Page images

they think they have reason to affirm that these were raised long before those of Egypt, and they at last carry the origin of the Egyptians to the most distant regions of central Africa, to the Ethiopians themselves. In this hypothesis, the Egyptians would be only Ethiopians, that is to say, natives of Africa, who, by following the descent of the Nile, had, by little and little, approached the shores of the Mediterranean. It is the examination, and just evaluation of all these hypotheses, that the Society proposes as a subject for the first competition. It desires to obtain a work in which the writer will discuss the traditions of every kind which may have been preserved relative to the origin of the Egyptian nation. All the facts calculated to throw a light on this subject may be sought for either in the ancient language of the Egyptians, or in their history, or in their mythology and religion, their political institutions, and the monuments of their art and science. The accounts of travellers will furnish sufficient materials to estimate the relative antiquity of the monuments of Ethiopia, Nubia, and Egypt. The question then to be considered is simply this: Did the Egyptians deduce their origin and civilization from central Africa ?

"The Catholic Society of Science intends to complete these researches on the origin of nations, by proposing in the following years, as subjects of competition, questions relative to the origin of the Indians, of the Chinese, of the Celtic nations, and the inhabitants of America, &c.

"The prize will be adjudged by such of the members of the Catholic Society of Science, as compose the Section of Ancient History.

Here follow the names.

"M. Quatremere de Quincy, a member of the Academy of In


"M. Drach, the celebrated converted Rabbi.

" M. St. Martin, of the Academy of Inscriptions.

"The Abbé Perreau, Vicar-general of the Grand Almoner. "M. Poirson, Professor of History in the College of Henry IV. "Abel Remusat, of the Academy of Inscriptions."

Section of Modern History and Jurisprudence.

Subject for the Prize,-The Religious Orders considered with respect to their Influence on the Happiness, Knowledge, and Civilization of Nations. "As the Reformation commenced its ravages by the destruction of monasteries, so the irreligious philosophy of the eighteenth century commenced its war against Christianity by calumniating the

religious orders. It falsified history; it turned a scandalous or apocryphal anecdote into the history of a whole century; an action indifferent in itself, or even laudable, was construed by its malignant artifices into an odious crime. It exacted from all the perfection which was conspicuous in many; it argued against the whole from the fault of an individual; it estimated institutions by their abuses, and the spirit of those institutions by the frailties of men. Such was the real character of that warfare which the philosophy of the last century waged against Christianity.

"The Catholic Society of Science, by proposing, as a subject for competition, an historical sketch of the monastic orders, considered with respect to their influence on the happiness, the knowledge, and the civilization of nations, wishes to oppose to those lying abridgements of history now so much in vogue, a body of facts and observations, which may present to the mind of the reader precise notions and satisfactory conclusions.

"Whatever plan be adopted, the writer is to examine in the first place what was the utility of monastic institutions in general, and of each order in particular.

"It is in the very origin and nature of the cenobitical life, that an observing mind will begin to discover the advantages of the monastic orders advantages equally certain both for civil society, and for the individuals who abandon it to devote themselves to that sublime servitude: for all that religion inspires is good, and when it separates men, it is to render them more perfect, and consequently more useful to their fellow-creatures. These advantages increased in proportion as the different rules were framed, and the different orders established.

"Cosmo of Medicis regarded the rule of St. Benedict as a perfect model of government:-it would be a curious circumstance to force our age, so disdainful of the past, to acknowledge poor and humble monks as the first of modern legislators. This consideration may explain the curious fact why cenobites drawn from the obscurity of the cloister, like the Jeromites of Charles V.-Pedro de la Gasca and Ximenes, have suddenly attained so much distinction in the administration of public affairs, and the conduct of armies, and have achieved so many wonders.

"The cultivation of lands, the support of the poor, the care of the sick and the infirm, the deliverance of captives, the preservation of the monuments of literature and science, the education of youth, civilization carried along with the gospel to barbarous nations, civil wars appeased, imaginary republics realised. Such are the principal

benefits which modern nations have received from the religious orders. Besides these general advantages, each order, according to the views of its founder, had some particular object of utility, corresponding to the existing wants and circumstances of society. This may serve to explain why certain orders have had a shorter existence, while others seemed destined to be perpetuated with Christi anity itself.

"As we do not demand a panegyric, but an instructive history, it is expected that the writer will point out with impartiality the abuses which, at various times, have called for reform, and occasioned the decline and fall of certain orders. This exact and rigid impartiality is more than ever a duty of the historian. When absurd but perfidious insinuations represent religion as responsible for the errors and passions of men, to point out the disorders which she always condemned is only to render her justice, and to prevent the calumnies of prejudice and hatred: but while we justly reprobate false zeal, let us respect good intentions, and not forget what is due to Virtue, even in her aberrations; let us impute to individuals only their personal vices, and not those of their age and nation.

“The narrative should be rapid and well sustained by facts, devoid of minute erudition, but replete with those details which form the charm of a recital, but which must be selected with care, and arranged with judgment.

"The following table, which the Society presents às à m'ére indication, and not as a necessary plan, may furnish the writer with some idea of the copiousness of the subject.

"1st. The Origin of the Monastic Life. The Fathers of the Desert. The Rule of St. Basil.

"2nd. The Cenobitical Life at Constantinople is connected with the Arts and Sciences of the Eastern Empire. Its Decline. The introduction of the Order of St. Basil in the West. The Iconoclasts. The Dispersion of the Religious Orders of the East.

3rd. The Scotch or Irish Monks. Their connection with the East. They cultivate the Sciences, and send Colonies into France, Germany, and the Netherlands. The Abbies of Luxeueil and of Saint-Gall. The Rule of St. Columban.

4th. The Rule of St. Benedict. The Labours of the Benedictines. The Order extends beyond Italy. The Influence of the three Orders on the Civilization of France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

5th. The Monasteries of Fulda and Corbie, under the Carlo

vingian Dynasty. The Abbey of Bea, Laufraue, &c. The Origin of the Scholastic Philosophy.

6th. St. Bernard. His Reforms. St. Hildegonda.

"7th. The Order of St. John of Jerusalem, and the other Orders of Knights Hospitallers. Their influence in the times of the Crusades. The Trinitarians, and the Order of Mercy for the Redemption of Captives.

"8th. The Carthusians. The Trappists. The Abbé de Rancé. St. Theresa. The Carmelites.

"9th. The Ordersof Charity. St. John of God. The Brothers of Charity. St. Vincent of Paul. The Sisters of Charity. Foundlings.

"10th. The Mendicant Orders. The Franciscans, Dominicans, and others. Their influence in Universities. Decline of those Orders. Their Resistance to the Holy See. Occam. Luther. "11th. The Jesuits. Propagation of the Faith by Missions and Education. Their extraordinary Success in the Sciences.

"12th. The actual State of Religious Orders.

"The prize will be adjudged by such of the members of the Catholic Society of Science, as compose the Section of Modern History and Jurisprudence."

Here follow the names :

“The Baron de Vitrolles, Minister of State, President.

"M. Berryer, Barrister.

"M. Dumont, Professor of History in the Royal College of St. Louis.

" M. Guébard.

"M. Michaud, of the French Academy.

"M. Picot, Editor of the Ami de la Religion."


THE Concise but comprehensive work 'of the Right Rev. Dr. Poynter, in which he proves so triumphantly that genuine Christianity and the Catholic religion are the same, has been speedily followed by a production ably and eloquently vindicating its controverted and much-misrepresented tenets. It is from the pen of the Rev. Dr. Coombes, who was contemporary with our venerable bishop at St, Edmund's College, being for several years Vice-President and Prefect of the Studies, as well as Professor of Philosophy and Divinity. Its title is "The Essence of Religious Controversy," and, as might be expected from such a source, it is replete with erudition. We hope soon to lay before our readers a brief review of its contents, and in the mean time recommend all, who are not frightened at its bulk, 416 pages, or its price, to obtain for themselves the gratification we have experienced in its perusal.

A New Manual of Scripture Prayer, and Practical Meditation. 12mo. Large Type. Printed on fine paper. Published by Cuddon, and sold by all Catholic Booksellers.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


HOURS of pleasures, hours of pleasures,
On the wings of boyhood sped,
Where, oh! where, are all the treasures
Which your rosy moments shed?

Where the blushing buds of promise
Which on life's young scion grew?
Where its flow'rets-taken from us,
And their fragrance,-stolen too?

Where the hopes which fancy cherished,
Dyed in all the hues of youth,
Manhood-stricken, all have perished
'Neath the Gorgon brow of truth :-

Then what joys doth man inherit
Which the heedless boy possest ;-
Where is Friendship's angel spirit?
Could it, could it leave the breast?

Yes! it wavered-lingered-fleeted,
Like the sun at even-tide,
And the bosom, meteor-cheated,
Sunk without a ray to guide.

Hours of pleasures, hours of pleasures,

On the wings of boyhood sped,

Where, oh! where, are all the treasures

Which your rosy moments shed?




THINK, think not that friendship is over

When shrouded in death it may lie;

Its rapture, its spirit still hover,

Which never, oh, never can die.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »