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on the earth. Besides, if that ideal could be realized here below, it certainly was not the Middle Ages that would have attained it. Not without reason have they been called Ages of Faith, for faith was more supreme in them than in any other epoch of history. But there we must stop. That says much, and enough for truth. We must not venture the assertion that their virtue and happiness were up to the level of their faith. A thousand unexceptionable witnesses rise up to protest against an assertion so rash,- to recall the general insecurity, the too frequent triumphs of violence, iniquity, cruelty, artifice, and at times of a refined depravity ; to demonstrate that the human element, the satanic element even, only too often vindicated its ascendency over the world. By the side of the open heaven there was always a hell, and by the side of those prodigies of sanctity seldom found elsewhere, were profligate wretches bardly inferior to those Roman Emperors, whom Bossuet calls moral monsters.
“The Church, which always undergoes, up to a certain point, the action of contemporary civilization, was familiar then with abuses and scandals the bare thought of which would now fill her children as well as her enemies with horror. They proceeded sometimes from the corruptions inseparable from the exercise of great power and the possession of great riches; sometimes, and oftener, from the invasion of the laical spirit and the secular power. Cupidity, violence, debauchery, often revolted, and with success, against the yoke of the Gospel, even in its own ministers,—and infected the very organs of the law promulgated to repress them. We must confess it; and we may do so without fear, because the evil was almost always overcome by good; because all these excesses were redeemed by miracles of self-denial, penitence, and charity ; because by the side of each fall we find an expiation, of each misery an asylum, each iniquity a resistance. Sometimes in the monastic cells, sometimes in the clefts of the rocks ; here under the tiara and the mitre, there under the helmet and coat of mail, thousands of souls fought with force and perseverance the battles of the Lord, strengthened the weak by their exaroples, re. vived by their fervor the enthusiasm of those even who could not or would not imitate them, and shine above the vices and disorders of the multitude by the splendor of their prodigious austerity, their charitable effusions, and their indomitable love of God. But all this effulgence of virtue and sanctity must not blind us to the real state of things. There were more saints, more monks, and above all more believers than now; but I fear not to say that there were fewer priests,-I mean fewer good priests. The secular clergy of the Middle Ages were less pure, less exemplary than ours; the bishops less respectable, and the spiritual authority of the Holy See much less supreme than to-day. This assertion will perhaps astonish the blind admiration of some, but it is easily proved. The Pontifical anthority has to-day fewer but infinitely more docile subjects, and what it has lost in extent it has more than regained in intensity.
“Besides, the domination of the Church, usurped by some, disputed by others, and balanced by a multitude of rival or vassal authorities, was never omnipotent or uncontested. She saw her laws continually violated, her discipline impaired, her rights trampled on, not only in the temporal order but also in the spiritual, and not as now by avowed enemies, but by her own children, who could, at the demand of pride or interest, brave her thunders with as cool blood as the unbelievers of our own day. Her real grandeur, her real force, her real victory in the Middle Ages was not that she was powerful and rich, that she was loved and protected by princes, but that she wAS FREE. She was free with the general liberty as then understood and practised-with that which belonged to all corporations and proprietors, and freer than any one else because she was at once the largest corporation and the largest proprietor in Europe. This liberty, always the surest guaranty of her majesty, her fecundity, her duration, the first condition of her life, was more fülly possessed by her then than at any previous epoch, or than it has been since, unless in those few states which have emancipated liberty from all superannuated shackles. As the rights and destipies of the Church and those of the soul are identical, never was the soul freer than then to do good, to give itself to God, and to immolate itself for mankind. Hence those miracles of selfdevotion, charity, and sanctity, which charm and dazzle us.
“But it would be a complete and inexcusable error to represent that liberty as universal and uncontested. It subsisted and triumphed only in the midst of storms. It had to be unceasingly struggled for, and wrested from the grasp of laical rivalries and pretensions,—from the domination of temporal interests. It was, moreover, happily and usefully restrained, as Father Lacordaire has said, .by the civil liberty which prevented it from becoming a dominating theocracy.' It must, therefore, be admitted that the Church had never and nowhere an absolute and permanent supremacy; that never and nowhere did she see all her adversaries annihilated or bound in chains at her feet; and precisely in that was the pledge of her long and glorious influence, her continued ascendency, and her blessed action on souls and legislation. Always is it necessary for her to resist, and to reyouth herself by effort. So long as the true Middle Ages remained, so long the Church ceased not for a single day to struggle. She conquered much oftener than she was checked; she never underwent a complete defeat, but never any more was she able to sleep in the pride of a triumph, or in the enervating peace of a dictatorship.
“Nothing then is more false or puerile than the strange pretension of certain late-comers of the Catholic Revival to present us the Middle Ages as an epoch in which the Church was always victorious, always protected, or as a promised land flowing with milk and honey,' governed by kings and nobles piously kneeling before the priest, cultivated by a happy people, silent and docile, quietly extended under the shepherd's crook in the double shade of the throne and the altar, both of which were inviolably respected. Far from it. Never were there more passions, more disorders, more wars, more revolts; but, on the other hand, never were there more virtues, more generous efforts in the service of good. All was war, danger, storm in Church and state; but at the same time all was strong, robust, energetic: all bore the imprint of life and struggle. On the one hand was faith, sincere faith, childlike, simple, vigorous, without hypocrisy as without insolence, without narrowness as without servility, giving daily the imposing spectacle of force in humility; on the other, militant and virile institutions, which by the side of a thousand defects had the admirable virtue of creating men, not pious lackeys or eunuchs, and which condemned all those men to action, to sacrifice, to continual effort. Strong natures everywhere vigorously nourished, nowhere stifled, deadened, or disdained, found there easily and simply their place. Feeble natures with relaxed fibres were there subjected to the regimen best fitted to give them sap and tone. We see not there honest folk resting on a master the care of defending them by gagging or binding their adversaries. We see not Christians like good little lambs devoutly bleating in the midst of wolves, or taking courage only between the legs of the shepherd. We see them, on the contrary, as athletes, as soldiers, engaged each day in fighting for all that is sacred: in a word, as men armed with the most robust personality and an unshackled and inexhaustible individual energy. .
“If therefore the Middle Ages deserve admiration, it is precisely for reasons which would lead their recent panegyrists to condemn them if they knew better what their misapplied enthusiasm boasts.
“To those who decry them, I admit those ages must appear frightful in the eyes of those who are smitten, before all things, with a love of order and discipline, only let it be granted that their courage and virtues were heroic. I admit that violence was then almost continual, superstition not unfrequently ridiculous, ignorance quite too general, and iniquity not seldom suffered to go unpunished, only it must be conceded to me that never has the world seen the consciousness of human dignity more vividly or more deeply impressed upon the human heart, or seen reign with less opposition the first of all forces, the only really respectable force, the force of soul."Introduction, pp. ccxli--ccliii.
The extracts we have made, and indeed the whole work, cannot fail to prove that the author loves and admires the strong, the masculine, the energetic, and the heroic virtues, and that he has a great contempt for those weak and pusillanimous, tame and servile characters formed in our age of relaxed fibre and moral cowardice. Indeed, his contempt for the weak and cowardly, his admiration of the strong and heroic, and his ardent love and untiring defence of liberty, moral, intellectual, political, and religious, have availed him the accusation of rationalism and naturalism from some of the meticulous theologians of his country. This need not surprise us, for in France as well as elsewhere there are men calling themselves theologians, who the moment they hear one mention nature without asserting its corruption, reason without proclaiming its impotence, or liberty without anathematizing it, immediately suspect his orthodoxy, and judge it their duty to decry him as dangerous, and to put the faithful on their guard against him. For them nature is totally corrupt, reason is a false and illusory light, liberty is a temptation and a snare. How, they ask, can he who recognizes nature acknowledge grace? he who respects reason believe in revelation? or he who loves and defends liberty respect and obey authority? We would treat these men with tenderness and consideration, but we must tell them that they are among the worst enemies religion has or can have in our age, for they confirm the unfounded charge so persistently urged against the Church, that she is opposed to nature, contrary to reason, and hostile to liberty. They render well-nigh ineffectual all efforts to refute this charge, and alienate millions from the Catholic communion. They know not what they do. They are so afraid of error that they dare not suffer even the truth to speak. They tremble whenever they hear a free, bold, manly thought uttered, lest it shiver to atoms the very Rock on which the Church is founded. It is precisely to silence these Jansenizing theologians and mole-eyed critics, who detect naturalism and rationalism in that splendid and really erudite work, The Church and the Empire in the Fourth Century, by the illustrious Prince de Broglie, and to answer once for all the objection that religion is repugnant to nature, contrary to reason, and hostile to liberty, or that it delights in tame and servile, timid and imbecile characters, opposes the free development and exercise of reason, and condemns the strong, the energetic, and the heroic virtues, that the author has written the very work before is, which proves, beyond the possibility of cavil even, from the sayings and doings, the lives and examples of the old monks and of the great Popes and Prelates formed under the austere discipline of the monastery, that the precise contrary is the fact.
The illustrious author has, most certainly, a deep sense of the dignity of human nature, and a profound respect for human reason. He believes God made man a rational soul, and that reason is in all men a living and ever-present witness for truth and justice. He loves and defends liberty as a great good both to the Church and to society. But the liberty he loves and defends stands opposed to despotism and slavery, not to authority and obedience. He believes that in order to attain to robust and heroic Christian virtue, a robust and vigorons nature, improved by a strong and masculine culture, is necessary; but he does not believe that any Christian virtue is attainable without the supernatural and supernaturalizing assistance of grace. He needs no one to remind him that Christianity is a divine, a supernatural religion, and that in the monastic life and discipline there was always something more than natural light and strength. He holds that in the heroic virtnies of the monk or of the saint there is always a large and vigorous nature, but a nature porified, in vigorated, informed by supernatural grace-always a sound and comprehensive reason, but a reason provided with a higher and a broader field of operation by supernatural revelation. Here is no rationalism or naturalism in any objectionable sense.
The great saints of the Church or of the monastery have always been the great men, the master minds of their age. St. Athanasius, St. Basil, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, St. Leo I., St. Gregory the Great, St. Gregory VII., St. Anselm, St. Bernard, St. Thomas, stood out from their contemporaries by their robust and vigorous natures, their natural endowments, their strength of reason and will, their learning, their intelligence, their science, their activity, and their noble and generous sentiments. They could not have been what they were without grace, and yet not grace, in the ordinary providence of God, would have made them what they were, had it not found in them a rich and cultivated nature on which to operate. This is what comes out from the history of the Monastic Orders and the Lives of the Saints. Grace supposes nature; it neither creates it nor supersedes it. It exalts and purifies it morally, but it operates on it, with it, and through it, without altering it pliysically. The freer, richer, nobler the nature, the higher, solider, and more