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Why the whole land swarms with these parochial and diocesan “popes!" Sunday after Sunday the old walls of the once Catholic parish-churches re-echo to expositions of doctrine, and interpretations of the Bible, which the preachers put forth as so undoubtedly true, and so absolutely necessary to be believed, that any body who doubts their words either is destitute of grace or of common understanding. " Whatever the errors of the day,” says Mr. This or That, “here the true gospel is certainly preached. You, my parishioners, have had the truth preached to you; and with you alone lies the responsibility of rejecting it.” This is the story every where. The latitudinarian Whately, Arnold, or Hampden, is as dogmatic, as overbearing, and as confident that he alone teaches the pure truth of Scripture, as an “evangelical" Stowell at Manchester, a M‘Neil at Liverpool, or a Cumming in London. Take these same men, whether in the public pulpit or the private room, each is confident that he alone is right, each lays down the law with the most unhesitating decision, each tells his admiring votaries (who are for the most part of the female sex) that such and such is the gospel, and treats those who venture to dissent as undeniably ignorant of the pure Word of God, and more or less under the influence of the wicked world.
The most remarkable modern instance, however, of Protestant priestcraft is to be seen in the leader of that section of Protestantism which claims to be least anti-Catholic in its principles. We know of no other case which can be paralleled with that of Dr. Pusey. He has gone, and, as we understand, still goes, to lengths in the way of spiritual usurpation and despotism which throw the assumptions of ordinary Anglicanism quite into the shade. So far as our knowledge extends, we never heard of any man who had ventured to take other men's souls into his own keeping with the same unhesitating daring as Dr. Pusey. It is not that he betakes himself to the coarse denunciations of the vulgar fanatic; it is not that he consigns to eternal damnation every one who is not of his mind in matters of religion ; but that with steady, unfaltering determination, he induces the trembling, the agitated, the anxious, the truth-seeking conscience to repose upon him, upon his word, his opinion that the Church of England is a part of the Church, his confidence that it is a sin to obey the Church of Rome. We say nothing of that crafty subtlety with which he and others of his teaching misrepresent the facts and the doctrines of Catholicism to those who consult them, and attack the motives and conduct of those who escape from their captivity. We say nothing of that duplicity which palms upon unsuspecting followers mutilated editions of Catholic writings, without a hint as to the wholesale doctrinal amputations which they have undergone; and nothing of that rigid denunciation of all really Catholic books, and of all Catholic intercourse, which they practise towards their disciples. All this is comparatively little to that unscrupulousness with which Dr. Pusey lulls the consciences of men and women into slumber by means of a soporific which consists of nothing but his personal certainty and knowledge that the grace of Jesus Christ is with the Anglican Establishment. This, indeed, is priestcraft; if not in its more vulgar and more revolting form, at least in that which is most insidious and most fatal. Who that knows the sacred rights of every human intelligence, who that knows that every man has to answer for his own sins to God, does not tremble at the bare thought of such an assumption, and wonder that any person with the barest remains of a conscience within him can thus dare to stand between a soul and its God? We can assure our Anglo-Catholic friends, that whatever imitations of Catholicism may be transplanted into their communion, and however much they may imagine that they know by experience the blessings which we enjoy, there is one thing which they have which is totally unknown amongst us. Such conduct as that of Dr. Pusey himself is without parallel among the terrible clergy of the dreaded Church of Rome. If they wish to know what true liberty is, in its most rational and enjoyable form, we have only this advice to give them, that, having already tried the priestcraft of England, they should come and try for themselves the priestcraft of Rome. No man who has not been immured in a prison knows what it is to see the glorious sunlight, and to bask in the full warmth of the day, and those souls which have been, as the saying is, " under Dr. Pusey," can appreciate the genial warmth and brilliant daylight which rejoice the soul when it is, to adopt the same phrase, “under the Pope," with a keenness to which ordinary persons are almost strangers. So at least we are assured by those who know both these conditions by personal experience.
In this instance, then, as in so many others, Protestants judge us by Protestant tests. They do not inquire what are the facts, and consider what is likely to be the case with persons holding our principles. They see a few of the externals of our religion, whether personal, ceremonial, or disciplinary : they then ask themselves what all these things would be when found in Protestantism ; and on this caricature of reasoning they found a certain set of opinions as to what we actually are, which nothing that we can say in the way of explanation or denial succeeds in driving out of their heads. Their ideas of us are like their ideas of the Gospel,--all hypothesis from beginning to end. They look at nothing objectively; every thing they fancy they see is but the reflection of some image in their own minds. The revealed Word of God is not their real test of spiritual truth, and the facts of real life are not the materials whence they form their views of humanity.
THE CONVERSION OF HERMANN THE PIANIST.
Those of our readers who take an interest in the action of the Church in other lands will have heard, many of them, of the deep impression produced in Paris, during the Lent just past, by the sermons of a Carmelite friar, Frère Augustin-Marie du Très-Saint-Sacrement. They will have heard at the same time that the constant theme of his preaching was the Adorable Sacrament-its grandeurs and its blessings, and his one aim the diffusion throughout France of the devotion of the Perpetual Adoration. They may have concluded that there is some connection between the name which the eloquent. father bears in religion and this appropriation of his powers to one great object; and they may have asked, what is this connection ? and who is the Frère Augustin-Marie ?
A little volume which has recently appeared in France answers these questions; and the history it narrates is so remarkable and interesting, that we are sure our readers will thank us for transferring to our pages a brief epitome of the Conversion du Pianiste Hermann. It will bring before them a signal illustration of the sovereignty and power of grace ; it is one of those instances in which our Lord condescends to render almost sensible " the power of the world to come" amidst which our spiritual lot is cast, in order to sustain or to rebuke our too languid faith in the majesty and might of His. most real presence with us.
Hermann Cohen was born of Jewish parents, at Hamburg, on the 10th November 1821. Of his early years it is recorded only that he was amiable and intelligent; that notwithstanding the delicacy of his health, he made rapid progress in his studies; and that music was the passion of his childhood. At six years old he played readily on the piano the airs of the most popular operas, and astonished his friends by many little compositions of his own. When he was twelve years old, his father, who had been a wealthy banker in Hamburg, sustained, a great reverse of fortune; and his mother resolved to leave the city in which she had lived in such splendour, and to seek a quiet home in Paris. Before her final removal, she visited Mecklenburgh, and took Hermann with her. While there, the Grand Duke was struck with the child's extraordinary talent for music, and advised his mother to devote him to it as bis profession. This advice determined the vocation of Hermann, and he was still further confirmed in his resolve by the success he met with at Frankfort and elsewhere. He reached Paris in July 1834; his letters of introduction obtained for him numerous friends, and secured for him the patronage and tuition of the celebrated Liszt. In a letter to the Père Ratisbonne, Hermann thus speaks of this period of his life :
“ Born of Jewish parents, I was early launched into the profession of music. I was scarcely twelve when I gave my first concert. Alas! God permitted me to obtain a kind of triumph, and my young brain was quite intoxicated. I came to Paris in 1834; and there I became the spoilt child of the musical world. I was cast amongst unbelievers; and as they fancied they saw in me an apt and ready apprehension, they soon indoctrinated me with all the horrible delusions then in vogue ; atheism and pantheism, communism and socialism, the right of insurrection and the massacre of the rich, abolition of marriage, and the enjoyment in common of all property and of all pleasures--these were the habitual thoughts and themes. of a lad of fourteen. Eyil thrives apace, and I was soon one, of the most ardent and zealous of those who had sworn thus to renew the face of the earth-the Benjamin, the beloved son, of these modern prophets of a so-called civilisation...."
Liszt introduced Hermann to many persons of notoriety, and among others to Georges Sand, who gave him her novels to read. He devoured them with avidity; his soul, weak and without safeguard, was still further polluted and laid waste. His mother remonstrated, but in vain; filial obedience was not an article of the new philosophy.
In 1836 he accompanied Liszt to Geneva, to aid in the formation of an academy of music in that city; and there for about a year he had the charge of a class of pupils. He then returned alone to Paris, where we find him, gaining money readily, and spending it more readily still. He says of this time :
" I was surfeited with success, and a proficient in every kind of vice. • The briers of unclean desires grew rank over my head, and no band was put forth to root them out.'* In. company with a distinguished artist, who was at once my master and my friend, I travelled over England and Switzerland, Italy and Germany, more enamoured than ever of my philosophical novelties, and gaining every where success in my art, and proselytes to the poisonous doctrines on which my own youth had been fed. Priests were to me, at that time, antisocial beings; and I regarded monks with a special horror, just as though they were cannibals. Who would have dared to predict that, on my return to Paris, God had decreed to show in me from what a distance He can recall a wandering creature?.."
* St. Augustine's Confessions, lib. ii. ch. 3.
There is a mystery in the conversion of Hermann to which he alludes at times in the words : “ Secretum meum mihi—my secret is mine own.' The Chevalier Asnarez made the following statement to the writer of the little book from which our information is taken:
“ It was, I think, about the end of 1845 that I first saw M. Hermann. I was then giving lessons in Spanish ; and he became my pupil. His exterior was elegant and carefully adorned; his character impetuous; his manners graceful and even distinguished. The conversation of my pupils often turned on subjects not tending greatly to edification, and Hermann was one of the worst. After about fifteen lessons, and while he was making great progress, he suddenly disappeared ; he left his handsome lodging, and no one knew what had become of him. I heard nothing of him until towards the end of 1847, when I happened to be going to the church of St. Valère, where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, and at the corner of the Rue S. Dominique I was surprised to meet M. Hermann. He was quite changed. His countenance was pale, and wore a striking expression of modesty. To his elegantly cut coat, his glossy hat, and varnished boots, had succeeded a long greatcoat, a broad-brimmed felt hat, and stout common shoes. He addressed me timidly, and made some excuses for the small debt he owed me; and he added, • Do you know that I am now a Catholic?'. 'No,' I replied, rather coldly and suspiciously. Well,' continued he, 'if you will follow me, I will tell you all about it. I followed him into the Rue de l'Université, up many stairs into a small room, the furniture of which consisted of an iron bed, a trunk, a piano, a crucifix, an image of the Blessed Virgin, and two small pictures of St. Theresa and St. Augustine. We sat down, and he spoke as follows: When you knew me I was the victim and slave of my passions. . . . I was profoundly wretched. Nearly ruined by my extravagance, I went to Hamburg to my father; but he refused to assist me, he was so indignant at my dissolute manner of life. I went on to