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ANSWER TO A QUERY, Proposed in our Magazine for Norember last. And the Lord spake unto Moses, Jace to face.--Exod. xxiii. 11,
Thou canst not see my face, &c. - Exod. xxxiij. 20. The Querist, J. P. complains of a seeining contradiction *.
The apparent difficulty will vanish, if we take the first of these texts figuratively, and the latter literally. By the first is expressed the familiar manner in which the Lord made known his mind to Moses,' face to face;' that is (as it is explained in the words immediately following) as a man speaketh to his friend, in a familiar manner; and with greater cléarness than other prophets were indulged with : in a superior manner also, not by dreams and visions, but, probably, with an audible voice.
The other text is to be interpreted more literally. Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me and live.'. God is a Spirit, - an Infinite Spirit; and, therefore, invisible to human eyes. In this sense, 'no man hath seen God at any time;' and were God to display his glory in such a way as might be visible to man, it would overpower his faculties, and destroy, his life. Therefore, when God so far complied with the wish of Moses (ver. 18) as to make all his goodness pass before him'(ver. 19), he provided against the danger of such a discovery (ver. 22)' I will cover thee with my hand while I pats by: The manifestation of the glory of the GOD-MAN to ihe beloved disciple John (Rev. i. 17) was such, that' he fell at his feet as one dead.'
There appears to me, therefore, no contradiction between the two passages. The 11th verse refers to the familiarity of the divine communications to Moses; the oth verse to the impossibility of bebolding the Divine Essence by human eyes.
* A Correspondent pruilently asks, Whether the introduction of such curious epquiries as this is beoeticial or injurious to the cause of real religion? Is it adviseable, because to an individual something may appear obscure, that the minds of many others should be perplexed with difficu:ties, which would never have occurred to them? Would it not be better i to ask the opinion of a serious minister, or an intelligent brother?'
We beg leave to add, that, for the reason suggested, we do not insert one-tenth of the Queries we receive. There are, however, other Questions of no small inportance ; Answers to which may be very useful. To these due attention will be paid.
The Excommunication of the French Emperor and his Adherents,
by the Pope. The following curious Paper is translated from the Latin Original, which was sent over by Mi. Hill, the British Minister in Sardinia. A Translation in French bas been circulated by the British Government, for the information of the Catholic World. We copy the present Translation, which we believe to be correct, from the Literary Pasoraina for March.
Apostolic Letters, in Form of Brief, • Whereby are declared excommunicated, and de novo are excommuni. cated, the Authors, the active Agents, and the Partisans of the Usurpation on the State of Rome, and op toe other States appcrtaining to the Holy See.
Pius PP. VII. - Ad Perpeluam rei Memoriam: - Wher, on the memorable 2d of February, 1808, the French troops, after having invaded the other and the richest provinces of the Pontifical State, with a sudden and hostile ini petus entered Rome itself, it was in possible that we could bring our mind to attribute that outrage simply to political or lo military reasons, reported among the people by the invaders; That is to say, to defend themselves in this city, and to exclude their ene. mies from the territories of the Holy Roman Courch; neither did we see in it merely the desire of the chief of the French nation to tako vengeance on our firinneas and constancy, in refusing to acquiesce in his requests. We saw instantly that this proceeding had a much more extensive view than a temporary occupation, a military precaution, or a sinple denion. stration or anger against ourselves. We saw revive, and again glow, and again burst out on all sides, those fraudulent and impious plots, which appeared to be, if not subdued, at least represscd; which originated among those men deceived and deceiving by philosophy and vain deceit, intro. ducing damgable heresies,' and who had long planned, and formed parties to accomplish the destruction of our holy religion. We saw that, in our bumble personage, they insulted, they circumvented, they altacked the Holy See of the most blessed Prince of the Apostles, in order that they might by aby meaus overthrow it, from its very foundation; and with it the Catholic Church, althougb established on the most solid rock, by its divine Founder, in this Holy See.
. We had thought, we had also hoped, that the French government, taught by experience the evils in which that most powerful nation had involved itself by unreined impiety and schism, and wnvinced by the unani. mous declaratious of by far the greater part of its citizens, was truly and · heartily persuaded, that its own security, as well as the public happiness, was deeply interested in the free and sincere restuzation of the exercise of the Cairolic religion, and in its defence against all assailants. Moved by this opinion, and excited by this bope, we, unworthy as we are, who opon earth represent the God of Peace, scarcely perceived any prospect of re. pairing the disasters of the Gallican, church, when the whole world is our wiintss! with what alacrily we listened to proposals of peace, and how much it cost us, and the church itself, to conduct those treaties to such a conglusion as it was possible to obtain : but, iinmortal God! in whardid our bopes terminate! What has been the fruit of our so great indulgence and liberality! From the very promulgation of that agreement, we have been constrained to complain wiin the prophel,' Behold, in peace my bit. terpess becomes most bitter.' This bitterness we have not concealed from the church, nor from our brethren the cardinals of the Loly Roman Church, in our allocution to them in consistory, May 24, 1802. We then
inforraed them, That, to the convention we hai made, were added several articles unknown to us, and disapproved by us the instant we knew them. In reality, by these articles, poi vply was the free exercise of the Catholic religion withheld, in points of the greatest consequence and interest to the liberty which had been verbally assured, stipulated, and solemuly pro. mised, as introductory to the convention, and as its basis; but also, in several of these articles, the doctrine of the gospel was closely attacked...".
• Nearly the same was the result of the convention caciuded by us with the government of the Italia i Republic. Those very articles were interpreted in a manner altogether arbitrary, with highly perverse and peculiar fraud, as well as injury ; against which arbitrary and perverse interpretation we had guarded with the utmost solicitude.
• Both thes3 conventions being violated in this manner, and disfigured in whatever bad been stipulated in favour of the church, - toe spiritual power also being subjected to the will of the laic; so far were the salutary effects that we had proposed to ourselves followiog these convent:ons, that other and still greater evils and injuries to the church oi Jesus Christo wa saw growing and spreading daily.
• We shall not here enumerate particularly those evils, because they are ' sufficiently known in the world, and deplored with tears by all good inen.: they are besides sufficiently declared in the two consistorial allocutions, which we made March 16 and July 11, 1808; which we callset to be made public, as much as our state of resiraint adınitted. From those all inzy know, and all posterity will sre, what at that time wore our sentimients on so many and great injuries suffered from the government of France, in things appertaining to the church : they will know with what lony suffering and patience we were so long silent, with what cons'ancy we maintained the love of peace; and how firmly we retained the hope, that a remedy adequate to such great evils might be found, and thai an enri might' be put to t:em; for which cause we have deferred from day to day the lifting up of our apostolic voice. They wilisce wbat were our labou:s and anxieties, - what our endeavours, deprecations, protestations, siyhings (incessant have they been !) that ibe wounds of the church might be healed, while we have intreated that new sufferings might not be in: Aicted upon her: but, in vain bave been exhausted all the powers of hu. mility, of moderation, of mildac3s, by which hitherto we naye sindied to shield the rights and interests of the church from his, who hid associated himself with the devices of the impious to destroy it ulteriy, woo, with that spirit had affected friendship for her, that he might ote red ny bel tray her, who had feigned to protect her, that lie miglat more securely oppress her.
Much and often, even daily, have we been bid to hope, especially when our journey into France was wished for aud solicited; but froin that period our expostulations have been eluded by bold tergiversations and cavillings, and by answers given purposely to prolong the matter, or to mislead by fallacy. At length they could obtain no attention. As the time appointed for maturing the counciis already taken against this Holy Sec, and the church of Christ approached, we were wailed, we were harrassed perpetually, and perpetually were demands, either exorbitant or captious, made; the nature of which shewed clearly enough, and more than enough, that two objects, cqually destructive and ruinous to this Holy See and church, were kept in view; that is to say, either that by assenting to them we should be guilty of betraying our office, or that it we refused, occasion might from thence be taken of declaring against us at open war.
• As we conld in nowise comply with those demands made upon us, they being contrary to conscience, from thence a pretext was formed to send, in a mostile manner, military forces into this holy city : they seized Fort Saint Angelo; tiey occupied slations in the streets, in the squares; the palace itscbf, in wbich we resical, thic Quirigal Palace, was threatened will
all the horrors of war and siege, by a great body of infantry and cavalry : but we, being sirengthened by God, through whom we can do all things, and soslained by a conscientious sense of our duty, were nothing alarmed, nor dejected in our mind by this sudden terror, and this display of the apparatus of war. With a peaceful, an equable mind, as we ought, we performed the sacred ceremonies, and the divine mysteries appropriated to that most holy day, with all becoming solemnity; and neither thro' fear, por through forgeifulness, nor by vegligence, were any of them oinitied, which were appointed is om duty in such a situation of things.
• We recollecies wit Saint sobrose (d: Basilic, tradead. No. 17) that the holy man Naboth, the peus assor of his vineyard, when called by de. mand of the king to surrender his viderard, in which the king, alter having rooted up the vines, mint plant o vile garden of bebs, he answered him, " The Lord forbid that I seould give the inheritance of my fathersto thee!'. Much less could ive suppose it was lawut for us to deliver up so * ancient and sacred a heritage (i. e. the temporal sovereignty of this Holy
See, not without the evident appointment of Divine Providence, possessed · by the Roman Pontiffs, our predecessors, for so long a series of ages) or
even by silence to meem to consent, that any should onlain this city, the metropolis of the Catholic world, where, after disturbing and destroying the most boly form of discipline, which was left by JLS'Is Chrisi to his holy church, and ordained by the sacred canons under the guidance of the Spirit of Goch he should in its stead subsiitute a code, zol only contrary to the holy canons, but in opposition and even repugnant to the precepts of the Gospels, according te bis cusiom, and to the new order of things of the present day, which manifestly tends to confound by consociation all superstitions, and every sect with the Catholic Church.
Naboth defended his vineyard, even with his own blood' (St. Amh. ibid.) Could we, therefore (whatever in the issue might befallus) decline from defending the righis and possessions of the lioiy Roman Church, which, to promote as far as in us lay, we had bound ourselves by ihe most solemn of religious obligations ? Or, Could we refrain from vir.dicating the Jiberty of the Apostolic See, which is so intimately combined wiih the liberty and utility of the universal church?
How extremely fit, and evo necessary these temporal principalities are to secure to the Supreme Head of ibe Church the safe and free exercisc of his spiritual functions, which, by the divine will, are connitted to him over all the world, may be from the present occurrences (were other argumenis wanting) already too clearly demonstrated. On this account, although we affected not this teniporal sovereignty, neither for grandeur, nor for wealth, nor for dominion, - an unwarraniable desire, equally distant from our natural disposition and our most boly character, which fram our earliest years, we have always regarded, --- yet we have strongly felt that it was due to the indispensable duty of our office, from the very day of the 2d of February, 1808, to the uimost of our power amidst such coustraints, to issue by our Cardinad, Secretary of State, a solema protesta. tion, by which to render public the cause of the tribulation wader which we suffered, and to declare our resolution to maintain whole and eatire the rights of the Apostolic See.
Wben, in the mean while, the invaders obtained do advantage by threats, they determined to act towards ils on another sistem. By a cer. lain slos, but most vexatious and even most cruel kind of personlion, they attacked, with intention to weaken, by little and little, our constancy, which they had not been able to shalie by sudden terror. Therefore, while they held us in custody in our palace, there passed scarcely a single day from the said second day of February, which was not parked by some new injury to this Holy See, or by some new vexation to our very soul. All the troops, which had heen employed by us to preserve civil order and diso cipline, were taken from us, and mixed with the Freach bands. Our very body guards, men the most select and inost noble, were imprisones iu
the Castle of St. Angelo; there they were detained many days, then they wcre dispersed, and their companies dissolved. At the gates, and in other places of this most celebrated city, corps de garde were posted. The post-office, and all printing-offices, especially that of our Apostolic Cham. her, and that of the Congregation de Propaganda.Frde, were su hjected to military force and orders ; by which we were deprived of the liberty of printing, or of directing others to print what we desired. The regulations for administering public justice were disturbed and hindered. Solicited by fraud, by deceit, by every kind of evil artifice, to swell the mass of what they called National Guards, our subjects became rebels against their lawful prince. The most audacious and most abandoned of them accepting the tri-coloured French and Italian cockade, and pro... dected by thai as by a shield, with impunity spread themselves everywhere, - nowiu bodies, now single; and, either by command or by permission, broke out into every enormity against the ministers of the church, against the rover ment, against good men. Journals, or, as they call them, Feuilles Periodiques, in defiance of our complaints, were printed at Rome, and cinulated am ng the populace and in foreign parts, filled with injuries, sarcasns, and caluinuics, decrying either the pontifical power or dignity. Sundry of our declarations. which were of great moment, and signed with our own hand, or by that of our first minister, and by our order affixed in the customary places, --- these, by the hands of the vilest satellites
amid the greatest indignation and lamentation of all good men) were torn down, torn in pieces, and trod under foot. Il-advised youth, and other citizens, were invited, elected, and ioscribed iu suspicious converticles, al. though such were most strictly prohibited, under the penalty even of ana. thema, by laws, both civil and ecclesiastic, eoacled by our predecessors, Cleinent xii. and Benedict xiy. Many of our adininistrators and official agents, as weli of the city as of the provinces, men of the greatest integrity and fidelity,' were insulied, were thrown into prison, were exiled to great distances. Searches afler papers and writings of every kind, in the privaie repositories of the magistrates of the pontificate, not even except. ing those of the first minister of our cabinet, were made with violence. Three of our first ministers, secretaries of state, whom we had been obliged to employ one after the other, were carried off from our own residence; and at lasi, the majority of the mosi holy Cardinals of the sacred Ronan Church, our fellows and fellow.labourers, were torn from our side, and transported afar off by mili:ary force.
• These facts, and others not less contrary to every right, human and divine, wickediy aitempted and hardily perpetrated, are so well known by the public, that there is no necess ty to recount them numerically, or to expatiate on them at large. Neither have we omitted, that we might not so much as scein to connive at them, or in any manner to assent to them) to exposiulate sharply and strongly according to the duty of our place.
• Despoiled in such a manner, as it were, of all the ornamenis of dignity and supporls of authority, - deprived of all the accessaries to the fulfilment of our office, and especially of these in which all the churches were interested, -- suffering injuries of every description, vexed by all kinds of terrors and excruciations, - oppressed so extremely, that even the exercise of both our powers was daily further impeded, - after the singular and evident providence of God, the best and greatest which has supported our fortitude, we are beholden to the prudence of such of our ministers as remain.d, to the fidelity of our subjects, and to the piety of the faithful, that ang semblance vf hose powers is yet remaining.
But, if our temporal power were reduced to a vain and empty appear. ance, in this city and in ihe adjoining provinces, it was in the most flourish. ing province of Urbino, of March, and of Camerini, at the same timö ab. solutely taken away: Wherefore, we did not fail to issue a solemn protest aga ust this manifest and sacrileyious usurpation of so many states of the church; as also to admonish our beloved against the seductions of an un