Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/324

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304
THE MENDICANT ORDERS.

In the busy world of the thirteenth century there was thus no agency more active than that of the Mendicant Orders, for good and for evil. On the whole perhaps the good preponderated, for they undoubtedly aided in postponing a revolution for which the world was not yet ready. Though the self-abnegation of their earlier days was a quality too rare and perishable to be long preserved, and though they soon sank to the level of the social order around them, yet had their work not been altogether lost. They had brought afresh to men's minds some of the forgotten truths of the gospel, and had taught them to view their duties to their fellows from a higher plane. How well they recognized and appreciated their own services is shown by the story, common to the legend of both Orders, which tells that while Dominic and Francis were waiting the approval of Innocent III. a holy man had a vision in which he saw Christ brandishing three darts with which to destroy the world, and the Virgin inquiring his purpose. Then said Christ, " The world is full of pride, avarice, and lust ; I have borne with it too long, and with these darts wiU I consume it." The Virgin fell on her knees and interceded for man, but in vain, until she revealed to him that she had two faithful servants who would reduce it to his dominion. Then Christ desired to see the champions; she showed him Dominic and Francis, and he was content. The pious author of the story could hardly have foreseen that in 1627 Urban YIII. would be obliged to deprive the Mendicant Friars of Cordova of their dearly prized immunity, and to subject them to episcopal jurisdiction, in the hope of restraining them from seducing their spiritual daughters in the confessional.[1]


    is addressed as a Franciscan, but one in the Coll. Doat, T. XXXII. fol. 155, characterizes him as a Dominican.

  1. Anon. Cartus. de Relig. Orig. c. 309 (Martene Ampl. Coll. VI. 68). — Lib. Conformitatum, Lib. i. Fruct. ii. fol. 166.— MSS. Bib. Bodleian., Arch. S. 130.