Dominic, De Guzman

, a Saint of the Romish calendar, founder of the order of the Dominicans, and as some say, of that horrible engine of tyranny, the Inquisition, was born in 1170, at Calarogo, in old Castille, in the diocese | of Osma. He was of the family of the Guzmans, and educated at first under a priest, his uncle; but at fourteen years, was sent to the public schools of Palentia, where he became a great proficient in rhetoric, philosophy, and divinity, and was also distinguished by austere mortifications and charity to the poor. When he had finished his studies and taken his degrees, he explained the Holy Scriptures in the schools, and preached at Palentia. In 1198 he was made a canon of Osma. After five years he accompanied the bishop of Osma on an embassy to the earl of La Marche, and in his journey was grievously afflicted to behold the spread of what he called heresy among the Albigenses, and conceived the design of converting them, and at first appears to have used only argument, accompanied with the deception of pretended miracles; but finding these unsuccessful, joined the secular power in a bloody crusade against the Albigenses, which he encouraged by prayers and miracles. During these labours, he instituted the devotion of the Rosary, consisting of fifteen Pater Hosiers, and an hundred and fifty Ave Marias, in honour of the fifteen principal mysteries of the life and sufferings of Christ, and of the virgin Mary, which our saint thought the people might be made to honour by this foolish expedient. In 1206 he founded the nunnery of our lady of Prouille, near Faujaux, which he put under* the rule of St. Austin, and afterwards established an institute called his third order, some of the members of which live in monasteries, and are properly nuns; others live in their own houses, adding religious to civil duties, and serving the poor in hospitals and prisons.

St. Dominic had spent ten years in preaching in Languedoc, when, in 1215, he founded the celebrated order of preaching friars, or Dominicans, as they were afterwards called. The same year it was approved of by Innocent III. and confirmed in 1216, by a bull of Honorius III. under the title of St. Augustin; to which Dominic added several austere precepts and observances, obliging the brethren to tuke a vow of absolute poverty, and to abandon entirely all their revenues and possessions; and they were called preaching friars, because public instruction was the main end of their institution. The first convent was founded at Tholouse by the bishop thereof, and Simon de Montfort. Two years afterwards they had another at Paris, near the bishop’s house and iome time after, viz. in 1218, a third | in the rue St Jaques, St. James’s- street, whence the denomination of Jacobins. Just before his death, Dominic sent Gilbert de Fresney, with twelve of the brethren, into England, where they founded their first monastery at Oxford, in 1221, and soon after another at London. In 1276, the mayor and aldermen of the city of London gave them two whole streets by the river Thames, where they erected a very commodious convent, whence that place is still called Black Friars, from the name by which the Dominican? were called in England. St. Dominic, at first, only took the habit of the regular canons, that is, a black cassock, and rochet; but this he quited in 1219, for that which they now wear, which, it is pretended, was shewn by the blessed Virgin herself to the beatiiied Renaud d'Orleans. This order is diffused throughout the whole known world. It has forty-five provinces under the general, who resides at Rome; and twelve particular congregations, or reforms, governed by vicars-general. They reckon three popes of this order, above sixty cardinals, several patriarchs, a hundred and fifty archbishops, and about eight hundred bishops; beside masters of the sacred palace, whose office has been constantly discharged by a religious of this order, ever since St. Dominic, who held it under Honorius III. in 1218. The Dominicans are also inquisitors in many places. Of all the monastic orders, none enjoyed a higher degree of power and authority than the Dominican friars, whose credit was great and their influence universal. Nor will this appear surprising, when we consider that they filled very eminent stations in the church, presided every where over the terrible tribunal of the inquisition, and had the care of souls, with the function of confessors in all the courts of Europe, which circumstance, in those times of ignorance and superstition, manifestly tended to put most of the European princes in their power. But the measures they used, in order to maintain and extend their authority, were so perfidious and cruel, that their influence began tq decline towards the beginning of the sixteenth century. The tragic story of Jetzer, conducted at Bern in 1501), for determining the uninteresting dispute between them and the Franciscans, relating to the immaculate conception, will reflect indelible infamy on this order. They were indeed perpetually employed in stigmatizing with the opprobrious name of heresy numbers of learned and pious men; in encroaching upon the rights and properties of others, to | augment their possessions; and in laying the most iniquitous snares and stratagems for the destruction of their adversaries. They were the principal counsellors, by whose instigation and advice LeoX. was determined to the public condemnation of Luther. The papal see never had more active and useful abettors than this order and that of the Jesuits. The dogmata of the Dominicans are usually opposite to those of the Franciscans. They concurred with the Jesuits in maintaining, that the sacraments have in themselves an instrumental and official powe". by virtue of which they work in the soul (independently of its previous preparation or propensities) a disposition to receive the divine grace; and this is what is commonly called the opus operatum of the sacraments. Thus, according to their doctrine, neither knowledge, wisdom, humility, faith, nor devotion, are necessary to the efficacy of the sacraments, whose victorious energy nothing but a mortal sin can resist.

After establishing this important order, St Dominic, who had deservedly become a favourite at the court of Home, was detained for several months to preach in that city and by his advice the pope created the new office, already mentioned, that of master of the sacred palace, who is by virtue of this office the pope’s domestic theologian or chaplain; and St. Dominic was appointed to it. It has ever since been held by one of his order. The rest of his history at Rome consists of his miracles, and may well be spared. In 1218 he took a journey from Rome through Languedoc into Spain, and founded two convents; thence he went in 1219 to Toulouse and Paris, at which last place he founded his convent in St. James’s-street, whence his order were called Jacobins, and inhabited a house since memorable in the history of the French revolution. After this, and the foundation of other convents, he arrived at Bologna, where he principally resided during the remainder of his life, which ended August 6, 1221. He was canonized by pope Gregory IX. in 1234.

Butler observes that St. Dominic hau no hand in the origin of the inquisition, though he owns, that the project of this court was first formed in a council of Toulouse in 1229, and that in 1233, two Dominican friars were the first inquisitors. Modern protestant historians seem inclined to concede that, although St. Dominic was an inquisitor, it was not in the most offensive sense of the word. Tins, however, will not excuse his tyranny towards the | Albigenses, and if he did not invent the inquisition, he at least must be allowed the honour of inventing the rosary, a species of mechanical devotion which has done infinite mischief. 1

1 Butler’s Lives of the Saints. JWosheim’s and Milner’s EccJ. Hist. Morc/i, Fabric. Bib). Lat. Med.