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other's principles or cross his wishes. He knew that charity must often shock in order to save. In proportion to his tenderness, in proportion to the depth and fervor of his charity, did he feel it necessary to hold up the stern and naked truth, and to be studiously on his guard against dropping a single word which, through misapprehension, might tend to inspire a false confidence or induce an ungrounded hope. Wherever, then, he appeared stern and unbending, it was not from severity of temper, but from his ardent charity, his fidelity to God, and his earnest desire to save souls.
Naturally, Bishop Fenwick was of a lively and playful disposition. He had an exhaustless fund of wit and humor, and his social qualities and conversational powers were unrivalled. He relished a good joke, and could give and receive one with inimitable grace and delicacy. Yet his wit never left a sting ; no one enjoyed it more heartily than its victim, as we had often occasion ourselves to experience. His memory was stocked with a world of stories and anecdotes, which he would, in his moments of relaxation, relate with a grace and a charm which it would be as vain to attempt to describe as to imitate. We have listened with the intensest pleasure, for the hour together, and heard him relate anecdotes and stories with which we were perfectly familiar, and which we had ourselves previously related, perhaps a hundred times ; and we have heard him relate the same anecdote the twentieth time with as much pleasure as the first. He had the rare faculty of investing the familiar with novel charms, and he threw the hues of his own mind over whatever he touched. He was a great favorite with children, and it was difficult to determine whether he found the most pleasure in their society or they in his. It was beautiful to see the perfect sympathy between them. His own spirit was as playful, as light, as sunny, as guileless, as theirs, and he could at once touch their young hearts and gain their entire confidence. We were with him most of the afternoon of the Friday preceding his death. He was then all but dying, yet he was as cheerful, as playful, as we had known him when in perfect health ; and we sat for a long time and admired his sportiveness with a little girl, some four or five years old, who came with her mother to see him. At first be frightened her, made her tremble and cling closer to her mother; then gradually he relaxed her fears, made her face brighten, and then laugh outright, — and all by his simple conversation. It was the last conversation of his to which we listened.
This playfulness at first deceived us, and made us draw inferences unfavorable to the depth and earnestness of his piety. We had not then learned that Catholics suppose our Lord meant what he said, when he told his disciples not to be as the hypocrites, who love to pray standing in the synagogues and the corners of the streets, and when they fasted, not to disfigure their faces, but to anoint their heads and wash their faces, so as not to appear unto men to be fasting, but to their Father in heaven. St. Matt. vi. 1-18.
We have since learned that they do not regard the downcast look, the long face, and the sepulchral tone, to which we had been accustomed, as the peculiar marks of piety, and that they associate with religion ideas of cheerfulness and joy, not of sadness and gloom. A more really pious and devout man than Bishop Fenwick never lived, but he took as much pains to conceal his piety and devotion as Protestants do to display theirs. He, in fact, led a truly mortified life, but it was only by accident you were led to suspect it, and he would have been grieved to have had you suspect it at all.
of Bishop Fenwick as an intellectual man and a scholar we are not well qualified to speak. He was averse to all display, and was always so modest and unassuming that you were perpetually in danger of underrating him. Yet one was always sure to find his natural ability and his learning equal to the occasion, whatever it right be. His mind was evidently of a practical, rather than of a speculative cast. He had no special fondness for metaphysical studies and scholastic subtilties, but he was always at home in any speculative question which came up, and familiar with all the nice and subtile distinctions it might involve. His memory was remarkably tenacious, and was rarely at fault.
He seemed to have read every thing, and to have retained all he read. We never, in our intercourse with him, knew a subject to be broached of which he was ignorant. He spoke several languages with ease and fluency, was an eminent classical scholar, and apparently familiar with the whole range of modern literature and science. No matter what the subject, however obscure or remote from his professional studies, on which you sought information, he could either give it or direct you at once to the source whence you could obtain it. That he was a sound divine, well read in dogmatic and moral theology, we suppose there can be no question ; but his favorite studies seemed to us to be history and geography, in both of which, whether general or particular, he excelled.
He had studied them extensively and profoundly. He seemed to have been present in all countries of the globe, and in all ages of the world. In history, he would not only give you the outlines of the history of a particular country, or of all countries, ancient or modern, but he would give you universal history, as a whole and in its details, in its causes, connections, and dependencies. He had been bebind the curtain, in the secret cabinet-council, and had seen and mastered all the secret springs of events, great and small, and was able to trace those events out into all their ramifications and in their remotest consequences. Nothing had escaped him. In the history of his own country, which he loved as a Christian and a patriot, that is, with the affection of a son, without being blind to the merits of others, he was, as may be supposed, well versed ; and he possessed a comprehensive and minute knowledge of all that concerned it, together with a multitude of details and anecdotes of its eminent men, from the earliest colonization down to the present moment, that would have made him an invaluable acquaintance to the learned and eloquent historian of the United States, who lately filled, with credit to himself, a seat in the national cabinet. He was, moreover, preëminently a business man, remarkable for his practical talents, as he evinced so clearly in the administration of his diocese, and which would have fitted him to govern a nation with equal ease and success. Upon the whole, he left on us the impression of a man of rare natural powers, of varied and profound learning, and of being the best informed man we had ever had the honor of meeting, although his native modesty and his humility concealed the fact that such was the case, as much as possible.
Bishop Fenwick could be, when he chose, a keen and subtile disputant, and he delighted to set those who were gathered round him to disputing; but, for himself, he rarely argued, especially with the opponents of the faith. He was, of course, a perfect master of the controversy between Catholics and Protestants, but he was convinced that the best way to reach the understanding is through the heart. It is not precisely argument the enemies of the Church most need, for their objections are less in the understanding than in the will. Their moral state is wrong ; their affections are misplaced, and it is therefore that their minds are darkened. To do them good, it is necessary to touch their hearts, and win their reason through love. Hence, he rarely resorted to argument with them. He heard them patiently, but generally replied by some appeal to
the heart and conscience. He consequently discouraged controversial preaching, and enjoined it upon his clergy to be plain and practical in their instructions, and to study first of all to make their own people earnest and devout Catholics. This is not only the best way of maintaining peace and harmony in a community where there are conflicting religious views, but really the best way of propagating the truth; and it was his opinion that those sermons which are best adapted to send Catholics to their duties are the best to affect favorably the hearts of those who, unhappily, are out of the Church. Those of his own sermons which we had the happiness of hearing were plain and practical expositions of duty, or earnest and affectionate addresses of a loving father to the hearts and consciences of his children. They were marked by no display of learning, or even of eloquence ; and yet he could have been, if he had chosen, the first pulpit orator of the age. He had every requisite of the orator, the eye, the voice, the figure, and the manner, a clear, rich, forcible, and elevated style, a ready command of language, extensive knowledge, an exhaustless fund of varied and felicitous illustration, a free, bold, earnest, and dignified delivery, appropriate and graceful action. But his natural modesty, his deep humility, his abiding sense of his responsibility as a shepherd of souls, made him shrink from whatever could look like display, and study to feed his flock rather than distinguish himself, and lead them to love and obey their Saviour rather than to lose themselves in admiration of their pastor.
We have spoken of Bishop Fenwick's bumility. This was, perhaps, the most striking trait in his character. It gave to his whole character that placid beauty, and that inexpressible charm, which made his society so delightful, and which so endeared him to our hearts. He rarely spoke of himself, and when he did, it was always evident that his mind was not preoccupied with himself. He spoke of the transactions in which he had taken part, nay, in which he had been the sole actor, as if he had had no connection with them. He held no prominent place in his own eyes. He was not merely indifferent to praise, but seemed to have risen to that sublime degree of humility which takes pleasure in being contemned.
He was happy in opportunities to humble himself the deeper before God. Through grace his spirit had become as sweet, as gentle, as docile, as that of the little child, of whom our Saviour said, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven.” He had long
ceased to live for himself, and he was incapable of thinking how this or that would or would not affect his own reputation. He chose always the lowest seat, and was anxious only to draw out and encourage others. He made himself nothing for
. Christ's sake, and was free and strong for whatever there was for him to do. It was a lesson and a blessing to contemplate one so truly eminent for his abilities and acquirements, able to rank with the greatest men and most learned scholars of the age, making himself of no account, completely annihilating himself, for the love of God and the good of souls, and emulous only of serving the lowest and assisting those who were most in need of being assisted. It abashed one's pride, made him ashamed of arrogating any thing to himself, and feel that nothing is truly estimable, save so far as consecrated to the greater glory of God.
It is hardly necessary to speak of this good father's tender solicitude for the flock committed to his charge. Every member was dear to him, and he took a lively interest in each one's concerns, temporal as well as spiritual. They were all his children, and no father's heart ever warmed with more generous affection, or overflowed with more tender solicitude. He lived only to serve them, and he brought all his energies to bear in devising ways and means to benefit them, both here and hereafter. Their joy was his joy, their sorrow was his sorrow. Especially was he the father of the poor. every thing he had, even the very considerable estate he had inherited, and, if all were not amply provided for, it was only because his purse was not so large as his heart. ried his kindness and paternal love even to those who did not always make a suitable return ; and possessed, preëminently,
a the power of rendering good for evil. No ingratitude ever discouraged him ; no unworthy recipients of his bounty ever induced him to abandon or reproach them. If, as rarely happened, some rude or violent member of his flock forgot what was due to their father, he felt no resentment, but melted in compassion for the offender. All who had any real or fancied grievances were permitted to tell their story in their own way, were listened to with patience, and dismissed with gentleness and the paternal blessing. Yet his remarkable patience and gentleness, so obvious to all who were in the way of observing his intercourse with all sorts of people, were the work of grace ; for we are inclined to think he was, naturally, somewhat impatient and irascible. This trait in his character was, VOL. III. NO. IV.