No: those Catholics only will be saved who believe and practice what the Church teaches. We teach, indeed, and we firmly believe, that there is no salvation out of the Catholic Church ; yet we do not teach that all who are members of the Catholic Church will be saved. Certainly in our cities and large towns, nay, even in small villages of our great country, may be found many so-called liberal or nominal Catholics, who are no credit to their religion, to their spiritual mother, the Church. Subjected as they were, in the land of their birth, to the restraints imposed by Protestant or quasi-Protestant governments, they feel, on coming here, that they are loosed from all restraint; and forgetting the obedience that they owe to their pastors, to the prelates whom the Holy Ghost has placed over them, they become insubordinate, and live more like non-Catholics than Catholics. The children of these are, to a great extent shamefully neglected, and suffered to grow up without sufficient moral and religious instruction, and to become the recruits of our vicious population. This is certainly to be deplored, but can easily be explained without prejudice to the truth and holiness of the Catholic religion, by adverting to the condition to which those individuals were reduced before coming to this country to their disappointments in a strange land ; to their exposure to new and unlooked-for temptations ; to the fact that they were by no means the best of Catholics, even in their native
countries ; to their poverty, destitution, ignorance, insufficient culture, and a certain natural shiftlessness and recklessness, as well as to the great lack of Catholic schools, churches, and fervent priests. As low and degraded as this class of the Catholic population may be, they are not so low as the corresponding class of non -Catholics in every nation, at the worst, there is always some germ that, with proper care, may be nursed into life, that may blossom and bear fruit. Their mother, the Church, never ceases to warn them to repent, and be cleansed from their sins by the sacrament of penance. If they do not heed the voice of their mother, but continue to live in sin to the end of their lives, their condemnation will be greater than that of those who were born to an inheritance of error, and whose minds have never been penetrated by the light of truth : "That servant," says Jesus Christ, "who knew the will of his Lord, and did not according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required, and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more." (Luke xii, 47, 48.) "Woe to thee, Corozain, woe to thee, Bethsaida, for if in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought the mighty works that have been wrought in you, they would have done penance long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you, and thou, Capharnaum, which art exalted unto heaven, thou shalt be thrust down to hell." (Luke x, 13-15.) To know, then, and to believe the Catholic doctrine, the will of God, is one thing, and to live up to it is another. Hence, "Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." (Rom. ii, 13.) Holy Scripture compares the true faith, sometimes to a buckler, and sometimes to a sword. The buckler protects him only who covers himself with it, and a sword, to be useful to repel an enemy, must be drawn from the scabbard. So it is not mere faith, but its practice, which constitutes its merit, and strength, and reward. The Gospel brought light and death: light to those who practice it, and death to those who neglect its practice. "From the days of John the Baptist until now," says our Lord, "the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away." (Matt, xi, 12.) The difference between the practical and the lukewarm Christian is simply this : the latter regards faith as a matter of fact, but without its consequences, or practical part. He remembers, it is true, from time to time, the great truths of religion : death, judgment, heaven and hell; but he remembers these and other truths, and his duties, only in a superficial manner, he never reflects seriously on them, and for this reason he is never touched by them. No wonder if he continues to walk on the broad road to hell, and is lost. But the practical Christian always tries to walk on the narrow road to heaven. He constantly meditates upon the sacred truths of his religion. Everywhere he carries with him their wholesome impression. The truths of faith animate him in all the details of life. He has for his principle of action the Holy Ghost. the Spirit of Jesus Christ. It is no more he who lives, it is Jesus Christ who lives in him. Accordingly, he judges of the things of this world in the knowledge which Jesus Christ has given us in their regard ; that is, he judges of them even as Jesus Christ himself judges of them. Hence it is that he fears only that which faith teaches him to fear. He desires only those things which faith tells him to wish for, he hopes only for that which faith teaches him to hope for. He loves, or he hates, or he despises, all that faith teaches him to love, or to hate, or to despise. What does he say of the riches of this world ? He says, with Jesus Christ : "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt, v, 3) ; and, "Woe to you that are rich, for you have your consolation." (Luke vi, 24.) What does he say of the honors of this world ? He says, with Jesus Christ : "Woe to you when men shall bless you." (Luke vi, 26.) What does he say of the wisdom of this world ? He says, with St. Paul : "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." (1 Cor. iii, 19.) And with Jesus Christ, he says : "Unless you become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." What judgment does he pass upon the pleasures of this world ? He says, with Jesus Christ : "Woe to you that now laugh, for you shall mourn and weep." (Luke vi, 25.) "Watch ye, therefore, because you know not at what hour the Lord will come." (Matt, xxiv, 42.) What judgment does he pass upon old age ? With the Holy Ghost, he says : "Venerable old age is not that of long time, nor counted by the number of years, but a spotless life is old age." (Wisd. iv, 8.) What does he say of the trials, persecutions, and injustices of this world ? He says, with Jesus Christ : "Blessed shall ye be when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man s sake. Be glad in that day and rejoice, for behold your reward is great in heaven." (Luke vi, 22.) He watches and prays. He watches over his soul, that no sinful thought may enter there, and should it enter unawares, he casts it out instantly. He watches over his heart, that no sinful affection may possess it. He watches over his eyes, that they may not gaze on any pictures, books or other objects, that could soil the purity of his soul. He watches over his ears, that they may not listen to any immodest words, or words of double meaning. He watches over his tongue, and remembers that his tongue has been sanctified in holy communion, by touching the virginal flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. He watches over his whole body ; for he knows that the body of the good Christian is the temple of the Holy Ghost, consecrated in baptism, and that he who desecrates a holy temple is accursed of God. He is watchful day and night, and avoids the occasions of sin, those persons and places which might be to him an occasion of sin. He also prays often to Jesus. He knows that Jesus is a jealous God, who commands us to call upon him, especially in the hour of temptation, and to receive him often in holy communion. He prays to Mary, the mother of faith, the lovely standard-bearer of all the elect. The very name of Mary is sweet balm to him, which heals and fortifies the soul. The very thought of Mary's purity is a check upon his passions a fragrant rose that puts to flight the foul spirit of uncleanness. Thus he thinks, judges, and acts according to the truths of the Gospel, or the principles of Jesus Christ ; and it is thus that he lives by faith, as St. Paul says. Faith is the life of the just man. It is the life of his intellect, by the truths which enlighten him ; it is the life of his heart, by the sentiments of justice and holiness which it imparts ; it is the life of his works, which it renders meritorious for all eternity ; and this happy life is obtained and enjoyed in the Church Militant of Christ alone in the One Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, "which Christ so took unto himself, as to make it a partaker of his own divinity. He, therefore, who confesses in God this holy Church is so united to Christ, as to be translated into the whole glory of his divinity the body being united to its head; the Bride (Church) to her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ." (St. Peter Chrysologus, Serm. 57, 58 and 60.)
To be continued . . . . . . . . . . . .