D. Who are those who teach a false and perverse philosophy?
M. They are the liberal philosophers.
"D. Would it not be well to massacre all these corrupters and deceivers of the human race?
"M. No, my son; we should detest their errors, but should regard their persons with the eye of charity, pray God to convert them, pardon the offenses which they commit, do good to them, and succor them in their necessities. These are the doctrines of Christianity, and we should show what a difference there is between the followers of the liberal philosophy and the followers of the gospel.
"D. What are the effects of the doctrines taught by the liberal philosophers?
"M. They cause the decay of religion, bring disaster upon the state, produce the slaughter of war, the weeping of mothers, and the general misery of the people, as may be seen in all those countries whose inhabitants have let themselves be led astray by these fatal and foolish notions. And, above all, they cause the eternal damnation of souls, because he who lives contrary to the law of God on earth can not expect anything but hell in the next world.
D. Are all liberals wicked in the same degree? M. Not all, my son, because some are willful deceivers, and others are wretchedly deceived; nevertheless, they all go the same way, and, if they do not turn from this path, will all reach the same goal.
D. How are liberal philosophers to be recognized? M. When you see any one who keeps away from the sacraments and the religious services, who does not go to church, or, if he sometimes goes there, acts irreverently and disrespectfully, who ostentatiously neglects to take off his hat before the images of Jesus Christ and the saints, and is ashamed to be seen making the sign of the cross; when you hear any one joking about heaven and hell, speaking evil of the prince or of the government, deriding priests and friars and ecclesiastical persons; when, finally, you perceive any one who is glad to learn of the progress of rebellions and the success of rebels, and who disapproves of the vigorous acts of the legitimate authorities, and receives with signs of sorrow news favorable to the preservation of religion, of the sovereign power, and of public tranquillity—then you can say for certain that all these are liberal philosophers.
"D. Are all those who wear whiskers and full beards liberal philosophers?
"M. Not all, because many people merely follow the fashion in wearing the beard.
"D. Are not young men, then, permitted to follow the fashion?
"M. When the fashions are neither obscene nor ridiculous,