Изображения страниц

called reformers, and found, as every candid inquirer must find, that personally they were disreputable. He next proceeded to the study of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. The eighteen propositions on the primacy and prerogatives of St. Peter, in which he states clearly the Catholic argument and the Protestant attempt at an answer, are amongst the best specimens we have ever seen of popular controversy. He had, as he pursued his course of investigation, consulted his clerical friends of the Anglican communion on his various difficulties, and had received from them answers which force from him the emphatic assertion, that "if their opinions were true, it seemed transparently evident that Christianity was false." God was gradually leading him to the Church. One by one the defences of Protestantism had to be abandoned, and he soon found himself in a state of mind to which many, as well as he, have arrived, who unfortunately never went any further-a state of intellectual conviction that Protestantism as a system was baseless, and that if Christianity were true at all, it was true only as expounded by the Catholic Church.

At this juncture it was providential that an opportunity presented itself to him of visiting the Continent. His father perceiving his tendency towards Romanism, was, no doubt, honestly of opinion that the most effectual cure for such a state of mind would be, to expose his son to the shock of witnessing, in its own special homes, the working of that corruption of Christianity which the untravelled English Protestant imagines Popery to be. Accordingly he sent him on a continental tour in company, indeed, under the guardianship of a parson" of sound church principles." The experiment of travel turned out disastrously for the father's purpose, but most happily for the spiritual interests of the son. Brought face to face with the Church whose historical and scriptural basis had commended it so warmly to his judgment as a student, he began to recognise the lineaments of the spouse of Christ. He found, in full operation within its fold, the very things the absence of which in the Anglican Church had sorely troubled his awakened conscience. He found a priesthood-set apart-claiming to have a vocation for no less a purpose than the teaching of divine truth, and proving to unprejudiced observers their claim to such a vocation by the earnestness and unanimity with which they pursued it. He found an altar, and a sacrifice—and sacraments that were no mere ceremonial rights-but that were visibly influencing the lives of multitudes of men. In a very short time he became a Catholic, and found the peace which intellect and heart had so long sought for in vain in the Anglican communion.

At the close of the chapter on "The Clergy Abroad," there is just one thing to which we wish to advert. The author, having won his way to Catholicity, very naturally and very ably sets himself to review certain "assumptions on which heretical obstinacy and self confidence are founded." Coming to the last of these, he remarks that Protestants try to satisfy their conscience by contemplating the virtues practised in Protestant societies. Now, of course, such virtues are not a note of the truth of Protestant doctrines. It is obvious that "virtue," in its theological sense, cannot be a sufficient note of the truth of doctrine; and for the simple reason that it is not within the competence of man to decide with certainty whether, in any particular case, the real virtue is there at all or not. In so far as "virtue" could be a note of the truth of doctrine, it should be taken in its exercise as a virtuous action-or, to speak with all strictness-an action that bears the appearance of virtue. Now of any human action it is true that the circumstances modify it considerably, and that the motive enters essentially into any correct estimate of its morality, and, as a matter of fact, the circumstances may be unknown, while the motive is certainly beyond the sphere of human judgment. For these reasons, if for these alone, it would be hazardous in the extreme to stake the truth of a doctrine on the virtue of its professor. Nevertheless, the paragraph to which we allude is liable to misinterpretation. It would seem to convey either that virtue was impossible except in the visible communion of the church, or that if virtue exist outside that visible communion, it is rather to the discredit and disadvantage of those who practice it. Now with regard to the first part of the disjunctive proposition, a person may belong to the soul of the Church, even though, through invincible ignorance, he is not attached to its visible body and in such case he is capable of performing actions supernaturally virtuous. For the rest these virtuous actions will of course profit them nothing if by wilful transgression of any commandment of God they die in the state of mortal sin; but this is true of all virtuous actions by whomsoever performed. Equally, of course, mere natural virtues, whether in a Catholic or a non-Catholic, will not be meritorious of a supernatural reward; but it would not, we submit, be true to say that persons who practice them, are precisely on that account "magis vituperandi;" nor do we conceive St. Augustine, in the passage quoted, to have meant any such thing. The truth seems to be that two things, not perhaps in practice easily separable, became confounded together in the mind of the writer. He may have confounded "virtue" with the grace given to an in


dividual for the purpose of leading him to the true Church. If he abuse that grace, he certainly is "magis vituperandus," precisely on account of having got it and profited so little by But if any one-whether a Catholic, or a merely material heretic-perform an action naturally or supernaturally virtuous, we may lay it down as a safe and certain conclusion, that the performance of it will never turn to his discredit or disadvantage either in this world or the next.

The fourth chapter "On the Clergy and Modern Thought," is in itself by far the most important, and opens so wide a field, that we do not purpose to give any detailed notice of it in the present paper, reserving certain remarks on modern thought for a future number. We shall only say, just now, that this chapter strikes us as peculiarly valuable for that large class of persons, amongst whom missionary priests are conspicuous, who are constantly liable to have "modern thought" thrown in their face, and who, at the same time, have neither leisure nor inclination to study it thoroughly. In this chapter they will find many pungent remarks on modern thought and its disciples that will suggest lines of popular argument even to those uninstructed in the details of special scientific controversies. It may strike one reading this chapter, that "modern thought" is, perhaps, a shade too easily disposed of, and that its chief ornaments-men whom all the world knows to be of conspicuousability-are made to exhibit themselves in too ridiculous a light. But in this chapter, and, indeed, throughout the entire volume, the author exhibits himself as one who can see no valid reason why it should be forbidden him—“ ridentem dicere verum”—and though the book abounds both in solid information and sound argument, we should fail to appreciate it in the reading, and to judge it justly when read, if we did not constantly keep in mind that it partakes largely of the character of a "jeu d'esprit."





THERE is no doubt that our Lord celebrated his Last Supper on the evening of Thursday, in the week of his sacred Passion. This fact is sufficiently apparent from the inspired narrative itself. For we read that, after the Crucifixion, the Jews were solicitous to have the bodies taken down at once, that they "might not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day". The Crucifixion then must have been on Friday. But it is plain, from the sequence of the Gospel narrative, that the Crucifixion took place on the morrow of the Last Supper. All are agreed, therefore, in referring the Last Supper to the evening of Thursday.

But whether this was the evening of the Jewish Passover, is a question which has given rise to much controversy. Before we proceed to consider the various opinions which have been. advanced on the subject, it will be useful to have clearly. before us the leading features of the Paschal rite, as prescribed in the law of Moses.

(1) The lamb was to be slain on the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, in the afternoon, when the sun was declining. It was to be roasted with fire, and eaten that evening with unleavened bread. No part of it was to be kept over until morning whatever remained, after the meal, was to be burned.2 (2) On the same evening began the festival of unleavened bread. It was to be observed for seven days, from the evening of the fourteenth to the evening of the twenty-first. During that period no leavened bread was to be used, nor was any leaven to be kept in the houses. The first day of the period, and also the seventh, were to be made holy in a special manner; and no servile work was to be done on them, except what was necessary for the preparation of food. This exception, it may be remarked, was not admitted in the observance of the ordinary Sabbath.

(3) The festival of unleavened bread was, therefore, introduced by the observance of the Paschal rite; and so it

1 John, xix. 31.

Exod. xii. 3-20; xxxiv. 25; Levit. xxiii. 4-8; Numb. ix. 1-14; xxviii. 16, 17; Deut. xvi. 1-8; see also Smith, Dict. of the Bible, passover; Kitto, Cyclop. of Bib. Lit. passover. p. 423. note.

3 Exod. xii. 14-20; xiii. 5-7; xxiii. 14, 15, 18; xxxiv. 18, 25; Levit. xxiii. 6-8; Numb. xxviii. 16-25; Deut. xvi. 3, 4, 8.

came to be spoken of, not unfrequently, as the festival of the Pasch1 (4) It is plain from the terms of the law, and it is quite certain from many sources, that, in connection with this as with other festivals, the Jews reckoned the day from sunset to sunset and therefore, according to the Mosaic law, the great festival day of the Pasch began at sunset on the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, and ended at sunset on the fifteenth.

Now it may be taken as certain that our Lord, at his Last Supper, kept the Pasch with his Apostles. No doubt, some eminent scholars have sought to escape from the difficulties in which this question is involved, by maintaining that our Lord did not keep the Pasch at all, on the occasion of his Last Supper. But this opinion has been justly characterised by Benedict the Fourteenth as too daring-nimis audax; for it is entirely at variance, as well with the constant tradition of the Church, as with the plain sense of the Gospel narrative.

We are told that, the day having arrived when the Pasch should be killed, the disciples said to Jesus, "Whither wilt thou that we go, and prepare for thee to eat the Pasch"? Then Jesus sent Peter and John into the city, directing them where to go, and telling them to say to the goodman of the house, "The Master saith, My time is near at hand, I will keep the Pasch at thy house with my disciples". They went accordingly into the city, and they found as he had told them, and they prepared the Pasch. Jesus followed with the rest; and when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve Apostles with Him. And He said to them, "With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you before I suffer."4 Surely this is to say, as plainly as language can say it, that our Lord, on that evening, kept the Pasch with his Apostles.

So much then is certain: that our Lord observed the Paschal rite on the occasion of his Last Supper; and that this took place on the evening of Thursday in the week of his Passion. But the question yet remains, was this the evening of the Jewish Passover?-a question which, as we have


1 Exod. xxxiv. 25; IV. Kings, xxiii 21-23; II. Par. xxxv. 17, 18; Luke, ii. 41 xxii. 1; Act. xii. 3, 4. See also Smith, Dict. of the Bible; Kitto, Cyclop. of BibLit. passover.

2 See, for instance, Lev. xxiii. 32, "from evening to evening shall you keep your Sabbath."

3 Lamy, Harm. Evang. lib. v. cap. 17; Calmet, Dissert. de Pasch.; Tournemine, Theses; See Bened. XIV. De Fest. lib. i. cap. vi. n. 8; Petrone, Prælect. Theol. de Materia Euch. prop. I.

Matt. xxvi. 17-20; Mark, xiv. 12-17; Luke, xxii. 7-18.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »