תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

have become. In pursuit of this noble end, we find Loyola, when making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and which was undertaken in performance of a solemn vow made shortly after his conversion, thirsting first to convert the Mahometan world, and bring the millions of Mahomet's followers to a knowledge of the true and saving faith; and finding this impracticable, at least for the present, devising means to bring the Greek schismatics to abandon their heresy, and enter once more into union with the Catholic Church. Neither of these enterprises was undertaken; but Loyola did not despair. His one great object was spiritual dominion and catholic unity, and he determined to accomplish it. By making this dominion and unity universal, he believed he would best advance the interests, temporal and spiritual, of the human race. Such was his purpose, which, as far as we can judge, was quite free from that dazzling and all-absorbing ambition, or that love of power merely for its own sake, which forms the prominent feature in the character, and plays such an important part in the actions, of conquerors and despots. It was the fixed purpose of his life. Who shall say that it was not a good one, or that Loyola is not entitled to admiration and respect for conceiving it? or

2. For the consistency he displayed in bringing it to a successful issue.—Loyola's life was one of consistency: he had the goal before him, and he never for one moment lost sight of it. All his energies were brought into play in order to reach it. Keeping this in view, we find Loyola's life, when duly examined, to be one of consistency rather than of persistency; consistency in shaping his actions to one end, rather than persistency in one course of action. A few examples will show our meaning. Thus, when the order with which his name is so intimately connected had been formed, and was in a fair way to success, we find that, after professing passive obedience to the Pope, Loyola on several occasions disputed his commands, and refused to be guided by his wishes. This refusal, however, was not given in a peremptory manner or in a rebellious spirit, but in that of a son desirous for the welfare of the church of which he was & member. And it is remarkable that on these occasions, before openly disobeying the command, he obtained audience of the Pope, and by the force of argument or persuasion frequently succeeded in his purpose. When peremptorily commanded to attend to the spiritual instruction of the Lady Roselle, he at once complied; but obtaining audience of the Pope, explained the dangers to the order and the church if this command were enforced, and so far prevailed as to have it annulled immediately. Again, when bishoprics and other emoluments were offered to the early members of the order as well-earned rewards for the untiring zeal manifested in the discharge of their duties, and the general uprightness and integrity of their conduct, Loyola forbade their acceptance, lest the ranks of the new society should be swelled and cankered with place-hunters rather than with soul-curers; but when a bishopric was offered to one of the order in Abyssinia, he allowed it to be accepted, because there nothing but dangers and trials awaited the missionary, and the mitre would indeed prove a very crown of thorns, and become an almost infallible road to martyrdom: none, therefore, would desire it for its own sake, or enter the society in order to obtain such emoluments as these. Again, we find Loyola, as already noticed, refusing to undertake the cure of the souls of ladies, though he preached to all, because he foresaw that this would prove the speedy ruin of his system, and most certainly bring upon it all the scandal, disgrace, and infamy with which, in consequence of this very thing, all the other religious orders had been charged. Loyola, then, was consistent; and this consistency, moreover, shows that he was-

[graphic]

Free from fanaticism or enthusiasm. A fanatic or enthusiast may be consistent in so far as doing one thing or maintaining one opinion is concerned; but Loyola was none of these. When he found that fastings and flagellations did not bring that peace of mind which he sought, or were likely to obstruct his labours, he abandoned them. Again, he did not expect to convert the world in a day, or without due preparation for so laborious and important a work. Accordingly, we find him resorting to Barcelona, spending two years in study there, thence removing to Alcala, afterwards to Salamanca, and finally to Paris, where he spent about four years in studying and preaching. During this time he seized every opportunity of preparing and laying the foundation of the superstructure which he conceived it to be his mission to raise. Conscious that great ends must have little beginnings, he preacbed to all with whom he came in contact, and did not wait till he could proclaim to assembled multitudes those doctrines which he believed could alone save their souls. When at Jerusalem, he did not, as a fanatic or enthusiast would have done, rush boldly and blindly forward, calling on Saracen and Greek to abandon their pernicious heresy, and bow in adoration before the cross, but calmly made known his intentions to the superior of the Franciscan convent there, and on receiving a refusal to be allowed to stay, he immediately, though sorely disappointed, complied, and departed, determined to find a field of useful labour elsewhere. In the later period of his life, when cares and anxieties thickened, we are told that, when entering on an arduous enterprise, or resolving any grave question, his habit was to pray fervently for assistance from above; and then, never for a moment imagining that miracles would be wrought on his behalf, apply himself with all the energies of his mind and body to the accomplishment of his purpose. Again, a fanatic would have been tempted to do as very many were doing and had done before his day,-immure himself in some cell or cavern, from which he would only issue to show the severity of his scourgings, and earn fame in this way. Loyola's mind was not of this turn; it was eminently practical. “His scheme of Jesuitism, so refined as it is in its modes of dealing with human nature, so elaborate in its framework, and so far. reaching in its views, could not have sprung from any but a mind

of extraordinary compass, à mind self-possessed and tranquil, delicate in its perceptions, sure in its intuitions, and capable of a wide comprehension of various objects.” It shows, moreover, that its author must have mastered his own will and all the passions of his heart; and in a man like Loyola, these, from early associations, would be strong. Loyola himself says, “Impulse and passion are found with the inferior animals and man, but reason is his distinguishing feature, and with him it should be superior." We may, therefore, safely assert that Loyola was free from fanaticism, and also

From avarice. We would not produce the cases of his abandon. ing wealth and going on the road begging in support of this; but rather refer to the vow of poverty taken by every member of the order; to his words, that “poverty should be loved and maintained as the foremost bulwark of religion;" to the decree that "no Jesuit shall demand or receive pay, alms, or remuneration, for mass, confessions, sermons, lessons, visitations, or any other duty which the society is obliged to render; and to avoid even the appearance of coretousness, especially in the offices of piety, which the society discharges for the succour of souls, let there be no box in the church, into which alms are generally put by those who go thither to mass, sermon, confession." Loyola thus claims our admiration and respect for the consistency of his purpose, as well as

3. For the choice and use of such means as were adapted to his purpose.-Loyola wished for spiritual dominion. Manifestly, then, he must undertake the care and cure of souls. Accordingly he does 80, and, as would appear from his biographies, with remarkable success. Conscious, however, that by himself he could never realize his wishes, he chooses ten companions, like-minded with himself, to whom he gradually unfolds his purpose, binds all to FOWS of poverty, obedience, and chastity, so that the work should not be entered on for love of gain, and that there should be no disputes for authority to mar their efforts. It may be said that the surrender of the will to any human being is a crime and a sin. We will not dispute it; but we do not think that Loyola or those who joined the society in his lifetime, especially the originators of it, so thought it; and beyond this we need not stay to inquire. Loyola, moreover, from his previous experience in military life, would be convinced of the necessity and utility of obedience, and would not consider it such a great hardship for any one to render. An end was designed: Jesuitism was the only thing which could accomplish that end : Loyola therefore established Jesuitism. Of its tendencies and development we may speak hereafter. Whatever may be said of these, none can deny that Jesuitism did not accomplish all that its founder required. His was not a new idea: many great men before had entertained it. The various religious orders were founded to accomplish much the same purpose. But no one except Loyola brought it to a successful issue. This idea of centralization and dominion always presents itself to certain minds, and

has been striving from age to age, in the persons of kings, conquerors, &c., to obtain a real existence. We meet, however, with no former endeavour so consistently imagined or so successfully achieved. Loyola alone has shown the world what might be meant by the terms catholic union. “He alone has brought to perfection the process, often attempted, of welding hundreds of individual wills into so true a continuity of substance, that the volitions of a single mind should pass like galvanic currents through the whole, and become intelligible and effectual at the remotest distances." In the choice of his immediate companions Loyola was, no doubt, fortunate, and upon this, of course, depended the success of his enterprise. He had a rare intuitive knowledge of human nature; he could penetrate each man's disposition and estimate his capabilities at a glance; and this it was that caused the instruments chosen to be those, and those alone, who were adapted for his purpose. To acquire this spiritual dominion it was further necessary to educate youth ; they accordingly included this in their plan, and in it were, as their opponents are constrained to admit, very successful. We think, further, that Loyola is entitled to admiration and respect for

4. The energy and perseverance displayed in his labours. We have noticed that on all occasions he seized the opportunity of preaching to those with whom he came in contact. His preaching was earnest, and, as an almost natural result, successful. Multi. tudes flocked to hear him. To all he gave counsel and advice, as far as he was able. He believed he had a great and important work before him, and he rested not day or night in his labours for its accomplishment. In Vicenza, where the eleven met in order, if practicable, to start for Palestine, they spent the interim in preaching to the inhabitants. It was preaching in earnest. They sallied forth in couples. Mounted on a little stool at the corner of a street, the preacher waved his bonnet, and in a loud voice summoned the people to attend. Many, attracted by the novelty of the thing, came; some, perchance, came to mock; and many others to be edified. The effect on all appears to have been much the same. After a few words from the speaker, all were hushed; then a tear might be seen to trickle down a face brazened in iniquity; then convulsive sobs were heard ; and finally, many would force their way immediately to the front of the preacher, prostrate in body and mind, imploring assistance and advice. Many found peace and comfort to their souls ; many were reclaimed from a life of open profligacy to one of good works; many who had become tainted with the heresies of Lutheranism were cured, and brought once more within the fold of the Church. Nor should this statement be doubted. We have seen in our own times the effect of earnest, fervent preaching, in the case of Gilpin, Wesley, and Whitfield. Loyola and his companions may not unjustly be called the Methodists of Romanism. But it was not only in preaching that Loyola showed the iudomitable energy and perseverance of his mind. He sought to reform abuses; and, setting at it in earnest, was, as usual, successful. We may notice here, that when he first began to preach, he was not offended at the filthy rags of those who came to hear, as many before him had been, but that he listened, advised, and preached to all; though one of the first things he besought them was, to put away dirt, to cleanse their bodies, and mend their tattered garments. At Rome, Loyola by bis personal exertions effected great reforms in liturgical services ; induced more frequent and more devout attention to the sacraments of confession and the Eucharist; established and promoted the catechetical instruction of youth; and, in short, restored to Rome much of its vitality. Nor did his energy relax, but rather redoubled, after he was chosen General of the order. During Loyola's lifetime it required all his energy and vigilance to keep his society from being crushed by the fierce onslaught and unfounded calumnies of those most interested in its destruction, or from its becoming effeminate and useless, by yielding to the wishes of its well-meaning but mistaken friends. Loyola never wavered—was never found wanting. He was endued with an iron will, which neither poverty, nor imprisonment, nor even the world's contempt could overcome. He never for one moment lost sight of his end. He was like the skilful mariner, prepared alike for storms and calms; like him, too, he had the sagacity to discern breakers ahead long before they reached him, so that he was not unprepared to meet them; but now with negotiation, now with persuasive entreaty, and anon with lofty command, he was enabled to steer his bark clear of rocks and quicksands, and had the good fortune to see his most ardent wishes realized. Again, we think Loyola entitled to admiration and respect for

6. The general benevolence and humanity of his actions.-His purpose was a grand and lofty one, his actions corresponded with it. This his bitterest enemies could not deny. They made an attempt, indeed, to prove his conduct immoral and flagitious, but signally failed, and were themselves covered with shame and dishonour as the reward of their labours. Nor do we think that it can be effectu. ally urged as an objection to his receiving our admiration and respect under this head, that he only performed such offices to further his own ends. His ends were, no doubt, furthered by so doing, inasmuch as he rose in the estimation of the people; but as we never find him parading his virtues, but rather concealing those actions which in the eyes of the vulgar would give him the reputation of a saint, we may conclude that he was sincere here, and that he visited the sick and afflicted out of pity for their wretched condition. Christian charity, at all events, would enjoin us to believe so. The actions which fall most properly under this head are those where we find Loyola at the bedside of the invalid or dying, administering words of consolation and comfort, or of exhortation and rebuke, to the despairing or impenitent. He made it his practice regularly to visit the sick wherever he was. This he did at Sala

« הקודםהמשך »