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the one grand central fact around which revolves the history of the world, and in which it finds its unity and its significance, and we bow down our rebellious head and worship. You may tell us she is a masterpiece of human wisdom and skill, the chef-d'auvre of human contrivance; but in vain. We have heard of human contrivances, and are not ignorant of human history or human philosophy, and can but smile in your face when you tell us she is the creation of human craft and passion. Tell that idle tale in the nursery, not to men with beards on their faces, lest they talk to you of a strait jacket, physic, and good regimen. Behold her, where she stands, exposed to all the storms of human passion and all the rage of hell, for eighteen centuries, as young, as beautiful, as vigorous, as when her chief disciple returned to Rome to seal his apostleship with his blood ; bend your knee, beg to be forgiven, and say no more of human contrivance. Human contrivances! You have had them. Your glorious Reformation is but a human contrivance. For these three hundred years you have had free scope for human contrivance, you have revelled in human contrivance ; you have contrived and contrived, rejected one plan and then another, adopted now this one, now that, altered it now here, and now there, but with all your wisdom, genius, craft, passion, aided by all your boasted progress of modern times, what have you been able to construct to compare in exquisite proportion, in the beauty and symmetry of the whole and coherence of the parts, in strength, durability, and admirable adaptation to the end for which it was designed, with this glorious old Catholic Church, which nor time, nor men, nor devils can affect, and which you would fain persuade us was the handiwork of besotted monks and effeminate priests in an age of darkness? You are of yesterday, and yet your works crumble around you ; they rot and fall, and bury the very workmen in their ruins. O my brother ! for God's sake, nay, for the sake of our common humanity, say no more.
Put that idle dream out of thy head, return to thy allegiance, and find the covert from the storm you in vain shall seek from your own handiwork.
Art. III. - Histoire Religieuse, Politique, et Littéraire de la
Compagnie de Jésus, composée sur les Documents inédits et authentiques. Par J. CRÉTINEAU-JOLY. 5 vol. 8vo. Paris. 1844. ,
• The day, we believe, is dawning when justice will be done to the Jesuits, the most eminent and useful order of men that the Church has yet produced. Hitherto, their history, like that of the Christians of the earliest ages, has been identified with persecution and suffering. Alone, the Order has had to contend with more enemies, and more merciless ones, than the whole Church together. For not only has it unflinchingly stood its ground as a faithful body-guard, exposed to the hottest of the battle, but it has been subjected to cruel attacks from the very persons it defenddal, and has seen itself sacrificed as a propitiatory offering to the common enemies of both. Conceived in an age of spiritual insubordination, and born for holy strife, the Society of Jesus from the first moment of its existence, has manned the battlements of the Church with intrepid champions of the truth. From the halls of her colleges, and from the depths of the wilderness and the forest, she has sent forth missionaries, theologians, and confessors innumerable, the lustre of whose virtues was eclipsed only by the marvellous successes that everywhere attended their labors. The council-chambers of kings, the palaces of nobles, the cottages of the poor, the cells of prisoners, the beds of the dying, have alike witnessed their magnificent achievements. During the three centuries of the existence of the Institute, never for a single moment has its renown ceased to fill the earth: Religion, morals, politics, oratory, poesy, the exact sciences, literature, travels, history, discovery, the fine arts, all have felt its influence, all have belonged to its domain.
No task, therefore, we think, can be undertaken, at once more delicate and more difficult
, considering the important place they must necessarily occupy in the modern history of the world, and the number and zeal of the enemies that their learning and success have raised up against them, than correctly and impartially to delineate the history of the Jesuits. Yet this task has been undertaken by M. Crétineau-Joly, and it appears to us with triumphant success. Never have we been so fully convinced that their ablest defence is the plain, unvarnished recital of their deeds, as in reading this work, -- the work, not of a Jesuit, nor
of an admirer of the Jesuits, nor of a pupil of the Jesuits, but of a man of education, of a penetrating mind, of thorough research, and, above all, of sound good-sense. *
The work of M. Crétineau-Joly is somewhat bulky, consisting of five octavo volumes, of some five hundred pages each. It is written in a style at once elegant and dignified ; and we are much mistaken, if any man of good taste, after having read one chapter, could be easily persuaded to forego the pleasure of perusing the entire work.
We translate the introductory pages of the author, both to convey to our readers an idea of the nature of his undertaking, and as an introduction to a few remarks of our own upon the influence of the Jesuits on the civilization and moral improvement of the world.
“ I undertake a work difficult, -perhaps impossible. I propose to recount the origin, the development, the grandeur, the sacrifices, the studies, the mysterious combinations, the conflicts, the vicissitudes of every kind, the ambition, the faults, the glories, the persecutions, and the martyrdoms of the Company of Jesus.
“ I shall tell of the prodigious influence that this Society has exercised upon religion by its saints, its apostles, its theologians, its orators, its moralists ; upon kings, by its directors of conscience and by its diplomatists ; upon the masses, by its charity and salutary instructions ; upon literature, by its poets, its historians, its scholars, and its writers, in every language, so eminent for the purity and elegance of their style.
“I shall show it from its very birth battling for the Church Catholic, and for the monarchies that Protestantism, yet in its cradle, had already undertaken to destroy.t
“ I shall penetrate into its colleges, whence have come forth so many famous personages, the glory or the dishonor of their country.
“ I shall follow it beyond the seas, over those unknown oceans whither the zeal of the house of the Lord led its fathers, who, after having been a light to illumine the gentiles, enlarged the bounds of
* In speaking thus favorably of M. Crétineau-Joly's work, we would not be understood as indorsing all his private opinions on events involved in obscurity, and especially on some points of English history.
† The author would express himself more accurately to our sense, if he had said governments instead of " monarchies." The Jesuits always support the legitimate order of the country where they are established ; and in countries where republicanism, as with us, is the legitimate order, they are as firm defenders of republicanism, as they are of monarchy, where that is the legitimate order. They defend the legal order, and are never revolutionists in favor of one form of government or of another.
civilization and science, and revealed to those sitting in the shadow of death how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel
“I shall study its Institute, so little known, and of which men have discoursed with so much love or with so much hatred. I shall thoroughly investigate its policy, according to its detractors so dark and tortuous, so open and straightforward according to its defenders; but which has left an indelible imprint upon the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, the epoch of the world the most remarkable for the diffusion of knowledge and the magnitude of events.
“ I shall not suffer myself to be influenced by the enthusiastic sentiments of admiration which the Society of Jesus has gathered
und it, or by the prejudices or angry feelings which its omnipotence has perpetuated.
“ The Jesuits do not count me in the number of their scholars. They have never beheld me among their neophytes. I have been neither their friend, nor their admirer, nor their adversary. I owe them no gratitude. I have no prepossession in their favor. I am neither of them, nor with them, nor for them, nor against them. They are to me what Vitellius, and Otho, and Galba were to Tacitus. I know them neither by injury nor by favor. A historian, I rest upon history, relying only on truth, seeking only, by the aid of facts uncontested and incontestible, to deduce logical consequences, and forming an opinion only after the most conscientious examination.”
The author, we confess, has pledged himself deeply, but be has faithfully redeemed his pledge. Nothing can be more satisfactory to one who sincerely desires information than the fidelity and candor with which he portrays the characters of the distinguished men of the Society, describes their toils and achievements, delineates the most remarkable traits of their history, and depicts the blessings showered upon the world their missions and their colleges. And in the brief sketch of the labors and influence of the Jesuits which we propose to give, we shall draw from his pages, and rely on his authority, as we find it convenient, and without reserve.
This illustrious order dates its origin from the middle of the sixteenth century ; but, before entering upon a narrative of some of its achievements, we must glance at the condition of Europe, as regards civilization and religion, at and prior to that epoch.
The first three centuries of the Christian era were crimsoned with the blood of persecution. The Church had to grapple with tyranny, false philosophy, barbarism, ignorance, and superstition. Rivers of blood flowed from her bosom, millions of her children were immolated, before the trembling nations bowed to her yoke, and professed her faith. Then she stood forth in her glory. The sages of Rome and of the Areopagus were mute before the tent-maker of Tarsus and the fishermen of Galilee. The cross of Christ was reared in every village and hamlet, and glittered in the diadem of the Cæsars.
During the following five or six centuries, the splendor of Christianity was doomed to be obscured and the march of civilization to be checked. Swarms of merciless and ignorant barbarians, from the extremities of the North, invaded the empire with fire and sword. Some poured in like torrents, ravag, ing and devastating the land; others, wearied with pillage and massacre, established themselves in the regions they had blasted. Goths, Visigoths, Vandals, Franks, all had alike been : nursed with blood, and all were alike distinguished for their ferocity and contempt of the arts. They recognized no law but that of passion and of force. Hence the necessity of the feudal system, which was established for the purpose of keeping in check the torrent of crimes and disorders of every kind that were inundating Europe. This was effected mainly by the efforts of the Church, which, amid the breaking up of the very elements of civilization, and the storms of war, and the deathcry of millions, made her voice be heard, her laws respected, and her pastors obeyed; and thus, out of this same feudal system, she may be said to have produced the modern monarchies of Europe, and for the second time to have civilized and Christianized the world.
But though many of these barbarians sincerely embraced Christianity, yet the submission of not a few in the Northern countries seems to have been sullen, and incomplete. Hence that uneasiness under the yoke of the Gospel, manifested to no inconsiderable extent from the very beginning ; hence their continual resistance to the salutary ordinances of their bishops and pastors, and an ill-concealed longing to recover their former liberties, and to become once more desperadoes and assassins; hence, too, those secret societies and mutinous combinations, nurseries of numerous and abominable heresies, which so often and so deeply afflicted the Church.
This spirit of opposition to religion smouldered like a subterranean fire in the bosom of the Church, which at times it heaved and convulsed, - and occasionally, as during the pontificates of