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exist without the existence of vice. S. Augustine sees this, when he says in explanation of this "He passage,forbids that such should be taken away out of this life, lest that benefit should be lost to the good which would accrue to them, even against their will, from mixing with the wicked." Who could exercise forgiveness if there were none to injure ? who could be meek if there were no proud and overbearing? who could exercise courage if there were nothing to fear; or Fortitude if there were nothing to bear; or Justice if there were no wrong? Nay, who could have Faith if there were nothing to doubt?

What then? Must there be no forgiveness, nor meekness, nor courage, nor fortitude, nor justice, nor faith in the world? If all the tares in CHRIST's field were rooted up, see what good wheat would be rooted up with them.

It is at the harvest,-it is when the LORD, with His Angels as reapers, shall have put in the sickle to reap the good works which are the fruits of the Cross, and which, because they are the fruits of the Cross, cannot exist without evil intermixed,-that He shall examine each according as his works shall be. From other sources we know that mercy will be shown to him who in an honest and true heart has built amiss upon the heavenly foundation. If any man build upon this foundation (JESUS CHRIST,) gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble, every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire, and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work shall abide which he hath built THEREUPON, he shall receive a reward; if any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss, yet he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire."

You will observe (and compared with the passage just quoted from S. Paul it is very significant,) the LORD does not say them that offend, but all things that offend.1 He does not say that all those who have laid a stumbling

1 The original sense of the word "offend," (offendere, to strike against, to make to stumble,) is so well known, that it is hardly necessary to quote Jerome's explanation of this passage, in which he says, "By offences, may be understood those that give their neighbour an occasion of falling; while by those who do iniquity,' He designates all other sinners."

block in the way of their brethren shall be cast out, because it might have been done honestly, though mistakenly. That which offends,-the stumbling-block itself, will be cast out; but he who has placed it is reserved for the second clause of the sentence,-whether he has done it in iniquity, or in honest error. Here there is no doubt; in this case, it is very clearly the sinner as well as the sin; not that which does iniquity, but those which do iniquity. And observe, also, as Raban has remarked,—it is the present tense which is used even here; "it is not those that have done iniquity," he says, "but those which do iniquity; because not they who have turned to penitence, but they only that abide in their sins, are delivered to eternal torments."

"Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun;" not that they will be more righteous, but more evidently righteous; their deeds, hitherto obscured,-their motives, hitherto misunderstood, will then be as plain as the sun in heaven.

Then comes the caution pronounced by our LORD only on rare and solemn occasions, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear:" which Raban very truly explains to mean, "Let him understand who has understanding; because all these things are to be understood mystically, and not literally."

I have said already that we are individually, as well as collectively, the people of GOD, and that, consequently, every one of these parables relating to His kingdom has an internal and particular, as well as an external and general application; a lesson for our own private conduct, as well as a prophecy concerning the Church at large. It is in this sense that Raban has taken it; "when the LORD says, 'Sowed good seed,' He means that good-will which is in the elect; when He adds, an enemy came,' He intimates the watch that should be kept against him; when as the tares grow up He suffers it patiently, saying, ‘an enemy hath done this,' He recommends patience to us; when He says, 'lest haply, in gathering in the tares,' He sets us an example of discretion; when He says, 'suffer both to grow together till the harvest,' He teaches us. long-suffering; and lastly, He inculcates justice, when He says, 'bind them into bundles to burn."""

Now, let us remember, "Jerusalem is built as a city that is at unity with itself;" and that this, in the Bible version, is rendered by the words, "compact together." If we take this in its mystical sense, it must mean that the kingdom of CHRIST has some essential unity; that the individual parts of it, whether they be nations, or dioceses, or parishes, or individuals, must be each in themselves complete and perfect reproductions of the original type. That is to say, the characters of Christians must be consistent; for that is the real meaning of the expression, "at unity with itself:" consistent with themselves, and consistent with the general polity of CHRIST's kingdom.

And thus, if we cannot conceive it possible that ill thoughts, ill deeds, impatience, indiscretion, and injustice can exist with impunity in the universal kingdom of GOD, taken collectively, but are gathered into bundles for the burning, so neither can they exist in us, its parts, taken individually. CHRIST's Church is yet militant, and therefore yet imperfect; but we shall do well to remember that when it is perfect, that perfection will have been arrived at by casting out as essentially alien to its constitution, not only that which offends, but also all those that work iniquity. Something must be rooted out; something must be gathered into bundles for the burning. It may be our sins, and we may be the LORD's angels ourselves to bind them; for He has given us that mission, and by giving it has made us His angels. But if we will not take this office, He has other angels, whose office may be to root up us and our sins together. One or other must be done. As an old writer has quaintly said, "Heaven's gate is too narrow for us and our bundles of sins together. Let us, then, cast away our bundles, if we would enter ourselves."

NOTE. S. JEROME.-S. Jerome is an instance of wonderful natural powers obscured by an imperfect faith. This is a severe judgment to pass upon the man to whom the Catholic Church is indebted for the Vulgate translation of the Scriptures, and through whom the Church of England has derived the first seeds of its Reformation. But, great as are the services which S. Jerome has rendered in the holy warfare, they are small compared to what he might have effected, had he not chosen ingloriously to bury his talents in the solitudes of Syria.

He acknowledges this himself. "You ask me why I seek the deserts?" he says; "I answer, in order that I may avoid temptations

and combats. 'Why not rather,' you will, perhaps, reply, remain on the field of battle, face the enemy, and win the crown that waits on victory? Not to fight, is to fly: it is the act of a coward.' I acknowledge it. I will not dissemble my weakness. I dare not fight in the hope of victory, from the fear that I may one day be overcome." We cannot but remember that perfect love casteth out fear, and that this very fear of being overcome when fighting with an honest heart in the place in which GOD had plainly called him, was an evidence of imperfect faith. It is also an evidence that sin, though repented of by man and forgiven by GoD, haunts the sinner in its consequences through life. Jerome, a man of strong passions and fiery temperament, had in his youth led a life of dissipation, such as dissipation was in the declining days of Rome. That it was a life of elegant and learned wickedness, such as Alcibiades might have followed, there can be no doubt. Judging from his own writings, there was not an author of Greece and Rome with whom he was not familiar; and his works abound and superabound with quotations from them all. Still, it was a life, the whole tendency of which was to acerbate the natural defects of his character, and to bring them to such a point that, notwithstanding the strictest watchfulness, and the most self-denying asceticism, we find traces of them breaking out in every part of his life. He describes himself-and very truly-under the figure of a man sleeping with a serpent close to him.

He had left Rome, in order to break off at once the temptations which beset him, and had for some time pursued in Gaul the study of divinity. On his return, his natural talents and his acquired learning placed him at once in a situation to serve the Church. All flocked for advice and assistance to the great and holy Jerome. He distrusted himself-left Rome-fled to Syria, where, for many years he led the life of a hermit.

For this we can hardly blame him: it was the natural consequence of his earlier sins. We may doubt whether the solitary life which he led-forcing him to concentrate his attention on his feelings, instead of expanding it on his duties-was wholesome, especially for a man of his ardent temperament; but we must admit that it was a choice between two dangers, and that God had not as yet called him, nor pointed out to him very decidedly his mission; neither did he spend his time in religious idleness. He acquired a perfect knowledge of the Hebrew, Syriac, and Chaldaic languages, and commenced his Commentaries on the Holy Scriptures. By letters he still kept up his communications with Rome, and visited Constantinople in order to confer with Gregory Nazianzen on the plan of explaining Holy Writ.

It was at this time that Damasus, Bishop of Rome, requested him to undertake the translation of Scripture into a language understood by the Italians, who hitherto had been reduced to partial and imperfect versions of the Septuagint; and it is to this immense work, which was subsequently translated into English by Wickliffe, that we owe the first dawnings of the Reformation in England.

Up to this time, we can hardly find fault with the seclusion which S. Jerome had chosen for himself. He had no particular mission, and he was employing in the service of God those faculties which

GOD had given him in so liberal a measure: but in the year 382, Damasus convened a Council at Rome, and especially summoned Jerome, whose reputation at once placed him in a higher position than he had ever before occupied. He soon became the absolute director of the consciences of half Rome, and, as Almoner, the absolute dispenser of half the private property of it. He seems to have made an excellent use of his despotic power, for it is to those who acted under his influence, that Rome owes its first hospitals.

His principal attention was turned to the reformation of the Clergy; a subject in which a more discreet man might have made for himself enemies, Jerome's impetuosity and unsparing severity stirred up whole hosts, who retaliated upon him by reviving reminiscences of his early life, and ascribing his present influence among the Roman ladies to similar motives.

Jerome again fled, and, leaving his glorious work unfinished, sought his cell in Bethlehem.

Who can say whether, if he had faithfully and resolutely completed it, and had succeeded, as he probably would have succeeded, his friend Damasus in the bishopric of Rome, that terrible punishment which was then hanging over the devoted city might not have been averted? It might be, on the other hand, that the faithful servant was thus removed from peril, and made the instrument of safety to others, and that Bethlehem was the ark of safety. We cannot read the counsels of the Most High; but whether it was or was not possible that the doom could by any means be averted, certain it is that within a very few years Alaric and his Huns devastated Rome, and the Goths, the Sarmatians, the Quadri, the Alani, the Vandals, and the Marcomans, burst like a deluge over the whole of the Eastern Empire.

But before this time, many of Jerome's followers had collected round him, and had founded monasteries and convents in Syria. The gates of these monasteries were thrown open to the fugitives; and such was the reputation of Jerome, that the barbarians themselves respected his sanctuary.

He died on the 30th of September, 420, and was buried in the retreat he had himself chosen. He was one of the greatest and holiest of the early saints, but still a memorable instance of the indelible nature of sin, so far as this life is concerned. His early sins, so soon repented, and so completely forsaken, not only gave occasion to his enemies, and thwarted to the very last his honest and faithful service, but besides this, they influenced his whole character, and deprived him of the moral confidence and vigour which were indispensable to withstand adequately their assaults.

"Quo semel est imbuta recens servabit odorem
Testa diu."

Which Moore has freely rendered:

"Like a vase in which roses have once been distilled;
You may break, you may ruin the vase if you will;
But the scent of the roses will hang round it still.'

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