Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

bear kissing your hands at this distance : so, like women that grow proud, because they are chaste, I thought I might be negligent, because I was not troublesome. And, were I not safe in your goodness, I should be, Madam, in your judgement, which is too just to value little observances, or think them necessary to the right honouring my Lady.

“Your ladyship, I make no doubt, will take into consideration, that superstition hath ever been fuller of ceremony than the true worship. When it shall concern any part of your real service, and I not throw by all respects whatsoever to manifest my devotion, take what revenge you please.' Undo me, Madam : resume my best place and title ; and let me be no longer

Your humble Servant."

It only remains to speak of Suckling's Account of Religion by Reason ; which, though its title does not indicate so much, is an attempt to answer the objections that have been made, or that may be, against admitting a belief in the Christian creed, as a matter of reason. This discourse possesses, as far as it goes, great merit; being written with considerable clearness, ingenuity, and force, and in a manner that seems to bespeak a sincere desire to further the cause he is espousing. It is deficient only in extent. The points which it does argue, it argues admirably well ; but it leaves many untouched-as indeed it necessarily must, in treating the subject in a few pages only. If his arguments are not all original, they are all put forward with great clearness and dexterity.

We now take leave, for the present, of this accomplished person; quitting him with feelings of the highest respect for his capabilities, both natural and acquired, and with no dis-respect for the uses to which he turned them : for, though he did not do all the good that he might with them, still less did he the evil. It must be recollected that he set up for nothing better than a wit, a man of pleasure, and a fine gentleman ; and in these characters what mischief might he not have effected by means of the weapons he possessed, and the command he had over them. Let it not be forgotten, either, that, with all his freedom of life, and his avowed opinions on the subject of love, (to say nothing of the license of the times,) Suckling was among the purest, if not the very purest writer of his day that has gained any celebrity.

We propose to examine his dramas at length; but as their character is entirely different from that of any of his other works, we reserve them for another number.

!

Art. III.Vita Ignatii Loiola, qui Religionem Clericorum Socie

tatis Jesu instituit; a Petro Ribadeneira, Sacerdote Societatis ejusdem; pridem conscripta et nunc denuo, anno 1589, Roma

recognita et locupletata. Ingolstadii, 1590. 8vo. De Vita et Moribus Divi Ignatii Loiola, qui Societatem Jesu

fundavit ; Libri III. Auctore Jo. Petro Maffeio, Presbytero Societatis ejusdem; er optimis editionibus representata. Accessit de Divi Ignatii Lojola Gloria liber singularis, Josepho Roccho Vulpio, ex eadem Societate, Auctore. Patavii, 1727. 8vo.

We propose in this article to give a sketch of the life of Ignatius Loyola. In selecting him as the subject of a paper, we are induced by two considerations—lst. the personal interest attached to the biography of a man who obtained so much eminence in his generation, and so much fame since he has been numbered with the dead; and 2nd. the amazing influence exercised by the society of which he was the founder throughout the civilized and uncivilized nations of the earth. The history of such a person, the investigation of those powers of mind and of those means by which he achieved so lofty a station, is as interesting to the moral philosopher as the extraordinary domination of the Jesuits is to the student of human policy. Estimating the importance of the subject by the effect it has produced on the world, there are few matters inscribed on the rolls of history which have greater claims on our attention; and although volumes have been written by the Jesuits, and against them, sufficient of themselves to fill a library, it is impossible to discover, amongst those heated discussions in which blind credulity and bold assertions prevailed on the one hand, and an equally blind credulity or wilful calumny on the other, any thing like impartiality and justice. The jealousy which always attends extraordinary power, tracked the footsteps of the Jesuits from the establishment of the society to its suppression, with a vigilance that never slumbered, with a perseverance that never tired : thus pursued, they at first turned on their enemy, and with a bold front defied him to battle; but the conflicts became at length so numerous,

and the results were so undecisive, that they adopted the policy of doing little more than watching his motions. These violent contests have now, however, in a great measure ceased, although some attempts have been made since the re-establishment of the order to revive them ;. and the historian may at this time discuss the merits and offences of the society with a

chance of obtaining an impartial hearing. This being the case, we have thoughts of writing a few papers on the history of the society, beginning with the life of the founder, whose example excited the spirit and whose Institute pointed the aim of the order; and we flatter ourselves, that if we make no discoveries, and produce no very important result, we shall at least show an unexaggerated and perhaps an entertaining picture.

We must commence our history in the year 1491, which was rendered important by the birth of Ignatius, who first saw the light in Spain, in the district called Guipuscoa. Being descended from an ancient family, the lords of Ognez and Loyola, and moreover well-shaped and of a lively temper, bis father destined him for the court, where he was sent at an early age as page to King Ferdinand. Incited, however, by the example of his brothers, who had distinguished themselves in the army, and his own love of glory, he soon grew weary of the inactivity of a court life, and determined to seek renown in war. He applied himself with great assiduity and success to his military exercises, and soon qualified himself for the service of his prince. It is said, that on all occasions he displayed great bravery and conduct; but the writers of his life being more interested in the detail of his theological warfare, have passed over his military achievements with a slight notice, except the affair which was the more immediate cause what is called conversion. This was the siege of Pampeluna by the French; on which occasion Don Ignatius, then about thirty years of age, displayed great gallantry, and was wounded by a splinter in his left leg, and his right was almost at the same moment broken by a cannon shot. The wounds were for a time considered dangerous; and the physicians declared, that unless a change took place before the middle of the night they would prove fatal;

was therefore thought adviseable that the sacrament should be administered to him. This fortunately happened to be the eve of St. Peter, for whom Ignatius had a special veneration, and in whose praise he had formerly indited certain Spanish verses. This early piety, says Maffei, produced no small fruit, for before the critical time of the night arrived, the apostle appeared to him in a vision, bringing "healing on his wings.” Another of his biographers conjectures that the prince of the apostles effected his restoration to health, because he had a special interest in the cure of a man destined by heaven to maintain the authority of the Holy See against heresy. However this may be, Ignatius assuredly recovered, although a slight deformity remained on his leg, caused by the protrusion of a bone under the knee. Grievously afflicted that the sym. metry of his person should be thus spoiled, he determined to

it

have the obnoxious bone cut off, and the operation was performed almost without producing a change of countenance in the hardy soldier. Notwithstanding all his care, however, his right leg always remained somewhat shorter than the left. Restrained from walking, and confined to his bed, he requested, in order to amuse himself, to be furnished with some books of chivalry, the sort of reading which chiefly occupied the attention of people of quality at that time; but instead of Palmerin of England, or Amadis of Gaul, they brought him The Lives of the Saints. At first he read them without any other view than that of beguiling the time; but by degrees he began to relish them, and at length became so absorbed in the study of asceticism, that he passed whole days in studying The Lives of the Saints, and finally made a resolution to imitate men who had so distinguished themselves by warring against their own flesh and blood. These aspirations were succeeded by his former desire for military glory; but after various mental conflicts, and a great deal of reflexion, the charms of penance at length completely triumphed. For the purpose of gratifying this passion, he determined to go barefoot to the Holy Land, to clothe himself in sackcloth, to live upon bread and water, to sleep on the bare ground, and to choose a desert for his abode; but in the mean time, as his leg was not sufficiently well to allow him to carry his wishes into effect, in order in a slight degree to satisfy the longings of his soul, he spent part of the night in weeping for his sins; and one night, prostrating himself before an image of the blessed Virgin, he consecrated himself to the service of her and her Son. Immediately he heard a terrible noise. The house shook, the windows were broken, and a rent made in the wall, which was long after and probably may at this day be seen. These extraordinary signs are not noticed by Maffei; but his less cautious brother, Ribadeneira, relates the fact, although he is in some doubt whether it was a sign of the approbation of

the Deity, or of the rage of the devils, at seeing their prey ravished from them.

Another night the Virgin appeared to him, holding her Son in her arms; a sight which so replenished him with spiritual unction, that from that time forward his soul became purified, and all images of sensual delight were for ever razed from his mind. He felt himself re-created, and spent all his time in reading, writing, and meditating on performing something extraordinary. At length he sallied forth from Loyola, where he had been conveyed after the siege of Pampeluna, and took the road to Montserrat, a monastery of Benedictines, at that time famous for the devotions of pilgrims, making by the way a vow of perpetual chastity, one of the instruments with which he

proposed to arm himself in his contemplated combats. He had

not ridden far before he fell in with a Moor, with whom he entered into conversation, and amongst other topics engaged in an argument about the immaculate purity of the blessed Virgin. The Moor agreed, that until the birth of Christ Mary preserved her virginity, but he maintained that when she became a mother she ceased to be a virgin. The knight heard this treason against his lady with the greatest horror; and the Moor, perceiving the discussion was tending to a disagreeable point, set spurs to his horse and made off. The champion of the honour of the blessed Virgin was for a while in doubt whether it was required of him to revenge the blasphemies of the Moor; he, however, followed him, until he arrived at a place where the road parted, one branch of it leading to Montserrat, and the other to a village whither the Moor was going; and being mindful of the expedient which errant knights of old frequently adopted to solve a doubt, he very wisely determined to be guided by his horse, and if the animal took the same road as the Moor, to take vengeance on him; if not, then to pursue his way in peace to Montserrat. The horse being of a peaceable disposition, took the road to Montserrat; and having arrived at a village, at the foot of the mountain on which the monastery stands, his rider purchased the equipage of a pilgrim, and proceeding to the monastery, sought out an able spiritual director, and confessed his sins, which he did in so full and ample a manner, and interrupted it with such torrents of tears, that his confession lasted three days. The next step which Ignatius took was to seek out a poor man, to whom, stripping himself to his shirt, he privately gave all his clothes; then, putting on his pilgrim's weeds, he returned to the church of the monastery. Here remembering that it was customary for persons to watch a whole night in their arms, previously to their being knighted, he determined in like manner to keep his vigil before the altar of his Lady; and suspending his sword upon a pillar, in token of his renouncing secular warfare, he continued in prayer the whole night, devoting himself to the Saviour and the blessed Virgin, as their true knight, according to the practice of chivalry.

Early in the morning he departed from Montserrat, leaving his horse to the monastery, and receiving in exchange certain penitential instruments from his ghostly father. With his staff in his hand, his scrip by his side, bare-headed, one foot unshod, (the other being still weak from his wound) he walked briskly to Manreza, a small town about three leagues from Montserrat. Resolved to make Manreza illustrious by his exemplary penance, he took up his abode at the hospital for pilgrims and sick persons; he girded his loins with an iron

« ПредишнаНапред »