صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

the poor. The friends of the youths were mightily displeased, and the affair made a great noise-he was accused before the person who then exercised the function of Inquisitor at Paris, but nothing reproachable being found either in his doctrine or conversation, he was dismissed without even a reproof. His extreme poverty, and the difficulty of obtaining alms, induced him in the interval of study to travel into Flanders and England, to obtain relief from the Spanish merchants, who were domiciled in those countries. After remaining eighteen months at Montagu College, Ignatius went through a course of philosophy at the college of St. Barbara, the master of which (John Pegna) conceived great indignation against him for withdrawing the students from philosophy to devotion, and complained to Govea, the Principal of the college, of this disorder, who, having an old grudge against Ignatius, readily entered into his views. A custom at that time prevailed, for the purpose of punishing those scholars who had corrupted their companions, of assembling the college in the hall at the ringing of a bell, and the Regents being prepared with rods in their hands, gave each in turn a lash to the delinquent. To render Ignatius infamous, they determined to inflict this punishment upon him, but he having received intimation of the intended castigation, although he was covetous of it for his own perfection, yet, considering that if he should be thus publicly denounced as a corrupter of youth, he would be the less able to effect the spiritual good of his neighbour, he resolved, if possible, to avoid such an exposure; in short, his zeal for the good of souls prevailed over his love of mortification, and while all things were preparing for the flagellation, Ignatius went to the Principal and so satisfactorily explained the reasons of his conduct, that Govea led him into the hall, and, it is said, falling down on his knees before the accused person, asked his pardon, and declared him a saint. Pegna's hostility was forthwith changed into affection, and in order to improve the saint he put him under the tuition of Peter Faber, a Savoyard, a poor youth, but of good talents. His course of three years and a half being ended, he was judged fit to proceed Master of Arts, whereupon he began his course of divinity. At this time the zeal of Ignatius for the conversion of souls so much increased that he conceived himself specially appointed to establish a society for that end, and that he was to chuse them himself out of the University at Paris; for the three disciples he had converted in Spain had deserted him. In casting his eyes around him with this view, the man he fixed upon for his prime apostle was Faber, who possessed all the requisite qualifications. This person, though he had made a vow of chastity when only twelve years of age, had very violent temptations, and had some difficulty in bringing

his senses under proper dominion: the infirmities which flesh is heir to were, however, finally subdued by a practical course of the Spiritual Exercises, and the lessons of his new preceptor.

Ignatius next undertook to gain one Xavier, a gentleman of Navarre, who possessed a sprightly wit, a generous soul, and great purity of manners; but was vain and ostentatious, and ambitious of ecclesiastical preferment. The first step he took for this purpose, was, to insinuate himself into his good opinion by commending his natural parts, applauding him in public, and making it his business to procure him scholars; and having proceeded thus far, he opened, in some measure, his design and finally obtained him for his disciple. The next conquests he made were James Laynez, who was twenty-one, and Alphonso Salmeron, who was only eighteen years of age; both had studied at Alcala, where they had heard of the saintly reputation of Ignatius. To these were added, Nicholas Alphonso, another Spaniard, surnamed Bobadilla, from the place of his birth, and Simon Rodriguez, a Portuguese gentleman. Having obtained these six disciples, (remembering the inconstancy of his former companions) he determined to secure them by some positive engagement; and for this purpose, he one day, after they had undergone a preparation of prayer and fasting, called them together, and explained to them his intention of forming himself as far as he could upon the model of Jesus Christ, in labouring for his own perfection, and devoting himself to the great end of human redemption; for which he knew no field that offered a more plentiful harvest than Palestine. He concluded his discourse by a vow to make a voyage to Jerusalem, and renounce the things of this world. They, with one voice, declared their concurrence in the design, and acknowledged Ignatius for their father. It was also determined, on the suggestion of their leader, that in case they should not be able to procure a conveyance from Venice to the Holy Land within a year, they should be released from that part of the vow which related to Palestine, proceed to Rome, and offer their services to the Pope, to be sent into what part of the world he pleased. These arrangements were made in the month of July, 1534, in the fortythird year of Ignatius's age: and in order to allow them sufficient time to perfect their studies, he fixed that they should leave Paris, for the purpose of joining him at Venice, in January, 1537. Lest their fervour should in the mean time abate, the vow was shortly afterwards solemnly and ceremoniously ratified at Montmartre, and was agreed to be repeated on the same day, at the same place, in the two succeeding years. To these disciples were added, sometime afterwards, Claude Le Jay, John Codure, and Pasquier Brouet, making the number of the Com



pany to amount to ten persons. About this time, Ignatius being afflicted with indisposition, partly from his austerities, and partly from the climate of Paris, was advised by his physicians to try the benefit of his native air; an advice which he the more readily adopted, partly because three of his companions had some business to transact in Spain before they could absolutely renounce all their worldly goods; and partly that he might repair the scandal of his youth by his present virtuous demeanour. Having committed the care of the society to Faber, he departed for his native country; making use, however, of a horse, on account of the weakness of his foot. He went to Azpetia, a town near the castle of Loyola, where the clergy, hearing of his approach, assembled to receive him. He refused, however, to take up his abode with his brother at the castle of Loyola; and instead of making use of the bed and provisions which he sent to him at the hospital, he chose to lie on the bed of a poor man, taking care, however, every morning to disarrange the other as if he had slept in it; and distributed the provisions he received from Loyola amongst the poor, and begged his bread about the town. Once only he went upon compulsion,' to visit the inmates of Loyola; the sight of which renewed the memory of his former life, and inspired him with an ardent love of mortification. In consequence he forthwith put on a sharp hair shirt, girded himself with a great chain of iron, and disciplined himself every night. He catechised the children, he preached every Sunday, and two or three times in the week besides; until, the churches not being able to contain the great crowds who came to hear him, he was obliged to hold forth in the open fields, et auditores arbores complere cogerentur.' The first time he preached, he told the assembly that he had been, for a long time, grievously afflicted by a sin of his youth he had, he said, with other boys broken into a garden, and carried off a quantity of fruit; an offence for which an innocent person was sent to prison, and condemned to pay damages. "I therefore," he proceeded, "am the offender; he is the innocent person: I have sinned-I have erred!" and he called before him the man, who by chance was present, and gave him, before the public, two farms, which belonged to him. We shall pass over the particular circumstances of success which attended his preaching: it will be sufficient to apprize our readers, that as soon as he preached against the immodest attire of the women, it disappeared; that the same day he denounced gaming, the gamesters threw their dice into the river; that the courtezans made holy pilgrimages on foot, and the blasphemers ceased to curse.


Having effected the object of his visit, he proceeded to Valencia, where he embarked for Genoa, and finally arrived at Ve

nice at the latter end of the year 1535; having encountered the usual quantum of perils by sea, and perils by land. He employed himself in his accustomed manner, until he was joined by his companions early in the month of January, 1537; to whom he presented James Hozez, who had performed the spiritual exercises, and become a disciple. After employing themselves for a short time at Venice, in attending the sick and instructing the ignorant, Ignatius sent his ten companions to Rome, to ask the Pope's benediction on their journey to the Holy Land, and his permission to receive holy orders. They were presented by Peter Ortiz, to Paul III. who was accustomed to have questions of science and theology discussed before him while at table; and having requested to hear them dispute, they spoke with so much modesty and erudition, that the Pope was absolutely charmed. He not only gave them permission to make the voyage to the Holy Land, and such of them as were not priests to receive holy orders from any bishop whomsoever, (a permission of which they immediately availed themselves) but made them a present of sixty gold crowns. As there was no immediate opportunity of proceeding to Palestine, they prepared themselves for saying their first masses; and for that purpose they withdrew into solitary places, where they remained for forty days, fasting and praying. Ignatius was most ardent and exemplary in these holy practices, and wept to such a degree, that he was in danger of losing his sight from the copiousness of his tears: propter nimiam lacrimorum copiam graviter ex oculis laboraret. The new priests and their companions distributed themselves in different parts, ministering in their vocation, until the expiration of the year, and of one part of their vow.


The year having expired, and there being no prospect of fulfilling that part of their vow which brought them to Venice, they resolved that Ignatius, Faber, and Laynez, should go to Rome, and represent to the Pope the intentions of the company; and that the rest should, in the mean time, be distributed into the most famous universities of Italy, to plant the seeds of piety in the minds of the young students, and to increase their own numbers with such as God should call to them. Before they separated, however, they established a few general rules, which they engaged themselves to observe, and which contain the rudiments of the Institute; the nature of which we shall afterwards have occasion to describe. Ignatius, accompanied by his two companions, accordingly proceeded towards Rome. During his journey he was favoured with a vision, which, as it is by some of his biographers supposed to have con

Maff. L. II. c. 4.

firmed, if not suggested the name of the society, we ought not to omit. Having entered into a chapel by the road side, to indulge his religious fervour, he beheld, in the midst of his devotions, the image of God with his son Jesus Christ bearing the cross; the Father, commending Ignatius and his companions, delivered them into the special protection of his son, who assured him that he would at Rome crown them with his favour. Ignatius was, on his arrival there, graciously received by the Pope, who accepted of the offers which he made to him. About this time Hozez, one of his disciples, died; but his place was soon supplied by Francis Strada, a young Spaniard, whom Ignatius prevailed upon to enter into the society.

The attention of the founder was now turned with anxiety to the more complete organization of the society by establishing a set of rules for its government and conduct. For this purpose he summoned his ten companions to Rome, and explained to them the necessity of their being formed into a religious order before they could achieve any important undertakings; whereupon several conferences took place on the subject of their Institute, for although Ignatius had already conceived the model, he would do nothing without the consent of his brethren. While thus occupied, Ignatius and the rest of the society were called upon to oppose the progress of a celebrated preacher belonging to the order of Augustine hermits, who was active in the dissemination of the doctrines of Luther. Their success was so complete, that the disappointed friar employed a person who had been refused admission into the society, to accuse Ignatius of being a heretic, and of having been burnt in effigy at Alcala, Paris, and Venice. By a fortunate coincidence, the persons before whom he had been accused at those places were, at that very time, at Rome, and bore ample testimony to his orthodoxy and his accuser's perfidy. Ignatius demanded that the sentence should be judicially recorded, which, after considerable delay and difficulty, he effected; persisting in his endeavours to obtain it, even against the opinion of some of his friends, for he regarded it not so much his own cause, as that of Christ and his companions.* Copies of this sentence were dispersed in different parts, even as far as Spain.

The Institute being completed, he presented an abstract of it to Pope Paul III. who remitted the examination of it to three Cardinals, one of whom made great opposition to it as an unne

"Vir sibi ipsi inglorius, Christi autem fratribusque honoratissimus."-Rib. L. II. c. 14.

At vero Ignatius in posterum longe prospiciens, eoque judicio non tam suam quam Christi Domini causam agi prudenter animadvertens." -Maff. L. II. c. 8.

« السابقةمتابعة »