projects excellent. Nothing, in its judgment, can equal the folly of a man making a religion, or taking up that of another man's making. Catholicism, on the other hand, will always appear to it to be like a great work of nature, which one has only to accept as one finds it, wonder at it as much as one may. The natural office of the old is not to invent or sanction invention in this sphere, but to keep lighted the torch of traditional wisdom as of faith; and unless extraordinary circumstances prevent them, they are generally faithful to pass it to others burning,—“ Et quasi cursores vitaï lampada trahunt."

In the second place, old age being favourable to natural devotion, must consequently enjoy an exemption from many obstacles in the way of proceeding to the centre. St. Augustin compares old age to the aurora; and the Baron de Prelle, after citing his words, proceeds to develope the idea, saying, “It is, in fact, the dawn of that eternal day which is to be enjoyed in the future life; and as the aurora dissipates the darkness of night, so age corrects the passions, and prepares man for the pure joy of everlasting felicity." Those "painted flies that with man's summer take life and heat, buzzing about his blossoms, and which, when growing full, turn to caterpillars, gnawing the root that gave them life are unable to do harm in the clear, pure atmosphere of age. In manhood the mind is often so much occupied with private, or professional, or public affairs, that all thoughts about matters relating to another existence are excluded; whereas, on growing old, men are frequently found to follow advice like that of Alanus, saying,—

"Aufer ab his mentem, miserosque videto dolores
Altera plus istis sunt meditanda tibi *."

There are men who, having long slept in the dull lethargy of lost security, can only be awakened and moved to take a central direction by the preaching of " that bold missioner with a white beard, called Time." At that voice "truth comes naked and sabre-like against the heart :" a sense of earthly mutability then seems at last to rouse them. They say to themselves, like the poet, "The forests, rocks, fields, rivers, and shores-all created things are changed by time. At present this life, which flies, and the place and time teach me another path-that which leads to heaven, where one gathers fruits, and not flowers and leaves alone. I seek, and it is time I should seek, another love, another light, and another way across other heights to mount to heaven."

"The almond-tree and the pear-tree," says Pliny,

66 are most

* Lib. Parab.

fruitful in old age*." "The wild pear-trees," say foresters, "when hollow, ought to be let to stand till the winds overthrow them; for when hollow thus and old they bear more fruit, and are more profitable for the pasture of animals +." On the road from Martel to Gramat is to be seen a colossal walnut-tree at least three hundred years old. It is only fifty-five feet high, but it sends out immense lateral branches, and bears on an average each year fifteen sacks of walnuts. Observations of this kind made in the woods supply, therefore, many analogies with the phenomena of human life, which in old age can be very produc tive in its forests of piety, of which no one can be long at a loss to find the true, natural, and central root. "Crescit ætate pulchritudo animorum," says Antonio Perez, "quantum minuitur eorundem corporum venustas." Johnson, with all his love for the young, had the same conviction, while Montaigne and Lord Chesterfield, differing in this respect from the opinion of observant men in all ages, expressed the contrary. Mystic authors teach," says Father Baker, "that the soul will hardly arrive unto the active union and experimental perception of God's presence in her, till almost a declining age-since till such age there will remain too much unstableness in the inward senses, which will hinder that quietness and composedness of mind necessary to such a union." The old, being thus led by natural piety towards a divine state, can hardly fail to see fall before them many obstacles that interpose between others and the issue to that centre where religion, from the beginning of the world, has been found. It may be expected that in the absence of extraordinary causes to bias their opinions, they will deem it no great mistake if men should feel disposed to comply with the oracular voice and seek their ancient mother. But he who, in a spiritual sense, repeats words like those of Apollo,

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"Qui petere antiquam matrem cognataque jussit

*N. H. xvi. 50.

tells you, in fact, to seek that original universal society which, after passing from its patriarchal and Jewish forms, was consti tuted in a more spiritual sense by the apostles, and propagated throughout the whole world by their successors; therefore, in regard to its facility for acquiescing in the divine method of instructing men in religion, old age may be seen to have affinity with Catholicism, which has always existed for the same purpose of saving mankind by other means besides private reading and private judgment, so that

+Burgsdorf, Manuel forestier. Sancta Sophia, 33.

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Again, old age being favourable to wisdom, possesses obviously a great advantage in regard to the facility of recognizing the central truth.

In the forest of life it is the snares of hunters which render the ways dangerous for intelligences, since all the senses can be more or less employed to capture them. As they advance towards the centre, there are pit-falls dug on this side, and wires laid skilfully on that, so that the young and careless can often become a prey to error's emissaries, the cause of whose zeal will ever be a mystery; but to the aged it is not so easy to misrepresent things that relate to religion or the interests of a future life. All old animals are much more sagacious, and with much more difficulty caught in traps than young animals. An old wolf or an old fox will walk round a trap twenty times, examining every circumstance with the utmost attention, and those who deceive them are only enabled to do so by using every possible care and circumspection. So it is with these old men, when invited to stop and yield assent to novelties in religion. Thus there is a trap laid in some places to discouragé all from proceeding to the centre, by representing those who pass to its sphere as perverse young persons, who forsake the religion of their noble country, pernicious spirits, and men of pestilent purpose, meanly affected unto the state they live in, whose fortunes should be crossed, endeavours frustrated, and antagonists thanked by all the great men of the time for breeding jealousies of them throughout the nation; but the old observer, even where the light may rather seem to steal in than be permitted, goes round this trap, and says, Though in these cases you are in labour to push names, ancient love, kindred out of your memory, and in the self-same place to seat something you would confound, I can detect in those who so offend you a spirit that may be qualified very differently; for though absolute sense in every thing, and above all moderation, is not to be expected from every little goose who sacrifices friends, and, for aught he knows or cares at the time, perhaps fortune, through a chivalrous feeling of honour, I think it is through horror of injustice, and detestation of despotism, and aversion to the spirit of contradiction, and unwillingness to be singular and unlike the commonalty, that these youths, making past times present, have chosen to remain faithful to the old religion, and adhere with the common people and those who were the best and most generous of the land to the faith that was first delivered to the country of Bede and Alfred. They merely think, as it is very natural at their age to think, that because the policy of an old queen, long since dead and

gone, to strengthen her tottering power required her throwing herself into the revolutionary movement of the sixteenth century, it by no means follows that after three hundred years they, young men and women who have no crowns to secure, should put on her bandages to hoodwink themselves, espouse with passion a cause that holds out no good end to serve, and spend the whole of their lives endeavouring to twist every thing awry in order to make facts appear to square with the views of religion which she, Henry VIII.'s daughter, established in England by persecuting and unjust laws. These young persons then, he will add, are like rivulets that appear vagabond, and yet are only making their way to the ocean.

"Though streams from springs seem runaways to be,
"Tis nature leads them to their mother sea.



Is it not Protestant statesmen themselves who tell us that what "has been christened a national church is something very different, and that oligarchy is not liberty?" Are we not told by the same observer, that the tide of time is carrying the youth of England to the same conclusion? Yes, yes," he will continue, "thou mayst swim against the stream with the crab, and feed against the wind with the deer, and peck against the steel with the cockatrice; but stars are to be looked at, not reached at." So the experienced wayfarer escapes the snare, and thus one perceives that age is not altogether ignorant, though many an old justice is so. Again, there is a little wicket to work wise men like wires through at, and draw their minds and bodies into cobwebs, by representing what an unfortunate schism substituted as all perfection, and every stain of violence and exaggeration as something foreign to it, which, instead of obeying, resists such influences; so that error is dressed up to act a victim to the very passions which are its own ministers; but old experienced men are not so quickly caught with joined hands. Pop goes the weasel. They know that they cannot be too cantelous, nice, or dainty in some circles, and they warn those who come raw from the university, before experience has hardened them a little, that as a buttered loaf is a scholar's breakfast there, so a poached scholar is a cheater's dinner here,-calling him poached as pouring himself out to the first comer, stript of his shell, and ready to be swallowed by the crafty. To their decoyers, therefore, who thought they had caught the old ones, they reply in the words of our ancient dramatist,

"You pull your claws in now, and fawn upon us,
As lions do to entice poor foolish beasts;

And beasts we should be too, if we believed you;
Go, exercise your art


You speak of your glorious principles opposed to what religious antiquity revered-but the goodness of a man never taught these

principles. From the bee you have taken not the honey, but the wax, to make your religion, framing it to the time, not to the truth *;" for some things of error are exalted by our bold belief, when princes make themselves but merry with their servants, who are apt to antedate their honour and expound in their own flattery the text of princes. He will add, perhaps, with the Count de Maistre, alluding to a case where these princes were too much in earnest, "There is no great harm that this establishment should be flogged by her children, since that is the best way of making her acknowledge that she has brought them up badly." So the old observer leaves it to others to run their necks into this noose, deeming it strange if any should do so in an age like the present, when they may hear even Protestants say with the author of Sibyl, that "Time, which brings all things, has brought also to the mind of England some suspicion that the idols which they have so long worshipped, and the oracles that have so long deluded them, are not the true ones, and that faith is not a delusion." Princes are fading things, so are their favours. He, at all events, will decline to meddle with them. There is another wire again to entangle those who pass, by representing the abuses of Catholicism as Catholicism itself, but your ancient is not to be caught so easily; he is not in the noose; for he has learnt what use the pearl is of, which dunghill cocks scrape into dirt again. His searching judgment distinguishes, and he says, Friend, I would not have you with the lark play yourself into a day net. True, he sees abuses, and revolting abuses, but he sees also that it is not for the purpose of creating these abuses that the instruments employed by Catholicism are designed; and that it is not for those persons to cure us who seem so little able to refine themselves. If the tree be blasted that blossoms, the fault is in the wind and not in the root. The fly may buzz about the candle; he shall but singe his wings when all's done. Strabo says that it was the law in a certain region of India, that if a person discovered any deadly poison in the woods, and did not also find a remedy for it, he should be put to death; but that if he found the latter as well, that he should be honoured by kings †. If Catholicism had, on the one hand, introduced hypocrisy, false asceticism, proud exclusiveness, contempt for the laws of nature, sanctimonious intrigue; and, on the other, sacrilege and the spirit of despising all holy things as having known the utmost; if it had generated only persons of a devotion without humanity to represent religion, and such men of fashion as the Sir Hildebrand Osbaldistones, to represent the laity of its formation and approval-men who spend their time in hunting and

* Lilly's Campespe.


+. Lib. xv. 22.

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