Early History Of The Order Of Jesuits In France -- By: Hermann Reuchlin’s Geschichte

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 005:19 (Aug 1848)
Article: Early History Of The Order Of Jesuits In France
Author: Hermann Reuchlin’s Geschichte


Early History Of The Order Of Jesuits In
France

Dr. Hermann Reuchlin’s Geschichte

At the time of the formation of the order of Jesuits, there was much in the condition of France to prompt them to make an early and strenuous effort to gain a sure footing in that kingdom. The Reformation was beginning there to raise its head boldly, and to manifest a spirit more hostile to whatever was akin to Catholicism than even in Germany or England. The Catholic State church too, was partially estranged from the communion of the true church. The Sorbonne,See Credner and Maurer on Joel 1:4, and Ges. Thesaurus, p. 597.

which for centuries had been the oracle of Christendom in the expression, of theological doctrine, seemed on the threshold of treason. Everything was at stake, but also perhaps everything was to be gained, and the renown of the order and its merit in behalf of church and pope in case of success would be only so much the greater.

Already as early as 1540, the year in which Paul III. affixed the papal seal to the bull “Regimini,” which has been called the Magna Charta of the Order of Jesus, Ignatius is said to have sent a few of his disciples into France. They did not meet with a favorable reception; they were soon driven from Paris, where they had been obliged to live too much according to the original principle of the Order, by begging; and Francis I. commanded all the subjects of Charles Y. to quit the kingdom. But as in the first times of Christianity, persecution served to spread further the doctrines of the gospel, like the tempest which scatters the seeds of a broken plant, so was this expulsion of these poor disciples of Loyola from Paris the first occasion for the settlement of the society at Louvain, where was first enkindled their contest with the Jansenists.

The Jesuits observed in different countries a different course of conduct, according to the national character and circumstances, and their own relation to the people. In the Spanish Provinces, they ventured to draw public attention to themselves by the most impressive means. In Palermo they represented, by a public procession, the power of death over all creatures. In the van of the procession was a large image of the Saviour in a coffin, with an escort of angels and men bearing the instruments of his tortures. Then followed lean and slender forms of knights upon pale horses, and then Death himself upon a black chariot drawn by black oxen, with Time as a driver. Death was a huge skeleton as high as the houses, a sickle of proportionate size in his hands with bow and arrows, and at his feet shovels and mattocks. Behind him, in fetters, was a long train of spectres, represen...

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