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even endure death, only saying with Virolet to Juliana, “ Think of me, but not often, for fear my faults should burthen your affections ; but pray for me.”

“ Tu tamen amisso non numquam flebis amico :

Fas est præteritos semper amare viros.” They feel assured that the sweet face which smiled upon their love will be raised in their behalf over their grave; that when they are dead their memory will be secreted in the unfathomed depth of a woman's heart; for they do not go out like tedious tales forgotten; they die young, and they believe that however their body fall into dust, perhaps, when they are ashes the ruby lips they hung upon will vow to keep a requiem in the soul as for a friend close treasured in the bosom. They think affections never die ; that, when life is over, they take the wings of a diviner world, and grow immortal. These lovers' unities they will not doubt of; and such a faith is enough to change their whole view of what is best for themselves. Addressing in their mind the beloved one, they can say truly,

“ All that was earth falls off ; my spirit's free ;

I have nothing left now, but my soul and thee." And, in fact, love can do more than fortune or than death, and so the sequel often verifies what ancient harps have said,

Love never dies, but lives, immortal Lord ! The body itself, though dead, is loved, as in the poem of Keats

“ Pale Isabella kiss'd it, and low moan'd.

'Twas love cold,—dead indeed, but not dethroned.” So death will be welcomed, or as Schiller says, “ The grave will seem to be a bridal bed, over which Aurora spreads her golden canopy, and spring strews her fairest flowers. Death to him who has such thoughts blending eventually with diviner hopes is not a skeleton; he is a gentle, smiling boy, blooming as the divinity of love ; a silent ministering spirit, who guides the exhausted pilgrim through the desert of eternity, unlocks for him the fairy palace of everlasting joy, invites him in with friendly smiles, and vanishes for ever!” These are occasions when Ford's beautiful lines may be repeated, as expressing personal experience :

“ I did not think that death had been so sweet,
Nor I so apt to love him. I could ne'er die better
Had I stay'd forty years for preparation;
For I'm in charity with all the world.”

These are occasions when Bellario's apostrophe to the wild flowers, as he lies down on the grass, will seem the spontaneous effusion of the heart :

Bear me, thou gentle bank,
For ever, if thou wilt. You sweet ones all,
Let me unworthy press you : I could wish
I rather were a corse, strew'd o'er with you,

Than quick above you.” Thus does death itself, by means of nature and its heavenly ally, that central truth which employs, and, as it were, consecrates all its genuine attributes, enter into the beautiful view of the universal order of which we form parts, and leave each observer to exclaim,

“ How bold the flight of passion's wandering wing !

How swift the step of reason's firmer tread !
How calm and sweet the victories of life !

How terrorless the triumph of the grave !” The natural desire is suffered to combat the natural horror of dissolution, and thenceforth the field is open for the action of those divine motives into which the central wisdom knows how to transfuse all others.

CHAPTER VIII.

THE ROAD OF THE TOMBS (terminated).

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EVER is the path we tread so dreary, but, if we comply with what is prescribed by central truth, the favouring smiles of Heaven will shed some solace. Here through the external instruments that faith provides, assistance comes to us without our co-operation. It is not

alone by changing the mere natural view of death, and by sanctioning and confirming the vital principles of our nature, that proof is given of the presence of a central attraction upon this road. Catholicism draws men towards itself by the direct positive assistance and by the great practical benefit which it yields in furnishing those who are migrating hence with persons emine

qualified to console them, and those who have left this life not alone with mourners for a day, but with assistants who will supply what is required both for what has departed and for what remains, which is a benefit of which our nature feels the want, since, with the exception of a kind of governmental class in some northern countries, during the last three hundred years, the whole human race seems from the beginning to have agreed in recognizing that there are things which both the soul and the body continue after death to demand, namely, prayer, remembrance, and a tomb.

During the sufferings of one kind or other which frequently precede his departure from this world, man has need of living comforters and of living advisers ; of friends, in other words, to stand by his side in this last action. “ Through necessity," says the author of the Magnum Speculum, "we relate the bodily pains of this holy man, in order that we may not be disturbed when any sufferings of this kind befal just men in their sickness.” It is not every one who on such occasions can dispense with the assistance of persons devoted to such works of charity as visiting the sick. It is not every one who can say with Marina de Escobar, that if they knew they could recover their health by the simple act of extending their hand, they would not do so, being so impressed with a conviction that it is good to suffer in this life*. Neither, again, can persons in general expect that extraordinary assistance which is said to have been vouchsafed to her; for during thirty years she had borne a painful sickness in a dark little chamber, eleven feet high and broad, and thirteen feet long, which had no other light but candles which burned by night and some hours of the day; while notwithstanding, the air, we are told, of this little room struck every one as if it was in the midst of a field open to the winds of heaven t. According to our common lot, afflictions, or at least peculiar wants of some kind or other, precede our death, and therefore men must be attracted by whatever yields cheerful, sensible, and affectionate persons devoted to the care and consolation of the sick and dying. The world without Catholicism is not so richly provided with characters of this description that it can dispense with a supernatural source which forms them. Its friends are not often met with in a sick room at midnight. They will avoid the contagion of what at least seems to them as sorrow, and often act the part of the captain in the Diary of a Physician, who, on being sent for by his former intimate acquaintance, Effingstone, on his deathbed, sends back a viva voce message that for the moment he is making up a match at billiards, and who rides up to the door next day and leaves a card for him, without asking to see him. If moved to spend a few minutes in such a room, it will be a distasteful meeting to all parties. Its philanthropist

* Vit. ejus, P. ii. lib. iii. c. 3.

+ P. ii. lib. iii. c. 2.

himself will often take leave of a dying friend, saying, “ Sick sir, farewell! To no end should I sit longer here.” Or, perhaps, like Diana in the Hippolytus,

και χαίρ' εμοί γάρ ου θέμις φθιτους οράν,

ουδ' όμμα χραίνειν θανασίμοισιν εκπνοαίς But Catholicism provides a race of persons loving humanity after the old and natural fashion, whose lives are devoted to console with every tender care those who are near their end, and with whom these deaths are such acquainted things, that yet their heart dissolves not. It attaches such value to this work, for which the commonest and least pretending characters seem suited, that men aspiring to perfection are called on to partake in it. When you rise in the morning,” says the rule of St. Anthony, "inquire for the sick who are with you.” On the feast of St. Camillus de Lellis, founder of the regular clerks to serve the sick, the Spanish choirs sing as follows:

“ Exultent miseri, turbaque pauperum,

Afflictus, moriens, pesteque tabidus:
Ardens nam Seraphin mittitur æthere,

Omnes Lellius ut juvet.
“Pauperum strages, miseransque luctum

Tot malis firmum ferat ut levamen,
Ordinem condit, data sacra Jesu

Jussa secutus.
“ Blanda ceu mater, pater ut benignus

Mulcet ægrotos, et agone mortis
Sublevat duro, comitum frequenti

Agmine septus.
“ Hoc sibi gratam reputat quietem,

Hoc placet solum, miseros levare,
Hocʻpius longo meditatur omnis

Tempore vitæ.
“ Erigit lapsos, tenet et labantes,

Firmat erectos, pietas Camilli
Despicit nullum, miseransque mulcet,

Protegit omnes." There is something in the fact of attendance on the sick which forcibly recalls the image of the Catholic Church ; for that kind of service requires much compassion, and every one has heard some traits of the charity of those belonging to her communion. Patience is greatly necessary, and wondrous is known to be their patience. The sick need examples of patience to confirm their

“ What shall I pray for in regard to this sick person?”

own.

* ]437.

asked St. Gertrude ; and the reply she heard was, " Ask that she may preserve her patience In sickness the prayer of St. Gertrude would guide men to the Church as to the consolation and joy and glory of the sick t. Revera justorum præsentia," says Cæsar of Heisterbach, “morientibus multum esse necessaria I.” Some few men, it is true, are known to have desired a solitary death, and to have actually departed without witnesses, like the stag in the forest, that when mortally wounded will turn aside and leave the pack, and seek some out of the way place in which to die alone. Fabert, marshal of France, died as he had always wished, no one present. He ordered every one to depart, and then holding the book of Psalms open at the psalm Miserere, he was found to have expired on his knees J. St. Ignatius of Loyola, preserving his humility to the last, departed like a man of no importance, being nearly abandoned ; for no one thought him so near his end, and he was left almost alone. But these are exceptional instances, and no doubt they do not represent the general wishes of humanity. Sympathizing witnesses and charitable advisers, not excluding an eye to cheer you, a hand to guide you, a bosom to lean on, are both in most cases desired ; and Catholicism, which attaches such importance to our last hours, that the poet who saw the manners it produces says, “More are men's ends marked than their lives before,” is found to yield both. In the primitive traditions of India it is taught that the thought which occupies a person at the hour of his death is decisive for his future state. Exaggeration is characteristic of all error ; it cannot be denied, however, that in supplying observers and advisers, Catholicism seems to suppose some important consequences to be depending on, or at least to be sometimes foreshadowed by, those last thoughts and words which the sceptical sneerers of the present day would resolve into delirious rant, confused, disordered faculties, and superstition ; while physicians themselves, like Samuel Warren, would interpret them rather as light streaming upon the soul as the wall between time and eternity was breaking down. The central attraction of Catholicity would, at all events, act upon those who are inclined to be attentive observers of the last moments of men, as the wise and good in all ages seem to have been disposed. Thus in the beginning of the Phædo, Echecrates complains of having been left without any details respecting the last moments of Socrates. “ No one,” he says, “ has lately come from Athens who could give us any information respecting his death, further than that having drunk the poison he died. As for other circumstances, which we are so anxious to learn, we are in total ignorance ; no one has related

* Vita ejus, iii. 74. † Preces Gertrudianæ, P. viii. § Perrault, Hom, illust. de France, tom. ii. fol. 36.

ii. 17.

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