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JOHN HENRY NEWMAN
I say, then, that it is a part of Christian caution to see that our engagements do not become pursuits. Engagements are our portion, but pursuits are for the most part of our own choosing. We may be engaged in worldly business without pursuing worldly objects. “Not slothful in business,” yet “serving the Lord."
serving the Lord.” In this, then, consists the danger of the pursuit of gain, as by trade and the like. It is the most common and widely spread of all excitements. It is one in which everyone almost may indulge, nay, and will be praised by the world for indulging. And it lasts through life-in that differing from the amusements and pleasures of the world, which are short-lived and succeed one after another. Dissipation of mind, which these amusements create, is itself, indeed, miserable enough ; but far worse than this dissipation is the concentration of mind upon some worldly object which admits of being constantly pursued ; and such is the pursuit of gain.
Nor is it a slight aggravation of the evil that anxiety is almost sure to attend it. A life of money-getting is a life of care. From the first there is a fretful anticipation of loss in various ways to depress and unsettle the mind, nay, to haunt it, till a man finds he can think about nothing else, and is unable to give his mind to religion from the constant whirl of business in which he is involved. It is well this should be understood. You may hear men talk as if the pursuit of wealth was the business of life. They will argue that, by the law of nature, a man is bound to gain a livelihood for his family, and that he finds a reward in doing so—an innocent and honorable satisfaction-as he adds one sum to auother, and counts up his gains. And, perhaps, they go on to argue that it is the very duty of man, since Adam's fall, “in the sweat of his face,” by effort and anxiety, “to eat bread.” How strange it is that they do not remember Christ's gracious promise, repealing that original curse and obviating the necessity of any real pursuit after "the meat that perisheth.” In order that we might be delivered from the bondage of corruption, He has expressly told us that the necessaries of life shall never fail His faithful follower any more than the meal and oil the widow woman of Sarepta; that while he is bound to labor for his family, he need not be engrossed by his toil; that while he is busy, his heart may be at leisure for the Lord. “Be not anxious, saying: What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed ? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; and your Heavenly father knoweth that ye have need of these things."
I have now given the main reason why the pursuit of gain, whether in a large or a small way, is prejudicial to our spiritual interests—that it fixes the mind upon an object of this world. Yet others remain behind
JOHN HENRY NEWMAN
Money is a sort of creation, and gives the acquirer even wore than the possessor an imagination of his own power, and tends to make him idolize self. Again, what we have hardly won, we are unwilling to part with ; so that a man who has himself made his wealth will commonly be penurious, or at least will not part with it except in exchange for what will reflect credit on himself and increase his importance. Even when his conduct is most disinterested and amiable (as in spending for the comfort of those who depend on him), still this indulgence of self, of pride, and worldliness, insinuates itself. Very unlikely, therefore, is it that he should be liberal towards God; for religious offerings are an expenditure without sensible return, and that upon objects for which the very pursuit of wealth has indisposed his mind.
Moreover, if it may be added, there is a considerable tendency in occupations connected with gain to make a man unfair in his dealings ; that is, in a subtle way. There are so many conventional deceits and prevarications in the details of the world's business, so much intricacy in the management of accounts, so many perplexed questions about justice and equity, so many plausible subterfuges and fictions of law, so much confusion between the distinct yet approximating outlines of honesty and civil enactment, that it requires a very straightforward mind to keep firm hold of strict conscientiousness, honor, and truth, and to look at matters in which he is engaged as he would have looked on them supposing he now came upon them all at once as a stranger.
And if such be the effect of the pursuit of gain on an individual, doubtless it will be the same on a nation. Only let us consider the fact that we are a money-making people, with our Saviour's declaration before us against wealth, and trust in wealth, and we shall have abundant matter for serious thought.
HENRY EDWARD MANNING (1808-1892)
ROME'S FAMOUS CONVERT
ANNING, a graduate of Oxford, began his ecclesiastical career as
a rector in the Episcopal Church of Great Britain, in which he
was made Archdeacon of Chichester in 1840. Eleven years later he made a decided sensation by going over to the Catholic Church. In 1865 he was appointed Archbishop of Westminster, and ten years later was raised to the high dignity of Cardinal. He took part in the Ecumenical Council at Rome in 1869-70, and in it maintained the doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope. As an orator Manning ranked high among English pulpit speakers, his sermons being marked by purity of diction, strength of thought and directness of style.
ROME THE ETERNAL [On the two thousand six hundred and fifteenth anniversary of the founding of Rome Manning delivered an oration on the subject of the Eternal City, especially in its aspect as the capital of the Church, whose sentiments seem to solve the problem of his conversion from Protestantism to Catholicism. His promotion to the Cardinalate is thought to have been influenced by this sermon. We append an extract showing its character.]
I know of no point of view in which the glory of Rome is more conspicuous than in its civil mission to the races of the world. When the seat of empire was translated from Rome to Constantinople, all the culture and civilization of Italy seemed to be carried away to enrich and adorn the East. It seemed as if God had decreed to reveal to the world what His Church could do without the world, and what the world could not do without the Church. A more melancholy history than that of the Byzantine Empire is nowhere to be read. It is one long narrative of the usurpation and insolent dominion of the world over the Church, which, becoming schismatical and isolated, fell easily under its imperial masters.
HENRY EDWARD MANNING
With all its barbaric splendor and imperial power, what has Constantinople accompiished for the civilization or the Christianity of the East ? If the salt had kept its savor, it would not have been cast out and trodden under the feet of the Eastern Antichrist.
While this was accomplishing in the East, in the West a new world was rising, in order, unity, and fruitfulness, under the action of the Pontiffs. Even the hordes which inundated Italy were changed by them from the wildness of nature to the life of Christian civilization. From St. Leo to St. Gregory the Great, Christian Europe may be said not to exist ! Rome stood alone under the rule of its pontiffs, while as yet empires and kingdoms had no existence. Thus, little by little, and one by one, the nations which now make up the unity of Christendom were created, trained and formed into political societies. First Lombardy, then Gaul, then Spain, then Germany, then Saxon England; then the first germs of lesser States began to appear. But to whom did they owe the laws, the principles, and the influences which made their existence possible, coherent, and mature? It was to the Roman Pontiffs that they owed the first rudiments of their social and political order. It was the exposition of the Divine law by the lips of the Vicar of Jesus Christ that founded the Christian policy of the world.
Thus, the Church has been able to do without the world, and even in spite of it. Nothing can be conceived more isolated, more feeble, or more encompassed with peril, than the line of the Roman Pontiffs; nevertheless, they have maintained inviolate their independence with their sacred deposit of faith and of jurisdiction, through all ages and through all conflicts, from the beginning to this hour. It seemed as if God willed to remove the first Christian emperor from Rome in the early fervor of his conversion, lest it should seem as if the sovereignty of the Church were in any way the creation of his power. God is jealous of His own kingdom and will not suffer any unconsecrated hand to be laid upon His ark, even for its support.
The “stone cut without hands,” which became a great mountain and filled the whole earth, is typical, not only of the expansion and universality of the Church, but of its mysterious and supernatural character. No human hand has accomplished its greatness. The hand of God alone could bring it to pass.
What is there in the history of the world parallel to the Rome of the Christians ? The most warlike and imperial people of the world gave place to a people unarmed and without power. The pacific people arose from the Catacombs and entered upon the possession of Rome as their inheritance. The existence of Christian Rome, both in its formation, and
HENRY EDWARD MANNING
next in its perpetuity, is a miracle of Divine power. God alone could give it to His people; God alone could preserve it to them, and them in it. What more wonderful sight than to see a Franciscan monk leading the Via Crucis in the Flavian Amphitheatre, or the Passionist missionaries conversing peacefully among the ilexes and the vaults where the wild beasts from Africa thirsted for the blood of the Christians ? Who has prevailed upon the world for one thousand five hundred years to fall back as Attilla did from Christian Rome? Who has persuaded its will, and paralyzed its ambitions and conflicting interests ? Such were my thoughts the other day when the Sovereign Pontiff, surrounded by the princes and pastors of the Church, was celebrating the festival of the Resurrection over the Confession of St. Peter. I thought of the ages past, when, in the amphitheatre of Nero, within which we stood, thousands of martyrs fell beneath the arms of the heathen. And now, the Rex Pacificus, the Vicar of the Prince of Peace, there holds his court and offers over the tomb of the Apostle the unbloody sacrifice of our redemption. The legions of Rome have given way before a people who have never lifted a hand in war. They have taken the city of the Cæsars, and hold it to this day. The more than imperial court which surrounded the Vicar of Jesus Christ surpassed the glories of the Empire. “This is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith.” The noblest spectacle upon earth is an unarmed man whom all the world cannot bend by favor or by fear. Such a man is essentially above all worldly powers. And such, eminent among the inflexible, is he, the Pontiff and King, who, in the midst of the confusions and rebellions of the whole earth, bestowed that day his benediction upon the city and the world.