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Trembling sing the Virgin Mother,
Mother of our Lord and King;
While we sing her awful glory,
Far above our fancy's reach,
Let our hearts be quick to offer
Love the heart alone can teach.
Holy Mary, we implore thee,
By thy purity divine .
O purest of creatures, sweet mother, sweet maid! ...
Lady, than all the heavens more high!
More than seraph in purity,
A glance of pity incline.
Show thyself a mother,
Offer him our sighs,
Who for us incarnate
Did not Thee despise.
Virgin of all virgins,
To thy shelter take us,
Gentlest of the gentle,
Chaste and gentle make us.
All beautiful thou art, O Mary,
And stain is not in thee.
Mother, beloved, inviolate,

Pray, pray for us.”
“ Virgin most prudent, Virgin most venerable, Virgin most power-
ful, Virgin most merciful.

Mirror of Justice, Seat of Wisdom, Cause of our Joy, Spiritual vessel, Vessel of singular devotion, Tower of David; . . . Ark of the Covenant, Gate of Heaven, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comforter of the Afflicted, Help of Christians, Queen of Angels, Queen of Patriarchs, Queen of Prophets, Queen of Apostles, Queen of All Saints."

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The last few lines of prose are extracted from the Litany of Mary” chanted by Roman Catholics; and a comparison of that with the “Litany of the Saints,” and

the “Litany of Jesus” shows that she ranks high above the Saints, whilst in some instances she appears to be somewhat inferior, in others equal to her Son. A few illustrations must suffice.

From the Litany of Jesus.
“ Jesus, Mighty God.
Jesus, Sun of Justice.
Jesus, Author of Life.
Jesus, Lover of Chastity.
Jesus, our Refuge.
Jesus, Strength of Martyrs.
Jesus, King of Patriarchs.
Jesus, Light of Confessors.
Jesus our Way and our Life.
Jesus, most Powerful.”

From the Litany of Mary.
“Holy Mother of God,

Mirror of Justice.
(No analogous expression.)
Mother most Chaste.
Refuge of Sinners.
Queen of Martyrs.
Queen of Patriarchs.
Queen of Confessors.
Gate of Heaven.
Virgin most Powerful.”

It is qnite true that when the Virgin is coupled in prayer with the Father, the Son, and the Trinity, those are asked to have“ mercy upon us,” whilst the Mother of God is only supplicated to "pray for us,” and this would indicate her inferiority, were it not that on the other hand she is often directly appealed to for such support as only a Deity can give—the power to resist sin and temptation, and the grace to lead a holy life. This belief in her divine power becomes unmistakable when we consider the terms in which she is addressed in such petitions, and compare them with similar prayers to the Persons of the Trinity. In the following a few words are italicised for purposes of comparison :

To Mary
“ Teach us, teach us, Holy Mother,

How to conquer every sin,
How to love and help each other,
How the prize of life to win.”.

To God (Lucis Creator).
Teach us to knock at heaven's high door,

Teach us the prize of life to win,
Teach us all evil to abhor,
And purify ourselves within.”

To Jesus.
“ Curb thou for us th' unruly tongue,

Teach us the way of peace to prize,
And close our eyes against the throng
Of earth's absorbing vanities."

To the Holy Ghost.
“O guide our minds with thy blest light,

With love our hearts inflame,
And with thy strength which ne'er decays,
Confirm our mental frame." .


In a similar but somewhat more familiar strain, the Guardian Angel is also appealed to, but clearly as an inferior being to either the Trinity or the Mother :

“Sweet angel of mercy,
By heaven's decree
Benignly appointed
To watch over me. ..

Oh cease not to keep me
Blest guide of my youth,
In the ways of religion,
And virtue and truth."

The best evidence, however, of the rank held by Mary in heaven is found in the hymns of devotion to the Church :

" I'll never forsake thee, I never will be,

O Church of the Saints, an apostate to thee.

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I may lose some advantage and forfeit some gain,
I may meet with unkindness and suffer some pain,
But Jesus and Mary will surely bestow
Richer gifts than from sin and apostasy flow. .
Then we'll cling to the Priest, and we'll cling to the Pope,
We'll cling to Christ's Vicar, for Christ is our hope;
We'll fight a good battle, and Mary the while,

From her throne in the skies on her children will smile.” In one of these hymns the approval of the Father is also courted, or rather the verse may be so construed as it expresses a fear of the Deity (the reference is still to apostasy):

“O far from me such wickedness,

One treasure I hold dear-
My Holy Faith. I fear not men,
'Tis only God I fear.
I love his Altar, where I kneel
My Jesus to adore :
I love my Mother, Mary dear,

I love them more." At the end of the collection of hymns from which all these extracts have been made, are to be found certain “Divine Praises," which serve to fix the rank of the Mother of God in heaven : « Blessed be God.

Blessed be His holy name. Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man. Blessed be the Name of Jesus. Blessed be Jesus in the most holy Sacrament of the Altar. Blessed be the great Mother of God, the most holy Mary. Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception. Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother. Blessed be God in his Angels and in his Saints." No mention whatever is made of the third Person of the Trinity.

The Roman Catholic conceptions of Heaven, and of Purgatory or Limbo, are too well known to need much comment. One or two extracts may however be useful to enable us to complete our sketch. Death is depicted as an event to be dreaded :

“Vainly strives imagination

That dread moment to pourtray
When the soul, her course completed,
Soon to quit her home of clay,
Fiercely wrestles might and main
With her yielding fleshly chain.”

Christ is then appealed to for protection from Satan :

6 Scatter all his host infernal,

Lay me fast in Thee asleep,
Then to fields of life eternal
Bear me, Shepherd of the Sheep,
There to dwell in sight of Thee,
Safe for all eternity."

Fortunate is the man who has the last sacred offices performed for him :

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* This doctrine is certainly inconsistent with that of Purgatory.

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