Dublin Review, Vol. 16 (Classic Reprint) Book

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Excerpt from Dublin Review, Vol. 16
The Catholic king of Spain, in whose dominions it was found, although lord of an empire upon which the sun never set, regarded that Name as his proudest title. It was spread over "regions Caesar never knew" and was as little likely ever to be "abolished" as the eternal hills themselves or the unchangeable ocean.
And yet, not once, but over and over again, in that long period, the world had boasted of its victory and of the final overthrow of its rival and enemy. Its attempts had been renewed, age after age, in forms ever varying, but with the same instinctive hatred. The persecution of Diocletian was materially different from that of Nero - that of Julian from his. Mahommed again had been different from all. At one period the avowed object was to crush the Church, at another to divide it. One age directed its fury at the sacred books, another specially at the successors of Peter; but behind all these changes of outward appearance, there had all along been the same power directed by the craft and malice of the same great enemy; the hosts of wicked men and evil spirits, carrying with them unhappily in each age men of whom we may sorrowfully say "they know not what they do"; but all, in one age as in the other actuated and directed by the "god of this world."
Little indeed then would be our wisdom if we allowed ourselves to be astonished that in our own age the immediate object of attack is not exactly the same as in ages past - still less our faith, if we suffered ourselves to be fearful, because, at one time or another, it seems as if the enemy had gained some signal advantage. Nothing can overthrow that society which is the Church, the Body, "the very Self below," of the Eternal Son, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Its existence in the world to this day is, as S. Augustine says, the strongest proof of its Divine origin. For if human power or the revolutions of human society could have affected it, it must have perished ages back.
The peculiar form taken by the assaults of the enemy during the last century has been that of an attack on the visible Head of the Church, the Vicar of Christ. No wonder then that the men most eager in carrying it on are so careful to disclaim any enmity to the Church; just as, three centuries ago, when the great attack was made upon the Church, the assailants were equally earnest in declaring that their enmity was not against the Gospel but against the Church only. What is before us who can tell?
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