« הקודםהמשך »
the Jesuits induced me to believe their representations. From the nearly equal mass of rancorous denunciation and defence of the Jesuits, I have endeavoured to arrive at the truth by a meditation of the times in which the Jesuits performed their part, their acknowledged method, and its results to humanity. The books written against the Jesuits would form an extensive library—so would their apologies even in the first century of their existence, the Jesuits put forth about one hundred works in defence of their Company or
My object is simply to place a momentous subject in its truest possible light-would that all error were purely abstract — purely “indifferent”—so that we might cherish the man to our bosom, whilst we consign his error to its fittest abode.
According to the Jesuits themselves the Company was a band of angels; their friends are not less extravagant on the subject :-Vitelleschi, a General of the Company, is somewhat more reasonable and candid.
He compares the Society to the skies : the Society is Aurora ; IGNATIUS is the sun ; the members are the stars,“ during so many years, and in so many lands, shining with the splendour of virtue, eminent and perfect. But if,” he continues, “any comet of disastrous result, compounded of the foul and pestilential vapours
of a world too near, should light its deadly flame among so many benign and propitious fires, we should not, on that account, condemn those skies, since even in the beautiful skies of nature we sometimes unwillingly behold the same anomaly.”! A bad Jesuit is therefore a comet ; but a comet is a functionary in the celestial systems ; it is a secondary cause, produced and propelled by a great Designer : then, may we substitute this Jesuit for the comet, and the spirit of Jesuitism for the great Designer ?
Thus, then, much has been said in favour of the Jesuits--more against them ; accusations have been denied, countercharges have been brought forward, and even questions of history still remain uncertain, undecided.
I am surrounded with books of every description about the Jesuits. They have all been written with one professed object in view—TRUTH. Truth has been contemplated by all ; but in how many different ways have they gazed at her charms ! Some have peered with one eye, others with half an eye ; some “with spectacles on nose,” others with quizzing-glasses ; and not a few with that vacant stare which sees nothing ! It is thus with the affairs of the Jesuits ; any and every mind may find something to praise or blame in these extraordinary men, and their extraordinary achievements.
| Epist. 4, R. P. N. Vitell., 1639.
Almost all the authors whom I quote, are in my own possession ; and, in order to facilitate reference, I have preferred to quote works easily obtained,--but still due verification has never been omitted, when the original authorities could be procured. To Ranke I am under great obligations. His “ History of the Popes in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century” is a treasury of facts, collected with vast labour, discernment, and impartiality. Mr. Kelly's translation is so faithful and accurate, that I must also express my thanks to him, for diminishing my labour in the numerous versions I have had to make, from all the languages of Europe, in building up this temple of Jesuitism.
But there is another writer to whom I am still more indebted for the facts of a most important section of this history-I mean the Rev. M. A. Tierney, in his admirable edition of Dodd's Church History of England. Mr. Tierney leaves us to regret that he did not completely recompose the whole history. What a frightful picture has he exhibited of the English Mission during the reign of Elizabeth and James I.! Awful, indeed, are the disclosures of the documents now, for the first time, brought to light by this conscientious Catholic clergyman. The English Jesuits of Stonyhurst lent him their documents-apparently unaware of their contents; and Mr. Tierney made good use of them in their damaging evidence : he laid bare the ghastliness of the Jesuit-scheme in England, and mortally offended the
descendants of Father Parsons and Garnet. The consequence was, that the gentlemen of Stonyhurst peremptorily demanded back their documents ! what was Mr. Tierney's motive? He expressly declares his honourable reason, saying : “We should recur to the errors or the weaknesses of the past only to provide more effectually against the failings and the disasters of the future. It is by defending the faults, that we become answerable for the delinquencies of our predecessors : it is by a prompt and honest condemnation of their misdeeds, that we prove ourselves uninfluenced by their example, and establish the integrity of our own views. We are to judge of actions by their nature and tendency, not by the accidental relation in which their authors may stand to ourselves. Perfection is not the privilege of any order of men; and if history, contemplating the events of earlier times, condemns the encroachments of some, the jealousies of others, and the faults of all, it is not for the purpose of reviving the disputes, or embittering the recollections, of the past, but solely with a view to point out those errors which each should be solicitous to avoid."
Precisely the same motive has actuated me throughout this history. I have neither a “party” nor a system to uphold.
In the plan of the work, the Missionary schemes of
| Dodd's Church History, ii. p. 176, note.
the Jesuits form a prominent subject-together with their training, their educational system, and literature. The main history of the Jesuits, however, belongs to the first century of the Order ; thenceforward it was all retribution and downfall. Still it was my intention to enter deeply into the history of the last years of the Order before its suppression — to evolve the human mind of the age as exhibited particularly in France :— but the formidable finis cut short my meditations.
There are ten Books in the History, each being named after one of the first ten Jesuits, in the order of their accession to the scheme of Ignatius.
Unquestionably the work has been rapidly put forth. Nevertheless, I have no apology to make-no favour to beg. Ample preparation preceded the more composition: what I undertook to produce, is, I believe, performed. Never will I insult the public by craving indulgence for offering of mine. Let it stand or fall by its merits or demerits. The motive which impelled me to the enterprise, will make me respectful of approval
- but callous to vituperation. In the words of the unfortunate Jesuit Southwell—prefacing his “ Mag lalen's Funeral Teares ”—I may be permitted to say, “ Let the work defend itself, and every one pass his censure as he seeth cause. Many carps are expected when curious eyes come a fishing. But the care is already taken, and patience waiteth at the table, ready to take away, when