Molinos, Miguel De

Molinos, Miguel De a Spanish theologian, founder of the Quietists, was born of noble parentage near Saragossa, December 21, 1627. He studied at Pampeluna, and, after finishing his studies at the University of Coimbra, took holy orders, and in 1669 went to Rome, where his pious conduct and the purity of his life caused many to choose him for their spiritual director. He acquired great reputation, but steadily refused all ecclesiastical preferment. In 1675 he published his Way or Guide to what the Mystics call a spiritual or contemplative life. This book, written in Spanish, was supported by the recommendations of some of the greatest and most respectable men. In 1681 it was published at Rome in Italian, though it had appeared in that language some time before in other places. Afterwards it was translated into the Dutch, French, and Latin languages; and was very often printed in Holland, France, and Italy. The Latin translation, under the title of Manuductio spiritualis, was published by A.H. Franke (Halle, 1687, 12mo). In Italian it bore the title of Guida Spirituale. But though the work added greatly to Molinos's celebrity, it also became the subject of bitter opposition. It was soon attacked. There were not wanting many who in the specious but visionary principles of this work discovered the seeds of a dangerous and seductive error. Among these the celebrated preacher Segneri was the first who ventured publicly to call its. orthodoxy into question; but his strictures were by Molinos's friends ascribed to jealousy of the influence which Molinos had acquired with the people. By degrees, however, reports unfavorable to the practical results of this teaching, and even to the personal conduct and character of its author, or of his followers, began to find circulation; and eventually the Jesuits took decided ground against him, and he was accused of heresy. The substance of his system, which his friends interpret in one way and his opponents in another, amounted to this: Christian perfection consists in the peace of the soul, in renouncement of all external and temporal things, in the pure love of God, free from all considerations of interest or hope of reward. Thus a soul which desires the supreme good must renounce not only all sensual pleasures, but also all material and sensual things; silence every impulse of its mind and will, and concentrate and absorb itself in God. Molinos's enemies accused him and some of his disciples of reviving the abuses of the Gnostics, and of teaching, both by their precepts and their example, the most objectionable principles of Quietism. According to the propositions which were condemned by the Inquisition, he pushed to such an extreme the contemplative repose which is the common characteristic of Quietism as to teach the utter indifference of the soul, in a state of perfect contemplation, to all external things, and its entire independence of the outer world, even of the actions of the very body which it animates; insomuch that this internal perfection is compatible with the worst external excesses, since these are of no importance so long as the soul remains in communion with God. SEE QUIETISM. It is very probable that the opposition to him, especially that of the Jesuits and others who watched over the interests of the Romish cause, was provoked because they perceived that Molinos's system tacitly accused the Romish Church of a departure from true religion. Molinos, though he had a vast number of friends, and though the pontiff himself, Innocent XI, was partial to him, was in 1685 cited before the Inquisition, and submitted to close imprisonment and examination. In addition to the opinions contained in his book, a prodigious mass of papers and letters, to the number, it is said, of 20,000, found in his house, were produced against him, and he was himself rigorously examined as to his opinions. The trial lasted two years; and in 1687 sixtyeight propositions contained in his book were solemnly condemned. By a decree of August 28, 1687, he was declared to have taught false and dangerous dogmas, contrary to the doctrine of the Church and to Christian piety. On September 3 following he was brought out in a yellow scapular, with a red cross before and behind, made to kneel on a scaffold in-front of the church of the Dominicans, and there compelled to recant all he had taught in his books; after which he was compelled to pass the remainder of his life in prison. A bull of Innocent XII, of November 19, confirmed the action of the Inquisition, and condemned, in globo, the sixty-eight propositions. A refutation of Molinos's doctrine is to be found in Fenelon's works (Versailles, 1820), and in Bossuet, Etats d'Oraison. See Moreri, Dict. histor.; Pluquet, Diction. des heresies; Recueil de diverses pieces concernant le Quietisme et les Quietistes, ou Molinos, ses sentimens et ses disciples (Amsterd. 1688, 8vo); — Lettres ecrits de Rome touchanit le Quietisme; ou Molinos, ses sentiments, etc. (Amsterd. 1688); Herzog, Real-Encyklopidie, 9:698; Mosheim, Ecclesiastes Hist. 3:339 sq.; Bergier, Dict. de Theologie, 4:420; Wetzer u.Welte, Kirchen-Lexikon, 7:213 sq.; Scharling, in Niedner's Zeitschrift, 1854, page 325 sq., 489 sq.; 1855, page 3 sq.; Baumgarten-Crusius, Compend. d. Dogmen Gesch. 1:407 sq.; Hodgson; Reformers and Martyrs; Heinroth, Gesch. u. Kritik d. Mysticismus, part 3, chapter 3; Walch, Religiois Streitigkeiten ausser der luther. Kirche, 1:293 sq.; 2:982 sq.; Schrockh, Kirchengeschichte s. d. Ref. 7:453 sq. SEE MYSTICISM.

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