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image and likeness,”—the terms as clearly indicating to Adam at the time, that his creation and the creation of the human race was as much the work of the Holy Trinity, as the terms, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in the formula of baptism indicate to the Christian that his regeneration is the work of the Holy Trinity. Hence, the creation of man, of the family, and of society, are all alike God's, all alike sacred creations. Had Adam remained perfect as he was made, so would they. When he fell, so did they.
The divine remedy proposed by God, in order that it may be commensurate with the disease which it is to cure, must of necessity take them all in; that is, it must lift up man, the family, and society, or it would be incomplete. In the “Regeneration” or Dispensation of Christ our Lord, they are all comprehended. The man must be regenerated; the family must be regenerated; society must be regenerated. Apart from each other, they are the respective gradations, and collectively constitute the consummation of Christ's kingdom on earth. Though the natural order be still the order of God, it is to the supernatural order alone—which begins its work with the individual by the sacrament of baptism, and with the family and society by the sacrament of matrimony—that that divine work is assigned by Him. Where these sacraments are not, there may be social or political unions of men, under the name of kingdoms, empires, republics, or families, but they do not constitute that society which God created "to His own image and likeness," except in its ruins. They have their own ends, which are wholly of this world, and the light of nature aiding them to pursue them. And they will be held accountable under Divine Providence if they are false to that light, or if (as it may be) they have turned their backs upon that “perfect light," which God has created in Christ, on the earth, to illumine every part of it. They are not that society of which I am about to speak in the following pages.
That society, of which Christ is the living centre and only source, differs from all other associations of men, inasmuch as its ends differ from theirs. Theirs stop with man's relations to man, as a mere creature of earth and time. Its ends, without ignoring in any way these relations, but the contrary (as we shall further on see), look first to his relations with God, as a creature made for God and for eternity. Hence his baptism must come first. In this it simply adopts the precept of its Master in heaven: "Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and His justice." As the individual Christian is distinguished from other men by the mark of Christ upon him ; so by the same is Christian society from all other society. Christian society can no more resemble other societies than Christ, its founder, can make Himself no more than other men, -Romulus, Mahomet, Buddha, or Brahma. The national policy which is in the greater part of Europe stripping marriage of everything sacred, has also
stripped the society, which it has given birth to, of everything sacred. This is no more than the logical sequence. The result, under another name, is “civil society,” which signifies, in these times, society expurgated of God and of divine revelation. What this atheisticizing policy is leading to will be treated in my last tract, No. 4. Meanwhile a word or two about this “civil society” may here be added. It is all important that the Catholic of the present day should understand that he cannot belong to both these societies; that he should know that the one is instituted by God in the sacrament of marriage, and that the other is constituted by man, with no respect to God at all. The Catholic Church, which must make God the “first and the last” in everything, is at direct issue with civil society on this point. Her missionand she must pursue it even if it should lead to the prison or to the scaffold, as it has often done before
-is to bring all society that is not of God unto God. In this she is seeking to benefit society in the highest possible way. This is patriotism in its grandest form. Now, how does civil society view this? It brings a charge against the Church of interference with its rights. It accuses her of seeking to wound it, while she is actually seeking to staunch its wounds and save it from ruin and death. It is the wolf's accusation of the lamb on a large scale. At this very hour it is made the plea for putting down Religious Orders in France; which it does, not so much to get rid of
the individuals as to put down the Pope and the Church, well knowing that Christianity would fall with them.
For the commencement of Christian society in its earliest development, we must go back to an upper room in the city of Jerusalem. There, by command of their Divine Master, the disciples, numbering one hundred and twenty, met on the day of His ascension, and remained together till the day of Pentecost, which took place ten days afterwards. Among these were the eleven apostles: “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren” (Acts i. 14). In virtue of the office assigned to him by our Lord, “St. Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples," the sacred writer adds, and directed them as to the course to be taken. In the constitution of this assembly we have the formation of Christian society laid on the foundation of the Catholic Church. Whether she be in England, or France, or Germany, or China, or America, or Africa, or Asia, or in India, this is her maternal root, the one mould in which in all parts of the earth she is cast and constituted to the end of time. Wherever she is, God in Christ has pledged His promise that there He will be and dwell for ever.
But if this be so, some one may ask: “Whence then came those wars and fightings” and other disfigurations which make it often hard to discover in
the Catholic family and in Catholic society any traits of a divine Creator? The blemish is undeniable; and it is only the Catholic faith than can give the answer : From the same source as they came in the beginning, when Adam, "made to the image of God," became disfigured by sin, and the family of Adam demoralised by the crime of Cain. As neither the man, in his single capacity as man, nor the family, in its single capacity as a family, ceased to be God's instrument then, for the performance of that work for which they had both been respectively created, so neither does that society which issues from Christ the second Adam, in the individual or in the family, cease to be God's instrument for the accomplishment of those supernatural and eternal ends for which Christ came into the world. If the mercy of God did not allow the fall of man to make his creation utterly void, why should the divine creation of Catholic society be made void because of its transgressions ?
That the regeneration of society as well as of man was to constitute the object of the Messiah's mission would be the natural inference of those who heard John the Baptist's previous proclamation, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” A kingdom is society upon its largest scale; and what should distinguish its character or nature from all other formations of society known to men was, that its descent should not be, as all others are, from earth, but from heaven. It should be “the kingdom of heaven." Those who