« AnteriorContinuar »
prophecy now appears to us, it is only the completion of it that makes it such. The Ethiopian Eunuch, probably a « Proselyte of the gate, cer ainly a pious man, and in a high office under a great monarchy, studied it in vain till Philip explained it to him, by comparing it with the events of our Saviour's life. At first sight indéed the circumstances foretold seem so contradictory as not possibly to relate to the same person.
He shall be exalied and ertolled, yet bis viage and form were to be marred. He was to have no comeliness or beauty; to be despised and rejected of men; to be esteemed smitten and afflicted of God; yet he was a righteous servant, and was to be satisfied ; his portion was to be with the great, and he was to divide the spoil with the strong. Though he bore our griefs and carried our sorrows yet he was numbered with the transgressors. Though he had done no violence, still his grave was meant to be with the wicked; and yet. in this design his persecutors were to be disappointed, and after his death his body was to be laid in the tomb of the rich.
• All these circumstances however, apparently contradictory, were recon. ciled in the humiliation of our Saviour's life, and his subsequent glory; in his mediation and atonement. Those among them which are merely historical, are sufficiently obvious. That he was a man of surrows and rejected of men ; that his visage was wounded, and his form murred with stripes ; that he kept silence and opened not his mouth before his judges; that no one was called to bear witness to his innocence ; that he was numbered with the transgressors, put to death with the wicked, and buried in a rich man's tomb, are circumstances of which none can be ignorant who read the gospels. Yet they are such, when taken together, as vo human wisdom could foresee, nor human power either prevent or produce. For some of them depended upon his enemies, some on his judges, some on his disciples, and some merely upon himself. And yet they all wrought together for the important purpose of proving the truth of a prophecy, written some hundred years before these events took place.' pp. 218–223.
Though our author professes his ignorance of Hebrew, yet having availed himself, with commendable diligence, of the lights that the learned have furnished, he gives, for the most part, easy and satisfactory expositions of the texts wbich he attempts to explain. Extracts from many valuable works are thrown into the margin. The former part of the volume perhaps might be condensed, and the concluding chapters profitably evlarged. If this were done, and, here and there, a soinewhat more evangelical turn given to some parts of it, and a few reflections, tending to shew the use of such revealed truths as are brought before the reader, interspersed with the other matter, the work would be a very excellent one. And, even in the state in which it now appears, we can safely recommend it, as affording a very good eleinentary view of the prophecies respecting the establishment of the Christian religion.
Art. V. Despotism ; or the Fall of the Jesuits. A Political Romance,
illustrated by Historical Anecdotes, Two vols. 12mo. price 128.
Murray. 1811. FEW of our readers, we suppose, are unacquainted with the
outline of the history of this celebrated society, sketched by the masterly pen of Robertson; who, in his history of Charles V., explains the nature of its constitution, and traces the growth of its power. His narrative closes with the following observation. The causes which occasioned the ruin of this mighty body, as well as the circumstances and effects with which it has been attended in the different countries of Europe, though objects extremely worthy the attention of every intelligent observer of human affairs, do not fall within the period of this history. These causes, and circumstances, and effects, form, as we are told in the preface, the subject of this political romance-which is generally understood to be the production of Mr. D' Israeli.
If we are to consider this work as an attempt to complete the picture left unfinished by the historian, the design appears to us better than the execution. Not to insist that a romance can forın at best but an awkward sort of sequel to a piece of sober history, we thirik the plan adopted by the author allows him scarcely room and verge enough' for his purpose. With. out the aid of the notes, these volumes would exhibit but a partial, indistinct view of the causes' which led to the ruin of the Jesuits; that event itself being rather implied than related; -and we can discover little or nothing about the effects' with which it was attended.
But we drop this relative view of the matter, to inquire what the work is in itself. The author afterwards, in more general terms, professes that liis design is 10 paint, in a moving scene, the political system of the Jesuits. It cannot be denied that some of his delineations contain niasterly touches, and are executed with considerable spirit and effect. The personages who are introduced, invested with a kind of mock majesty, move with imposing grandeur amidst the sombrous glare that is shed around them. The author certainly has not overtasked his invention in the construction of his story; but it is fair to presume that the fabrication of an ingenious plot was not his principal object. He aims at drainatic effect, and labours hard to be impressive and sublime. With many of his readers these efforts may, perhaps, prove successful; while others, if they do not consider the entire performance as a piece of downright fustian, will assuredly think the author has too often overstepped the modesty of nature. The scenes and the characters that pass before us,
wanting an air of naturalness, come like shadows--so depart,' and fade away from the mind as the pompous inanities of a dream,
The chief personage of the story, Ribadeneira by name, when but a simple Jesuit at the court of Spain, "felt himself born to rank among the masters of mankind.' The rapid elevation of Alberoni excited his envy, and goaded him forward in the path of ambition. That fortunate adventurer, the son of an Italian gardener, had once discharged the duties of ringer in his parish church, but now, a cardinal and a prime minister, governed Spain, and affected to regulate the destinies of Europe.' Our intriguing Jesuit had rendered himself obnoxious to Alberoni, who was contriving how to get rid of bim en cachette,' when a despatch arrived from the court of Rome, recommending him to the cardinal's special protection. This led the minister to adopt a different method of removing him out of the way, and' Ribadeneira, instead of being assassinated, was promoted to the bishopric of San Andero. This retirement was, of course, but ill adapted to the taste of so aspiring a personage. Musing on the project of becoming the founder and legislator of a new dynasty among the natives of South America, he was on the point of embarking, as a missionary, for Paraguay, when Benedict XIV. called hiin to fill the office of general of the Jesuits at the court of Rome.
Ribadeneira grasped the terrific code of universal despotism; and, in the inebriation of ambition and genius, he leaped into a secret throne, which seemed invested with omnipotence and omniscience and he started at his own solitary despotism.
. It was the very perfection of the Institute which made it criminal ; for it was
a code whose existence depended on the destruction of all other codes. There the universal good was the perpetual aggrandisement of the order; and thus, it was a perfect constitution for the Jesuits, but a conspiracy against mankind! Hålf human and half divine, it aimed to steal from the Divinity his almighty controul, and from the kings of the earth their crowns.
• If the perfection of despotism be to convert the people into its instruments, then might Ribadeneira exult in the excellence of the Jesuitic
goIt had reduced man into an artificial animal, so exquisitely contrived, that the motion of the limbs gave an appearance of life, while his own mastering hand retained the principle of action. This people were all members of a monstrous body, indissolubly combined with their head, moving with one volition ; tremendous unity! The multitude in a man ! the one made up of the many! This is the political Leviathan, who, “ when he riseth up himself the mighty are afraid."
Thus is described the genius of the Jesuitic government; a secret despotism aiming at universal monarchy. The new
general wanted none of the qualifications, which the Institute exacted in its perfect prince.'
Magnanimity, and fortitude, were to stand beside the awful throne of Him who was to smile amidst the shock of empires. The fear of death was not before him; the love of voluptuousness could not touch his ascetic heart; the joy of ambition was his solitary enthusiasm! To become more than man, he ceased to be a man; and the general of the Jesuits had neither brother, nor friend, nor country!'
To establish the supreme dominion of this perfect government, the whole world was to be previously disorganized.
<< To divide and to reign,” was but the first step of the universal despot-- another ! and the Colossus bestrides the two hemispheres ! It was in a general innovation, the great usurper was to grow and feel secure. When all was a rude heap, his hand would remould the heavy chaos. When old governments were forgotten, new dominions would stand the freshness of youth and hope, for all parties. And to make men adhere to his fortunes, he was to wind their own destinies with his. There was but one great end for the Mighty One! All was to be troubled for him to flourish!
The Jesuits, we are told, sought to extend their power in South America, by creating dissention and jealousy between the courts of Lisbon and Madrid. At Lisbon, Jesuitic craft insinuated that Portugal was heavily aggrieved by Spain; at Madrid, that Spain was the dupe of Portugal. Madrid trembled for her Peru, and Lisbon for her Brazils; and each seemed to behold the other, insidiously approaching to the heart of its power; while the adroit politician was wrenching two empires from their master.'
To Jesuitic influence is ascribed that spirit of ambition in the French councils, whence sprang the wars in the middle of the last century. Tellier, confessor of Louis XV, prompted by the instructions of Ribadeneira, “touched the secret spring in the soul of the monarch.'
• The vision of conquest passed before the eyes of the king. Louis hastened to council. A hạrried signature, formed by the phrenzy of ambition and the tremor of hope, “ covers the face of the earth with the foot of his armies. The sword devouring like famine, and famine sharper than the sword.”
· The crowned egotist glances in the distant perspective, at the lilies of France on the towers of Vienna. In the garden of Italy the human flower itself must perish. Thy tears, Germany, must fall, but thy lamentations shall be heard. Spain reposing in her olive groves, starts from her lethargy to join the general massacre of mankind. Holland presses on Britain. The north is shaken, the south trembles. America and Asia watch for the bright spark in Europe that kindles the general conflagration-ruthless and remorseless, war devouis its million, and another, and another must succeed. And wherefore ? for the ambition of France the whisper of a Jesuit!'
This is so much in the style and spirit of the sublime vaticinations to be met with in Moore's Almanac, that, for aught we know to the contrary, the author of that popular work may be the rightful owner of the passage.
We cannot follow the author any farther in his detail of the arts and the crimes which the Jesuits practised in the pursuit of their object. The truth of the facts referred to in the narrative is pretty well corroborated by the bistorical anecdotes subjoined; and however frightful the picture, there does not seem to be much reason for disputing the likeness. The his. tory of the little senate of Port-Royal, who long combated the Jesuits in their usurpation of the dominion of the mind,' but finally sunk beneath their polifical intrigues, is not one of the least interesting portions of the work.. We were also pleased with the sketches which are introduced relative to the Venetian republic; though they are but slightly connected with the main subject. Many of the chapters are cast in the form of dialogue; and it is but fair to say that some of these conversation-pieces do credit to the author's talent for dramatic painting. Ribadeneira's interview with the Pope, who had summoned bim to answer the complaints of Father Naldi; with the Princess of Aldobrandini, whose sons had been torn from her by the seductive authority of the Jesuitic autocrat;' and with Rebello, one of the agents in the Lisbon conspiracy; and "the last scene of all," which closes with the death of Ribadeneira, are among the happiest of these dramatic sketches. The dialogue between the general and Rebello we would transcribe, as the most favourable specimen that can be given of the author's manner, could we afford sufficient space. That conspirator, who bad not managed matters to the general's satisfaction, is ordered, by way of penance, to repair to the chambers of meditation,' wbich are situated among the accursed mountains.' The narrative of this mysterious journey, though strongly marked with the faults that are common to the whole performance, contains many passages powerfully descriptive.
The latter part of the work relates to the conspiracy at Lisbon, which, as is well known, terminated in an unsuccessful attempt against the life of the King of Portugal, Sept. 3, 1758, and led to the expulsion of the Jesuits froin that kingdom. The Marquis of Pombal, the evil genius of the Jesuits, by whom their designs were frustrated and exposed, is now brought upon the stage. He joins the conspirators to mar the plot, and, more artful than Ribadeneira himself, foils the ge