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their ears with a foreign dialect and their eyes with a strange apparition. There was a time when the most ignorant mountebank who raved against Popery could fix the public attention. But the spell that bound the hearers has been at length broken; the film that fascinated their eyes has at length been rubbed off. No illusions of stage effect can blind men any longer to the folly and the mischief of such exhibitions, and so completely palled is the people's taste by their repetition that if a public advertisement were to announce that your Grace himself, at the head of your missionaries, were to appear striding in stately pomp to the theological theatre, I question whether you could command a sufficient audience to laugh at the solemn mockery.
Making full allowance for the readiness with which your clergy are disposed to obey your Grace's orders, I doubt not but they would prefer staying at home to take care of their tithes and their wives and children rather than risk all the odium of a controversial crusade. They know it is sufficiently burdensome to Catholics to pay them the tenth portion of the fruits of their industry; nor shouid they like to aggravate the burden by additional reproaches on their religion. Let them, however, go forth ; and in putting the two religions in juxtaposition, let them not fail in addressing the Catholics -who are often without a church to shelter them to exhibit the blessings of the Law Church, which piously transferred to the wives and daughters of its ministers that wealth which the old Church of Christ had superstitiously expended in the repair and erection of churches, as well as the relief of the poor. Let them go to some of the parishes of your Grace's diocese, in which snug churches have been raised at the expense of an exclusively Catholic population, and let them persuade that population of the advantage of a perpetual church cess entailed on them for the purpose of providing salaries for a clerk and sexton--perhaps the only relics of the orthodox faith in the whole parish, and who are still deemed so valuable as to require a golden anchorage to keep them from being drifted away to Popery. Let them, on meeting large flocks kneeling before the divine mysteries, with their ample foreheads bared to all the rain and winds of heaven, invite them to fill their own little conventicles, where, in spite of the threatened woes of Ezekiel, their elbows may
• Ezekiel, xili, 18.
repose on cushions and their devotions may be warmed by the comfortable effusions of a stove. But, my lord, the parsons will not thus expose themselves to the bitter irony of a people perhaps more famed than any other for an exhaustless strain of sarcastic intelligence ; they will not, for their own sakes, be marked exceptions to the good sense that is pervading all classes of society. There is now no further controversy about the purity of the Protestant Church ; it is all turning on the permanence of its temporalities. All are now agreed that the Establishment is a political machine originally framed by political artificers, since kept together for political motives, and which, like every other machine, as soon as the expense of keeping it in repair shall overbalance its benefits, must be abandoned to a quiet and natural decay.
On this topic there is no room for further disputation, now that a controversy altogether of a different kind has started up in the country; which is the most effectual method of promoting the prosperity of Ireland, and of uniting more closely all classes of the long-distracted people. Who shall be foremost in exploring its resources ? in giving vigor to its trade? in opening new avenues of industry, and consigning to merited contempt all the leaden lore of malignant bigotry by which the minds of the people were so long poisoned ? Yes; the apostles of discord must at length retire. There is now a rivalry of benevolence—an emulation in laboring for the public good -a contention for advancing a nation's happiness, which all the arts of narrow-minded individuals will not be able to suspend. There is, in short, a great anxiety to bury, by recent acts of kindness, the memory of ancient strife ; and a flow of mutual good feeling, silently working through the country, which all the odium theologicum poured forth from your Grace's episcopal vial shall not be able to embitter.
I am your Grace's obedient servant,
*JOHN, BISHOP OF MARONIA.
CHRISTMAS DAY AT THE VATICAN.
FEAST OF ST. STEPHEN, ROME, 1831.
NWILLING to interrupt the series of observations suggested
by the contemplation of the seven hills of the ancient city, I have not as yet made any reference to the Vatican. Yet no
part of Rome possesses stronger claims on the affections of the Christian. It was not one of the seven hills on which the city was seated, yet it is the object which generally challenges the first visit from the piety of the pilgrim or the curiosity of the mere trareller. I was scarcely an hour arrived, when I hastened to Saint Peter's, to offer up my cold and imperfect prayers in unison with the incense of prayer and sacrifice that is daily ascending from that magnificent and holy temple, to the throne of the Almighty. Its precincts were worthy of the majesty of the temple. The obelisk in front proclaimed the homage of the conquered arts and wealth of Paganism to the spirit of Catholicity; its refreshing fountains, continually playing in the sunbeams, were an emblem of its pure and perennial doctrine flowing from the shrine of the apostles; and its curved colonnades, stretching out on either side, most significantly represented the ardent and affectionate eagerness with which the Catholic Church greets her children and cherishes them in her bosom. No sooner did I cross the threshold of the church than I felt, what others are said to feel, the illusion of its folded perspective. As I advanced, it appeared to be gradually unrolled, adjusting the harmonious position and size of the surrounding objects, until I stood under the stupendous dome, of which I had just seen the original model in the Pantheon: the one reposing on the earth, the masterpiece of Pagan temples, and the other resting on lofty pillars, penetrating to the heavens — the wondrous trophy of the Christian artist by whose skill and energy it was raised.
Though the capital is rich in works of art, ancient and modern, it is distanced in competition by the splendor of the Vatican. To the church of St. Peter was it first indebted for the varied aggregate of unrivalled treasures which have been gradually gathered round it. The residence of the Popes, transferred from the palace of Lateran, led to the erection of its palaces, its galleries, and magnificent saloons, in which were deposited the relics of ancient art, disinterred by the zeal of antiquarians, encouraged and animated by the munificent patronage of its Pontiffs. Poets and sculptors studied with assiduity those elegant models, and labored to rival their excellence by similar creations of their own. The relation that Rome holds to the world, collecting within its precincts more of historical and classical monuments than are spread over the earth, the Vatican museum may be said to hold to Rome, condensing within its sanctuaries such a rare variety of exquisite treasures as might be said to rival, if not in number, at least in value, all the other collections of this city. Without neglecting them, it is no wonder if my visits to the Vatican were more frequent than to any of the other churches or palaces of Rome; nor is it until after repeated visits that you can find a clue through the labyrinths of their apartments, and become familiar with those masterpieces, which must be frequently seen in order to be duly valued.
When traversing the saloon of the relics of ancient monuments, with its cinerary urns and antiquated inscriptions, such as might give occupation for years to a Mabillon or a Muratori, you fancy you are walking through some ancient necropolis; and I felt — to avail myself of an anticipated incident - as I afterwards felt when walking over the subterraneous city of Pompeii, that, of names once renowned, and of achievements that conferred cotemporary fame, not a memorial now remained but a misshapen fragment of marble, of which the orthography might puzzle the most practised decipherer of the earlier forms of the characters of Tuscany or Rome. Yet even those fragments have their value. It was partly by their aid (because a stone recorded every event) that such light has been thrown over the early history of the city, and I have often lamented, that in Ireland, where it may be now done with safety, more attention is not paid to the recording of national events, in the more durable materials of monuments of stone. From the excavations that