Loyola, Ignatious Of

, the founder of the order of Jesuits, was born in 1491, of a considerable family, at the castle of Loyola, in the province of Guipuscoa in Spain. He was educated in the court of Ferdinand and Isabella, and entered very early into the military profession. He was addicted to all the excesses too common in that line of life, but was at the same time a good officer, and one who sought occasions to distinguish himself. His valour was conspicuous at Pampeluna in 1521, when it was besiege,d by the French, and there he had his leg broken by a | cannon-shot. During the confinement occasioned by this wound, he formed a resolution of renouncing the world, of travelling to JtTUS;de and dedicating his life to the service ol Go.,. He is said to have imbibed his ardour of zeal by reading the legends of the saints, as Don Quixote began his errantry l<\ reading the old romances; though some have denied that Loyola knew the use of letters. But whether he read, or had these things read to him, he certainly conceived an ardour of religious activity, which has not otten bem equalled.

He had no sooner been restored to health than he went to bang up his arms over the altar of the blessed virgin at Montst rrat, to whom he devoted his services on March 24, 1522; for he carried the laws of chivalry to his religious observances. In his way he disputed with a Moor on the perpetual virginity of the blessed virgin, and after his antagonist left him, was seized with such a fit of enthusiasm as to pursue the Moor in order to put him to death, but could not find him. Having watched all night at Montserrat, sometimes standing, and sometimes kneeling, and having devoted himself most earnestly to the virgin^, he set out before day-b eak in a pilgrim’s habit to Manresa. Here he took his lodging among the poor of the town hospital, and he practised mortifications of every kind for above a year. He suffered his hair and nails to grow begged from door to door; fasted six days in the week whipped himself thrice a day was seven hours every day in vocal prayer lay without any bedding upon the ground, and all to prepare himself for his adventures to Jerusalem. It was here also that he wrote his book of “Spiritual Exercises,” in Spanish; a Latin translation of which, by Andrew Frusius, he published at Rome in 1548, when it was favoured with the approbation of pope Paul III. As it has been commonly reported that Loyola could not read, which, however, we think improbable, as he was of a good family, educated at court, and an officer in the army, Allegambe, in his lives of the Jesuits, gives the following solution: “Lewis de Ponte, a person of undoubted credit, relates how faithful tradition had handed it down to father Lainez, general of the Jesuits, that these exercises were revealed to our holy father (Ignatius of Loyola) by God himself; and that Gabriel the archangel had declared to a certain person, in the name of the blessed virgin, how she had been their patroness, their | founder, and helper; had prompted Loyola to begin this work, and had dictated to him what he should write.” Perhaps the truth was, that Loyola either took his materials from other works, or was assisted in composing his book, by some other person.

Having embarked at Barcelona, in order to go to Jerusalem, he arrived at Cajeta in five days; but, as he would not proceed in his enterprise till he had received the pope’s benediction, he went to Rome on Palm-Sunday, in 153; and after paying his respects to Hadrian VI. departed foe Venice. He embarked there on the 14th of July, 1523, arrived at Joppa the last of August, and at Jerusalem the 4th of September. Having gratified his devout curiosity in that country, he returned to Venice, where he embarked for Genoa; and from thence came to Barcelona, where he stopped, as at the most convenient place with respect to the design he had of studying the Latin tongue. The miraculous adventures, the e^tatic visions, which he bad during this voyage, were innumerable; and it would be endless to transcribe, from his historians, on these occasions. Bishop Stillingfleet has drawn a good proof from them, that the institution of the Jesuits, as well as other monks, is founded originally in fanaticism. Loyola began to learn the rudiments of grammar in 1524, and soon came to read the “Enchiridion militis Christiani” of Erasmus; a work of great purity of style and morals; but Loyola soon laid it aside, and applied himself to the stiuly of. Thomas a Kempis. It was, he thought, like so much ice, which abated the fervour of his devotion, and cooled the fire of divine love in him; for which reason he took an aversion to it, and would never read the writings of Erasmus, nor even suffer his disciples to read them.

Loyola was thought in two years to have made a progress sufficient for being admitted to the lectures of philosophy; upon which he went to Alcala de Henares, in 1526. His mendicant life, his apparatus, and that of four companions, who had already espoused his fortune, together with ‘the instructions he gave to those who flocked about him, brought him at length under the cognizance of the inquisition. Inquiries were made concerning his life and doctrines; and it being observed, that a widow with her daughter had undertaken a pilgrimage on foot, as beggars, under his direction, he was thrown into prison. He obtained his release upon promising not to vent feis opinions for four | years but, this restraint not suiting at all with his design, he determined not to comply with it and, therefore, goin;j to Salamanca, he continued to discourse on religious matters, as before. He was thrown again into prison, and was not discharged till he had made some promises, as at Alcala de He-nates. He then resolved to go to Paris, where he arrived in Feb. 1528, with a firm resolution to pursue hi* studies vigorously; but the wretched circumstances to which he was reduced, being forced to beg about the streets, and to retire to St. James’s hospital, were great obstacles to his design; not to mention, that he was then impeached before the inquisition. Notwithstanding these difficulties, he went through a course of philosophy and divinity, and prevailed over a certain number of companions, who bound themselves by a vow to enter upon his new way of life. They did this in the church of iMontmartre, on the 15th of August, 1534; and renewed thc’ir vow twice in the same place, and on the same day, with the same ceremonies. At first they were but seven in number, including Loyola; but were at last increased to ten. They agreed, that Loyola should return to Spain to settle some affairs, that afterwards he-should proceed to Venice,>nd that they should all set out from Paris, Jan. 25, 1537, to meet him. Ribadeneira says that Loyola came a-begging to England in 1531, and found his account in it.

He went to Spain in 1535, preached repentance there, and drew together a prodigious crowd of auditors. He exclaimed, among other things, against the licentious livcsT of the priests. After transacting the affairs which his associates had recommended to his care, he went by sea to Genoa; am! travelled from thence to Venice, where they met him, Jan. 8, 1537. This was somewhat sooner than the time agreed on; yet he was there before them, and had employed his time in making converts; and what was of much greater consequence to the forwarding his grand scheme, he had got acquainted with John Peter Caraffa, who was afterwards pope, by the name of Paul III. As they had bound themselves by a vow to travel to Jerusalem, they prepared for that expedition; but were first determined to pay their respects to the pope, and obtain his benediction and leave.- Accordingly they went to Rome, and were gratified in their desires. Having returned to Venice, in order to embark, they found no opportunity thewar with thp- grand seignior having put an entire stop | to the peregrination of pilgrims by sfca. They resolved, however, not to be idle, and therefore dispersed theiriselvei among the towns in the Venetian territories. It was resolved at length, that Loyola and two others, Faber and Laynez, should go to Rome, and represent to the pope the intentions of the whole company; and that the rest, in the mean time, should be distributed into the most famous universities of Italy, to insinuate piety among the young stqdents, and to increase their own number with such as God should call in to them. But, before they separated, they established a way of life, to which they were all to conform; and bound themselves to observe these following rules: “First, that they should lodge in hospitals, and live only upon alms. Secondly, that they should be superiors by turns, each in his week, lest their fervour should carry them too far, if they did not prescribe limits to one another for their penances and labour. Thirdly, that they should preach in all public places, and every other place where they could be permitted to do it; should set forth in their sermons the beauty and rewards of virtue, with the deformity and punishments of sin, and this in a plain, evangelical manner, without the vain ornaments of eloquence. Fourthly, that they should teach children the Christian doctrine, and the principles of good manners: and, Fifthly, that they should take no money for executing their functions; but do all for the glory of God, and nothing else.” They all consented to these articles; but, as they were often asked, who they were, and what was their institute, Ignatius declared to them in precise terms what they were to answer: he told them that being united to fight against heresies and vices, under the standard of Jesus Christ, the only name which answered their design was, “The Society of Jesus.

Ignatius, Faber, and Laynez, came to Rome about the end of 1537, and at their first arrival had an audience of his holiness Paul III. They offered him their service; and Loyola undertook, under his apostolical authority, the reformation of manners, by means of his spiritual exercises, and of Christian instructions. Being dismissed for the present, with* some degree of encouragement, Loyola proposed soon after to his companions the founding of a new order; and, after conferring with Faber and Laynez about it, sent for the rest of his companions, who were dispersed through Italy, The general scheme being agreed on, he | next conferred with his companions about his institute; and at several assemblies it was resolved, that to the vows of poverty and chastity, which they had already taken, they should add that of obedience; that they should elect a superior general, whom they must obey as God himself; that this superior should be perpetual, and his authority absolute; that wheresoever they should he sent, they should instantly and cheerfully go, even without any viaticum, and living upon alms, if it should be so required; that the professed of their society should possess nothing, either in particular or in common; but that in the universities they might have colleges with revenues and rents, for the subsistence of the students. A persecution in the mean time was raised against Loyola at Rome, who, however, went on with his great work, in spite of all opposition. Some of his companions were employed upon great occasions by the pope; and two of them, Simon Kodriguez and Francis Xavier, were sent to the Indies, with no less than the title of “Apostles of the new world.

Loyola had already presented the pope with the plan of his new society; and he now continued his application with more waruuh than ever, that it might be approved by the holy see. Accordingly Paul III. confirmed it in 1540, on condition that their number should never exceed threescore; and again in 1543, without any restrictions. Loyola was created general of this new order in 1541, and made Rome his head- quarters, while his companions- dispersed themselves over the whole earth. He employed himself in several occupations, as the conversion of the Jews, the reforming of lewd women, and the assisting of orphans. Rome was at that time full of Jews, who were, many of them, ready to embrace Christianity, if they had not feared poverty; upon which, Paul III. at Loyola’s request, enacted, that they should preserve all their possessions; and that if any of them, who might be well born, should turn Christians, contrary to their parents’ consent, the whole substance of the family should devolve to them. Julius Hi. and Paul IV. added a new ordinance, namely, that all the synagogues in Italy should be taxed every year at a certain. sum, to be applied to the maintenance of the proselytes. There was at that time a convent of Magdalenes, into which such dissolute women as were desirous of leaving their infamous course of life, were admitted, provided they would oblige themselves to lead a conventual life for the | rest of their days, and take all the vows of their order. But Loyola, thinking this condition, and some others, too severe, founded a new community of this kind of penitents, into which maids and married women might be indifferently admitted. It was called “The community of the grace of the blessed Virgin.” He caused apartments to be built in St. Mary’s church; and he frequently conducted them thither himself. He was sometimes told, that he lost his time, for that such women were never heartily converted; to which he replied, “If I should hinder them but one night from offending God, I should think’ my time and labour well employed.

Calumny levelled all her artillery at him from every quarter; notwithstanding which, he employed his utmost endeavours to heighten the glory of his order, and settle it on a firm foundation. Some women would have submitted to his discipline; but the great trouble, which the spiritual direction of three of that sex had given him, obliged him to free his society for ever from that perplexing task. Having got his order confirmed by pope Julius III. in 1550, he would have resigned his employment of general; but, the Jesuits not permitting him, he continued in it till his death, which happened July 31, 1556, in his sixty-sixth year. He died thirty- five years after what has been called his conversion, a,nd sixteen after his society was founded, and had lived to see his followers spread over the face of the whole earth, and giving laws, under him, to almost all nations. He was of a middle stature, rather low than tall; of a brown complexion, bald-headed, his eyes deep set and full of fire, his forehead large, and his nose aquiline. He halted a little, in consequence of the wound he received at the siege of Pampeluna; but he managed himself so well in walking, that it was hardly perceived. It was not pretended at first, that Loyola wrought any miracles; but when his canonization began to be talked of, his miracles became innumerable, and were confirmed by all sorts of witnesses. Paul V. beatified him in 1609; Gregory XV. inserted him in the catalogue of saints in 1622; Innocent X. and Clement IX. increased the honours that were paid him.

But whatever honours might be paid to Loyola, nothing can be more surprising in his history, than the prodigious power which his order acquired, in so few years, in the old world, as well as in America, and the rapidity with whic, it multiplied after it was once established. In 1545, t | suits were but eighty in all; in 1545, they had ten houses; in 1549, they had two provinces, one in Spain, another in Portugal, and twenty-two houses. In 1556, when Loyola died, they had twelve great provinces; in 1608, Ribacleneira reckons twenty-nine provinces, two vice-provinces, twenty-one professed houses, 293 colleges, thirty-three houses of probation, ninety-three other residences, and 1Q>5 81 Jesuits. But in the last catalogue, which was printed at Rome in 1679, they reckoned thirty-five provinces, two vice-provinces, thirty-three professed houses, *78 colleges, forty-eight houses of probation, eighty-eight seminaries, 160 residences, 106 missions, and in all 17,655 Jesuits, of whom 7870 were priests. What contributed chiefly to the prodigious increase of this order, in so short a time, wafr the great encouragement they received from the popes, as well as from the kings of Spain and Portugal, on account of the service it was supposed they might render to these several powers. Various sects of religion were at that time combining against popery; in Germany especially, where Lutheranism was prevailing. The Jesuits were thought a proper order to oppose these incursions; and so far might be useful to the pope. The Spaniard found his account in sending them to the Indies, where, by planting Christianity, and inculcating good manners, they might reduce barbarous nations into a more nvili/ed form, and by such means make them better subjects; and the Jesuits were not unlikely to succeed in these employments, whether we consider their manners, discipline, or policy. They carried a great appearance of holiness, and observed a regularity of conduct in their lives and conversations, which gave them great influence over the people; who, on this account, and especially as they took upon them the education of youth without pay or reward, conceived the highest opinion of, and reverence for them. Their policy, too, within themselves, was wisely contrived, and firmly established. They admitted none into their society thai were not perfectly qualified in every respect. Their discipline was rigid, their government absolute, their obedience most submissive and implicit.

They experienced, however, from time to time, the strorigest opposition in several countries; in Spain, and particularly in France. No society ever had so many enemies as the Jesuits have had; the very books which have been written against them, would form a considerable | library. Nor has this opposition been without the justest foundation. However serviceable they were to the see of Rome, to which they were always most devoutly attached, they were very pernicious in other countries, by propagating doctrines which have exposed sovereign princes to slaughter, and states to revolutions; and by corrupting religion and morality by mental reserves and logical distinctions to such a degree, that, according to them, the vilest and most profligate wretches in the world might do what they pleased, yet not offend against their rules; and for this they have often been thoroughly exposed, especially in the “Provincial Letters” of M. Pascal. They also became merchants, thinking by their riches to make dependents in every court, and, by that means to have absolute sway; while the individuals who, without gaining any particular advantage, laboured to aggrandize the body, were the victims of the infatuation of their superiors. The king of Portugal, persuaded that they instigated the assassins who attempted his life in 1758, drove them from his dominions in 1759. The king of France, considering this institution, which had been only tolerated in that kingdom, as being incompatible with its laws, suppressed it in 1763; and the king of Spain, for reasons which he concealed, for fear of raising troubles in his dominions, drove them out in 1767. The king of Naples, the duke of Parma, and the grand master of Malta followed his example in 1768; and pope Clement XIV. obliged to yield to the united power of the house of Bourbon, issued a bull for their final suppression, dated July 21, 1773. 1

1 Gen. Dict. Life, by Bonhours and by Ribadeneira. Dupi ft. Robertjon’s Charles V. Mosheim. Butler’s Lives of the Saints.