law that binds together 
actions and their consequences, the law that attaches honor 
to what is good and right, and contempt to what is base and 
false. 

Thus we see on every side illustrations of the rule that our 
success is in proportion to our merit. We sow what we 
reap. Much more is this true in regard to religion. You 
have observed that hitherto I have been obliged to make 
some qualifications, to make some exceptions in each of the 
instances I have brought forward. God may prevent our 
becoming rich, however legitimately we may labor for it, 
because He sees that riches would not be good for us. Or 
He may allow our talents to remain unappreciated, and our 
name to be covered with obloquy, in order to drive us to seek 
His Eternal Praise. But in religion our labors are sure to 
meet with success. There is absolutely no exception. Our 
success will be infallibly in proportion to our endeavors, 



480 SUCCESS THE KEWARD OF MEEIT. 

neither more or less. You know, my brethren, that a doc 
trine may be familiar to us, but may not always make the 
same impression on us. We may hear it many times and 
assent to it, but on some special occasion, it may enter our 
mind with such foice, take such a lively hold of our imagina 
tion and heart that it seems new to us. This is what we call 
conning home to us. Now, I remember an occasion when the 
doctrine I have just stated thus came home to me. It was 
on hearing the words of St. Alphonsus : " With that degree 
of love to God that we possess when we lea,ve this world, and 
no more, will we pass our eternity." Any thing more start 
ling and awakening I do not remember ever to have heard. 
Not the thought of the pains of hell, or the horrors of sin, 
or the bliss of paradise, ever seemed to me so loud a call for 
action. All of heaven that we shall ever see, we acquire 
here. Perhaps you too, my brethren, have not realized this 
sufficiently. The truth is, I think many men act in regard 
to religion as children and weak-minded persons do in regard 
to the things of this world they build " castles in the air." 
This is a very favorite occupation with some people. They 
spend hours and even days in it. It is a cheap amusement, 
and they who follow it do not usually stint themselves in 
the warmth and color of their pictures. The only difficulty 
is, to fix a limit to their imaginary splendors. They imagine 
themselves very rich, worth, say fifty thousand, or a hundred 
thousand, or five hundred thousand dollars, with beautiful 
houses and furniture, and all the elegancies of life. Or they 
imagine themselves very famous, with a reputation as wide 
as the world, and admiring crowds shouting their praises 
wherever they go. Now something like this, Bqually silly 
and unsubstantial, passes in the minds of many Christians in 
regard to their hereafter. They imagine that, somehow, 
one of these days, they will find themselves caught up to the 
third heaven, borne by angels to the throne of God, crowned 
with a jewelled crown, seated on a golden throne, with palms 



SUCCESS THE REWARD OF MERIT. 481 

in their hands, to sing forever the song of the redeemed. 
They may be now in mortal sin, they may be in the habit of 
mortal sin ; they may be the slaves of passion, drunkards, 
impure, dishonest ; they may be unwilling to renounce the 
dangerous occasions of sin ; or they may not be so bad as 
this : they may belong to that class who have their periodic 
spells of sin and devotion, and are saints or sinners according 
to the time of the year you take them ; or they may belong 
to a still milder type of ungodliness, those who are negligent 
and cold-hearted, with a host of venial sins about them, and 
at intervals, now and then, a mortal sin no matter : some 
how or other, by some kind of a contrivance, all the re 
lapsed sinner and the habitual sinner, the drunkard, the im 
pure, the dishonest and the profane, the worldly and tepid, 
the prayerless and presumptuous all are going to heaven. 
O miserable delusion ! Does the Bible teach us this ? 
When it speaks of a " way to heaven, does it not mean 
that all must walk in that way to reach there ? When it 
tells us that " the Judge standeth at the door," does it not 
mean, to judge us by our actions ! Which of the saints was 
ever wafted to heaven in this passive way ? Ah ! the apostle 
tells us, " they were valiant in fight," they fought with the 
wild beasts of their passions, and put to flight the armies of 
hell. JSTo : it is an enemy that hath sown among you this Cal- 
vinistic poison yes, this worse than Calvinistic poison, for 
the Calvinists did but assert that a few elect were saved bv a 

m 

foregone decree, while this practically extends it to every 
one. Do not believe it. " What a man soweth that shall he 
reap" " He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap 
corruption, and, he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the 
Spirit reap life everlasting" * Our days are like a weaver s 
shuttle, and, as they quickly come and go, they weave the 
web of our destiny. Each step we take is a step in one of 



* GaL vi. 8. 
21 



482 SUCCESS THE REWARD OF MERIT. 

the two paths that fill Up the whole field of human proba 
tion. Ask the Psalmist who of us shall see heaven, and he 
will answer you, " Lord, who shall dwell in Thy tabernacle, 
or who shall rest on Thy holy hill f he that has clean hands 
and a pure heart"* Ask the Gospel, Who is that servant 
whom his Lord at His coming will approve ? and it answers : 
" Even he whose loins are girt about, and whose lights are 
burning, as a man that waits for his Lord"\ "Would you 
know who, at the end of the world, shall reap a rich har 
vest ? " They that sow in tears" in the holy tears of com 
punction, of the love of God, and of the desire of heaven 
" shall reap in joy. And he that now goeth on his way 
weeping and "bearing good seed, shall come again with joy, 
and bring his sheaves with him"\ 

Let us pause a moment before we conclude to try our 
selves by this doctrine. " All the rivers run into the sea ;" 
so all our lives are carrying us on to eternity. Should our 
lives be cut off at this moment, of what kind of texture 
would they be found ? "In those days," says the prophet, 
" Israel shall come / they shall make haste and seek the Lord 
their God. They shall ask the way to Sion, their faces 
thitherward"^ 

Are our faces, my brethren, turned toward the heavenly 
city? Are we hastening thither, acknowledging ourselves 
strangers and pilgrims on the earth? These careless con 
fessions, these heartless prayers, these darling sins, these aim 
less lives, this tepidity, this indifference and procrastination 
in spiritual things, what do they indicate ? We look at the 
sky to judge of the weather. We read the newspapers to 
find out the condition of the country. We watch our symp 
toms to ascertain the state of our health. Ah ! there are in 
dications far more important, to which we ought to take 



* Ps. xiv. 1 ; xxiii. 4. f St. Luke xii. 35, 36. 

\ Ps. cxxv. 5, 6, 7. Jer. i. 4, 5. 



SUCCESS THE REWARD OF MERIT. 4-88 

lieed. Indications of salvation or reprobation, symptoms of 
spiritual health or decay, earnests of heaven or hell, marks 
of Christ or Satan. You remember the story of the old 
monk who was observed to weep as he sat watching the peo 
ple going into church, and, being asked the reason, said he 
saw a man enter, followed by a black demon, who seemed to 
claim him as his own. So, if we could look into the spiritual 
world, we should see some men attended by angels who have 
come to " minister to them as heirs of salvation," while others 
are surrounded by evil spirits, " come to torment them before 
their time." Yes, eternity does not wait for the last day. 
It presses upon us now and here. Each day is a Judgment 
Day. Each evening, as it falls, finds us gathered at Christ s 
risrht hand, driven to His left, or wavering between the 

O * " 

two. Why do we not take our place at once, where we 
shall wish to be found at our Saviour s coming? It is not 
very long since death took from among us a convert to our 
holy faith,* whose life had been rich in good works, who 
had been a mother to the orphan, and a sister to the outcast 
and abandoned ; and a priest, who visited her on her last ill 
ness, told me that he had said to her : " If God were now to 
raise you up and restore you to health, I would not know 
how to give you any other advice, than to resume your good 
works at that point where sickness compelled you to leave 
them off." Beautiful testimony to a holy life ! Cut the 
thread wherever you will, it is all gold. Stop the Christian 
where you will, he is on his way to heaven. Be such a life 
ours. I have said each day is a Judgment Day : let each 
day merit the approval of Christ. Let our life be a constant 
preparation for Eternity, remembering that the only heaven 
the Christian religion offers us, is a heaven that is won by 
our labors here. 

* Mrs. Geo. Ripley. 



4:54 THE MASS THE HIGHEST WORSHIP. 



SEEMON XXVIII. 

THE MASS THE HIGHEST WORSHIP. 
(TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY AFTEE PENTECOST.) 

" What shall I offer to the Lord that is worthy ? Wherewith shall I kneel 
before the High God?" Mien. vi. 6. 

SUCH is the question, which mankind have been asking from 
the creation of the world. God is so high, so great, so good, 
so beautiful. He made us. He created us by His Word, and 
we harig upon His Breath. How shall we worship Him? 
How shall we express the thoughts of Him that fill our souls ? 
Alas ! the words of the lips, the postures of the body, are all 
inadequate. What shall we do ? Shall we, like Cain, gather 
the fairest fruits and flowers, and bring the basket before the 
Lord ? Or, like Abel, shall we take the firstlings of our 
flocks, and slay them in His honor ? Shall we dress an altar, 
and pile upon it the smoking victims ? Shall we make our 
children pass through the fire in His Name ? Or, like the 
Indian devotee, shall we throw ourselves under the wheels of 
the car that carries the image of the Divinity ? Such have 
been the ways in which men have tried to express their devo 
tion to God, but all have been either insufficient or vain. 
Man s thoughts about God have found no fitting expression. 
A fire has burned in his heart which no words can utter. 
Now here, as in so many other ways, Christianity comes to 
our aid, and places within our reach a perfect and all-sufficient 
mode of expressing our devotion, a perfect worship. Do you 
ask me to what I allude ? I answer, to the Sacrifice of the 
Mass. 

Let me remind you what the Sacrifice of the Mass is. We 
Catholics believe that in the Mass Jesus Christ offers His real 
Body and Blood, under the species of bread and wine, to 



THE MASS THE HIGHEST WORSHIP. 485. 

His Eternal Father, in remembrance of His Death on the 
Cross. Our Lord s Death on the Cross was in itself com 
plete, and all-sufficient for the purpose for which it was un 
dergone, and need not, indeed could not, be repeated ; but 
His Priestly Office was not exhausted by that offering. In 
the language of Scripture : " He ever liveth to make interces 
sion for us"* And, "He is a Priest forever "\ .In what, 
then, does our Lord s Priesthood since His Crucifixion con 
sist? In heaven, it consists in presenting Himself to His 
Father directly and immediately, to plead the merits of His 
Death and Passion in our behalf ; but on earth it consists in 
representing that Death and Passion in the mystical action 
which we call the Eucharistic Sacrifice or the Mass; thus 
fulfilling the words of the prophet in reference to our Lord : 
"Thou art a Priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec"^. 
The offering, then, which takes place in the Mass is the 
very same that was made on Calvary, only it is made in a 
different manner. On the Cross, that offering was made in 
a direct and absolute manner, it was a bloody Sacrifice ; in 
the Mass, it is made in a mystical and commemorative way, 
without blood, without suffering, without death. Therefore, 
in order to understand what takes place in the Mass, we must 
go back to the Cross. What was it that took place on the 
Cross ? You answer, perhaps, Christ shed His Blood there 
for the remission of sins. True : the Blood of Christ was 
the material cause of our Redemption, but that which gave 
the Blood of Christ its value, that, indeed, which made it a 
Sacrifice, was. the interior dispositions of the Soul of Christ. 
The Blood of Christ, taken as a mere material thing, could 
never have effected our reconciliation. What does the Scrip 
ture say? "Sacrifice and oblation Thou didst not desire. 
Burnt-offerings and sin-offerings Thou didst not require. 
Then I said: Lo, I come to do Thy will GodJ n $ It was 

* Heb. vii. 25. f ?s. cix. 4. J Ibid. Ps. xxxis. 7, 8, 



486 THE MASS THE HIGHEST WORSHIP. 

by the obedience of Christ, an obedience practised through 
His whole life, but of which His Death and Passion were the 
fullest expression, that Christ, as our elder brother, repaired 
our disobedience. While our Lord was hanging on the 
Cross, He exercised every Divine virtue which the soul of 
man can exercise. He loved. He prayed. He praised. He 
gave thanks. He supplicated. He made acts of adoration 
and resignation. In one word, He performed the most per 
fect act of worship. 

Well, it is just the same in the Mass. It would be the 
greatest mistake to think of the Body and Blood of Christ in 
the Mass as a sort of dead offering. It is living, and offered 
by the living Christ. Christ is the Priest of the Mass as 
well as the victim. It is Christ who celebrates the Mass, and 
He celebrates it with a warm and living Heart, the same 
Heart with which He worshipped the Father on Mount 
Calvary. It is this that makes the Mass what it is. If it 
were not for this, the Mass would be a carnal sacrifice, in 
finitely superior, indeed, to those of the Old Law, but of the 
same order. It is this which makes the Sacrifice of the Mass 
a reasonable service, a Spiritual Sacrifice. 

And now you are prepared to understand my assertion that 
the Mass supplies the want of the human soul for an ade 
quate mode of approaching God. As a creature before its. 
Creator, you are oppressed with your own inability to wor 
ship Him worthily. Do you want a better worship than that 

which His Eternal Son offers ? In the Mass, the Son of God 

\ 

in His Human Nature worships the Father for us. He 
prays for us ; asks pardon for us ; gives thanks for us ; adores 
for us. As He is perfect man, He expresses every human 
feeling ; as He is perfect God, His utterances have a com 
plete perfection, an infinite acceptableness. Thus, when we 
offer Mass, we worship the Father with Christ s worship. 
It seems to me that the Catholic can have a certain kind of 
pride in this. He may say, " I know I am weak and as 



THE MASS THE HIGHEST WORSHIP. 487 

nothing before God, yet I possess a treasure that is worthv 
to offer Him, I have a prayer to present to Him all-perfect 
and all-powerful, the prayer of His Only-Begotten Son in 
whom He is well pleased." 

Nor is this all. Christ worships the Father for us in the 
Mass, not to excuse us from worshipping, but to help us to 
worship. You remember how, the night before our Saviour 
died, He took with Him Peter and James and John, and 
going into the garden of Gethsemane, He said to them, 
" Tarry ye here, while I go and pray yonder." And how, 
being removed from them about a stone s cast. He began to 
pray very earnestly, so that He was in an agony, and the 
drops of blood fell from His body to the ground ; and how 
He went to them from time to time to urge them to watch 
and pray along with Him. The weight of all human 
sorrows was then upon His BOU!. He was presenting the 
necessities of the whole human race to His Father, but He 
would have the apostles, weary as they were, borne down 
by suffering and fatigue, to join their feeble prayers with 
His. So, in the Holy Mass, He is withdrawn from us a little 
distance, making intercessions for us with groanings which 
cannot be uttered, and He would have us kneel about the 
temple aisles, adding our poor prayers to His. Our prayers, 
by being united to His, obtain not only a higher acceptance, 
but a higher significance. Our obscure aspirations He inter 
prets. What we know not how to ask for, or even to think 
of, He supplies. "WTiat we ask for in broken accents, He 
puts into glowing words. What we ask for in error and 
ignorance, He deciphers in wisdom and love. And thus our 
prayers, as they pass through His Heart, become transfigured 
and divine. 

Oh, what a gift is the Holy Mass ! How full an utter 
ance has Humanity found therein for all its woes, its 
aspirations, its hopes, its affections ! How completely is the 
distance bridged over that separated the creature and the 



488 THE MASS THE HIGHEST WORSHIP. 

Creator ! It was to the Mass that our Lord alluded in His 
conversation with the woman of Samaria. You remember 
the incident. The Samaritans were a schismatical sect. 
They had separated from the Jews, had built a temple on 
Mount Gerazin, in opposition to the temple of the Jews at 
Jerusalem, and there they offered sacrifices. Now, this 
Samaritan woman, when our Lord had entered into conversa 
tion with her, put to Him the question which was then in 
controversy. Which was the right temple? Which was 
the acceptable sacrifice ? Which was the place where men 
ought to worship Mount Gerazin; or Mount Sion ? And 
how does our Lord answer her ? " Woman, believe Me, the 
hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain nor yet 
in Jerusalem adore the Father. The hour cometh and now 
is, when the true worshipper shall worship the Father in 
Spirit and in Truth"* The time is coming when a new 
Sacrifice, a new worship, shall be established, a worship of 
Spirit and Truth, a worship that shall put to rest the con 
troversy between Samaria and Jerusalem, for it shall be 
offered in every place. What is that sacrifice ? What is 
that worship ? The prophet had foretold it long before : 
" From the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof, My 
Name is great among the Gentiles, and nr EVERY PLACE 
THERE is SACRIFICE, and there is offered to My Name A CLEAN 
OBLATION. "f And the whole tradition of the Christian 

Church, from the verv first, tells us that this clean oblation 

& 

is no other than the Eucharistic Sacrifice, a worship of 
" Truth," if the presence of Christ can make it true ; and 
of " Spirit," if the Heart of Christ can make it spiritual; a 
worship that meets all man s wants and befits all God s 
attributes. 

With this conception pf the Mass in your minds, you see 
at once the explanation of some of the ceremonies attending 

* St. John iv. 22, 23. f Mai. ii. 11. 



THE MASS THE HIGHEST WORSHIP. 489 

its celebration wliicli seem to Protestants strange and sense 
less. A Protestant enters a Catholic Church during the time 
of Mass. The Priest is at the Altar. You cannot hear what 
he says, he speaks so low and rapidly ; and perhaps it would 
do you no good if you could, for he speaks in Latin ; and you 
say : " What mummery 1" " What superstition !" " What an 
unmeaning service !" But stop awhile. Take our view of 
the Mass, and see if our custom is so strange. We believe 
that there is an invisible Priest at the Mass, Christ, the Son 
of the Living God, Who offers Himself to His Father for us. 
You know it is related in the Old Testament, that on one 
day in the year the Jewish High-Priest used to enter into the 
Holy of Holies, which was separated from the temple by a 
veil, and there in secrecy perform the rites of expiation, 
while the people prayed in silence without. So it is at the 
Mass. You see the Priest lift up the Host before the people. 
Well, that is the white veil that hides the Holy of Holies from 
our eyes. Within, our Lord and Saviour mediates with the 
Father in our behalf. Oh, be still! Speak low! Let not 
the priest at the altar raise his voice, lest he drown the whis 
pers from that inner shrine. What need for me to know the 
very words the priest is using ? I know w.hat he is doing. I 
know that this is^ the hour of grace. Earth has disappeared 
from me. Heaven is open before me. I am in the presence 
of God, and I am praying to Him in my own words, and 
after my own fashion. I am pouring out my joys before Him, 
or opening to Him the plague of my own heart. 

Yes, the Catholic Church has solved the problem of wor 
ship. She has a service which unites all the necessary 
conditions for the public worship of God a common service, 
in which all can join ; an external service, which takes place 
before our eyes, which is celebrated with offerings which we 
ourselves supply, and by a Priest taken from among ourselves : 
an attractive service; and yet a service perfectly spiritual. 
The Catholic does not come to church to hear a man pour 
21* 



490 THE MASS THE HIGHEST WOESHIP. 

forth an extempore prayer, and be forced to follow him through 
all the moods and feelings of his own mind ; nor to join in a 
set form of prayer, which, however beautiful .and well ar 
ranged, must, from the very nature of the case, fail to express 
the varying wants and feelings of the different members of 
the congregation ; but he comes to join, after his own fashion, 
in Christ s own prayer. At the*-Catholic Altar there is the 
most complete liberty, the greatest variety, combined with 
the most perfect unity. 

Come, then, children, come to Mass, and bring your merry 
hearts with you. Come, you that are young and happy, and 
rejoice before the Lord. Come, you that are old and weary, 
and tell your loneliness to God. Come, you that are sorely 
tempted, and ask the help of Heaven. Come, you that have 
sinned, and weep between the porch and the altar. Come, 
you that are bereaved, and pour out here your tears. Come, 
you that are sick, or anxious, or unhappy, and complain to 
God. Come, you that are prosperous and successful, and give 
thanks. Christ will sympathize with you. He will rejoice 
with you, and He will mourn with you. Pie will gather up 
your prayers. He will join to them His own Almighty sup 
plications, and that concert of prayer shall enter heaven, 
louder than the music of angelic choirs, sweeter than the 
voice of those who sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, more 
piercing than the cry of the living creatures who rest not day 
or night, and more powerful and prevailing than the inter 
cession of the Blessed Yirgin and all the saints of Paradise 
together. The Mass a formalism ! The Mass an unmeaning 
service ! Why, it is the most beautiful, the most spiritual, 
the most sublime, the most satisfying worship which the heart 
of man can even conceive. 

And here, too, in this idea of the Mass, we have the an 
swer to another perplexity of Protestants. They cannot 
understand why we make such a point of attending Mass. 
They see us go to Mass in all weathers. They see us so par- 



TIIE MASS THE HIGHEST WORSHIP. 491 

ticular not to be late at Mass. They see us on Sunday, not 
sauntering leisurely, as if we were going to a lecture-room, 
but pressing on with a certain eagerness, as if we had some 
great business in hand ; and they ask what it all means. Is 
it not superstition ? Do we not, like the Pharisees, give an 
undue value to outward observances ? May we not worship 
God at home just as well ? Ah! if it were really only an 
outward observance. But there is just the difference. There 
stands one among us whom you know not We believe that 
the Saviour is with us, and you do not. We believe this with 
a certain, simple faith. Come to our churches, and look at 
our people, the poorest and most ignorant, and see if we do 
not, It is written on their faces. They may not know how 
to express themselves, but this is in their hearts. You think 
we come to Mass because the Church is so strict in requiring 
us to do so ; but the true state of the case is that the law of 
the Church is so strict because Christ is present in the Mass. 
You think it is the pomp and glitter of our altars that draws 
the crowd. Little you know of human nature if you think it 
can long be held by such things alone. IsTo, we adorn our 
altars because we believe Christ is present. This is our faith. 
It is no new thing with us. It is as old as Christianity. It 
was the comfort of the Christians in the catacombs. It was 
the glory of St. Basil and St. Ambrose and St. Augustine. 
It was the meaning of all the glory and magnificence of the 
Middle Ages. And it is our stay and support in this nine 
teenth century of knowledge, labor, and disquiet. Yes, strip 
our altars, leave us only the Corn and the Yine, and a Bock 
for our altar, and we will worship with posture as lowly and 
hearts as loving as in the grandest cathedral. Let persecution 
rise; let us be driven from our churches ; we will say Mass in 
the woods and caverns, as the early Christians did. We 
know that God is everywhere. We know that Nature is His 
Temple, wherein pure hearts can find Him and adore Him ; 
but we know that it is in the Holy Mass alone that He offers 



492 THE MASS THE HIGHEST WOESHIP. 

Himself to His Father as " the Lamb that was slain." How 
can we forego that sweet and solemn action ? How can we 
deprive ourselves of that heavenly consolation ! The spar 
row hath found her an house and the turtle a nest where she 
may lay her young, even thy altars, Lord of Hosts ^ my 
King and my God ! Man s heart has found a home and rest 
ing-place in this vale of tears. To us the altar is the vesti 
bule of heaven, and the Host its open door. 

Yes, and to us the words of the prophet, when he calls the 
reign of Antichrist " the abomination of desolation" because 
the Daily Sacrifice shall then be taken away, has a peculiar fit 
ness. It is our delight ftow to think that, as the sun in its 
course brings daylight to each successive spot on earth, it ever 
finds some priest girding himself to go up to the Holy Altar ; 
that thus the earth is belted, from the rising of the sun unto 
the going down of the same, with a chain of Masses ; that as 
the din of the world commences each day, the groan of the 
oppressed, the cry of the fearful and troubled, the boast of 
sin and pride, the wail of sorrow the voice of Christ ascends 
at the same time to heaven, supplicating for pardon and 
peace. But oh ! when there shall be no Mass any more, 
when the sun shall rise only to show that the altar has been 
torn down, the priests banished, the lights put out ; that will 
be a day of calamity, of darkness and sorrow. Then the 
beasts will groan, and the cattle low. Then will men s hearts 
wither for fear. Then will the heavens overhead be brass, 
and the earth under foot iron, because the corn has languished, 
the vine no longer yields its fruit. The tie between earth 
and heaven is broken ; sacrifice and libation are cut off from 
the House of God. 

Such be our thoughts, my dear brethren, about the Holy 
Mass. I have alluded to the efforts which mankind have 
made to offer a worthy offering to God, sometimes to the 
extent, even, of sacrificing their own lives and their children. 
While we abhor these excesses, let us not forget the earnest- 



THE LESSONS OF AUTUMN. 493 

ness which inspired their misguided devotion. And we, to 
whom God has given a perfect worship, a worship not cruel, 
but beautiful, inviting, consoling, satisfying, shall we be less 
devout in offering it ? ~No I come to Mass, and come to pray. 
When the Lord drew near to Elias on the mount, the prophet 
wrapped his face in his mantle ; so when we come to Mass, 
let us wrap our souls in a holy recollection of spirit. Remem 
ber what is going on. Now pray ; now praise ; now ask for 
giveness; now rest before God in quiet love. So will the 
Mass be a marvellous comfort and refreshment to you. You 
know the smell of the incense lingers about the sacred vest 
ments worn at the altar long after the service is over; so 
your souls shall carry away with them as you leave the 
church a celestial fragrance, a breath of the odors of Paradisj, 
the token that you have received a blessing from Him whose 
" fingers drop with sweet-smelling myrrh." 



SERMON XXIX. 

THE LESSONS OF AUTUMN. 
(LAST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST.) 

"All flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the field. The 
grass is withered and thwflower is fallen," ISAIAS XL. 6, 7. 

IT is but a few weeks since you were told that the natural 
world has lessons of deep spiritual importance to teach us. 
Our Lord, as we see in the Gospel, sometimes drew the text 
of His discourse from the flowers of the field, sometimes from 
the birds of the air ; and it must be evident to any reflecting 
mind that this was not done as a mere exercise of fancy on 
His part, but was the Divine Interpretation of these messages 
of love which from the beginning He had commissioned Na 
ture to tell us. Nature, then, is really intended by God to 



THE LESSONS OF AUTUMN. 

be our Teacher. It is my purpose this morning, to direct 
your thoughts to one part of its teaching that is, the spirit 
ual instruction suggested to us by the season of Autumn. 

Here, in the Church, where we have always the same 
doctrines, and the same worship, we might forget how all 
things without are full of change and decay, were it not that 
the Church uses Nature as a handmaid, and calls her within 
the sanctuary to adorn the Altar with her gifts. "We miss to 
day the flowers that have been so plentiful all summer, and 
this tells us what is going on without. The crown of flowers 
which the Spring brought forth to grace our Easter festival, 
and which were the truest type of the Kesurrection, which 
made that feast so joyful, have all perished. The rose of 
Whitsuntide, the floral wealth of Corpus Christi, the white 
lily of midsummer, have all gone their way. " The glory of 
Lebanon is departed ; the beauty of Carmel and Sharon." In 
the garden and the field, where so lately there was every kind 
of fruit and flower that is pleasant to the eye and sweet to the 
smell or taste there are now but a few dried leaves, and the 
skeletons of trees and shrubs shaking and rattling in the 
wind. Nothing green is left except "the fir-tree and the 
box-tree and the pine-tree together," patiently enduring cold 
and snow so as to be on hand when the Holy Night comes 
round, and the Heavenly Babe is born, to make his humble 
home glad and beautiful with their green wreaths and 
branches. The birds that peopled the woods and made them 
merry with their music have gone south, leaving their sum 
mer home silent and desolate. The days are short. Clouds 
flit across the sky. The air is strong and keen, and men shut 
it out and make all warm and snug within. Yes, the little 
time that has elapsed, since we began to number our Sundays 
from Easter, has been a full cycle of being in the vegetable 
world. Spring has given place to summer, and summer to 
autumn. Seed-time and harvest have followed each other, 



THE LESSONS OF AUTUMN. 495 

and now the dreary winter has commenced. " The grass is 
withered and the flower is fallen." 

And what does all this mean to us? I am sure all of you 
understand it well. This season speaks to us in tones that 
reach every human heart. It tells us that we are dying. 
It is strange how slow we are to realize this. I look around 
this church, and I see many dressed in the dark garments that 
tell they are mourning for the dead. In what house, indeed, 
is the family unbroken? Where is there not a vacant seat at 
the table ? Who of us has not lost a friend ? And yet we 
rarely think that we too are soon to follow them. Now, God 
wishes us to think of this. He tells us of it by our reason, 
He tells us of it by our vacant hearths and homes ; He tells 
us of it by sermons, and by His word, but, not content with 
this, He makes the natural world, heir with us of the sen 
tence of mortality, a monitor to us of this great truth. 
" Day unto day uttereth speech of it, and night unto night 
sheweth knowledge of ^."* But at certain seasons He tells us- 
of it more distinctly and in a greater variety of ways. Would 
you know what the Autumn teaches ? Hear the Holy Ghost. 
Himself interpret it : " The voice said, cry ; and I said, 
what shall I cry ? All Flesh is grass and all the glory there 
of as the flower of the field: the grass is withered and the 
flower is fallen."^ " In the morning man shall grow up like 
the grass ; in the evening he shall fall, grow dry and wither -."J 
" Man lorn of a woman, livethfor a short time, and is filled 
with many miseries. Be cometh forth as a flower and is 
destroyed; hefleeth as a shadow and never continueth in the 
same state. " Oh, do not require God always to speak to you 
in a voice of thunder : listen to Him when He speaks gently. 
Open your eyes and ears, and receive instruction from the 
sights and sounds of Nature. We are dying : the sighing 
winds tell us so. We are dying : the falling leaf tells us 

* Ps xviii 3. f Isaias xl. 6, 7. \ Ps. Ixxxix. 6. Job xiv. 1, 2. 



496 THE LESSONS OF AUTUMN, 

liow Death will soon have power over us as a leaf carried 
away by the wind, and pursue us as a dry straw"* We are 
dying : the harvest-man is discharged, so " our days are like 
the days of an hireling, and the. end of labor draweth nigh."\ 
We are dying : the short days tell us that to us " the sun and 
the light and the moon and the stars will soon be darJcened"^. 
We are dying : the earth hath already wrapped itself in its 
winding-sheet of snow, to foretell to us the time when, stiff 
and cold, we shall be dressed for the grave. "We are all dy 
ing. Are you young ? Well, the young are dying. Life is 
but a lingering death. As soon as we were born, we began to 
draw to our end. Every path in life leads straight to the 
grave. Are you old? are you sick? Ah! then, there is a 
voice within you which repeats the warning from without. 
You are not as strong and well as you once were. Time was 
you felt within you a fount of health and strength that defied 
danger and despised precaution. What a strange, fierce joy 
it was for you to struggle with the buffetings of the wintry 
blast ! But, somehow, you know not how, either it was an 
accident or an imprudence, there came over you now and then 
a pain, a cough, a strange weariness, and the raw wind steals 
away from your cheek the bloom which once it imparted, 
and sends a chill to your heart. What does it mean ? I will 
tell you. It is the shadow of mortality. You are dying. 
Men do not realize this. They do not realize it of them 
selves, aM they do not realize it of others. Death is always 
a surprise and an accident. It is one of the things in the 
world on which men do not count. 

It is something which has nothing to do with us until the 
doctor stands over us, and says we have but a few days or a 
few hours to live. We speak of the dead with pity, as if 
they were the victims of some unlucky chance which we had 
escaped. This ought not to be so. " It is appointed for man 

* Job xiii. 25. f Job vii. 1. J Eccles. xii. 2. 



THE LESSONS OF AUTUMN. 497 

once to di c" Because we are living, therefore we must die. 
Adam in Paradise might have escaped death if he would, 
but since Adam s sin and our loss of integrity, the sentence 
of death has passed upon all. There is no reflection which a 
man can make more certainly true than this : I must die. 
The time is fixed. There shall come to me a day that knows 
no setting, a night that knows no dawn. The lights shall be 
lit in the church ; the pall spread over the bier ; the priest 
singing Mass at the altar. My body shall lie under that pall, 
and my name be mentioned in that Mass. From the church 
my body shall be carried to the grave, and my soul be happy 
or miserable according to the deeds it hath done on earth. I 
do not know when I shall die. Youth is no protection against 
death. Health is no protection against death. I do not know 
where I shall die. No corner of the earth can hide me from 
His summons. I do not know how I shall die, whether at 
home, among my friends, with the rites of the Church, with 
my reason, with a quiet mind or abroad, or suddenly, or 
without the last sacraments, or with a heavy load of sin on 
my soul, or in a state of insensibility. All these things are 
uncertain; this only is certain, that I must die that I must 
die, that my turn shall come ; and others shall speak of me as 
I speak now of those already dead. 

But some of you may say, why tell us this ? Life is short 
at the best, why vex ourselves with thinking of that which 
we cannot prevent. We have got many projects in hand, 
many pleasures in prospect, and we do not want to paralyze 
our energies and sadden our days by meditating always on 
death. No, my brethren, I do not ask you to think of death 
in order to paralyze your energies, but to direct them aright ; 
not to sadden your days, but to make them calm and tranquil. 
I know that a celebrated modern writer has made it a matter 
of reproach against Christianity that it sends men to learn 

* Heb. ix. 27. 



408 THE LESSONS OF AUTUMN. 

the solemn lessons of the grave. But surely this reproach is 
unreasonable. It cannot be denied that men do die. The 
earth has already many times seen an entire generation of 
her inhabitants pass away. There are many more sleeping 
in the ground than live on its surface. Now, if this be so, 
if death is an inevitable fact in our history, and a fact on 
which much depends if this li fe is not all, but after this life 
there is an Eternity dependent on our conduct here, it is 
plain that reason requires us to think of death, and he is fool 
ish who forgets it. Besides, the thought of death is enjoined 
upon us by the Almighty, as a sure means of salvation : "In 
all thy works remember thy last end, and tlwu shalt never 
sin"* And I will say more. The thought of death really 
contributes to our comfort, because it is the only way of get 
ting rid of the fear of death. Suppose you do refuse to listen 
to the warnings which Death suggests, are you therefore free 
from anxiety ? Is there no trouble in your conscience ? Is 
there nothing frightful to you in a sleepless night, or a sick 
bed ? would you hear with equanimity that you had a hope 
less disease ? No, it is the coward that will not think of death, 
who " all Ms life through fear of death is subject to slavery" 
Act like a man. Face this King of Terrors, and you disarm 
him. His countenance is stern, but his words are kind 
and friendly. Listen to him, and you will find that he can 
relax his grim features and smile upon you ; and there is 
nothing can give you such comfort, as for death to come to 
you with a smiling face. The sting of death is sin : be care 
ful to avoid sin, and then at his coming you can exclaim : 
" O death, where is thy victory ! O death, where is thy 
sting !" f 

Oh, it is a shame and a disgrace that Christians think so 
little about death. Why, death is our best friend and our 
wisest counsellor. A London anatomist once placed over his 

* Eccles. vil 36. f I. Cor. xv. 55. 



THE LESSONS OF AUTUMN. 499 

dissecting-rooms this inscription : " Hie mors juvat succur- 
rere vitae /" "Here death helps to succor life." You see 
the meaning. The physician takes a dead body and studies 
it, spends days and nights over it, repulsive as it is, in order 
to learn the secrets of the living frame and how to minister 
to its complaints. So let the Christian look at death and 
learn from it how to keep his soul in health, how to secure 
its everlasting life. It is nothing very terrible that death 
has to tell us now. The time will come, if we refuse to hear 
him now, when his words will be terrible ; but now, though 
solemn, though calculated to make us serious and thoughtful, 
they need not make us gloomy. lie says, you have a great 
work to do, and little time to do it in time enough, but 
none to spare. He says to the young : Look at me, look 
into my face, and see the value of beauty and of pleasure. 
He says to the proud : Come and see how kings and beggars 
lie side by side in my dominion. He says to the covetous: 
Come, open a grave, and see what a man carries away with 
him when he dies. And he says to all, you must die alone ; 
what you are, what you have made yourself, so must you ap 
pear before God, to receive a just and final sentence. This is 
the sermon of Death, that he has been preaching from the 
beginning. It never grows old. It has converted more sin 
ners than all missionaries and preachers by any other means. 
It has made more saints, induced more to embrace a religious 
life, sent more sonls to heaven than any other sermon ever 
did. Oh ! Death is a great preacher. There is no answer 
to his reasonings, no escape from his appeal. He speaks not, 
but his silence is eloquent. He makes no gestures, but that 
motionless arm of his is more expressive than the most im 
passioned action. There is a story told of a certain man 
named Guerricus, which shows how powerfully death preach 
es. This man was a Christian, but one who loved the world 
too well, and one evening he strayed into a church when 
the monks were singing matins. The hour, the place, all in- 



500 THE LESSONS OF AUTUMN. 

vited to reflection, and as lie stood and listened, one of the 
monks came forth, and in a loud, clear voice sang the lesson 
oi the day. It was as follows : " And all the time that Adam 
hved, came to nine hundred and thirty years, and he died. 
And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven 
years, and all the years of Seth were nine hundred and twelve 
years, and he died. And Enos begat Cainan. And all the 
years of Enos were nine hundred and five years, and he died. 
And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten 
years, and he died."* So it came at the end of every period, 
the same melancholy cadence, Et mortuus est, "and he 
died." The words rang in the ear of G-uerricus. " So then," 
said he, " that is the end of all. The longest life ends with 
that record and he died. So it will one day be said of me." 
And with this reflection on his mind, he went away and dis 
tributed his wealth to the poor, commenced a life of mortifi 
cation and prayer, and began in good earnest to prepare to 
die. Happy those who after this example are led by the 
thought of death to enter on a really devout life ! They will 
not be confounded in the evil day. They will not be afraid 
of any evil tidings. When the great prophet Elias was 
about to leave this world, the sons of the prophets came to 
tell Eliseus of it as a piece of afflicting news, saying : " Dost 
thou know that the Lord will take away thy master from thee 
to-day ? "f And he said : " Yes, I know it, hold your peace." 
So when the good Christian s last hour comes on, and sorrow 
ing friends approach his bed to break it to him that he is dy 
ing, he can say, Yes, I know it. It is no news to me. I have 
long known it. I have expected it. Dying, you say. " So 
then," I can exclaim with St. Teresa, " the hour is come !" the 
hour I have so long been waiting for, the hour I have labored 
for, the hour that is to end my exile here, and unite me for 
ever to my Saviour and my God ! 

* Gen. v. 5. f I. Kings ii. 3. 



THE LESSONS OF AUTUMN. 501 

I tried just now to describe to you the desolation that is 
now spread over the face of Nature ; but a few weeks ago the 
scene was quite different. The fields were laden with a 
golden harvest, and the husbandman was gathering it in with 
joy. He knew that winter was coming, and he prepared for 
it. In the morning he "sowed his seed, and in the evening he 
withheld not his hand. He labored in the chill, uncertain 
spring, and in the hot days of summer, and when autumn 
came, he gathered his fruits into the garner, safe from the 
frosts of winter. So he who thinks of death makes the most 
of the spring-time of life, takes care in his youth to plant in 
his heart the seeds of piety, and to tear up the weeds of vice, 
guards his soul in the storms of temptation, labors untiringly 
through the heat and burden of life, and, when his last hour 
arrives, lies down in peace, confident that he shall enter into 
those fruits of righteousness which, by patient continuance in 
well-doing, he has laid up for the time to come. 

I commend these thoughts to you all, my brethren ; but 
there are some among you to whom I commend them espe 
cially, those, namely, who are to die soon. When the cap 
tains of Israel were assembled together at Ramoth-Galaad, 
the messenger of Eliseus appeared in their midst and said, 
" I have a message to thee, prince" And they answered, 
" To which one of us all ?"* So I feel this morning as if I 
had a message to some of you in particular, though I do not 
know who they are. The message is that which Jeremias 
the prophet sent to Hananias : " Thus saith the Xord, this 
year shalt thou die"\ 

How many of those who were alive a year ago are now 
dead ! How many of those who listen to me now will be 
dead before another year rolls round ! Now, to these persons 
it is a question of the most pressing urgency, " Am I now as 
I would wish to be when I die ?" When Death comes, it will 

* IY. Kings ix. 5. f Jer. xxviii. 16. 



502 THE LESSONS OF AUTDMN. 

not wait because you are laden with sins or unprepared. It 
will not wait for you to send for the priest or finish your 
confession, or to receive absolution. At the moment that 
sentence is given, you must yield up your soul, in whatever 
state it is. Now, then, is the time to put your house in order. 
Perhaps you are not a Catholic. You are lingering outside 
the Church, with misgivings in your heart that only in her 
fold you can secure your salvation. Will those misgivings 
help you to die easily ? Will those ingenious and far-fetched 
arguments, by which you fortify yourself against conviction 
now, give that peace to your soul, which the broad, strong, 
plain evidence of the Faith imparts to the soul of a Catholic ? 
Would you not like, as you go out of this world, to step on 
the firm rock of Peter ? To go hence " with the sign of 
faith," with the blessing of the Mother of Saints upon you, 
and the grace of her sacraments within your heart ? 

Or, you are a Catholic, but a careless one. You have the 
load of years of sin on your conscience. When you come to 
die, will you not wish to have those sins blotted out ? Will 
you then forego as you do now those absolving words which 
our Lord ha promised to ratify in heaven ? Will you trust 
all to the uncertain chance of confession in that hour, or to a 
doubtful contrition I 

Or it is a cloud of venial sins a veil of worldliness, and 
selfishness, and unfaithfulness, of omissions and neglects, that 
darkens your soul. Do you wish to die with that veil not 
taken away ? Do you wish to go before God as careless and 
as sensual as you are now ? Are you spending your time as 
you would wish to spend the last year of your life ? Oh ! be 
diligent. The night cometli. Work while it is day. " What 
soever thy hand is able to do, do it earnestly ; for neither 
work, nor reason, nor wisdom, nor knowledge shall ~be in the 
land of the dead whither thou art hastening" [Receive in- 

* Eccles. ix. 10. 



THE LESSONS OF AUTUMN. 503 

struction. Be not of the number of those who have foolishly 
thrown away their salvation. 

There are stories of men s passing through grave-yards on 
dark and stormy nights, and hearing dismal sounds, as of a 
restless and unhappy soul complaining of its torments. You 
say it is the wind. Suppose it is: may not the wind be 
speaking for the dead ? Is not the earth for the elect ? Does 
not Nature sympathize with man ? Does not every crea 
ture groan and travail for our redemption ? * Did not the 
prophet call upon the fir-trees and the oaks to " howl " for 
the destruction of Jerusalem! f Did not the sun hide its 
face at the crucifixon of our Lord, and the earth tremble un 
der His Cross? And when He comes to judgment will not 
the stars fall from the sky and the heavens be parted as a 
scroll ? Is not, then, that instinct of humanity right which 
has understood the fearful sounds and sights of Nature as 
Divine utterances pictures and voices of a woe that is un 
speakable and indescribable. There is a bird in South Amer 
ica with a cry so melancholy that it is called The Lost Soul. 
And Nature, that speaks there to the hearts of men by that 
dismal cry, tells the same story to us by the storm at sea, and 
the moaning and sighing and shrieking of the wind on a 
winter s night. What aileth thee, O sea, tossed and driven 
with the waves ? Let the Scriptures answer. " The voice 
of the Lord is upon the waters, the God of majesty hath 
thundered, the Lord is upon many waters " Why does the 
winter come upon us with desolation and storm ? Let the 
Holy Scripture answer again : "The vineyard is confounded^ 
and the fig-tree hath languished. The pomegranate-tree, and 
the palm-tree, and the apple-tree, and all the trees of the field 
shalt wither because joy is withdrawn from the children of 
men" Yes, there are sad things in nature because there 
is death and reprobation among men. The days grow short 

* Rom. be. 22. f Zach. xi. 2. \ Ps. xxYiii. 3. Joel i 12. 



504: THE LESSONS OF AUTUMN. 

out of sorrow for the lost children of God, and the wintry 
heavens " are black with clouds, and winds, and rain," he- 
cause to many " the harvest is past, the summer is ended, anr 
they are not saved"* 



* Jer. viiL 20. 



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