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measured terms, that a few years later, in the pontificate of Gregory XVI. himself, . many bishops adopted the same general principles tempered by experience and a clearer comprehension of questions.'* 'Measured terms' are not, so far as our acquaintance with such documents extends, the prevailing characteristic of Papal missives. Even the two extracts given will show that moderation of language was not exactly the feature one would have selected for approval in the Encyclical letter of the 15th of August, 1832. Besides, it seems strange praise to say of a publication supposed to convey something like an infallible decision, that the weakness and ambiguity of its terms were such that it could be set at nought with impunity. Of M. de Montalembert himself, we will only say that his whole life has been a brilliant refutation of the exaggerated doctrines of Gregory XVI.; and it will be remembered that in the speech he delivered at Malines on the 20th of August last, before the Catholic Congress, he repudiated them altogether, for the year 1830 as for the present time.
Weary of the struggles of the last two years, wounded, and sore distressed, Lacordaire, after his final rupture with La Mennais, wished for rest. He longed for some peaceful home in a country parsonage, far from the turmoils and troubles of religious politics. He also felt that time would be needed to regain the good opinion of the clergy and of his superiors. The Archbishop of Paris, however, treated the young priest with more forbearance than might have been expected. He retained him in the diocese, and gave him the same modest chaplaincy in the convent of the Visitation which he had already occupied in 1827. Here Lacordaire dwelt three years, in that solitude which he loved so much, and to which he so frequently had recourse. His quiet days were spent in the duties of his office, in and in study. prayer It was here that he wrote his Considérations sur le système philosophique de M. de La Mennais,' in answer to the 'Paroles d'un Croyant.' It is written with great moderation of language, though little philosophical power. He was also meditating, if not collecting materials for, a great work on the Church and the World in the Nineteenth Century,' the composition of which was to take him six years. It was here, we believe, that his mother died, and that he formed the acquaintance of his second mother, Madame Swetchine, to whose religious salon he had been introduced by M. de Montalembert. This lady's life has been gracefully written by M. de Falloux; it was that of a truly devout Christian woman. She soon formed a strong affection for Lacordaire, who says:
*Life of Madame Swetchine,' vol. i. p. 348.
'I landed on the shores of her soul like a waif broken by the waves; and I remember yet, after twenty-five years, what light and strength she placed at the service of a young man who was unknown to her. Her counsels preserved me at once from faltering and from self-confidence.'
It was in the spring of 1833, and in the church of S. Roch, that Lacordaire preached his first sermon in public. And here, strangely enough, the advocate who had won golden opinions, the clerical orator whose voice had rung in many a court of justice, and astonished the Chamber of Peers, failed completely. M. de Montalembert, who was present, tells us that every one went out saying, 'He is a man of talent, but he will never be a preacher.' Lacordaire, with his habitual humility, thought so himself. He declared that his only expectation was that he might one day be called to a work required by, and entirely devoted to youth.' Such an opportunity soon presented itself. He was invited to preach a series of sermons at the Collége Stanislas. The course was commenced on the 19th of January, 1834, and soon the chapel could not contain the crowds that flocked to its doors. But this triumph was of short duration. Denounced,' says his biographer, at Rome, denounced to the Government, denounced especially to the Archbishop of Paris, Lacordaire was compelled first to suspend the course, and then to abandon his intention of resuming it during the winter of 1834-35. A fair description of the kind of persecution Lacordaire had to suffer at this time may be found in a book which has been recently creating considerable sensation in France. Le Maudit' is a work of fiction purporting to be founded on fact, and to be the production of an Abbé. Of the truth of the latter statement there is considerable internal evidence. The story is that of a young priest, of pure life, noble aspirations, great ability and powerful eloquence, who endeavours to liberalize the Church of Rome, and fails miserably. Perfectly orthodox on all questions of doctrine, he places himself in opposition to the prevailing current of ecclesiastical opinion on the temporal power of the Pope, the celibacy of the clergy, and the desirability of extending the influence of the religious orders, especially the Jesuits. He naturally excites great opposition. The Jesuits bring all their masked batteries to bear upon him; his bishops regard him with hatred and distrust; and his clerical brethren cry fie upon him; and finally he dies excommunicated and broken-hearted.* Lacordaire never advocated such extreme views as the imaginary
There is an English translation of this work, it is entitled Under the Ban.' 3 vols. 8vo. London, 1864.
Vol. 116.-No. 231.
hero of the 'Maudit,' and he was besides very much more submissive; but there is ample evidence in his life and letters that he had frequently to complain of attacks similar to those which the author of that work so graphically describes. His career furnishes many proofs that any priest who wishes to follow an independent course does not sleep on a bed of roses. In his correspondence with Madame Swetchine there are several passages in which he bitterly complains of the Archbishop of Paris, and the fact that by entering a religious order he would emancipate himself in a great measure from episcopal control was probably one of the minor reasons that subsequently induced him to take that step. Be that as it may, Lacordaire scarcely murmured, even to his most intimate friends, when his course of sermons at the Collége Stanislas was put a stop to. 'Obedience costs something,' he wrote; but I have learned from experience that sooner or later it receives its reward, and that God alone knows what is good for us.' He did receive his reward; the Archbishop soon afterwards invited him to preach in one of the first, if not the very first pulpit in Europe.
There is, apparently, some slight difference of opinion concerning the immediate manner in which this request was brought about. M. de Montalembert says it was at the desire of a deputation of law students, headed by Ozanam, one of the founders of the Society of S. Vincent de Paul, and subsequently Professor of Foreign Literature at the Sorbonne. M. de Falloux, on the other hand, gives the following account:
'In the autumn of 1834 M. Lacordaire was walking, sad and submissive, in an alley of the Luxembourg, when he was accosted by a priest with whom he had no previous acquaintance. "Why do you thus remain in idleness?" said his unknown interlocutor; why do you not go and see Monseigneur de Quélen ?" The Abbé Lacordaire answered by a smile, and continued his solitary walk. After reflecting for a few moments, he asked himself the same question, and directed his footsteps mechanically towards the convent of S. Michael, in which Mgr. de Quélen had occupied an humble cell ever since the sack of the Archiepiscopal palace. He gained an easy admission, and found the Archbishop alone. After a few words of ordinary conversation, Mgr. de Quélen kept silence for a moment, and then, as if taking a sudden resolution, he fixed his eyes with a grave, penetrating, affectionate look on Madame Swetchine's young friend, and said: “I give you the pulpit of Notre Dame, and in six weeks you will preach your first sermon." The Abbé Lacordaire started back in terror. The Archbishop pressed him in vain, and the consent of the eloquent apostle who felt his strength, but shrank from the responsibility, was only obtained after he had spent two days in prayer and meditation.'
The sixteen years during which Lacordaire's voice rang from
the pulpit of Nôtre Dame were a period of intense excitement, culminating in 1848. Whether in politics, social economy, literature, or religion, it seemed as if nothing was settled-as everything rested on the shifting quicksands of individual opinion. The Government of Louis Philippe, born of a revolution, and destined to perish as it was born, carried through the eighteen years of its existence the radical vice of its origin. Founded in great measure by the efforts of the extreme democratic party, it had yet, from the nature of things, been unable to satisfy their expectations and requirements. That it was the best and freest rule which France had enjoyed for many generations formed no claim to the respect of men who hated the restraints of all government. But restless and uncompromising as political parties then were, there were stronger symptoms of the disease which was undermining the State. Never had there been a time when wilder theories had been advanced, and stranger doctrines found disciples. A rank and monstrous growth of Fourrierisms, Saint Simonianisms, Socialisms, Communisms, Positivisms, had sprung and were springing up, marking how thoroughly vitiated was the soil; for in ordinary periods of disaffection men are content to assail individual rulers, or at most, some form of government; but here their attacks were directed against the framework of society itself. In literature the old landmarks of taste and criticism had been borne away by a flood of wonderfully brilliant and able writers, who had effectually freed themselves from all the trammels of tradition. That the Romantic movement was a salutary one, we have no wish to deny; but its first result had been a brilliant confusion. Nor was the voice of genius always, or even most often, raised in defence of law, order, religion, and morality. A band of novelists, unsurpassed for power and ability by those of any other age and nation, were industriously sapping the foundations of them all. Let it be read in the pages of Eugène Sue, George Sand, and Balzac. In religion the old contest between faith and unbelief was being waged with more than the old fury. But the latter had decidedly the upper hand. The 'sons of Voltaire' were more numerous, and certainly quite as able as the 'sons of the Crusaders.' The legacy of irreligion, which the godless eighteenth century had left to France, had not been repudiated. The morality both of public and private life was at a low ebb. It was a period of intense intellectual anarchy.
To the men composing this society Lacordaire cried, as a man who had been shipwrecked with many companions might cry to them through the darkness and through the noise of winds
and waters, that he had found a rock. Standing on what he considered to be the immoveable infallibility of the Romish Church, he proclaimed its doctrines as the one solution of the doubts and difficulties that perplex mankind. He had, as we have seen, formed a strange conception of what the Papacy was and had been, and this he proceeded to expound with all the wealth and fertility of his eloquence. In an age of social disorganization, he considered that religion should be presented in its social rather than its individual aspects; and thus his sermons, unlike those of the preachers who, as Wesley and Whitefield, have produced most impression in England, were not appeals to the individual conscience, but apologies for religion. The following is the scope and main argument of his seventy-three Conférences, as described in the one which formed a fitting crown to his oratorical labours at Nôtre Dame.
'It seemed to me that we should start neither from metaphysics nor from history, but take our stand on a living reality, and seek there for the traces of God: for God, said I to myself, can never at any time have turned His back upon mankind; He has been, He is, and He ever will be present in a visible work proportioned to the requirements of the times, and which should be His revelation to the eyes of all. It is there that we must seize Him, in order to show Him to those who see Him not, and then ascend from age to age to the first source of His action, making the light and unity of the whole illumine and strengthen every separate part.
Now, the Catholic Church is at present the great revealing wonder of God. It fills the stage of this world with a miracle that has now lasted for eighteen centuries. It is, therefore, by the Church that we must begin our demonstration of the truth of Christianity.
'Then, that majestic and incomparable edifice being recognised as superhuman, we sought the author, so as to discover in His history whether the character of the workman answered to the character of the work. The annals of the world named Christ, and we studied Him in His private and public life, in His miracles, in the prophecies which from distant ages had heralded and prepared His coming, and by which He established an authentic connection with the whole past of the human race. Like the Church this man appeared to us to be unique in kind, and to be the only man who, having dared to call himself God, had really spoken, acted, and lived like a God.
This done, with the Church at my left and God at my right, the work and the workman both recognised as Divine, I entered boldly with you into the body of doctrines which we hold from these two sources: Christ and His Church, Christ the revealer, the Church the disseminator and interpreter. Then following step by step the obscure and yet luminous mystery of the Catholic doctrine, we visited all its depths. God, the Universe, Man, the Intercourse of Man with God, the Fall, the Restoration of Man, the Laws and the Results of the Divine Government-these were successively the objects of our inves