תמונות בעמוד

and accomplished as a soldier, and dexterous as a courtier, accustomed to move in the highest circles of Christendom. But whatever they may have been, a wound received at the siege of Pampeluna when 29 years of age rudely put them aside, and stretched him, helpless, on a couch of agony: When almost at the point of death, his excited imagination lead him to believe in the miraculous intervention of the "Prince of the Apostles.” Peter's cure was, however, less complete than those wrought by him in the flesh, for his patient only recovered after many weary months of inaction and suffering, and, in fact, he never regained the proper use of his damaged limbs.

A great change passed over Loyola during the months of his convalescence. The miracle of grace exhibited (as he doubted not) towards him, and an acquaintance with religious works, had led him to instal the infinite, unseen, and eternal, in the place of the mortal, the visible, and perishable. How much of the change was due to his deformity, and its effect in disqualifying him, in a large measure, from shining in his previous pursuits, we can never know ; we only know that a great change had passed over his mind, and that, in soldier's phrase, he had “faced about."

At this period his chief literary work, the “Spiritual Exercises," was composed. In 1522,--that memorable year for the German Reformation,-Loyola, by a formal act, devoted himself, body and soul, to the service of the Blessed Mother of God.” In the course of an arduous and fruitless pilgrimage to the Holy Land, intended as the first step towards the realization of a vast project of converting to Christianity the nations of the East, a large and settled purpose must have developed itself in his mind, for at thirty years of age we find him at Montmartre submitting to the drudgery of acquiring those elements of learning with which he had formed no acquaintance in his boyhood. If we may believe one half only of that whicb is related by his disciples, the humiliations he underwent, and the assiduity he displayed at this period, prove a wonderful strength both of purpose and mind. When his course of theological study in the University of Paris was drawing to a close, he began to cast about for some who should be bis coadjutors and companions in a grand scheme for reforming the Catholic world. Without a doubt Loyola possessed in an eminent degree the rare power of attracting to and retaining in his service minds of superior strength and varied accomplishments.

Peter Faber, Francis Xavier, James Laynez, Alphonso Salmeron, and others, men superior to Loyola in many points and most gifts, were content to be controlled by, and to lose all individuality in, him. From this time we can trace no farther Loyola's individual mind as the mainspring of the Society. These great men by whom he was surrounded bent all the forces of their minds to the advance. ment of the cause, without any conditions as to a share of the fame, or any visible influence.

On August 15, 1634, memorable also as “the date of the rise of 1863.



a Protestant power in Europe," this band of earnest men solemnly devoted themselves to the service of the Saviour, under the protection of Mary, Queen of Virgins, but it was not until 1640 that they were legally constituted a religious order by Bull of Paul III.

The vows which they took on this occasion, besides the usual ones of obedience, poverty, and chastity, included one of unquali. fied submission to the Papal will, and a dedication of themselves specially to the service of the Church, and to the maintenance of the Papal authority, then threatened by the spread of Luther's “heresy.'

It is somewhat remarkable that the offered services of these men and their infant society should have been so reluctantly and hesitatingly accepted by the Roman authorities, knowing, as in this later age we do, that, humanly speaking, these very men and that very institution saved the Papacy from total extinction or great decline.

Loyola, although virtually recognized previously as “General ” of the order, was now first formally elected for life; and in his administration of the affairs of the Society, his eminent talents for organization and engineering men” bad full scope for development. Within a few years from the date of the Papal Bull the Society had established itself in almost every country of the Old, and many parts of the New World.

Loyola's letters on “ Obedience,” addressed to the Portuguese Fathers, deserre more notice than we can bestow. They were written three years only before his death, and embodied the whole principle of Jesuit internal government. The only sin a Jesuit could commit, according to these productions, was disobedience; or a thought only which impelled him to call in question the orders or wishes of his superiors. Such obedience, exercised, not between cloistered walls, as was the case with other orders, but in the every day world, enabled this order to compass such mighty ends, and break down barrier after barrier that stood between the Papacy and Papal aims.

Besides the gigantic task of regulating the affairs of the order, Loyola was actively engaged in the cure of souls, and he founded several foreign missions. After sixteen years of incessant toil and much anxiety, he tranquilly expired in July, 1556, sixty-five years

In this very brief sketch of Loyola’s life we have endeavoured to select those incidents best calculated to throw light on his character, and which are also best verified. We now pass on to the more immediate object of our paper, in which we affirm that “the character of Ignatius Loyola is worthy of our admiration and respect."

Admiration alone we extend to many great but not good men. We admire the characters of Alexander the Great, Julius Cæsar, Napoleons I. and III., Voltaire, and Cardinal Wolsey. But in order that we may respect as well as admire, we require something beyond mere greatness, and this something we take to be an honest

of age:

endeavour in the main to be and to do what is right, according to the given lights. Thus we admire and respect Socrates, Alfred the Great, Luther, Isaac Newton, John Milton, Cromwell, and Welling. ton, not because they were wise in all respects and at all times, nor their deeds always just, according to our standard of right and wrong, but because we believe them to have been mainly actuated by a spirit of self-denial and honesty. Apart from their greatness, these men strenuously endeavoured (who can do more !) to be just and right. We presume that no person will dispute the claims of Ignatius Loyola to admiration on the score of greatness. No little mind could so readily have abandoned the pursuits of half a lifetime, and humbled himself to the hornbook of a child, in preparation for totally diverse ends ; could have attracted to himself minds of such calibre as those of his companions ; could have been so faithful to a purpose through many years of discouragement and non-success, nor have so steered the bark onwards when, at last, the flood-tide of prosperity came. We claim for Ignatius Loyola, then, the charater of a great man.

It is on the second ground that the battle must be fought, viz., " Is this man's character worthy of respect ?"

We say, Yes, on the ground of " fidelity to conscience." We quote from a bicentenary pamphlet, by the Rev. A. McLaren, of Manchester, a passage which will illustrate our meaning. “Conscience tells a man only it is right to do right, wrong to do wrong; it is not the task of conscience to determine right or wrong. If a man so far sophisticate his understanding as to think that to kill is to do God service, conscience will say to him, Then kill. It spoke on Bartholomew's day with equal authority to many a muderer and many a victim." *

* “He is not wholly faithful who has not striven to arrive at a true judgment of what is right, before submitting an issue to its laconic tribunal."

The two points which we need to establish to prove our case are these :-Did Loyola strive to arrive at a right estimate of truth and was he faithful to his convictions when they were once formed ?

We readily admit that from our Protestant, nineteenth-century, freethinking stand-point, it is difficult to imagine Loyola to have been an honest inquirer after truth, seeing the awful errors into which he fell. But it is at his stand-point that we must place ourselves ; we must gaze on the world of waters from his Ararat.

Holy writ tells us that to the pure God will show Himself pure, to the froward He will show Himself froward. And it is remarkable (if only as showing the universal adaptability of the Gospel to men of all kinds and of every age) how, even within the limits of orthodox faith, it comes to each man in an outward clothing, corresponding to his peculiar disposition.

By orthodox faith we mean those cardinal doctrines which all honest searchers into the Scriptures as a whole will agree upon. Of course, without these limits there is a vast sea of error into which a man, who yet trusts to be saved by Jesus, may and will

[ocr errors]

wander, if he credit the assertions of uninspired, fallible men, or bring a prejudiced mind to his inquiries concerning the inspired writings.

Loyola was a Spaniard. Spain, the birthplace of that terrible engine for the suppression of free inquiry, the Inquisition, has ala ays been ultra-Papal ; Spain has had no Savanarola, no Hubs, no Wickliffe, to rouse the minds sunk in superstition and priestcraft; it has been noted, and is noted still, as the most grossly Papal of all countries, owning Rome's sway over body, soul, and mind.

Loyola was a soldier. Obedience to authority and strict discipline -the soldier's virtues-were his. Loyola was an aristocrat, accustomed to command, and to consider himself as a notch above those not born to the possession of blue blood. Loyola was a knight in days when knightly devotion to a lady-love, if rarer than once, had not entirely vanished. Now imagine yourself placed in the position this man occupied during those months of illness when his faith became fixed.

You are from your earliest days a Catholic. You are taught that doubt as to any doctrine held by the Church is a mortal sin; that whosoever does not hold completely and entirely the Church's dogmas will infallibly perish. Your knowledge of the Bible is wonderfully small, and confined to portions which fully support the pretensions of the Church ; finally, you have yourself experienced the miracleworking power of the spiritual Head of the Church, whose infallible successors the Popes are.

Having imagined yourself in this position, tell us if you find it wonderful that Loyola's search for truth led him to the same point to which it has led many mistaken men, quite as honest, and infinitely more enlightened.

We go no further in Loyola's history than his conversion for the consideration of this first question, because his was a mind (like that of his great rival, Luther) which, having once received conviction, never wavered or altered. The principles of faith with which Loyola started on his Palestine pilgrimage were those which influenced and guided him during the remainder of his life. Time will not permit us to argue this further, and yet it will be urged that we have shown no direct proof that Loyola honestly strove to arrive at the truth. Our reply must be this :- Direct proof is simply impossible: to obtain, it we must be as gods, and have the man's whole mental struggles before our view. All we can prove, and this we claim to have done, is, that there is nothing inconsistent with facts or analogy in believing Loyola to have suhmitted a true judgment, according to his lights, to the tribunal of his conscience.

Then, was he faithful to his convictions ? We say unhesitatingly, Yes. What were these convictions ? That the Church of Rome was the only true Church; that none without its pale could be sared ; that the Pope was Christ's vicegerent, and the whole hierarchy divinely appointed.

Burning with zeal for the Lord he had found, longing to increase the boundaries of his sheepfold, Loyola's first project is the vast benevolence of bringing the unbelieving nations of the East into the communion of the Church.

Does not his faith and zeal rebuke ours, who are content to spare our surplus farthings for evangelistic work, and are satisfied and comfortable when we hear of one or two heathens brought from darkness into “ The marvellous light of the Gospel ".

Baffled once, grown wiser, perhaps, by experience as to the requirements of such a task, he devotes himself to the acquirement of theological knowledge, in preparation for further attempts. He enlists other heads and hearts in the great work, and abandons his great and philanthropic idea only when it becomes clear to him that the Church at home is in danger, and that she first of all needs help against-as he thought it-the soul-destroying heresy of Luther.

The Church, he thinks, is Christ's way of salvation ; then logically and consistently, he devotes himself to the help of the Church. The Church, he thinks, is superior to earthly kingdoms; then logically and consistently governments and national plitics must go to the ground before its progress. Every heretic that dies outside the Church's pale is subject, he thinks, to eternal perdition; and again logically and consistently what sacrifice, even of outward morality, is not praiseworthy to rescue such souls from that everlasting doom?

Neither age, nor fatigue, nor prosperity availed to turn him from his spiritual purposes. To the last day of a life closely approaching threescore years and ten, the eternal happiness of his fellow mortals is his only end and aim. The very principles of the "Company of Jesus," which developed into practices that gained for the Jesuits well-merited detestation, were no inventions of Loyola; they were the logical sequences (absurd reductions, so to say) of prin. ciples and privileges claimed for centuries by his Church. Whether the stemming back of Protestantism, effected mainly by the Jesuits, did so much harm as many of us imagine, to the best interest of spiritual religion, is open to doubt. The Reformation had degenerated into Protestantism before the Jesuits had effected much of their work; the spiritual had become earthy, the cause of reformed religion a party political cry. The Church of England by its theory, and the churches of Germany by theory and much of practice, are Fastly removed from scriptural injunction ; and there are not wanting" signs of the times” that the “ Church of the future" will neither be Roman nor Protestant after the model of the sixteenth century. What form will take is only known to its Head, in whom all sincere believers are united, and whose word we have, that “those who believe" (not in any form of worship or dogmas, but)“ in me shall have eternal life.” We conclude our paper by affirming that Ignatius Loyola, although vastly in error in many points, was a gifted, devout, zealous, self-sacrificing man, and as such is worthy in a high degree of our admiration and respect.

Readers and friendly opponents, our best wish for you and for

« הקודםהמשך »