Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/320

This page needs to be proofread.


o6 ROME, THE ESCORIAL, AND VERSAILLES

long series of questionable, ultra-lax statements contained in the moral treatises of the Jesuits. But the Jansenists took the field against them much more vigorously than did all other antagonists, though numbered among these were most of the Orders of the Church, the universities, and the secular clergy whose own rights had been threatened.

Jansenius' book had also attacked the ethics of the Jesuits and their conception of religion. They avenged themselves by ferreting out his weakness in dogmatic theology, and succeeded in getting Pope Urban VIII to forbid the book. It soon found defenders who ce- mented the religious opponents of Loyola's Order into a party. The headquarters became the Nunnery of Port Royal des Champs outside Paris. This house lay in an amiable, quiet valley surrounded by wooded hills. The spiritual family which gathered here throughout years and decades included such members and friends of the house of Arnauld as Saint-Cyran, Pascal, Racine, Tillemant, It affected the fife of France and of Europe as a whole in innumerable ways. That which differentiates this movement of reform from others that have taken place within the Church is an element of opposition. One could be a Benedictine, a Franciscan or a disciple of Ignatius, without engaging in internecine ecclesiastical strife, but one could not be a Jansenist, a disciple and friend of Port Royal, on the same terms. A profound predilection for the inner life here led customarily to mum- bling and to barking back at that which had driven its protagonists to that inner life by annoying and irritating them. Jansenists who adopted the pose of the Publican standing afar off from the altar, hid in their pockets fists to be used against everything which they did not like either in those who served the temple or in the temple itself. The fact that religion had become more of an institution than of a mystical exchange between God and the soul, and a confident enjoyment of the outward guaranties of salvation rather than an obedient, passive con- dition of the soul, aroused the Jansenist to make exceptions to the uni- versal love and humility which he held on principle. In so far as the piety which had taken on unworthy forms under Jesuit management was concerned, the Jansenists had a good deal of sound reason on their side. On the other hand their insistence on being exceptional, on keeping up opposition, and (one must admit) even on hating, arc limitations of their greatness. They went from one extreme to the


PORT-