« ForrigeFortsæt »
"after your course is done, give you a crown of righteousness, reserved for you in his heavenly kingdom; whither when I shall have arrived, "I shall not be unmindful of Blaise. I wish the "reverend father Schondonckin and those with "him to receive the warmest salutations, which I "am not able to convey to him myself. Great "is the charge entrusted to him of instructing our "youth; let him therefore strenuously, as hitherto, "defend his Sparta*. I can no more,-for my "time is near, and I desire to be dissolved and to "be with Christ. I recommend myself to the "sacrifices of your most reverend lordship; also "to the prayers of our fathers in the college; "whom, from my soul, I salute; and the prayers "of all the scholars, on whom I eagerly pray God "to pour out every blessing. Again and ever "farewell most reverend Blaise !—From my bed, 13th April 1610.
"Your most reverend lordship's
"He lived until the following Wednesday. "Thomas Owen, who succeeded him as rector and prefect, testifies, that though his sickness was short, he yet delivered in writing to the general Aquaviva his sentiments on the future conduct of "the mission. The general gave permission that
"most bounden servant in Christ,
Alluding to the Latin expression "Spartam quam nactus sis, orna."
+ Mori, Hist. p. 386.
“ the body, when embalmed, should be placed on “ the right side of cardinal Allen, in the English "sepuleture, with a fair epitaph which
may be seen " in our historian, father Alégambe*.
“ It is certain, that how great soever were his ta" lents and activity in business, he always cherished
a perfect and solid virtue, and maintained it " throughout his life. Thus, as among philosophers, “the founder of any system is the rule and standard " for the rest, so this man may justly be held forth “' for imitation, as a model, under God, of those “ virtues, which are wanted in one qualified for “ such a mission as this :-as to be eminently cir
cumspect and courageous, patient in expectation, “ bold in action.--He had a great horror of violent " and hasty proceedings. He strove to convince, “ first by argument; and after he had removed the
difficulty, he then suggested the means, by which “ what he recommended might be effected. Infinite
were his dealings with popes, kings, cardinals, “ and princes, sometimes by word of mouth, some"times in writing; in both of which his eloquence “ was equally successful. The lowly were never
despised by him ; he was benevolent to all, and " beneficent, whenever it was in his “ ness the number of captives in the ports of his ca“ tholic majesty, who, by his intercession, received “ their liberty; and whom, during forty years, he “ assisted with his advice and alms. In the midst “ of these occupations, he found time for writing, “ either to enkindle piety in the minds of catho
* It is also inserted in father Huntley's “Modest Defence."
"lics, or to expose the deceits and delusions of "heretics. In each, he excelled; so nicely and
justly balancing his words, as quite to delight a "reader of his own party, and not to wound his "adversary too sensibly. He was of great use in
quieting and restraining the unsettled tempers of "the scholars, who, under former masters, had been "often rebellious. By the dignity of his deport"ment and the efficacy of his discourses commanding respect, excluding with the utmost care the "approach of known and troublesome characters; "and, what was the chief thing, upholding in every "action, virtue and a true zeal of God; and instilling, by every means, the same virtuous spirit, "like oil from a lamp, into the susceptible minds "of the youth. With what ardour he burned to "restore the faith of this island; with what con"fidence in God he advanced the undertaking; "and by what charity towards all men, he was distinguished, are seen not only in the many books “which he wrote, and the many journies which "he took in every direction by sea and land, but "in the many seminaries which he founded and "established for the purpose; and without which, "beyond all doubt, the ancient clergy being taken "off by age, religion would have failed.
"In all these affairs, he seemed the more worthy "of imitation, and the more to be admired, because " he never suffered private interest for himself or "his relations to affect him; but entirely renounced "all advantages and honours. He always had, in "his mouth, that sentence of the apostle,—whilst
“We have time, let us do good; for if we do not
fail, we shall in due time reap. Therefore he
neglected nothing, which he conceived calculated “ to spread the catholic faith ; and, having once
1 “ deliberately undertaken his measures, he was not
easily brought to despair of success, persuaded “ that the bounty of God would supply the means necessary
for the foundation of the work. And “ truly those, who saw the flower of youth-so “ abundant in the Spanish seminaries, and that, “ for many years, there were fifty and sixty in Val“ ladolid, and nearly the same number in Seville “and the Roman college, could not but observe, “ with veneration, the activity of this man, the in“ fluence he possessed over persons of distinction, “ and chiefly his confidence in God, by which he “ did not doubt the minds of men would be moved " to support such necessary establishments. It was “ this confidence, which, enlarging itself in his latter
years, to the extension of the society, produced “ the houses of Louvaine and Watten. Having lived " to see these happy beginnings, he was called to
reap the fruit of his harvest in heaven. He was “ carried off by a short illness of nine days; so
severe, that, on the fourth of them, the physician
pronounced his death to be approaching, nor did “ he think otherwise from the first moment of his
being taken ill; and, being fortified against it
by pious reflections and the sacraments of the “ church, and suggesting whatever appeared to “ him best for the proper management and promo“tion of the mission, he departed this life on the
"15th April 1610, in the sixty-fifth year of his age, " and twenty-third of his profession."
Such is the character given by a friend,-a brother too in religion,-of father Persons, while his ashes still retained their wonted fires, and admiration and kindness were yet warm. A plainer tale will detract nothing from what it expresses of his intellectual endowments, his energy, his activity, or his pious zeal: it will allow, that the advancement of the catholic religion was the ultimate end and aim of his being; and will suggest that, before we pronounce an absolute censure on the means for accomplishing it, to which he sometimes resorted, we should reflect that he acted according to maxims professed by a multitude of respectable persons in the times in which he lived, and to the principles of many, to whom the catholic public then looked up with veneration; and that, if on some occasions he sought to advance his own brethren too much at the expense of others, it should be considered that this was a natural and not an unamiable weakness,the last infirmity of a holy mind.-Cardinal Allen is reported to have said of him," that his industry, "his prudence, his talents for writing and acting, "exceeded all belief*."
* Juvençi, Hist. lib. xiii. p. 188.-Many of the works of father Persons have been noticed in the course of these Memoirs. At this time, the most interesting of them are, 1. His "Christian Directory," which has been repeatedly published. 2. His "Treatise on the Three Conversions of England." 3. His "Examination of Fox's Calendar," in two parts, both of which, but the last particularly, have become exceedingly searce. "Fox's Acts and Monuments," says Mr. Alban