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POLITICAL THEORY OF THE JESUITS.

295

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their hopes, they yet worked appreciable mischief by the organization of the League in France, and the Thirty Years' War in Germany, and by their revolutionary theories which infected Europe with conspiracy and murder. Their method was original. Machiavelli had expounded the doctrines they put in practice. He taught that in a desperate state of the nation, men may have recourse to treachery and violence. The nation of the Jesuits was a hybrid between their order and Catholicism. The peril to the Church was imminent; its decadence demanded desperate remedies. They invoked regicide, revolt, and treason, to effect an impossible

cure,

The political theory of the Jesuits was deduced from their fundamental principle of obedience to the Church. They maintained that the ecclesiastical is jure divino superior to the secular power. The Pope through God's commission and appointment sways the Church ; the Church takes rank above the State, as the soul above the body. Consequently, the first allegiance of a Christian nation, together with its secular rulers, belongs of right to the Supreme Pontiff. The people is the real sovereign; and kings are delegates from the people, with authority which they can only justly exercise so long as they remain in obedience to Rome. It follows from these positions that every nation must refuse fealty to an irreligious or contumacious ruler. In the last resort they may lawfully remove him by murder; and they

are ipso facto in a state of mortal sin if they elect or recognize a heretic as sovereign. This theory sprang from the writings of the English Jesuits, Allen and Parsons. It was elaborated in Rome by Cardinal Bellarmino, applied in Spain by Suarez and Mariana, and openly preached in France by Jean Boucher. The best energies of Paolo Sarpi were devoted to combating the main position of ecclesiastical supremacy. His works had a salutary effect by delimiting the relations of the Church to the State, and by demonstrating even to Catholics the pernicious results of acknowledging a Papal overlordship in temporal affairs. At the same time the boldly democratic principle of the sovereignty of the people, which the Jesuits advanced in order to establish their doctrine of ecclesiastical superiority, provoked opposition. It led to the contrary hypothesis of the Divine Right of sovereigns, which found favor in Protestant kingdoms, and especially in England under the Stuart dynasty. When the French Catholics resolved to terminate the discords of their country by the recognition of Henri IV., they had recourse to this argument for justifying their obedience to a heretic. It was felt by all sound thinkers and by every patriot in Europe, that the Papal prerogatives claimed by the Jesuits were too inconsistent with national liberties to be tolerated. The zeal of the Society had clearly outrun its discretion; and the free discussion of the theory of government which their insolent assumptions

POLITICAL INTRIGUES.

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stimulated, weakened the cause they sought to strengthen. Their ingenuity overreached itself.

This, however, was as nothing compared with the hostility evoked by their unscrupulous application of these principles in practice. There was hardly a plot against established rule in Protestant countries with which they were not known or believed to be connected. The invasion of Ireland in 1579, the murder of the Regent Morton in Scotland, and Babington's conspiracy against Elizabeth, emanated from their councils. They were held responsible for the attempted murder of the Prince of Orange in 1580, and for his actual murder in 1584. They loudly applauded Jacques Clément, the assassin of Henri III. in 1589, as 'the eternal glory of France.'' Numerous unsuccessful attacks upon the life of Henri IV., culminating in that of Jean Chastel in 1594, caused their expulsion from France. When they returned in 1603, they set to work again;? and the assassin Ravaillac, who succeeded in removing the obnoxious champion of European independence in 1610, was probably inspired by their doctrine. They had a hand in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, and were thought by some to have instigated the Massa

• Sec Mariana, De Rege, lib. i. cap. 6. This book, be it remembered, was written for the instruction of the heir apparent, afterwards Philip III.

• Henri IV. let them return to France, in mere dread of their machinations against him. See Sully, vol. v. p. 113.

• Sarpi, who was living at the time of Henri's murder, and who saw his best hopes for Italy and the Church of God extinguished by that crime, at first credited the Jesuits with the deliberate instigation

cre of S. Bartholomew. They fomented the League of the Guises, which had for its object a change in the French dynasty. They organized the Thirty Years' War, and they procured the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. If it is not possible to connect them immediately with all and each of the criminal acts laid to their charge, the fact that a Jesuit in every case was lurking in the background, counts by the force of cumulative evidence heavily against them, and explains the universal suspicion with which they came to be regarded as factious intermeddlers in the concerns of nations. Moreover, their written words accused them; for the tyrannicide of heretics was plainly advocated in their treatises on government. So profound was the conviction of their guilt, that the death of Sixtus V. in 1590, predicted by Bellarmino, the sudden death of Urban VII. in the same year, and the death of Clement VIII. in 1605, also predicted by Bellarmino -these three Popes being ill-affected toward the order—were popularly ascribed to their agency. But of their practical intervention there is no proof. Old age and fever must be credited, in these as in other cases, with the decease of Roman Pontiffs supposed to have been poisoned.

It is not, however, to be wondered that sooner or later the Jesuits made themselves insupportable of Ravaillac. He gradually came to the conclusion that, though they were not directly responsible, their doctrine of regicide had in. Alamed the fanatic's imagination. See, in succession, Letters, vol. ii. pp. 78, 79, 81, 83. 86. 91, 105, 121, 170, 181, 192.

CONDEMNATION OF JESUITRY.

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by their intrigues in all the countries where they were established. Even to the Papacy itself they proved too irksome to be borne. The Company showed plainly that what they meant by obedience to Rome was obedience to a Rome controlled and fashioned by themselves. It was their ambition to stand in the same relation to the Pope as the Shogûn to the Mikado of Japan. Nor does the analysis of their opinions fail to justify the condemnation passed upon them by the Parlement of Paris in 1762. • These doctrines tend to destroy the natural law, that rule of manners which God Himself has imprinted on the hearts of men, and in consequence to sever all the bonds of civil society, by the authorization of theft, falsehood, perjury, the most culpable impurity, and in a word each passion and each crime of human weakness; to obliterate all sentiments of humanity by favoring homicide and parricide; and to annihilate the authority of sovereigns in the State.'

Great psychological and pathological interest attaches to the study of the Jesuit order. To withhold our admiration from the zeal, energy, self-devotion and constructive ability of its founders, would be impossible. Equally futile would it be to affect indifference before the sinister spectacle of so world

• Expelled from Venice in 1606, from Bohemia in 1618, from Naples and the Netherlands in 1622, from Russia in 1676, from Portugal in 1759, from Spain in 1767. from France in 1764. Sup. pressed by the Bull of Clement XIV. in 1773. Restored in 1814, as an instrument against the Revolution.

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