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adores his God, humbles himself in his littleness, and confesses that the ways of Providence are hidden from man's sight; he does not see the harmony, the order which runs through the moral good, but he believes none the less firmly in its existence. Yes, he says, if the material world with its problems is full of beauty, more beautiful still must be the moral world. The earth, the sea, the air, the heavens proclaim the wisdom and the power of their Maker; one day the moral world will proclaim more eloquently still the attributes of God, our Father. The material world exists for the moral world ; this universe was created for man, man for God; moral and material world alike must hymn the praises of their Lord.

God's dealings with man in the supernatural order light up the history of the moral world with a wondrous gleam. The Incarnation of the Eternal Word, the life and death of Jesus Christ, His work on earth justify the history


of man, the patience of the just, God's mercy to all, His patience and long-suffering, His wisdom, His power. The history of the human race constitutes a solemn religious drama : numerous are the actors; at any given point of time chaos and confusion seem to reign supreme; each actor is free to choose his path, and yet throughout there reigns a marvellous unity, a marvellous order; man's right use of his liberty, his abuse of God's gift, all is shaped by Divine Providence to a perfect end. When the number of the elect is filled up, when the work of the Incarnation has been completed, then will close the page of Time, and through the Eternal Years the sons of men, in bliss or misery, will praise the beauty of God's works in the moral world.

From the material world, which we understand so imperfectly, we may argue to the greater world, the moral world, which is all mystery to us. The same bountiful Hand

which has clothed the visible world with so much plenty and beauty, guides and sustains us in the invisible world. Can we fear to leave ourselves in His hands ? to leave our future, the future of His Church in His hands?

But God's hour is so slow to strike! And

has not God's hour always been slow to strike? Was it not slow to strike when Abraham was called ? when the promise of the Messiah was finally given? when the Word was made flesh? Has not God's hour been slow to strike in all the grand events of the history of the Church of Christ? in the conversion of the Roman Empire ? in the conversions of the kingdoms and provinces which have since received the faith? in the extinction of heresies and schisms which in succession have afflicted the Church ? in the chastisement of those who were allowed to persecute the Church? in the development of her faith, her theology, her ritual ? God's hour is even slow to strike; in silence, in patience, in prayer, we must learn to wait for that hour.

But the days are evil; the world is passing through a crisis, everything is compromised, the very foundations of social order are undermined; the air is charged with rumours of wars; the avowed enemies of religion are everywhere the masters of the world; the Church is oppressed; can this nineteenth century form part of a grand whole ? can God draw good out of so much evil?

Turn to the past. When was the condition of the Jewish people apparently more hopeless than when Jesus Christ appeared on the earth? The Roman Empire was the most dreaded enemy of the early Church ; that very empire, in God's hands, became a mighty instrument for the exaltation of the Church. The invasion of the northern nations threatened to destroy Christianity; those very nations have given fresh life, fresh glories to the Church. The Turks seemed on the very point of conquering Europe. Lepanto broke their power for ever. In modern times, where has the Church been more opposed than in England ? where more cruelly persecuted than in Ireland ? At this day the English language, spoken by the Irish emigrant, has built up how

many churches and hierarchies in the New World, more than compensating the Church for her losses in the Old World.

I must not go further into the subject treated in the following pages. I will only repeat the lesson it inculcates. Wait patiently and trust in God, whose promises fail not, whose arm is not shortened. Read the signs of the times; see the streaks of light through the darkness. Confess that the Church is rising purified out of the fire of tribulation; confess that persecution makes the holy yet more holy; confess that God's grace abounds for the conversion

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