where he behaved bravely, but his military career was brief; he returned to the peaceful pursuits of his vocation, and was made counselor of the Royal Court of Paris. While pursuing his professional studies, he was a devout Catholic, and belonged to a society of young men who met to pray under the auspices of the Virgin Mary. One day, while in company, the Roman Catholic religious orders were attacked, and especially the Jesuits. Young de Ravignan immediately took up the argument for them, and exclaimed, "I mean to be a Jesuit myself some day."

This intention he very soon carried into execution. He had, in the mean time, received the important appointment of Deputy Procureur du Roi, and the most brilliant prospects opened before him of rising rapidly to the highest ranks of the magistracy, when suddenly, in the year 1822, he entered the Seminary of Saint Sulpice, at Issy, to prepare himself for the career of a religious. His mother and family were filled with distress at this entire change in all his reasonable and high worldly prospects, but their almost passionate letters and entreaties could not alter his resolution. The letter of M. Bellart, the Procureur Général, to his young deputy before he had taken the irrevocable vows, is worthy of perusal, and contains some truths put in a strong, sensible, and impressive way. We should like to quote the whole of this excellent letter. He says: "You are taking a serious step, one which will impose upon you the most difficult duties, much privation beyond the power of man to endure, to all which you must make up your mind to bow your neck to-day, to-morrow, for years, forever, your whole life through, without murmurs, and above all without regrets. I can understand couragegreat courage-kept up for a certain time; but there is something terrible in an engagement to renounce all to which nature most strongly calls us. In a moment of fervor, of enthusiasm, our imagination sometimes represents to us as permanently as possible, something which we are enabled to do only by virtue of a present grace, and of a strong determination which has not yet had time to evaporate. But if the grace leave you, if the determination prove no longer strong enough for the struggle if it turn out, after prolonged endurance, that no

good has been done by the lengthened sacrifice of all the affections which are intended to be ornaments of the career of a good man who lives a Christian life, and of all the inclinations created and placed in us by God, who has given them to man on the sole condition of yielding to them no more than His holy laws allow! What if after this long endurance the result is nothing but a fall, with risk of the salvation of the soul! Consider, my dear Ravignan, how disastrous would be such an end, and reflect well while it is yet in your power."

The Seminary life at Issy was, however, but an outer vestibule to the noviciate. "The Abbé de Ravignan aimed at complete self-renouncement; he had withdrawn from the world and consecrated himself to God, and his heart still cried with St. Francis Xavier, amplius, amplius, more, O Lord! yet more!" He wrote of his new vocation: "I had some prejudices against the society of Jesus. Pascal, and the traditions of the Parliaments, deceived me and many others; and I must confess that the truth about the Jesuits came upon me in some sort against my will. I have no need to recount in this place by what path it pleased divine Providence to lead me forward, nor what interior struggle I went through in my conscience, a struggle known to God alone."-"I was led to the determination to become a Jesuit by the very points which are most misunderstood, most distorted, and most attacked in the Institute of the Society."

He entered the Jesuit noviciate at Montrouge, using these words in presenting himself to the Superior: "I am a poor man come to ask your hospitality. I have nothing but myself to offer; be good enough to receive me for charity." He had already in his zeal taken the four famous vows of the Jesuit order before the canonical time-viz: those of poverty, chastity, obedience, and entire submission to the will of the Pope, to do and go as he may command. "He made haste to go down into the mystic tomb where, as St. Paul expresses it, one must put off the old man to put on the new. He disappeared as though dead; and for ten years the world saw him no more, heard not his name, spoke not of him."

We cannot follow him through all that decade of religious incarceration, where by deeper and deeper steps into that living tomb, he was to become in truth, in Jesuit phrase, perinde cadaver to the world and human joys and affections. During his Novitiate of two years, and his Scholasticate of four years, his attention to the strictest rules of his order were almost unexampled; he forgot nothing and omitted nothing, and allowed no weakness of body to deter him from any act which he held to be his duty. He gained for himself the sobriquet of "Iron bar." He looked upon the religious life as a conflict, in which he unceasingly fought against himself, and judged that a bold beginning ensured a more complete victory. He submitted to all the enjoined austerities to complete this breaking down of his nature, and a terrible iron-shirt is mentioned which marked the sacred signs on the living flesh in characters of blood. His biographer says:-" He understood the regulation of the flesh in the gospel sense; he reduced his body to servitude in order to set his spirit free; and he suffered martyrdom that he might continue to be an Angel, and might become an Apostle." After having spent six years in preparation, two in practical spiritual exercises, and four in the study of the sciences, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1828, and went to the Professed House in Paris, where he continued four years longer, chiefly in the practice of the severe duties and spiritual requirements of his House, now and then preaching to other religious communities, teaching in theology and sacred rhetoric. The last year of his probation was one of redoubled austerity and attention to religious exercises, making the Exercitia Spiritualia of St. Ignatius his almost sole companion-his Bible in fact. He said to his students:-"The Book of the Exercises is the spiritual arsenal where you will find the heavenly arms which have been prepared for you. It is a present bestowed by God on the society." He said, again, speaking of St. Ignatius Loyola :-"O my blessed Father! wise is thy work and enticing, great and of much profit; the Spirit of God inspired thee. Happy is he that loves and relishes this Book with which heaven inspired our father. He will find there an unfailing spring of consolation, a prolific source of good, a remedy of all evils, be they

the greatest to which the soul of a religious is exposed." His biographer also remarks:-"He received from on high a marked grace, the gift of understanding the Book of Exercises. From this time, that book became his manual, and served him instead of a whole library. He was filled with it; and we may express his view and our own, by saying that he was the Son of the Exercises, for by means of them he formed himself, and by means of them he accomplished all his other works."

At the age of forty he appeared for the first time in a pulpit of importance, that of Amiens. In like manner it is said that Bourdaloue entered the Society at sixteen, and first appeared in the pulpit at thirty-six. The Jesuit system aims at quality rather than quantity; it looks to thoroughness of preparation, on the principle that the well-fitted instrument will do more execution in a short time, than a poor instrument in ever so long a time. The motto of the founder of the Jesuit order was "Whatsoever we do for the glory God and the good of souls, must be done not in a slovenly manner, but in the most perfect manner."

But he was soon called to a more conspicuous field. The eloquent Lacordaire had established and rendered celebrated the so-called "Conferences" at Notre Dame; and when his fiery career was ended, the man chosen to succeed him and carry on his work of periodical preaching at Notre Dame, was F. de Ravignan. This fact itself testifies to the extraordinary ability of the Jesuit father as a pulpit orator. His eloquence, however, was of a different kind from that of his brilliant Dominican predecessor, as it was from that of the glowing Carmelite, Father Hyacinthe, who succeeded him. His power consisted in a forgetfulness of himself, an impassibility, a plain masculine logic. There was a lack of the poetic element. He chose the road that expressed the thought and nothing more. His style was a little rough, and wanting in polish; but there was constant advance; he mastered audiences by the majesty of his thought and his intellectual force. There was at first a cadence and slowness of utterance in his speaking, but when he became fully roused he shot forth each word like an arrow, and his whole soul seemed to dart forth with it. He had at times great and vehement energy, which produced

the more effect from its contrast to his usually calm style. His attitude was noble and modest, his forehead high and as it seemed, glowing; his eye bright with something of a heavenly look; and much is said of the impressiveness of his first appearance in the pulpit; his silent, recollected posture, and his sign of the cross before beginning. Immense audiences of three and four thousand, principally composed of men, were invariably attracted by his bold, argumentative, and forensic oratory, which addressed the intellect, and aimed at practical results. His weight and holiness of character added to the effect.

Father de Ravignan's own ideas upon sacred oratory and preaching, a short summary of which is given in the work, are of exceeding interest to students and preachers. In theological education he did not insist so much upon extent of erudition as upon depth of knowledge. He aimed to produce effective preachers rather than learned scholars. "What is pulpit eloquence?" he asked; "It is the power of spoken words to draw souls to their Creator." He counseled his pupils to be on their guard against metaphysical preaching, which is a shoal full of peril to one first leaving the schools. He insisted upon clearness as the first condition in every discourse. "We must have some coloring," he said; "but not every one is at will a painter. Here again St. Paul is our master. What images there are in his epistles! Our Lord speaks by images: in his discourses the deepest thoughts come clothed in sensible forms, the language becomes popular without ceasing to be noble." He advocated the French mode of memoriter preaching-of a true kind however. "He quoted the saying of Demosthenes, placing all the force of speech in action, and another of Massillon: "my best sermon is the one I know best;" and he drew from this conclusion that we ought to know some sermons by heart, and added: "I know very well the trouble of learning by heart; but the more trouble the better-trouble is just what we ought to have. This wretched fear of taking trouble it is that does all the harm. Would you like me tell you something of the truth of which I am deeply convinced? Sloth is what chiefly palsies talent and hinders success. I remember a very sensible remark made

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