Images de page

by death-beds, and, in short, wherever sympathy is needed or aid required. These sights in some degree make up for

. the bad effect produced by the spectacle of the man who calls himself a Catholic, and yet Saturday night after Saturday night goes and makes a drunken beast of himself. There is yet another point in favour of the Catholic Church to which we must draw attention, and that is, that now she sees that kings are no longer Catholic, that the monied classes no longer have faith, she more than ever turns her eyes to those whom she was especially charged by her Divine Master to take care of—we mean the poorer classes, the workmen. The Church of Rome is in one sense an absolute monarchy; her king, the Pope, is supreme, and his word is law, as much as the word of the Emperor William is law in Germany: but while her government is monarchical she is democratic in her life and actions. The Popes are bound to do perfect justice, they are bound to rebuke oppression, be it in the king on his throne or the Assembly in the Council Chamber. This is beginning to be known* and seen, and in England workmen have seen that Rome's highest representative, Cardinal Manning, throws himself heart and soul into the wants of the English workmen, into all schemes for their improvement, against any action which is prejudicial to them. We have now finished the English portion of our subject—we cannot see what the future will be, but there are signs, by no means few, that if workmen ever again, as a body, fling themselves into a religious movement, it will be on the side of that Church which in our day is the only opponent of kingly tyranny and governmental oppression. What we shall have now to say with reference to French workmen will åpply in some degree to Englishmen.

FRENCH WORKMEN. In France we have already shown how the Revolution and the Erastian policy of Napoleon caused religion to lose all hold on the people, and in fact that ministers of religion had to begin de novo as if in a heathen country. The revival of religion has been steadily progressing, and the Franco

We immensely regret that English Catholics, unlike their German coreligionists, side with the Turk rather than the Christian though schismatic Russian. It will be remembered against them in the future, when perhaps it will be their turn to plead for justice and mercy against oppression, then their present support of tyranny will be thrown in their teeth.

German war was productive of much good in showing Frenchmen that vanity may be pleasing to those indulging in it, but that to obtain success it is necessary to work. At the same time that army re-organization has been steadily progressing, so hand in hand with it has gone religious progress. It was a sign of good promise when General De Cissey provided the forces under his command with a hundred portable chapels, with altar vessels and the necessary accompaniments.

Various associations are also formed to draw workmen to the Faith, such as the association of Jésus-Ouvrier. Prints are distributed by this association in the lower quarters of Paris, wherein Jesus is represented as an artisan poorly clad. The Comte De Mun, with a very different intention to certain blasphemers, calls Christ “le premier des Sans Culottes."

Prints tending to influence workmen by showing them that Jesus Christ was one Himself are being circulated by the thousand not only in Paris but in the provinces. Newspapers are being started, and, in brief, a powerful active propaganda is at work to sink Catholicism to the level of those whom it is sought to recover. This movement is by no means unsuccessful, and it is being seconded by manufacturers and employers of labour in various towns, who see at last that a Christian workman is ipso facto a better and more useful man than a Communist.

One example will show what is being done on all sides. M. Harmel, a manufacturer of some note has the following associations connected with his manufactory: For Women. -1. Association of St. Philomena-for young girls before their first communion. 2. Association of the Holy Angels—from first communion till fifteen years old. Association of the children of Mary-above fifteen. 4. Association of Christian mothers—for married women. For Men.-5. Association of St. Louis of Gonzaga-for boys from nine to twelve. 6. The “Petit Cercle" from twelve to seventeen. 7. The “Grand Cercle” above seventeen. In the chapel attached, M. Harmel states that there are every year six thousand communions. *

Again the country Curés are not rich rectors with whom workmen have nothing in common, but as Monsignor Dupanloup stated in the Senate last December, they have


* Month for December, 1875.

barely enough whereon to live; and, referring to hostile remarks made against the country clergy, stated that they could use the words of Christ and say, "We have done many good works among you, for which of them do ye stone us?” The priesthood wished for every thing that gave vitality and grandeur to the nation ; its members were poor, simple, and devoted; and whenever there was a grief to console or a service to render they were always to be found. *

The writer not many weeks ago was at Ramsgate, and standing at the pier-head he watched the fishing boats putting out to sea. Several English ones passed, when his attention was attracted by the sound of French voices, and he saw a Dieppe boat sailing out; no sooner was she clear of the pier than an old man with grey hair called his comrades round the mast, and then and there they bared their heads, crossed themselves and asked God's blessing on their fishing. A nation which has such men will never sink into oblivion or decay; may England soon, how we know not, have the bone and sinew which has made her what she is—her working-men-Christianized. We have pointed out the hopeful signs which lead us to think that the democracy of France and England may ere long once again work under the Banner of the Cross. Success attend those who work for that end.


FREE WILL AND ITS ASSAILANTS. In the last number of the Apologist we were engaged in reviewing and estimating the value of some of the arguments which have been advanced in favour of the existence of Free Will by its supporters. We dwelt, especially and at considerable length, upon an argument which seems to have found great favour with the admirers of the scholastic philosophy. This, as our readers may perhaps remember, was an a priori argument, and it purported to decide what must be the character of an act of the Will from the very nature of the Will itself. Such an argument, independently of the want of logical sequence which we pointed out, must, it seems to us, necessarily be worthless. It professes to know what Will is before it acts; and thus assumes the existence of an entity which is called Will, which may lie dormant and exist even when it does not act. It is little to say that this is a pure assumption, and that we have no evidence of the existence of a power of Will as distinct from an act of Will, any more than we have of a power of gravitation as distinct from an act of the same. When a stone falls to the earth, it is simply because the earth attracts it, and not because an entity called gravitation, which was previously lying dormant in the earth, is roused into activity and draws the stone downwards; so when we Will anything it is the soul that directly and immediately exercises an act by itself, and not through the medium of a power which was previously dormant and is now called into activity. Any conclusion, therefore, founded upon the nature of the faculty or power of Will before it is in action, is founded upon the assumption of an entity of whose existence we have no evidence; and it obviously can have no value beyond the probability which attaches to the assump- : tion itself. But in speaking thus generally we are saying too little as regards the case in point. For however much we may be disposed to admit the theory which maintains the existence of powers such as gravity, chemical affinity and the like, in things material, and to regard them as entities distinct, though inseparable from the bodies in which they inhere, yet it is not easy to see how this theory can be applied to the soul of man, seeing that the soul is a simple substance, and cannot therefore be composed of faculties such as memory, intelligence and will. Whenever, then, we speak of the faculties of the soul we use an expression which is not philosophically accurate, but is merely adopted for the sake of conveniences of discourse. There are no such things as faculties of the soul distinct from or forming part of the soul. The memory is nothing more or less than the soul itself in the act of remembering, the understanding is the soul in the act of comprehending, and the Will the soul in the act of willing.

* Pall Mall Gazette, 26 December, 1876.

Any argument, therefore, founded upon the assumption of a faculty of Will as distinct from the soul itself, is by the very fact of that assumption rendered vicious from its very commencement. We, in the next place, considered some of the other arguments which are much in vogue as proofs

of the Freedom of the Will, and after pointing out what we conceived to be their fallacies, concluded by declaring that the only proof which we regarded as sound was to be found in an appeal to consciousness. And the testimony of consciousness is, that in every act of Will we ourselves originate and perform the act and are in no ways compelled to do it.

We have in the present paper to consider the position of those who deny the Freedom of the Will, and to review the reasons on which they defend their position.

Now in all discussions there is nothing of greater importance than to form at the outset and maintain throughout a firm and steady as well as a clear and precise idea of the exact point to be proved or refuted. A familiar example will, perhaps, aid us better than anything else to form this clear and definite idea. Let us, then, suppose the case of an irresponsible Judge who is called upon to pronounce sentence of death upon a beloved son who has been convicted of wilful murder. On the one hand his tender love for his son will excite a feeling—a strong emotion of the sensitive appetite—which will make him desirous of sparing his life. On the other side a sense of duty, a knowledge of what is right, which is not a mere yearning of the sensitive appetite, but a far higher sentiment of the soul, will urge him to overcome his natural feelings and to pronounce the sentence demanded by justice. Now the question before us is whether, in the case supposed, the Judge is free or is necessitated to determine to pronounce sentence; or, in other words, whether he may choose to pronounce or not to pronounce it. It will be observed that we say determine to pronounce rather than pronounce, and we do so with the design of drawing attention to the fact that we are claiming freedom, not for the external act of pronouncing but for that which is wholly internal and depends not on the movement of the lips, namely, for the act of forming the determination. The former may be impeded in many

ways, as by a stroke of paralysis or the vehemence of feeling; and even when not impeded, but following upon the resolution, can hardly be called free, inasmuch as it is the effect of a series of causes which are mostly unknown to us, but which are set in motion by our determination. And it is for this act of determination alone that we claim freedom. We have, too, in our supposition purposely introduced a case

« PrécédentContinuer »