תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

sent age will not be overrated at 20; so that Bacon, in order to stand in the same relation of superiority to us as he did to bis contemporaries, would require to receive a development exactly double that which he actually attained. But, further, even although it should be made out that our age is utterly barren in the matter of individual greatness, this would not be of great advantage to the affirmative side; for to many nations the present is not an age of general intellectual culture; and whatever may be said about others, these certainly cannot show a plentiful crop of heroes.

On the whole, therefore, we submit, that neither from the nature of the thing, nor from experience, can it be shown that an age of general intellectual culture is unfavourable to the development of great men.

RAPHAEL.

History

IS THE CHARACTER OF IGNATIUS LOYOLA WORTHY

OF ADMIRATION AND RESPECT!

AFFIRMATIVE ARTICLE. -1. One grand result of the advancement of civilization and learning is, that it has tended to remove the baneful bias of party-spirit, and restrained in some degree the damaging operation of the petty prejudices inherent in each particular sect; so that a man is not looked upon as a saint or a heretic according as he belongs to this or to that religious denomination. Would that this veil of party prejudice were entirely removed from us! There is now a disposition to judge the character of a man, not by the arbitrary standard of the present, but by the light of historic truth; duly allowing for the nature and influence of the times in which each lived, and the peculiarity of the circumstances by which each may have been surrounded. There is now, happily, a desire to render unto every man his due, and to judge righteous judgment. We are thus led to see that, among systems which we may believe to be false or superstitious, there may be, and there have been, men distinguished above all others for the purity of their motives, the simplicity of their lives, and the consistency and conscientiousness of their actions; men whom our prejudices or party feelings would induce us to despise as cunning, two-faced villains. The founders and upholders of a system of superstition, immorality, and abominable treachery, may be found, when their motives and real intentions have been submitted to a close scrutiny, to be entitled to the admiration and respect of posterity.

Such a one, we believe, was Ignatius Loyola. We do not follow the same form of worship with those who claim Loyola as their own; we shall therefore, we trust, be believed when we state that we are not influenced by any party bias : our prejudices would, if we

1863.

D

allowed them, force us to quite an opposite conclusion ; but an anxious desire for truth and justice has led us to diligent research and careful deliberation-bas led us, in short, to take our stand with those who contend that the character of Ignatius Loyola is worthy of admiration and respect. We adduce the following points in support of this statement.

1. The loftiness and goodness of the work in which he engaged.There is something which fascinates the mind, and insensibly wins our admiration, when we hear of one who merely makes an attempt at great and lofty deeds. We often award him his meed of praise, without waiting to consider whether his acts are in themselves or in their effects good or bad. When desire has become reality, and the object with which his attempt was made is in the main a good one, shall we refuse our tribute of admiration and respect to the master-mind who perseveringly pursued it and finally triumphed ? Assuredly not. It must be presumed that the portion of Loyola's life from which we are to judge his character dates from his conversion (A.D. 1521). When lying on a sick couch in the paternal castle at Ognez (Spain), he was, by a perusal of various religious works, which were read more of necessity than of inclination, led to a sense of the enormity of his past offences, of his own present unworthi. ness, coupled with a sincere desire and strong determination to undergo any penance, however severe—to make any pilgrimage, however toilsome and tedious—to do, in short, all that the mortal frame could undergo, in order to remove his guilt and to stand reconciled with an offended Deity. We must not blame him for thinking and acting thus. However futile such attempts may be to accomplish the end designed, he, in accordance with the principles of the religion in which he had been trained, was firmly persuaded of their efficacy, and determined to put them in force whenever opportunity offered. His repentance was, we believe, sincere, and his determination to amend his life fixed. His impressions of things eternal were just, and of the most reverential nature. His conscience had been aroused, and his moral nature underwent a complete revolution. The sense of his own shortcomings was keen and tormenting, his self-reproaches severe in the extreme; and it was as a trembling culprit, deserving nothing but condemnation, that he approached the footstool of offended justice.

But we have as yet said nothing of his purpose. This was, in short, to win souls ; to be engaged in his Master's work; to acquire and retain a spiritual dominion over the world; to persuade all men to enter the communion of that church beyond whose pale, he firmly believed, they would be eternally lost. Surely this was a lofty purpose; and in the main it was a good one-to him, of course, it was a most holy one. Nor do we doubt that it was better for those who heard him, and were persuaded by him to enter the Catholic communion, that they did so, thereby renouncing a life of profligacy and sin, to be controlled by the principles of a religion, however laden with absurdity and superstition that religion might

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 tind 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 suc. ceeded 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 preached 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 bis 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 farreaching 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 distingaishing 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 bad 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

« הקודםהמשך »