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from the tone of their leading journals, where books are recommended which mock at marriage and propose the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes. We will give a quotation from a professedly converted secularist, who will be allowed to have some authority in this matter: "I once said to the secretary of a secular society, Why don't you turn out the drunkards and profligates?' He said, 'We cannot.' How is that?' 'There are too many of them,' said he. "There won't be more than one in ten I should think of the immoral kind,' said I. You would be nearer the mark if you were to say there is not more than one in ten that is not immoral,' said he. was the secretary of one of the best secular societies."*
Rationalism, indeed, whether viewed in its logical tendency or its practical effects, will be found to be immoral. There may, it is true, be individuals holding such opinions who are not immoral, but these persons are indebted to other influences than their own principles for this exemption. What the effect of such principles would be upon the masses of the people, if they should become thoroughly imbued with them, is fearful to contemplate. The effects of Rationalism upon morality may be summed up thus:it destroys certainty and authority upon moral subjects; it weakens the sense of responsibility; it destroys the great motive to goodness arising from Christian love; it leaves the passions without a regenerative or controlling power; and results in vice, wretchedness and social degradation. There is, however, hope to be drawn from the very evils which it works, for Rationalism among our working men will be found by the practical test, to work its own destruction. But it would be better that they should be saved from the evils of so dreadful an experiment.
We shall close our observations by indicating what appears to us to be the duty of the Church with respect to Rationalism among our working men. There are two methods which we ought to adopt in dealing with it :-the intellectual and the moral.
1. The intellectual. So far as Rationalism is a matter of mental difficulty among our working men, this is the first legitimate method of dealing with it; and it becomes the duty of the Church to meet all reasonable doubts by fair argument. It is necessary, in the first place, that the true sphere of Reason in matters of Religion should be clearly explained; and this can be done by defining the limits within which the human mind must necessarily operate, in all religious speculation. That there are such limits no one can doubt; but what our working men need is, to havea clear understanding as to where these limits are. When once this is accomplised, it will not be difficult to show them that religious truth, in many of its ramifications, must necessarily transcend the bounds within which the
* Review of the Secularists' Bible, p. 32.
human mind in its present condition must operate, that there is much in Religion which does not come within the compass of Reason, and must, therefore, be apprehended by Faith. Let it be shown that the business of Reason is to deal with the evidence on which Revealed Religion is founded; that the doctrine of the supremacy of Reason is a false assumption, and projects the operations of the intellect into a region beyond its legitimate sphere; and that as a natural consequence Rationalism results in nothing but a chaos of speculations involved in inextricable confusion and contradiction.
2. The Moral. The church must not rest satisfied with arguing. Her special power lies in another direction. Nor is it possible to eradicate Rationalism by a mere intellectual process. Man is more than intellect; and there is much in human nature that lies beyond the sphere of argument. There is a moral nature in man, the state of which acts on his intellect, giving it a particular tone and tendency. Hence the rationalistic spirit is often a symptom of a deeper cause; and where such is the case mere argument does not go to the root of the matter. There is often found among the working classes a deep-seated vanity, which prevents the subordination of their intellects to the arguments of those whom they do not love, together with a strong antipathy to the moral restrictions of Christianity. Seeing that our arguments tend to bring them under these restrictions they are in danger of getting to hate both us and our arguments. It is important that our logic should be such as to command their respect, but it is more important that Christian principles should be so embodied in our conduct as to command their esteem and affection. What is wanted is that the working classes should be made to love Christianity; and it should be remembered that the Church is the divinely appointed medium by which Christianity is to be presented. It should be remembered, too, that men are not, as a rule, made religious by merely arguing with them. It is necessary that the Church should become a living embodiment of the spirit and principles of Christianity, if she is properly to fulfil her mission, and accomplish her work among the masses of the people. But, linked by her spiritual life to her glorified Head, drawing her inspiration from his abiding Presence, and clothed with the moral beauties of the religion he has given her, she shall be endowed with a moral force which will be overwhelming and go forth in a career of victory, "clear as the sun, fair as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners."
If, then, we are to be preserved against the inroads of the Rationalistic heresy, let us maintain our spiritual life. A man does not become heterodox while he preserves experimental piety, nor a Church depart from sound doctrines till she has declined in spiritual religion. If we are to repulse the advances of scep
ticism among the masses of the people, our attack must be sustained by the practical exhibition of Christian virtues. It will not be done by books, or by controversy alone. There is a mightier logic than that of the intellect, a logic which can be wielded as well by the most intellectually feeble as the most intellectually strong; a logic which bears the stamp and authority of the Master himself, which appeals to the observant faculties of our working men, and will tell with more power upon their hearts and consciences than all the books in Christendom,-it is the logic of a holy life. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." W. G.
ART. VIII.-LIFE OF ST. PATRICK.
HE authentic incidents in the life of Patrick are few. His native place was Bonavem Taberniæ-an unknown place in the Britains, by which term it is uncertain whether Great Britain or France is meant. Those who take the latter view, fix his birthplace at Boulogne, or at some other town upon the French coast; but those who take the former, fix it near Dumbarton, on the Clyde. The weight of evidence, though not conclusive, is in favour of North Britain as the birthplace of Patrick; but there is nothing to connect Bonavem Taberniæ with any town now known. His grandfather, Potitus, was a presbyter; his father, Calpurnius, was a deacon in the church, and a member of the municipal body of his native town. His connections were respectable, and he was what would now be called well-born.
In the neighbourhood of Bonavem Taberniæ, Calpurnius had a residence named Enon, and there, when nearly sixteen years of age, Patrick, in company with many others, was seized and carried off into captivity to Ireland. To what particular part of the country he was taken is not mentioned, but he remained in slavery for six years, his work being to herd cattle in the woods and on the mountains. During this time of hardship it pleased God to give him a sight of his moral condition, and to impart to him a new and spiritual life. His heart burned with a new passion; his faith expressed itself in prayer. In the woods, where he fed his flocks, he would offer a hundred prayers in a single day, at night nearly as many. Notwithstanding the rain, and frost, and snow,
the young herdsman would rise before the dawn to pray; and so far from feeling weariness in the good work, his soul, being strengthened from above, grew in faith and in the love and fear of God.
At the end of six years, warned in a vision that a ship was waiting for him in a port of the island some 200 miles away, he left his master and made good his way to the place. At first the heathen sailors refused to take him aboard, but eventually consented. After a passage of three days, the ship made land-what land is not mentioned; and for eight and twenty days, he and his sailor friends, -who for some reason that is not stated appear to have deserted their vessel, journey through a desert. Hunger and hardships assail them on the way, and they are in danger of perishing, when, in answer to the prayer of Patrick, relief is afforded to them; a herd of swine crosses their path, and the travellers kill many and eat, and are refreshed. Wild honey is also found, but when Patrick knows it has been offered to idols he refuses to taste it. That night Satan tempted him, and seemed to fall upon him as a great stone, overpowering every member of his body; but he shouted 'Helias! Helias!' whereupon the sun was seen by him to rise in the sky, and as the glory of the orb of day fell over him, it took away all the oppressive weight. All this reads to us as if the sleeper had had an attack of nightmare; but, to the close of his life, he himself believed that he had on this occasion been set upon by Satan, and that he had been aided by Christ his Lord, and that it was the Holy Spirit who cried out within him; and he felt confirmed in this by the word of the Gospel,—though it must be a little overadmitted that his application of the passage was strained-It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaketh in you.'
The vague indistinctness of the narrative, not to speak of its occasional incoherence, whether arising from want of culture in the writer, or from damages to the original manuscript by the inroads of time, is often perplexing and tormenting to the reader. He is never informed in what country Patrick and his companions were travelling all this time. Who were these sailors, and where were they going? Had their vessels been wrecked, and themselves cast naked upon the shore? If not, why had they forsaken their ship? Were they pirates, or fugitives from justice, or men in search of lawful gain? Could there have been any place in Britain, even then, where men could travel eight and twenty days in succession, without seeing a human face or finding a human habitation? If not, on what part of the Continent had they been cast? All these are questions which the reader would wish to ask, but which the writer does not answer; and answers from any other are of little worth.
The narrative at this point would seem to imply that Patrick
underwent a second captivity of some sixty days' duration; but the text, as handed down to us, is much too dislocated to warrant confidence in the matter, more especially as no hint is given of it elsewhere.
Eventually he reaches his parents, who receive him as a son, and who are naturally anxious that he should not leave them any more. But it was not so to be. One night he saw in a vision a man named Victoricius, coming as it were from Ireland, carrying a multitude of letters, and at the top of one of them which he gave to Patrick were written the words-The Voice of the Irish: and while he was reading the beginning of the letter, he thought he heard those who lived beside the wood of Fochlut, which is near the Western Sea, crying as it were with one voice-We entreat thee, holy youth, to come and walk among us.' The dreamer felt sorrowful at heart, and could read .no farther; so he awoke. Thanks be to God,' says Patrick, for after very many years the Lord gave them according to their cry.'
Warned repeatedly in dreams, he felt a strong irresistible impulse to go as a missionary to the country where he had once lived as a slave, and to preach the Gospel to those who had slain the man-servants and the maid-servants of his father's house. But, on the other hand, older men of more experience than he, did all in their power to dissuade him from a work so certain to be troublesome and dangerous. Even an intimate friend went so far as to bring up against him some youthful crime, which he had committed thirty years before, at a time when he was only fifteen years of age, and in rather unfriendly fashion alleged this piece of boyish folly, which long before should have been utterly forgotten, as disqualifying him for the laborious episcopate on which he sought to enter. But all was of no avail; Patrick had made up his mind to be a missionary. He could not keep to himself what God had done for him in the land of his captivity; and gratitude for his own deliverance from sin, in addition to what he regarded as repeated intimations of the Divine will, prompted him to go back to Ireland, and tell its Pagan people of the one true God. The result was, that he parted from his parents, and in so doing offended them and some of his seniors, whose advice he did not seem to regard. Gifts were presented to him at parting, accompanied with tears, but by the grace of God he resisted all entreaties, and surrendered all worldly advantages, that he might go and preach the Gospel to the Irish tribes, and bear affronts from the unbelieving, and submit to the odium of being counted a foreigner, and endure persecution even to chains. From his allusion to the youthful crime, which he says he committed thirty years before, at a time when he was scarcely fifteen, the natural inference is that when he entered on his mission he had reached the ripe age of forty-five.