Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

the contest; but it was too late : the Lombards rushed impetuously on, and Rodolph, with his attendants, fell beneath their swords.

Not very differently from this hero do the great host of those behave who will not hear the positive truth : "Speak to us what is pleasing ; see for us errors; turn aside out of the path ; let the Holy One of Israel cease from before us.' Speak not to us of the holiness of God, which will display itself as justice to the disobedient; picture not to us those awful views of the misery of a soul separated from God, of the darkness of hell, of the fire which never dies ; as if by this “Say not," by this unwillingness to hear, their cause would be improved, and their danger would cease to exist.

Thus it happened with a native of Holland mentioned by Erasmus. He was seated at a splendid banquet, but somewhat too near the fire, for the end of his robe of state began to burn. His neighbour remarked it, and whispering to him, said, 'I have something to tell you.' The magnanimous reveller, who here, in the midst of his elysium, desired not the intrusion of any care, considered these words thoughtfully, and replied, If it be any thing sad or unpleasant, defer it for the present, for at table all should be joyful.' • It is not, indeed,' answered the other, very pleasant.' If so, tell it me after the banquet.' True to his practical wisdom, he persevered through the entire feast, and then, turning to his neighbour, inquired, • What is it



to me?' His friend stood not in need of any preface, but pointed to his robe, which was very much burnt. The man was enraged, and exclaimed, “Why did you not warn me in due time? The other replied, 'I did intend; but you did not wish it.' How many

in this mortal life continue at the banquet of luxury, and dream on in vain security, without any serious consideration ! But they have placed themselves too near the fire. Is not the robe of every one who gives way to his natural lusts already on fire ? Are not unrighteousness and impurity termed in Scripture a fire, which burns into the inmost marrow, and prevails over every good seed of life? Yet the thoughtless sinner, so long as it is granted to him to partake of the banquet of nature, rejects admonition, and then at length, when the table is removed, when his life is decayed, and his soul must take her leave from this visible world, he is willing to pray to his eternal Father : As I can no longer enjoy the goods of this world, deliver me from evil,' that thus his prayer may be sealed with the Divine 'amen.' But this last unchangeable 'amen,' to be pronounced to salvation, presupposes the human amen' to be a word of true, earnest, and righteous desire.

It is not, therefore, without meaning, that in all other public prayers, as in the collects of the Mass, the . Amen' is always pronounced by those who minister at the altar, or by the choir, in the name of the people, whereas in the Lord's Prayer, they pronounce the words, Deliver us from evil,” and the priest answers, “ Amen." For in these prayers, which are concluded by the people's 'amen,' this "amen' signifies their desire that their petition may be hearkened to and granted; but in the Lord's Prayer, the priest replies, Amen ;' for here, standing between Christ and the people, he announces the fulfilment of the Divine promises, which is necessarily connected with a high and indispensable condition—the correspondence of man. As, therefore, the 'amen' of God expresses His unchangeable truth and absolute holiness of will, so also should the human 'amen' be an expression and seal of firm resolution and fixedness, which can be manifested and crowned only by perseverance unto the end.

Thus, even in this respect is the proverb of Solomon well founded, “ Better is the end than the beginning of a discourse;" better is the end than the beginning of a Christian life. For albeit by baptism we enter in a heavenly manner into a participation of the merits and co-membership of Christ, still is fidelity in the combat of great importance; and if the commencement be often renewed by revivifying penance, the same condition still remains, "He who perseveres unto the end, he shall be saved." He, however, who awakens within us the good will, gives also the accomplishing, that the redeemed and the blessed may all unite in the praises of the Divine name, which, as St. John is witness, begin and close with ‘Amen.' * Amen. Benediction, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and strength to our God, for ever and ever. Amen.'



Aur Haria.


ELL known in ancient and in modern times has been the fable contained

in Greek mythology, of the heavenly messenger, Pandora, who, despite her beautiful and much-promising name, brought nothing but evil upon the earth. For thus the fable speaks : “When Prometheus had stolen the sacred fire from heaven, and had infused it into mortal

man, Jupiter, to revenge the crime, sent this virgin, the first woman, to the earth. entrusted to her a casket, which was outwardly adorned with many a dazzling and precious gem, but which contained within evils that could not be numbered, and that, like a spiral snake, awaited only the opening of the casket, instantly to burst forth.” But, as all the fables of mythology are rich in variations, so this also is sometimes differently narrated. To justify old Jupiter, it has been said, that the casket of Pandora was filled with the best gifts that could be conferred on man; that when this imprudent virgin opened it, the inconstant goods flew out, and that when the covering of the casket closed, only hope remained within. The traces of allegory which are contained in this fabulous narration gave occasion to the earliest teachers of the Christian Church of many beautiful reflections and of many motives of instruction. If ever there existed a true Pandora, remark Tertullian, St. Irenæus, and St. Fulgentius, it was indeed that illustrious Virgin who gave birth to the God-Man, and who therefore conveyed to mankind the fulness of all good gifts; for this is the signification of the name Pandora. As there was one father of all men in the order of nature, the ancient or earthly Adam, and one father of mankind, in the order of grace and of the spirit, the new and heavenly Adam; so there is one mother of the human race, whom we may liken to Pandora, for by her rashness she caused all the evil that has since existed on the earth, and the loss of all celestial goods, save the hope of again receiving salvation by the Saviour who was promised to her. To her there stands opposed the new Pandora, “ the mother of beautiful love, of knowledge, and of holy hope,” who, as she is the mother of Him who raised mankind from its fall, may be called the mother of all men in the order of grace.

To her, therefore, for two reasons, the highest reverence is due,-a reverence which is ever given to her in living gratitude through the communion of Saints by the Church militant. For she was not only chosen and made worthy to become the virgin mother of the new, the heavenly Adam, for although descended from the old Adam, she partook not of his guilt, but, as a spiritual and free creature, she was deeply instructed in this mystery. The free consent of her will was required, which was not given without the sacrifice of the most perfect obedience.

But the words of the celestial ambassador, by which he announced the glad tidings of man's redemption, and that salutation of joy and veneration with which the holy Elizabeth met the royal Virgin, are the same with which the Catholic Church daily honours the mother of its Founder. It generally repeats them immediately after the Lord's Prayer,

« ZurückWeiter »