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In proportion, therefore, to the greatness of those pleasures which are derived from the passion of love, has the Catholic theology denounced it. It is the consummation of all iniquity; and the least savour of this unholy leaven is abominable to the celibacy of the church.
But to minds, like those of the Romish priesthood, so often occupied in examining every form of this Proteus-passion, it will be difficult, on many occasions, to repress some troublesome recollections, and some uneasy desires. After poring over a page of casuistry-for instance, those chapters in Sanchez which treat of the subject so minutely, and in such copious detail; but still more, after listening to the confession of some timid girl or modest matron, hesitated between fear and shame, and the more stimulating from its ambiguity, some thoughts will possibly occur to the most rigid in the decline of the evening, or in the wakefulness of the night, to which the austerity of Catholic morals has affixed the blot of sin. To these suggestions of beneficent Nature, which nothing but superstition could render criminal, the church, in the persons of her clergy, has found a lucky solution. They are nick-named, illusions of the devil. An illusion of the devil incapacitates for the celebration of mass, and is classed under the logical head of defects in the state of body..
It is difficult to touch upon this subject without offence. It is, however, well worth examination, and occupies an extensive chapter in the book of the human mind. In the whole circle of Romish divinity, there is nothing which elucidates more minutely the genius of that imperious church; nothing which more distinctly shews on what principles of human nature the power of superstitious systems is ultimately built. Let the reader peruse a few pages of any one of the endless works, which the school-men have sent forth upon this subject, and compare them with the corresponding chapters in the laws of Menu. He will find that nothing need be changed but names; the things are substantially the same.
Tó return from this digression. Defects may occur in the act of administering mass, which are not classed amongst the preceding heads: As for instance, if the sacrament is performed without wax candles; on an unconsecrated altar; or after the time allotted for its solemnization, which commences at sunrise, and ends at mid-day. The mass is defective for want of the proper sacerdotal garments, or furniture for the altar; or in consequence of the absence of those who assist the priest; or on account of an improper assistant-as a female, or others incompetent to minister at the altar. A brazen or glass cup and paten is defective; they should be of gold, silver, or tin. If the priest officiate with the head covered, unless with dispensa
tion for that purpose; or repeat the ceremony without a missal, although he may know it by heart; the mass is incomplete. If, before consecration, the minister should be taken ill, or should faint or die, the sacrament should be discontinued ; but if such an accident should happen after the consecration of the wafer, or of both elements, it should be finished by another priest. If, after the former of these accidents, the first minister be still able to communicate, and there be only one wafer on the altar, this must be divided between him and the priest who concludes the sacrament.
If a fly, or a spider, or any other substance (aliud aliquid) should fall into the chalice before consecration, let the wine be flung beneath the altar; but, if after consecration, and the priest should feel sick at the circumstance, let him take out the fly or spider, and wash it with wine; and when mass is over, let him burn the animal, and cast the wine into the sacristy. But if he feel no nausea, and fear no danger, let him swallow the blood, fly and all.
If any poisonous or emetic substance should have fallen into the cup, the consecrated wine must be poured into another chalice, and fresh wine and water consecrated. After mass, the poisoned element must be sopped up with linen or tow, which being afterwards dried and burned, should be cast into the sacristy. The same is to be observed of a poisoned host; and when we remember how frequently it has happened, that poison has fallen into the chalice and been administered accidentally in the wafer, we can hardly think the precaution useless.
If, by the negligence of the priest, a drop of Christ's blood (we use the words of the Rubric) should fall upon the table, let it be licked up with the tongue, and let that part of the table be planed but if it fall upon the stone of the altar, let it be licked up; and let the place be washed, and the water of the washing cast into the sacristy. If it be spilled upon the altar-linen, or the carpet before the altar, they are to be washed, with the same formality, and the stained portions cut out, dried, and burned. If the consecrated host, or any portion of it, fall upon the floor, let it be reverently picked up; let the place where it fell be cleansed and planed, if possible, as before.
If the priest vomit the eucharist, and the elements (species consecrata) appear, let them be again reverently taken. But if this produce nausea, then let the holy elements be carefully separated, and placed in some holy place. If the elements do not appear, let the contents of the stomach be burned, and the ashes cast into the sacristy.
Enough! Enough! Oh wretched Greeks! who in a way of superstition run so easily into the relish of barbarous notions, and bring into religion that frightful mein of sordid and vilify
ing devotion, ill-favoured humiliation and contrition, abject looks and countenances, consternation, protestations, disfigurations, and, in the act of worship, distortions, constrained and painful postures of the body, wry faces, beggarly tones, mumpings, grimaces, cryings!" Such was the language of Plutarch to his countrymen, in the decay of their political and moral greatness, and the decline of their civilization. But to the votary of the Romish faith, who had never been taught to approach the presence of the Deity with that manly decency, the Tóμa dikalov of the heathen worshipper, so incompatible with "the prostration of understanding and will" which is inculcated as the chief merit of the Catholic Christian's devotion, these words might have been aptly addressed in the zenith of his church's ascendancy.
It is, surely, clear beyond dispute, that this is not a liturgy, this is not a ceremonial, for the capacities or taste of a refined people. We again eschew all interference with the doctrine; that may be right or wrong, and the ritual may still be barbarous. It may, however, be said, that the Catholic religion is poetical. It is true, the Catholic faith has both persecuted itself, and been persecuted, into poetry. What neither its masses, nor its music, nor its form and ceremony, nor its fasts and feasts, nor its confessions and penances, its wax candles, and holy water, and a collection of rags and tatters which would set up Monmouth Street for ever; what neither its pope, and its cardinals, its archbishops, bishops, priests, deacons, acolytes; from him who sits in St. Peter's Chair, with the scarlet robe about his shoulders," the Servant of the Servants of God," to the lowest sacristan, who
"Is yet a young probationer,
what neither its pilgrimages, its dirty linen, and shoes lined with boiled or raw pease, nor its controversies, nor its divinity, nor its councils, could effect for it, has been done by persecution. Hatred and pity are rich mines for the poet to dig in. The Smithfield burnings, the throat-cuttings of St. Bartholomewthe endless list of religious murders which stain the annals of Catholicism, justify all the hatred they excite; whilst the sufferings of the Catholics in later days, and, more than all, the long desolation of Ireland, beget a conflicting sentiment, which the actual sight of those miseries ripens, at least into pity, where it does not change it into indignation. The horror of Catholicism will, probably, be soon extinct; but the romance it generated will remain, and for ever invest that once terrible religion with so much of a poetical character as springs from the sub
lime. Compassion for a fallen faith will endow it with those attributes of poetry which are still more affecting; and there are few, except those who are unwittingly actuated by the spirit they impute, exclusively, to the Romish creed, who cannot sympathize at present with the filial expressions of the poet-more beautiful than any hymn of his church; in which he pours out his devotion to her declining age and dishonoured fortune;
Thy rival was honour'd, while thou wert wrong'd and scorn'd;
ART. V.-A short Account of the Conversion to Christianity of
Solomon Duitsch, lately a learned Rabbin and Teacher of
The Jews are the most extraordinary people, and their history is the most interesting history, in the world. For ages out of number, they have not possessed one square mile of territory, and they still look forward to universal dominion ;-for generation after generation they have run a troubled stream in the greater stream of the population of all nations, without once assimilating with any-every where they live separate and alone, sojourners rather than home-dwellers. They have at all times possessed great wealth, and, at times, great power; once, they had among them the greatest general information, in comparison with their numbers, and the most learned men, without comparison, that Europe could then boast of; they have been also the most ignorant as a body, and had fewer men of eminence among them; they were at one time, in Spain particularly, indirectly possessed of great civil power; and at other times, and for long intervals together, they have been the most abject and miserable race throughout all Europe; their persecutions have been fearful even to remember, and dreadful beyond all precedent; and yet they are one, and still a people.
Of late years indeed, at least in this country, the current
has set the opposite way to persecution. Cumberland's Jew is quite another man from Shakspeare's Jew, or the Jew of Malta; and who can believe that Rebecca is a lineal descendant of the "Ebraike peple," that slew young "Hew of Lincoln !" But so it is! and, thanks to the genius of our countrymen, the feeling of the ages in which they severally lived has had permanency given to it in their immortal works: for, when the Lady Prioress talked of
"the serpent, Sathanas,
we may be quite sure that Chaucer had the authority of many such ladies for such sentiments; and for the purity of conduct and beautiful humanity of Rebecca, the modern poet had the voucher for its possible truth in the agreement of all men of sense; and both facts, as far as the philosophy of mind is concerned, prove only that poets as well as Jews, and Jews as well as poets, (a much more important point to establish,) are very much the children of circumstances. When lady prioresses talked after this fashion, and other ladies and gentlemen too agreed with her in 'opinion; when the Jews were every where persecuted, despised, or hated-spit on, trampled on, and bearded; -their sufferings made a jest, and the law made an instrument of infliction; was it not in human nature that "the serpent, Sathanas," should dwell in their hearts? But the progress of knowledge has been accompanied with progressive liberality, and this feeling is much more distinctly to be traced in our poets than our historians. In the lady prioress's tale, there is not one redeeming circumstance for the poor Jews; they are isolated beings, cut off from human society; in the want of all human sympathy, they stand out naked and bare for universal hate and detestation.
But in Shakspeare and in Marlowe, the Jews have not much the worst of it. They act, indeed, and suffer, agreeable to the expectation of "the grounded understanders ;" but, in both poets, there is a "still small voice" of truth, shewing that their actions are not a mere voluntary played off by a nature different from ordinary humanity, but one of ordinary humanity warped, strained, and tortured into distortion and hideousness, by the cruelty and injustice of others. This has been well shewn of Shakspeare's Jew, but justice has never been done to the inimitable truth of his predecessor. We know not how it may dove-tail with the rest of this article; but as the work under review has somewhat disappointed us, we feel very much disposed to say a word or two on old Kit Marlowe's" play, or rather of Barabbas; a Jew drawn with as perfect a Hebrew
VOL. XII. PART I.