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made the subject of experiment, of quantitative analysis. We cannot weigh or measure them; we cannot tell how or when they may happen or recur, nor what may give rise to them'; but they influence the lives, they employ the thoughts, they mould the conduct of a minority indeed, but still of a considerable number of mankind. All agree that folk-lore and legend, credulity and incredulity, bulk largely in the history of the past; and the best way really to understand their origin and action in the past is to study their origin, or their revival, and their action in the present. As a help towards this we bring together a few examples which have almost accidentally fallen under our notice.
These facts were unforeseen. There were indeed symptoms of a reaction against the scepticism and the incredulity of the eighteenth century early in the nineteenth. Chateaubriand in France, Sir Walter Scott in England, the romantic school in Germany, were all, consciously or unconsciously, working in this direction. Still the revival of belief in its old-world forms was not foreseen; the facts that occasioned it arose at unexpected times and in unexpected places. Thoughtful religious writers, like Eugénie de Guérin, could speak in 1837 of pilgrimages as things of the past that could not be revived.1 Clever, intellectual, sceptical women like Mrs. Cunninghame Graham, after a special study of some of these phenomena, could still write in 1894: "All these visions of an apocalyptic nightmare were to Teresa fraught with the
1 Eugénie de Guérin, Journal et fragments, par. C. S. Trébutien, p. 135, 18th edition. (Paris, 1866.)
vividness of reality, and entered into her life as they can never more enter into the life of the world."1 "None before her, none after her, has dared to transform psychological phænomena-phænomena as nebulous as they are inscrutable-into concrete tangible realities."2 Again, speaking of a grand religious procession: "The days of such processions are gone." We almost smile as we read these words in their naïve and complacent assumption. Again, "The Carmelites have faded into night-have become an anachronism." 4 "There will be no more Saints." 5 There have been more saints-in this technical sense-and more canonizations of saints in the nineteenth than in any previous century. Generalizations like these of Mrs. Cunninghame Graham, and the spirit of them -common as they are-are as much opposed to true science as is the superstition which they condemn.
Phenomena parallel to these hagiographical ones may be observed equally in the scientific or pseudoscientific world—in incredulity as well as in credulity. In theosophy, so called, in spiritism in its varied forms, in the revival of the so-called occult sciences, in christian-science-healing, in all these and similar practices we meet with like phenomena. We shall not examine any of these; we mention them here only lest our readers should imagine that legend and folk-lore, credulity and superstition are found only among orthodox folk.
1 Santa Teresa, being some account of her Life and Times, etc., by G. Cunninghame Graham. 2 vols. (A. and C. Black, 1894. Vol. i. 93.)
2 Vol. i. 197.
3 Vol. i. 415.
5 Vol. ii. 443.
The history of Roman Catholicism in the latter half of the nineteenth century, or say from 1830, is marked by the increased development, almost the exaggeration, of all those doctrines and practices which separate Rome from the other Churches of Christendom. It is just those dogmas which the eighteenth century thought it had abolished for ever that have been most vehemently asserted since. The nineteenth century has seen the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854, that of the Infallibility of the Pope in 1870. The nineteenth century has been called the Age of Mary, from the great number of miraculous appearances of the Blessed Virgin which are said to have taken place in it, from the countless pilgrimages to places of devotion to her, from the miraculous cures alleged to be effected at her shrines, from the dedication of the month of May to her, of October to the Rosary, and the long series of Encyclicals of Leo XIII. in her honour. Not one of these things could have been foreseen at the beginning of the century.
Along with them we have what Mrs. Cunninghame Graham calls "psychological phænomena transformed into concrete and tangible realities." In the centre of Paris, in a chapel of the Rue du Bac, on November 27, 1830, Catherine Labouré received the command of the Virgin to make the miraculous medal, which has since been struck by millions. In February 1858, at Lourdes, then one of the quietest and most sleepy towns in France, the Blessed Virgin appeared to the peasant child, Bernadette Soubirous, and again the psychological phenomenon has produced concrete and lasting effects. To both the
miraculous medal, and to Nôtre Dame de Lourdes, festivals and offices are assigned in the Breviary; the pilgrims to Nôtre Dame de Lourdes are numbered by myriads; the bare hillside and the banks of the Gave are covered with churches, hospitals, and conventual buildings; finally, a fac-simile of the grotto has been erected in the gardens of the Vatican in 1902, by command of Pope Leo XIII. This seems almost like a new, but inverted version of the lines of Horace :
"Græcia capta ferum victorem cepit, et artes
Epist. lib. ii. 1. 156–7. Again, in 1866-7, Philomena de Ste. Colombe, in the monastery of Vals in Catalonia, saw the vision of a new Trinity: "Jesus, Mary the Immaculate, and the Archangel St. Michael," with the concrete symbol of a "starry triangle." These are examples only of several like phenomena. The evidence depends in each case on a single witness; except in the case of Bernadette Soubirous, at whose later apparitions many were present, but saw nothing. Yet the belief is the conviction of millions.
Contemporaneously with this class of facts the latter half of the nineteenth century has seen the revival and rise and fall of what may be called many minor worships in the Church of Rome. For some few years St. Joseph seemed to be the most popular saint; then almost of a sudden he was comparatively neglected, and the popular affection was transferred to St. Antony of Padua. The worship of this saint had not only been an object of ridicule, but had in its most popular form
1 See above, A Modern Saint, pp. 187–8.
been stigmatized as superstitious in authorized catechisms of the Church. Nevertheless, statues and alms boxes in his honour were erected in nearly every church; the religious newspapers, especially those of the Assumptionist Fathers, and of La Bonne Presse, opened their columns freely to requests for miracles wrought through him; he is the accredited finder of all things lost, the hope of all candidates for examinations; he supplanted the use of the divining rod in searching for water; there was scarcely any conjuncture of life in which he could not and did not help. Any derogation from his honour was severely censured in the eleventh Eucharistic Congress, held at Brussels in 1898;2 indulgences almost innumerable were assigned to his worship.3 At length the excess to which these things were carried, and the commercial speculations which arose out of them, startled even the bishops who had but lately promoted and lauded his worship; and in Belgium the bishops have forbidden the details of requests and narratives of wonders performed and miracles granted to be printed with their imprimatur. But the cult continued in the churches.
"In the first five editions of this work we had placed among the number of superstitious practices the custom which certain persons have of praying to St. Antony of Padua to recover things lost or stolen." Explication . . . du Catéchisme, par l'Abbé Ambroise Guillois, vol. ii. p. 90. 4 vols. (Paris, 1870.)
2 XI Congrès Eucharistique Internationale, pp. 112–13. (Bruxelles, 1899.)
3 La Ciudad de Dios, vol. xxxiv. p. 158, May 15, 1894. (Madrid.)
Abus dans la Devotion. Avis des Évêques et Étrangers, publiés par le Comité Catholique pour la défense du Droit. (Paris, 1902.) An enlarged edition is announced.