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and dangerous errors. They err, above all, as to the means by which they seek to gain their ends. In what they for the most part aim at, we can agree with them. We love liberty as much as they do, we are as indignant at wrong as they are; but we see them trying to effect by the state what can be effected only by the Church, and by the natural sentiment of philanthropy what is practicable only by the supernatural virtue of charity.

Every age has its own characteristics, and we must address its dominant sentiment, whether we would serve or disserve it. Our age is philanthropical rather than intellectual. It has lost faith intellectually, but retains a faint echo of it on the side of the affections. oes not th so much as it feels, and it demands the Gospel of Love with far more earnestness and energy than it does the Gospel of Truth. Charity had exalted and intensified its affections. Despoiled of charity, it is devoured by its benevolent sentiments. It would do good, it would devote itself to the poor, the enslaved, the neglected, the downtrodden. It would bind up the broken heart, and bring rest to the suffering. These are not bad traits, and we love to dwell on the disinterestedness of the Howards, the Frys, the Nightingales, and the benevolent men and women in our own country who so unreservedly devote themselves to the relief of the afflicted. These prove what the age craves, and what it is looking for. Through its benevolence Satan no doubt often misleads it, but through the same benevolence the missionary of the cross may approach it and lead it up to God.

We have wished, in these times, when the Church is assailed so violently by the galvanized Calvinism manifesting itself in Know-Nothing movements, to show, by exhibiting the manner in which she regards those movements which spring from natural benevolence or a generous regard for human well-being, that she no more deserves than she fears their violence. What is true and good in the natural order manifested by those outside, though imperfect, she accepts. We have wished, also, in a practical way, to reply to those who are perpetually accusing us of being narrow and exclusive, and a renegade from free principles. What we aimed at before our conversion is still dear to us, and we are still in some sense a man of our age. But having indicated the good side of Liberalism and Socialism, we shall take a future opportunity to show more fully that it is accepted by the Church, and is completed only in and through her communion.

ART. III. — Questions of the Soul. By I. T. HECKER.

New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1855. 12mo. pp. 294.


We have in these Questions of the Soul a remarkable work, and one of the very few original and genuine American books our country can boast. It could have been written only by an American to “the manner born,” and is destined, in our judgment, to have a marked influence on American thought and American literature.

We cannot introduce this interesting and instructive, though simple and unpretending volume, to our readers, without recollecting that we have known the author almost from his boyhood, and have always regarded him as one to whom Almighty God has given a mission of vital importance to our common country.

Few men really know him, few even suspect what is in him ; but no one can commune with him for half an hour, and ever be again precisely what he was before. He is one of those men whom you feel it is good to be with. Virtue goes out from him. Simple, unpretending, playful, and docile as a child, warm and tender in his feelings, full of life and cheerfulness of manner, he wins at once your love, and infuses as it were his own sunshiny nature into your heart. From his youth he has been remarkable for his singular purity of heart, the guilelessness of his soul, the earnestness of his spirit, his devotion to truth, and his longing after perfection. We owe personally more than we can say to our long and intimate acquaintance with him. How often, when neither of us knew or believed in the glorious old Catholic Church, have we talked together by our own fireside, on the great questions discussed in the volume before us, and stimulated each other's endeavors after truth and goodness! His modesty and docility made him in those times regard us as his teacher as well as his senior, but in truth we were the scholar. It was in these free communings, where each opened his mind and heart to the other, THIRD SERIES.



that we both were led, the grace of God aiding, to feel the need of the Church, and that we talked, if we may so say, without intending or foreseeing it, each other into the belief and love of Catholicity. Each perhaps was of service to the other, but he aided us more than we him, for even then his was the master mind. These personal recollections are most dear to us, and we hope the author's modesty will not be offended at the homage which our heart cannot withhold. We loved him then as a younger brother, and happy are we to reverence him now as a father. Years have passed away since those times when we were both groping our way from the darkness in which we had been bred to the light of God's truth, and many changes have come over us both; but always will the recol. lection of our early intercourse be fresh in our heart. After long investigation of the various systems of religion and various plans of world-reform or of individual perfection agitated in our country, outside of the Church, he, through the mercy of God, found in the Catholic religion what he had so long and so patiently sought. He soon felt a vocation to a religious life, was received into the Congregation of the most Holy Redeemer, and went abroad to make his novitiate, and to prepare himself for the priesthood. After his ordination, he was two years on the mission in England, when he was permitted by his superiors to return to his native land, where, with others, he has been employed in giving missions in various parts of the country, with consoling success.

We have watched his career as a missionary priest, both at home and abroad, with affection. ate interest, but in this book more fully than anywhere else we have found again our young friend. Here he begins to utter what God has given him to utter, and his words will go to the hearts of all his early friends, and they are all who knew him. He has greater things than this to say, but he has here spoken the word that was needed, the proper word for the time and place, and it will and must fetch an echo from the inmost souls of not a few of his countrymen, especially in our own New England, where he was so well known and so warmly loved.

The author has given us here the very book the want of which many have felt, and has done what we ourselves have often attempted to do, and would have done had Almighty God given us the genius and ability to do it. We can now throw the manuscript of our own partially completed work on the same subject into the fire. All who have had any experience in the matter know that, with all the variety and excellence of our Catholic literature, we have no book precisely adapted to the peculiar state of mind and tone of thought that we every day meet among the better and more earnest and aspiring class of our countrymen. All our controversial works have been written for a state of things which has passed or is passing away in this country. They do not meet our American mind; they fail to recognize to that mind the truths which it unquestionably has, and attack its errors under forms that it does not recognize as its own. There has as yet been no real medium of communication, between Catholic and non-Catholic Americans, and if our Catholic writers have understood the non-Catholic American, he has not understood them. They have not spoken to the comprehension of the real American mind and heart, or penetrated to what we would call the inner American life.

The genuine American character is the most difficult character in the world to comprehend, and foreigners almost invariably fail in their efforts to understand it. Few Americans themselves, though they feel at once whether you understand it or not, can explain it either to themselves or to others. Our deeper inner life has never yet received its expression. We are as yet a mystery to ourselves, and cannot say what we are or are not. The chief reason of this is, that we are in our infancy, and our character, though forming, is not yet formed, at least not fully developed. To the foreigner and even to ourselves we seem an adult people, with a fixed character such as it is. But this seemingly fixed character is only on the surface. It is no index to the real national character, and can only mislead those who do not penetrate deeper. Under this beats the American heart, operates the real American life, which is rapidly transforming, assimilating, or casting off all this which the superficial observer takes to be Americanism. In order to seize the real American character, we must study, as in the child, what we are becoming, rather than what

Like children we live in the future, not in the present or the past, and look forward, not backward. We have hope, but no memory. As a people, we feel that we have no past, and we despise the present. We feel ourselves

we are.

bound by no traditions, whether of truth or error; we have faith only in what is to come. The great words we sometimes use are spoken prophetically, and express what we feel we are to be, not what we feel we are. We think, feel, speak, in reference not to what we are, but to what it is in us to be. Our character is in the bud; it has not yet blossomed, far less ripened into fruit. Hence the difficulty of comprehending it, and only they who can foretell the blossom and the fruit from studying the bud can comprehend it.

To arrive at some acquaintance with the American character in its proper sense, we must not study it in the busy, bustling life of the multitude, in our shops, in our streets, on our wharves, in our hotels, in our saloons, in our political caucuses, or in our sectarian meeting-houses and assemblies. Here you see us only on our outside, in our transitional state, or in what we have retained or imitated from the Old World, modified by the peculiarities of the framework of American society. The real American heart is not there, and is not indicated by what we there meet. We must look for it in what is to-day apparently a small and hardly heeded minority.. It will not do to regard us as a people with a credo, a fixed form of belief, whether true or false; and it will do just as little to regard us as an infidel or unbelieving people. We are, if the thing be conceivable, neither the one nor the other. As a people, we have no distinctive or dogmatic faith; we have ceased to believe in distinct and definite doctrines, and so far have fallen into a sort of religious indifference; but we have a strong religious nature, we recoil with horror from open unbelief, and have a persuasion that there is and must be a true religion of some sort, though we know not precisely what or where it is. We are best represented by those who have outgrown all the forms of dogmatic Protestantism, and are looking, like Emerson and Parker, for something beyond the Reformation, and have glimpses a truth, a beauty, a perfection above it, to which they long to attain, but feel that they have not as yet attained and know not how to attain. These are the real American people, however few their number, and theirs are the only words that as yet fetch an echo from the American heart. The formal Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Socinian, is as such no representative of the American


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