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God created the heavens and the earth, and then delivered them to the disputations of men. The account of the genesis of the world which is recorded by Moses, is of the simplest kind, and was designed to teach those for whom it was written that this earth and all creation owe their existence to the word of Him who pronounced the mighty fiat ; but though general and simple, the truths that are contained in this narration are divine truths, with which no systems of geology, how beautiful or specious soever, may combat. But those who revere revelation have this consolation, if they need it, that the farther and the more rapidly this science advances, the history of the sacred book becomes more evident and more confirmed; confounding the impious theories of those who would endeavour to prove, from the state of our earth, that we claim in vain for the writings of Moses the high and holy privilege of inspiration.
“ It must be gratifying,” says Dr. Wiseman, “ thus to see a science, formerly classed, and not, perhaps, unjustly, among the most pernicious to faith, once more become her handmaid ; to see her now, after so many years' wandering from theory to theory, or rather from vision to vision, return once more to her home, where she was born, and to the altar at which she made her first simple offerings; no longer, as when she went forth, a wilful, dreamy, empty-handed child, but with a matronly dignity and a priest-like step, and a bosom full of well-earned gists, to pile upon its sacred hearth."*
The philosophy of the Unknown, and the religion of Ambrosio, overcome the scepticism of Onuphrio; the vision and the remarks of Ambrosio upon it are related for the entertainment of the stranger, who agrees in all the opinions of Ambrosio, and declares that such considerations had in his youth freed him from the entangled mazes of incredulity. He is not, however, a Catholic, as Ambrosio had thought, but belongs to the Church of Christ.” This is the religion which Dr. Davy assigns to his brother, than which it would be difficult to imagine one more undefined, or more depending on the caprice of man. For that which Sir Humphry may have considered as essential to the creed of those who belong to the Church of Christ, his brother may deem unnecessary, while a third may think it destructive of Christianity. How different are the members of that Church which stands upon the rock immovable, and in whom are required an “uniformity” and a “stability of faith.” This assertion excited surprise in the minds of the travellers, while they gaze upon the appearance of the stranger. He frees them from their doubts by the following beautiful narration :“ The rosary which you see suspended around my neck is a memorial Lectures on Science and Revealed Religion, vol. i. p. 321.
of sympathy and respect for an illustrious man. I was passing through France in the reign of Napoleon, by the peculiar privilege granted to a savant, on my road to Italy. I had just returned from the Holy Land, and had in my possession two or three of the rosaries which are sold to pilgrims at Jerusalem, as having been suspended in the Holy Sepulchre. Pius VII was then in imprisonment at Fontainbleau. By a special favour, on the plea of my return from the Holy Land, I obtained permission to see this venerable and illustrious pontiff
. I carried with me one of my rosaries. He received me with great kindness. I tendered my services to execute any commissions, not political ones, he might think fit to intrust me with, in Italy, informing him that I was an Englishman : he expressed his thanks, but declined troubling me. I told him I was just returned from the Holy Land, and, bowing with great bumility, offered to him my rosary from the Holy Sepulchre; he received it with a smile, touched it with his lips, gave his benediction over it, and returned it into my hands, supposing, of course, that I was a Roman Catholic. I had meant to present it to his holiness; but the blessing he had bestowed upon it, and the touch of his lips, made it a precious relic to me; and I restored it to my neck, round which it has ever since been suspended. ...“ We shall meet agaiu, adieu :' and he gave me his paternal blessing.
It was eighteen months after this interview, that I went out, with almost the whole population of Rome, to receive and welcome the triumphal entry of this illustrious father of the Church into. bis capital. He was borne on the shoulders of the most distinguished artists, headed by Canova: and never shall I forget the entbusiasm with which he was received -it is impossible to describe the shouts of triumph and of rapture sent up to Heaven by every voice. And when he gave his benediction to the people, there was a universal prostration, a sobbing and marks of emotion and joy, almost like the bursting of the heart. I heard every where around me cries of The holy Father, the most holy Father; his restoration is the work of God!" I saw tears streaming from the eyes of almost all the women about me, many of whom were sobbing hysterically, and old men were weeping as if they were children. I pressed my rosary
my breast on this occasion, and repeatedly touched with my lips that part of it which had received the kiss of the most venerable pontiff
. I preserve it with a kind of hallowed feeling, as the memorial of a man whose sanctity, firmness, meekness, and benevolence, are an honour to his Church and to human nature: and it has not only been useful to me, by its influence on my own mind, but it has enabled me to give pleasure to others, and has, I believe, been sometimes beneficial in ensuring my personal safety. I have often gratified the peasants of Apulia and Calabria, by presenting them to kiss, à rosary from the holy sepulchre, which had been hallowed by the touch of the lips and benediction of the Pope : and it has been even respected by, and procured me a safe passage through, a party of brigands, who once stopped me in the passes of the Apennines."- p. 150.
The day to which the Unknown here alludes, is still a day of joyful remembrance to the Romans, to which they revert with a
loyal and religious enthusiasm. Dr. Davy says that it is not probable that Sir Humphry ever had an interview with Pius VII at Fontainbleau, and that it was not until the return of the pontiff, whose sanctity, firmness, meekness, and benevolence, were an honour to his Church and human nature, that Sir Humphry had an opportunity of paying his respects to him. However that may be, and the circumstance is not important, it is certain that the acquaintance which he formed with Catholics during his last days” in Rome, produced a most powerful influence on his mind.' Dr. Davy has recorded many of his brother's early religious sentiments; and we have only to compare them with opinions seriously expressed in the two works, which we have had under consideration, to perceive the change which his mind had undergone. He every where speaks of the particular doctrines and discipline of Catholics with the greatest respect.
“Nay, Halieus,' says our Catholic fisherman, in the Salmonia (155), call thein not bad neighbours : recollect my creed, and respect at least what, if error, was the error of the western Christian world for 1,000 years' (before the Reformation, consequently coeval with the introduction of Christianity into our island). The rigid observance of the seventh day appears to me rather a part of the Mosaic than of the Christian dispensation.'"
A curious anecdote is then related of an Irish Protestant, who in his zeal for the due observance of the precept, “Remember
, “ thou keep holy the Sabbath day,” forgot those other two commandments, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,” and “Thou shalt not steal ;" and of a Scot who interrupted the innocent experiments of some learned men, saying, “Ye think ye are only stane breakers; but I ken ye are Sabbath breakers, and deserve to be staned by your ain stanes!"
In a letter dated Rome, Dec. 21, 1828, written to his brother, Sir Humphry thus expresses himself :
“ Monsignor Spada is my chief companion here. That most amiable man desires to be most kindly remembered to you. Morichini and the professors of the Sapienza do all they can to assist me in my electrical experiments."
Dr. John Davy may perhaps not know what was the subject of conversation between his brother and the amiable Monsignor Spada. It was our fortune, during a residence in Rome, at the same time that Sir Humphry Davy was in that city, when he was “wearing away the winter, and was a ruin amongst ruins," to form a personal acquaintance with Monsignor Spada, and from him we learnt that his conversations with Sir Humphry Davy were chiefly of a religious nature ; that Sir Humphry was most anxious to be fully instructed in all the doctrines and practices of the Ca. tholic Church; and that he expressed his determination, should the
result of his enquiries answer his expectation, finally to embrace a religion, for the chief pastor of which he has expressed such unequivocal respect and veneration. He left Rome, but with the resolution of returning the following winter to Italy, and it had been previously arranged that he should retire to a villa near Macerata, the native place of M. Spada, to surrender himself with him to the exclusive study of religion. Upon the minds of those who were acquainted with his intentions, there was not the slightest doubt of what would have been the termination of these sacred studies. It has been asserted, although Dr. Davy does not mention the fact, that previously to his death, Sir Humphry was actually admitted into the bosom of the Catholic Church. The profound knowledge, and amiable character of Sir Humphry Davy, won for him the respect and love of many among the Romans. Professor Morichini, whose death has lately been announced, was his particular friend. To him he left his chemical apparatus, which is now in the museum of the Sapienza, and over it a beautiful marble bust, placed there by Morichini, as a tribute to departed science and friendship. The name of Sir Humphry Davy is another name to be added to the long catalogue of those who, within our own recollection, have risen to eminence in literature and science, and who, from that bright height, have looked upon the Catholic Church, and have been struck with her beauty, and charmed with her loveliness. They had, perhaps, placed no curb upon their imaginations before, and, following their own perverted reason as their only guide, had wandered far from the temple of religion into the dark and cold regions of infidelity. But when they have heard another voice, they have confessed, that
“ Religion, whether natural or revealed, has always the same beneficial influence on the mind. In youth, in health, and prosperity, it awakens feelings of gratitude and sublime love, and purifies at the same time that it exalts : but it is in misfortune, in sickness, in age, that its effects are most truly and beneficially felt, when submission in faith, and humble trust in the Divine will, from duties become pleasures-undecaying sources of consolation : then it creates powers which were believed to be extinct, and gives a freshness to the mind which was supposed to have passed away for ever."*
We conclude with expressing our hope that Dr. Davy, after having evinced so much amiable feeling for his brother's character, will not leave the work unaccomplished, but will gratify the public by a complete collection of his writings: which, as models of bold and sagacious reasoning, will form a monument to his fame far more durable than brass or marble, or the loftiest panegyrics of his friends.
* Last Days, p. 207,
Art. IX.-A new Version of the Four Gospels, with Notes,
Critical and Explanatory. By a Catholic. London. 1836. THE appearance of any work upon biblical literature is, unfortunately, a phenomenon amongst us.
Whether this branch of theological science be cultivated as it deserves by the Catholics of Great Britain and Ireland, it might be deemed presumption in us to discuss; but of the manifestation, by its fruits, of such a study, we cannot avoid being cognizant. What is done in the seclusion of academical life, in the cloisters of our religious establishments, or in the rural solitude of our clergy, may be much more than falls under the public notice; the appearance of a work like the one that heads this article, shows that considerable abilities are, in secret, employed upon biblical pursuits, and must check the hasty conclusion, that little is done because little appears. At the same time, the sudden and unannounced publication of a new version of scripture was not the earliest indication which we should have expected of increased attention to these studies. We are utterly unprovided with even elementary and introductory works upon them, whether intended for the education of our clergy, or the instruction of our people; we possess not a commentary suited to the wants of the times, or the advances made in biblical science; and are obliged to seek information either in voluminous, rare, and old writers, or in the productions of men whose religion differs essentially from ours. And even in this last resource, we have but scanty measure of relief. Protestant England is almost as badly provided as ourselves with works of practical usefulness; and it would seem as though water were as bad a conductor of knowledge as it is of electricity ; for the narrow strip which girds our islands most effectually precludes all communication of the various and interesting researches which occupy the Continent.
But the indication of attention to biblical learning, which we should most confidently have expected to find preceding any new version of scripture; and we will add, the proof of its existence which is most imperatively called for, is a revision and correction of that version now in use among Catholics, known by the name of the Douay version. We do not imagine, that the learned author of the new translation for a moment imagined or intended, that it should supersede the one now in general circulation. The sanctioned authenticity of the Vulgate, its use in all Catholic churches, the hold which it has upon the memory of clergy and laity, then the confined and partial nature of the new