« PreviousContinue »
rank or fortune would frustrate the effect of rewards, and create jealousy, indocility, and disgust. The master's equalattention was due to all; he must never check the activity of any by indifference, nor wound their self-love by contempt. But, in planting the seeds of human learning in the minds of the students, the principles of religion were to be carefully impressed upon their hearts. Nor was any thing omitted in the Institute that might perfect the system of education, and render men not only fit for the closet, but for intercourse with the world ; to make them not only learned, but well-bred, polished, and gentlemanly. For this purpose, the master was to watch with care every trespass against the rules of civility and good manners, to correct falsehood, detraction, and swearing. It was his duty to form the manners of his pupils to decency, modesty, and politeness; to correct their errors in language, their faults in pronunciation, their awkwardness in gesture, their coarseness in behaviour; no less than to cultivate their understanding and regulate their imagination. All the learning and polite literature of the time was taught in their schools, and upon the best system. The various duties of the founder did not prevent him from promoting study amongst the members of the society, and, that he might himself judge of the progress made by them, he directed the professors of the colleges to send him the theses of philosophy and divinity, together with the compositions in prose and verse of the young regents, without their being looked over or touched by any body else. By masters thus prepared, by pupils thus formed, well might the influence and numbers of the society increase; well might Lord Bacon exclaim, Consule scholas Jesuitarum.
The fame of Ignatius and his society now spread throughout Europe; the pope demanded two of its divines to assist in his name at the Council of Trent ; an office to which Laynez and Salmeron, both young men, (the first being only thirty-four, and the other thirty years of age), were assigned. Thither also was Le Jay, then employed in making head against the Lutherans in Germany, sent by the Bishop of Augsburg, in the character of his legate. They were all much admired for the learning and eloquence they displayed before the assembled divines, and Le Jay, whilst at Trent, was nominated to the bishoprick of Triest, which he not only himself refused to accept, but besought the General to use his greatest influence with the Pope to sanction his refusal; the General ultimately succeeded in preventing the promotion of Le Jay, and subsequently that of Laynez to the rank of a Cardinal. This was undoubtedly acting up to the spirit of the institution; and, although it deprived the Society of some apparent, it eventually contributed to consolidate and increase its real
power. The fame of the society not only attracted male votaries, the most illustrious of whom was Francis Borgia, but female devotees. Gratitude towards his former patroness, Isabella Rosella, who took a resolution of leaving the world and living under the obedience of the society, induced Ignatius to take charge of her and two Roman ladies, who had joined her. But he soon repented of this mode of shewing his gratitude and gallantry, and was heard to say,“ that the government of these three devotees was more troublesome to him than that of the whole society.” He, therefore determined, with all possible expedition to get rid of so troublesome a charge, and not satisfied with that, he obtained the pope's apostolical letters, exempting the Jesuits from the government of women, who, either in community or singly, should desire to put themselves under the obedience of the society.
Whilst the affairs of the society were thus prospering in Europe, (except in France, where great opposition was made to its introduction), and whilst its founder saw it spreading over Asia, Africa, and America, he, in the jubilee year 1550, expressed, at a general meeting of the fathers in Rome, his desire to lay down the generalship; a proposition to which they would not for a moment listen, and he was therefore obliged to submit to retain it a little longer. His infirmities continuing to increase, he assembled the fathers once more, and enjoined them to nominate some person to ease him of the weight of government;-in obedience to this injunction they named Jerome Nadal, who was approved by the General, who left the whole care of the affairs to his Deputy, reserving to himself only the superintendance of the sick. These were so many preparations for his departure from the world, an event which was shortly afterwards to take place. He expired on the last day of July 1556, keeping his dying eye fixed on the welfare of the society, and dictating with his last breath, instructions for its more perfect obedience.
Although this sketch of the life of Ignatius Loyola bears no proportion to the details which have been given of it by about twenty biographers, it is, we conceive, sufficiently ample to enable the reader to form a correct judgement of his character. It has been thought that the society of Jesuits owed its origin to the enthusiasm, rather than the policy, of its founder.* Let the reader trace him from his conversion to his death, follow him through his rigorous infliction of self-punishment, his fastings until exhausted nature was ready to siuk under his severe austerities, his voluntary beggary, bis growing reputation for sanctity, his flight from public notice and reverence whilst he pursued the very means to obtain them, his being stamped a saint, his ap
• Robertson's Charles V., v. iii. b. 6. Bayle, Art. Loyola.
plication to human learning, the unfolding of his views, the alteration in his austerities, in his habits of life and mode of dress, and he will probably be of a different opinion. Enthusiasm was doubtless the inspiring fountain at which he first drank; not so much, however, the enthusiasm of an ardent and noble mind, as a preternatural' excitement caused by the sort of reading to which accident invited him, working on a debilitated and feverish frame. His enthusiasm, after the first ebullition, seems to have had a method in it; it led him to just so much voluntary suffering as was necessary to gain him the reputation of a saint, and it was probably at that species of fame that he at first aimed: his affected humility was ostentation; his pretended seclusion, notoriety; he did not conceal from his left hand what his right hand did, he distributed the alms he had acquired to beggars, and as soon as he had done began to beg himself, to the admiration of the professors of mendicity; and it was no wonder they should cry out A SAINT, A SAINT! He did not retire into trackless deserts like the ‘ eremites' of old, but like a retiring beauty, suffered his flight from the world to be seen, and was shocked when he was followed. Whilst rendering himself an object of loathing and disgust, and attenuating his body to the proper point of sanctity, it was swelling with holy pride and inward gratulation; but as soon as this part of his object was once accomplished, he threw off his tattered robes, and iron chain, he diminished his hours of prayer, and grander prospects and mightier power began to open before him. Not that he would have hesitated to continue them for the purpose of preserving his reputation or securing an important object; but what is to be remarked, is, that those things which he had formerly considered indispensable, were now no longer thought so, and that without any change of the circumstances which originally made them necessary, and it is not sufficient to resort to visions to account for the change. For, although an enthusiastic imagination might see such things in dim perspective,' the whole of the conduct of Ignatius marks him to be a cool persevering and calculating politician*, and the visions themselves ceased, when no longer required to spread his name and consolidate his power. Though influenced by motives of ambition, they were not those of wealth or rank, but of real, substantial power; and, although some obscure thoughts of framing a religious Order might have obtruded upon his meditations at Manreza, it is probable that the precise nature of it was only gra
* Though his biographers considered him of an ardent temperament, his physicians thought him of a phlegmatic constitution.
dually unfolded, and not completed until he was about to leave Paris. It is not a little curious, that after having made a vow to go to the Holy Land, he should have relinquished the enterprize, on the ground, that he could not get a ship at Venice: a man of his zeal and carelessness of personal convenience,who preferred rags to a royal robe, a filthy exterior to wholesome cleanliness, insults to courtesy, and danger to security, such a man one would have thought might have contrived to have accomplished the journey, if he had really wished it. But it may be, that Ignatius liked better to be a saint in Europe than a Pilgrim in Palestine. If it be inquired whether a member of a noble family, and a soldier, might not have sufficient room for his ambitious views in the camp; it may be answered, that he was a younger brother, apparently without much property, had then attained the age of thirty, and might probably be without any great hopes of preferment. But it is alike impossible to describe the limits to which enthusiasm or craft may extend its actions. Supposing, however, that Ignatius was influenced to his course of asceticism by a temporary enthusiasm, it is itself an irregular impulse, which by its own nature cannot endure for any length of time, and it is by no means uncommon to see that which commences in fanaticism, end in worldly policy or hypocrisy.
This view of the character of Ignatius is strengthened by his subsequent proceedings. His Institute, (for there seemis no reason to doubt that it was his), is not the work of “a shatterbrained fanatic”, as will be seen from the brief account we have given of it; and the directions he gave for the education and course of life of his companions, is equally different from that character of him as from his original example of the duty of a holy life. They were educated in all accomplishments necessary to facilitate their commerce with the world. They were recommended to accommodate themselves to the dress, and cultivate the good opinion of the inhabitants of the country where they were resident. Although modesty and decorum of demeanour were inculcated, the fathers were at the same time instructed to be sober without sullenness, and cheerful without levity: in short, their business was to mix with the world, and engage in its interests and concerns. He exercised the absolute power over the society which a man of talent could alone have done. He reprimanded Rodriguez, removed him much against his inclination from Portugal, and at length brought him on his knees, only for having relaxed the discipline of the College of Caimbro.
In the same
manner he humiliated Laynez, on all hands confessedly a man of superior intellect, for declining the office of provincial of Italy, which he was, however, ultimately obliged to accept. Indeed, perfect obedience
to the General was one of the principal duties of the society, the inculcation of which he thought so important, that he wrote an Epistle on the subject, addressed to the Portuguese; and it is somewhat extraordinary, that one of the objects of his addressing it to them was to mitigate the indiscreet fervour of their devotions. His deep policy in the organization of the society is sufficiently manifest, and how well it was adapted to its end is clear from its surprising success. One of the master-pieces of his policy was to found a German college at Rome for the education of German missionaries, to oppose the doctrines of Luther in their native country, from different parts of which he collected students, who in due time were sent forth to fight the battles of the Holy See; a policy afterwards successfully imitated with respect to England, in the establishment of the colleges at Douay and Rheims. He directed a different and more popular mode of preaching, and was himself noted for the plainness and intelligibility of his discourses. He treated the attacks made upon the Order, notwithstanding their violence, with temper and discretion. He laid the foundation of a society, which obtained more real power and influence than any other that ever existed before or since his time. To conclude, he was undoubtedly the immediate cause of much good, and perhaps the remote one of much harm in originating the society of Jesus.
The consideration of the progress of the society in different countries, the good it effected, and the injuries of which it has been accused, will form the subject of future articles.
Art. IV.-Cabalistarum Selectiora obscurioraque dogmata, a
Joanne Pico ex eorum commentationibus pridem excerpta, &c.
12mo. Venet. 1569. Abolita divinæ Cabala mysteria, contra Sophistarum logomachiam
defensa. Autore Jac. Gaffarello. 4to. Paris, 1625. Conjectura Cabbalistica; or a Conjectural Essay of interpreting
the Minde of Moses according to a threefold Cabala. 8vo.
The declining reverence for antiquity which marks this enterprising age, is a standing topic of regret to all orthodox old ladies and old-lady-like old gentlemen, to whom any abuse or error comes amply recommended under the epithet of ancient