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civilised world, after having applied myself with all my power during these different travels to discover some of the hidden springs on the action of which depends the life of empires, the following is, according to my attentive observations, the future that we may venture to predict.
In a human point of view the universal division or dispersion of minds produced by the contempt felt for the only legitimate authority in matters of faith -in other words, the abolition of Christianity, not as a system of morals or philosophy, but as a religion; and this suffices for the strength of my arguIn a spiritual point of view—the triumph of Christianity, by the re-union of all the churches in the mother church,-in that shaken but indestructible church which is every age widening its gates for the return of those who went out from it. The universe must again become either pagan or catholic: pagan, in a manner more or less refined, with nature for its temple, sense for its worship, and reason for its idol; or catholic, with priests, of whom a certain number at least, sincerely put in practice before they preach, the precept of their master, "My kingdom is not of this world."
Such is the dilemma out of which the human mind will never be extricated. Beyond it, there is nothing on one side but imposture, on the other but illusion.
This prospective result has struck me ever since I thought at all: nevertheless, the ideas of the age were so different from mine, that I wanted-not faith, but boldness: I felt all the weakness of isolation; still I did not cease to protest with all my power in favour of
my creed. But now that it has become popular in a part of Christendom, now that the great interests which agitate the world are those which have always caused my heart to beat, now that the approaching future is big with the problem for the solution of which I have never ceased to search in my obscurity, I discover that I have a place in the world, I feel supported; if not in my own country (still a prey to that destructive, narrow, exhausted philosophy which continues to retain a large portion of France out of the debate upon the great interests of the world), yet at least in christian Europe. It is this support which has emboldened me more clearly to explain my views in various parts of the present work, and to draw from them their ultimate consequences.
Wherever I have set foot on earth, from Morocco to the frontiers of Siberia, I have seen smouldering the fires of religious war; not any longer, let us hope, to be the war of the armed hand, the least decisive of any, but the war of ideas. God alone knows the secret of events; but every man who observes and reflects can foresee some of the questions that will be resolved by the future: those questions are all religious. Upon the attitude which France may take in the world as a Catholic power, will depend her political influence. In the proportion that revolutionary spirits leave her, catholic hearts will draw around her. In this respect, the force of things so governs men, that a king supremely tolerant, and a minister who is a Protestant, have become throughout the world the most zealous defenders of Catholicism, simply because they are Frenchmen.
Such were the constant subjects of my meditation
and my solicitude during the long pilgrimage, the account of which here follows; an account varied as the varying and errant life of the traveller, but in which a love of country, combined with more general views, will be always seen.
Nevertheless, with what a mass of controversy are not these ideas connected which now agitate the world, long absorbed in a civilisation altogether material?
To acknowledge the divinity of Jesus Christ is undoubtedly to do much, it is more than is done by the greater number of Protestants; still this is only the commencement of Christianity. Even the pagans were willing to raise temples to Him who came to demolish all the temples of their religion. Were they Christians because they proposed to the apostles to place Christ among the number of their gods? A Christian is a member of the church of Christ. Now this exclusive church is one; it has its visible head; and it inquires about the faith of each man quite as much as about his acts, because it governs by the mind.
This church deplores the strange abuse that has been made in our days of the word Christian toleration, to the promotion of philosophical indifference. To make a dogma of toleration, and to substitute that human dogma for all those which are divine, is to destroy religion under the pretext of rendering it amiable. In the eyes of the Catholic church, to practise the virtue of toleration is not to enter into any covenant or to make any compromise respecting principles, but to protest against violence, and to employ prayer, patience, gentleness and persuasion in the
service of eternal truth: such is not modern toleration. That creed of indifference which became, more than a century ago, the basis of the new theology, loses its hold upon the esteem of Christians in the proportion that it robs faith of its power: true toleration toleration confined within the limits of piety is not the normal state of the soul, it is the remedy which a charitable religion and a wise policy oppose to diseases of the mind.
What is meant by that lately invented appellation, Neo-catholicism? Catholicism cannot become new without ceasing to exist. New converts, tired of being pushed about by every wind of doctrine, and seeking in the sanctuary a shelter from the torment of the ideas of the age, may be called Neo-catholics, but Neo-catholicism cannot be spoken of except through a misconception of the essence of religion, for the word implies contradiction.
Nothing is less ambiguous than our faith; it is no system of philosophy, of which each one may take or reject what he pleases: an individual is altogether a Catholic or he is no Catholic at all; there can be no almost, nor yet any new mnaner in Catholicism. Neo-catholicism is a disguised sect which must soon abjure error to return into the bosom of the church, under penalty of being otherwise condemned by a church justly impressed with the necessity of preserv→ ing the purity of faith, much more than with the ambition of increasing the number of her doubtful and equivocal children. When the world shall adopt Christianity with sincerity, it will take it as it is. The essential point is that the sacred trust remain pure from alloy.
Nevertheless the Catholic church may reform it
self as regards customs, the discipline of the clergy, and even as regards doctrine upon points which do not affect the fundamentals of faith; what indeed is its history, its life, but one perpetual reform? this legitimate and uninterrupted reform can however be only carried on under the direction of ecclesiastical authority and according to canonical law.
The more I see of the world, its different states and tribes, the more am I convinced that truth is immutable: it was defended with barbarity by barbarous men in barbarous ages; it will in future be defended with humanity: but its purity cannot be affected either by the prism of error with which its adversaries are dazzled, or by the crimes of its own champions.
I should like to send into Russia all Christians who are not Catholic, to show them what our religion may be brought to when taught in a national church, when practised under the direction of a national clergy.
The spectacle of abject servility into which the sacerdotal power can fall in a land where the church is only held of the state, would make every consistent Protestant recoil. A national church or a national clergy are words which ought never to have been joined; the church is, by its very essence, superior to all national distinctions, all human associations; to abandon the church universal in order to enter into any political church, is to do worse than err in faith,
it is to abjure the faith, it is to fall back again from heaven to earth.
And yet how many sincere, how many excellent men believed, at the birth of Protestantism, that