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don, exemption from purgatory, and the eternal paradise.'
I asked of them, if they believed that her image was anything else than a piece of wood, dead and intrinsically worthless ? and they answered me, exclaiming, that this image was heavenly and living, although this did not appear to the eyes ; that it was the same with it as with the host, in which God is corporally and alive, although one perceives him not; that it had been seen, and that more than once, to move its eyes and smile; and that even a holy old man, who was named to me, had distinctly heard it speak to him.'
It is then it, I demanded of these Christians-it is indeed this image that you invoke; it is indeed before it that you prostrate yourselves; and it is indeed from it that you expect cures and deliverances ?
And the answer of every one of them to me was, that such was their belief, and their most certain hope!!
I have said it already: the priests in general are more sober; but there are of them those who go as far as the people. “We invoke, it is true,' said one of them to me, “the holy Virgin, the angels, and the saints; but it is to obtain, by their intercession and by their merits, the graces and the succours which are necessary for us, and to put ourselves thus under their powerful protection. And why should we not do it, since the blessed Virgin is the queen of heaven, since the angels behold without ceasing the face of God, and that the saints also enjoy the beatific vision.'
• Is it not at once reasonable, continued he, as well as it is honourable for God, that we should
draw nigh to these friends of God ;-to the holy Virgin, who is the blessed and beneficent mother of the Saviour; to the saints who have served him upon earth, and the angels who serve him in the heavens, to the end that they may help us before God himself, who is for us all, our sovereign Monarch? What order more beautiful, and at the same time more favourable to man, weak, sinful, and afraid, can be conceived ?
. And think not, added he, “that we should forget hereby, that Jesus Christ is our One and only Mediator. He is himself our Mediator of redemption, while the Virgin and the saints are only mediators of intercession ; and when the saints obtain for us, as from God, by their prayers, graces or succours, it is never but because they are stayed upon the perfect and infipite merits of Jesus Christ.'
Thus spoke to me this priest. But it was quite another thing, which I heard the next day, in the church.
The temple, which is very large, and the place which is near it, were filled with people past counting. At first the service of the Virgin was gone through with the most pompous ceremonies of adoration, and the most exalted praises. When it was ended, a priest ascended the pulpit, and with as much of zeal as copiousness pronounced the eulogium of the Virgin. I cannot repeat his very discourse ; but the sense of it is, with enough of fidelity, re-produced in these terms:
• What will become of the soul which acknowledges not the divine, adorable and all-powerful majesty of the most holy and blessed Virgin ? Where shall that soul appear in order to be saved, if it turns away
thus from the Queen of heaven, from her whose name is above every name ; who is the mediatrix of all salvation; the eternal principle of happiness and of life, and upon whom all the universe, angels and men, fix their regards and their adoration ?
'Is it not in her that God has shewed the glory of bis power and of his mercy, and that he has put all the treasure of his love? Ye faithful! contemplate them with me, and possess them for yourselves !
I see at first her immaculate conception. The angel Gabriel appeared to her mother, and choirs of angels exalted and rejoiced in the heavens. At her birth, which was without pains, the brightness of the sun is doubled, the moon shines as the sun, angels descend in a crowd around her cradle, and the heavenly infant is delighted already with their concerts. Thus, from this blessed day, every year this birth, altogether divine, was celebrated in the heavens, by the blessed and the holy angels ; as also upon earth excommunication and secular chastisements have smitten the profane who have denied its heavenly, nature.
'I see afterwards her assumption. She died : I grant it; although sin had no part in her. But forty days after, she rises again, and on the 15th of the month of August, angels carry her up in triumph into heaven, her habitation and her throne.
Who is she that ascends ? exclaim I then with the ancient church ; who cometh up as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, terrible as an army ranged in order of battle? Ah! it is to-day that the garden of Eden receives the animated paradise of the new Adam, this mother of the living God, yet always a Virgin: this temple of the word, yet incorruptible!
• What do I say? Is it not a Goddess whom the heavens receive? Is it not thus that the most holy Father Leo X. names her? And what goes she to do in heaven? I ask... Now listen!-she goes to receive from God the half of the kingdom of the universe, as the most learned doctors have declared ; and it is thus in order that the court of heaven may adore ber, and that it may obey her, as one who has merited by her works all the glory which is acquired for her for ever.
· Let her be praised then, no more, as while she was yet here below, for what God had done for her ; but let her be adored for all that she has done for God. Or rather, her glory is above all glory, and there is but God who alone is above her, who can worthily proclaim her praise.
* Abase thyself then in her presence, thou church which adorest her. Abase thyself, thou entire world! Heaven and earth, humble yourselves before Mary!
• See you her not established above the kingdoms which she directs and governs? Are they not the kings themselves who confess it? Did not Louis XIII. say to her, I will not reign unless thou reignest? Do you not see her doing all that she pleases, in heaven and upon earth, multiplying the most unbeard-of miracles; overthrowing armies ; delivering towns; driving away the plague; repelling famine ; striking with death her enemies ; hearing all prayers ; appearing to her worshippers, and, to say all in a word, come down from heaven with her most holy Son, in this same place. Yes, faithful ! upon this spot where I speak, and where she deigns to receive you, there to place her sublime and living image,
and there to fix for ever ber abode and all the efficaciousness of her gifts and of her imperishable favours.
“Thus what assurance of pardon have you not in her? If even the souls of the reprobate pray to her from the bottom of hell, to the end that she may deliver them, what shall you not obtain from her grace? Ah, believe it ! if the foolish virgins, instead of addressing themselves to the Son, had spoken to his mother, the door certainly would have been opened unto them; for she would have obtained it from her Son by the right of a mother which she possesses.
Happy then are you, ye faithful! in rendering to her your adorations. If that of latria is what belongs to God, it is to the Virgin that you owe that of hyperdulia: yes, absolute adoration by the submission of your hearts, which you ought to humble in her presence, and the whole affection of which you cannot sufficiently devote to her without reserve the whole obedience and the whole fervour.
‘Happy, also, if you approach to these holy relics, her veil, her comb, her bobbin, her shoe, her ring, her milk! Happy, if her image is dear to you, and you address to her each day your homage!'
It was nearly thus that the preacher expressed himself. The people wbo listened to him were charmed and in compunction; and the remainder of the day was employed by this multitude in processions, in adorations to the angels and to the saints, in felicitations upon the result of such a pilgrimage, and upon the full pardon which should be gained by it, and even which might be shared among relations and friends, who had not been able to visit the image except by their intention and in spirit,