Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/270

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position is indicated by the absolution being subject to the pleasure of Legate Arnaud, from whom his authority was derived. This and a dispensation to a burgher of Toulouse to lodge a heretic in his house are the only extant evidences of his activity as a missionary. Yet already his talent for organization had been shown by his founding the Monastery of Prouille. One of the most efficient means by which the heretics propagated their belief was by establishments in which poor girls of gentle blood could obtain gratuitous education. To meet them on their own ground, Dominic, about 1206, conceived the idea of a similar foundation for Catholics, and with the aid of Bishop Foulques of Toulouse he carried it out. Prouille became a large and wealthy convent, which boasted of being the germ of the great Dominican Order.[1]

For the next eight years the life of Dominic is a blank. That he labored strenuously in his self-imposed mission we cannot doubt, gaining, if not souls, at least skill in disputation, knowledge of men, and the force which comes from the concentration of energies on a task of conscience ; but of results there is not a trace in the wild tumult of the crusades. We may safely dismiss as a fable the tradition that he refused successively the bishoprics of Beziers, Conserans, and Comminges, and the legends of the miracles which he wrought in vain among hard-hearted Cathari. He emerges again to view after the battle of Muret had destroyed the hopes of Count Raymond, when the cause of orthodoxy seemed triumphant and the field was unobstructed for conversions. In 1214 he was in his forty-fifth year, in the full strength of mature manhood, yet having thus far accomplished nothing that gave promise of what was to follow. Divested of their supernatural adornments, the accounts which we have of him show him to us as a man of earnest, resolute purpose, deep and unalterable convictions, full of burning zeal for the propagation of the faith, yet kindly in heart, cheerful in temper, and winning in manner. It is significant of the impression produced on his contemporaries that with scarce an exception the miracles related of him are beneficent ones — raising the dead, heal-

  1. Pet. Sarnens. c. 7.— Innoc. PP. III. Regest. ix. 185.— Paramo de Orig. Offic. S.Inquis. Lib. ii. Tit. 1, c. 2, §§ 6, 7.— Nic. do Trivetti Chron. ann. 1205.— Chron. Magist. Ord. Praedic. c. 1. — Bern. Guidon. Hist. Fundat. Convent. (Martene Ampl. Collect. VI. 439).