Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the terrified and conscience-stricken man crept to the water's edge, and peered at him through the gloom, he continued, 'And here will I suffer, 0 sinner, for your sins! Go, gratify your lust.'"

Whatever else, however, might engage his attention, he does not forget the one great desire of his soul, to reclaim the Holy Land. And now he set himself to work enlist. ing others in his project. Through six long years he labored, and at the end found that he could count one for each year-Peter Faber, Francis Xavier, James Laynez, Alphonso Salmeron, Nicholas Alphonso, and Simon Rodrignez. In a subterranean chapel of the church of Montmartre, these seven pilgrim students bind them by solemn vow to undertake a mission to Palestine ; or if frustrated in this design, 10 throw themselves at the feet of the sovereign pontiff, without reservation, and go where ever he might choose to send thern. This vow was taken on the 15th of August, 1534. But for nearly three years they defer the execution of their plans, that they may complete their studies. Early the next year Loyola went to Spain, and when he parted from his disciples it was with the understanding that in two years from that time they should meet him in Venice. Loyola, by his severe labors and ascetic practices, had seriously impaired his health, and at his physician's advice he reluctantly sought a remedy by a visit to his native land. On arriving near his home he took up his abode at a hospital, and all the persuasion of his friends could not induce him to accept the hospitalities and the comforts of his father's castle. Daily they sent him sumptuous fare from the house, but he distributed it among the poor. While in his native land he was not idle, but preached in the churches, and by the way-side, the eager crowds climbing trees to catch his words. He travelled the country through dangerous and unfrequented by-ways, and when he had settled all his worldly affairs and those of his companions, he bade farewell to his native land, and repaired to Venice, there to await his friends. At the appointed time his six followers came, as they had vowed to do more than two years before. “ They had taken their course through France, Germany, and Switzerland, staff in hand, their books of piety in knapsacks on their shoulders, each with his chaplet of beads round his neck, as a sign of his profession, and most necessary in traversing countries pervaded by heresy. As they went they begged their bread. Those who were in priest's orders administered the communion daily to their companions, and the company diverted the toils and sufferings of the journey by singing psalms, or by pious discourse.'' 2

The blessing of the pope was obtained, and those who were laymen were ordained as priests, and they stood ready for their mission to rescue that land where Jesus had taught and died. When they reached the place of embarkation, they found a war waging between the Christians and the Turks, and they could not by any means obtain a passage to the shores of Palestine. They then resolved to wait for a year, and if the way was still closed, to go, as they had vowed, wherever the sovereign pontiff might send them. But they were not idle; they were at work in hospitals, and prisons, and by the way-side, with the same untiring devotion, self-denial, and self-sacrifice that had before characterized their lives. The year passed, and still the way to Palestine was closed. And now their vow bound them to follow the pope's behests. But it is likely that during this year a broader field of labor had opened to the energetic mind of Loyola. He met his companions, and reminded them of their vow. He was now forty-eight years of age, and seventeen years had passed since he lay on his couch, in his father's castle, turning over the leaves of the Lives of the Saints. And now, after so much toil, so much study, so much suffering, so much exposure, imprisonment, and almost starvation, he stood up, with his companions around him, and with a calm and commanding countenance, upon which is to be traced not a single shade of disappointment or regret, announces to them the failure of the great purpose of his life. " When he bade the castle of Loyola farewell, in 1522, tears stood upon his cheek; when he abandoned Palestine, his lip trembled; when tyrannized over at Alcala and Salamanca, his eye flashed fire; but years had done their work, and in the spirit of true faith and resignation he now pointed out to his followers the way which God had opened for them.”3 For the future it was no pent-up Taylor.

3 North American Review for 1844.

ey were liste A delegation the ponti

Palestine, with its Turks, but the world was to be their field ; wherever there was a sinner, there should they labor. “Brothers," said Loyola, " we are the company of Jesus;' he is our captain, and, batiling under him, we will drive back the heretics of Germany, and carry the gospel to the farthest east, and to the new-found heathen of the west." As he thus spoke, his little company felt that they were listening to none other than the voice of a prophet of God. A delegation was sent to Rome to offer the services of the company to the pontiff. On the 27th of September, 1540, a bull was issued from the vatican establishing the order of the “Society of Jesus.And thus commenced what we term Jesuits.

The sanction of the head of the church being obtained, a General was to be chosen, and a constitution formed, And on whom, of all their little band, could the choice fall but Loyola ? And now that they were fairly established as a society, they vowed, first of all, to obey the pope, and, furthermore, to live a life of chastity and poverty, and to “teach little children the Christian doctrine.” Immediately af:er bis election as general, Ignatius devoted himself to this last duty; "and through forty days," says the record, "the church of Santa Maria de Sirata was filled with curious and awe-struck listeners; the noble, the rich, the beautiful, learned divines, and venerable teachers, were there, catching with eagerness the broken Italian of the Spanish saint, as he expounded the catechism to the children about his knees. Some sneered, but for the most part men and women wept, or smiled through their tears, as they beard the heart-felt, heart-reaching accents of him who had studied divinity so profoundly in the great school of life.”

The first business of the general, after the formation of the society, was to frame a constitution for its government. This is drawn up in a workmanlike, but mechanical way. Perfect obedience and submission to the head, is the begin. ning, the middle, and the ending of this constitution. In his youth and early manhood, Loyola, as we have seen, was a soldier ; and much of the military discipline is observable in the rules which he imposed on the new order. The Jesuits were drilled to the last degree. Every man who entered the order was tried like a mus. ket, and only those who beyond all question proved sound, were retained. And it was a severe test; for he who would be a Jesuit must vow to abandon the world, to hate father and mother, brother and sister, all for the sake of Jesus. The society rapidly advanced in wealth and numbers, spreading itself over all parts of the habit. able globe, but revolving around Rome as its common centre. And here sat the general, placed as it were on a mount of observation, beholding “all the kingdoms of the world;" his eye on every member, though he were in the farthest isle of the sea. The society continued to advance till in the middle of the eighteenth century it reached the height of its power, and “stood a vast tree, its trunk rooted in the Vatican, while its branches overshadowed the earth, and were entwined with all the interests of society.” Speaking of the Jesuits, as they were towards the close of the seventeenth century, Mr. Macaulay, in the sixth chapter of his History of England, says :

“ Throughout Catholic Europe, the secrets of every government and of almost every family of note were in their keeping.

They glided from one Protestant country to another, under innu. merable disguises, as gay cavaliers, as simple rustics, as Puritan preachers. They wandered to countries which neither mercantile avidity nor liberal curiosity had ever impelled any stranger to esplore. They were to be found in the garb of Mandarins, superintending the observatory at Pekin. They were to be found, spade in hand, teaching the rudiments of agriculture to the savages of Paraguay. Yet, wherever might be their residence, whatever might be their employment, their spirit was the same-entire devotion to the common cause, implicit obedience to the central authority. None of them had chosen his dwelling place or his avocation for himself. Whether the Jesuit should live under the arctic circle, or under the equator-whether he should pass his life in arranging gems and collecting manuscripts at the Vatican, or in persuading naked barbarians in the southern hemisphere not to eat each other, were matters which he left with profound submission to the decision of others. If he was wanted at Lima, he was on the Atlantic in the next fleet. If he was wanted at Bagdad, he was toiling through the desert with the next caravan. If his ministry was needed in some country where his life was more insecure than that of a wolf, where it was a crime to harbor him, where the heads and quarters of his brethren, fixed in public places, showed him what he had to

expect, he went without remonstrance or hesitation to his doom. Nor is this heroic spirit yet extinct. When, in our own time, a new and terrible pestilence passed round the globe, when in some great cities fear had dissolved all the ties which hold society together, when the secular clergy had deserted their flocks, when medical saccor was not be purchased by gold, when the strongest natural affections had yielded to the love of life, even then the Jesuit was found by the palet which bishop and curate, physician and nurses, father and mother, had deserted, bending over infected lips to catch the faint accents of confession, and holding up to the last before the expiring penitent the image of the expiring Redeemer.”

We must here close our biographical sketch of Loyola, merely adding that for the remainder of his life—which reached a peaceful close in its sixty-sixth year-he contin. ued at the head of the Jesuits, and by his skill, watchful care, and indefatigable drill, gave them the prominence which they hold in the history of succeeding time. Loyola, however, did not pass from the earth without soliciting through a messenger the pope's blessing and indulgence for his sins, that he might be the better sustained in passing the terrors” of the trying moment. Day broke over the eternal city, the messenger came with the blessing, and the old man, clasping his hands, uttered the name of his great Captain, “Jesus,” and passed on to another world.

C. A. s.

Literary Notices.

Art. VII.

1. Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa; including a sketch of sixteen years' residence in the interior of Africa, and a journey from the Cape of Good Hope to Loanda, on the west coast ; thence across the continent, down the river Zambesi, to the Eastern Ocean. By David Livingstone, LL. D., D. C. L., &c. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1858. 8vo. pp. 730.

This book will be read with interest and profit by all classes and conditions of society; and its publication must be regarded as an era in the progress of Christian civilization. The author

« ZurückWeiter »