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Archbishop of Canterbury, who retained for him throughout life the warmest affection and attachment. On leaving the University, he applied to the study of Law, and succeeded in taking a Bachelor's degree in it, and was then made Fellow of his College. He did not retain this position very long, for his profoundly religious spirit was not satisfied with the Faith by Law established, and his logical mind was startled by its glaring inconsistencies. After mature deliberation and careful study, his determination was taken; he returned to the ancient Faith, which had been for a thousand years the Religion of his country, and feeling within himself the secret promptings of the Holy Spirit to betake himself to a life of perfection, he turned his back, like the Patriarch of old, upon friends, and home, and kindred, and went to Spain, where he entered the Benedictine Monastery of Compostella, and was there professed about the year 1600.
He was then sent to the University of Salamanca to prosecute his theological studies, during the course of which he was advanced to the Priesthood. He crowned his theological career by winning for himself the degree of
Doctor of Divinity, and was then directed by his Superiors to join his countrymen of the Spanish Benedictine Congregation, who were at that time labouring upon the English Mission. On his journey through France he stayed at the Abbey of St. Remigius at Rheims, and at the earnest entreaty of the Abbot was allowed by his Superiors to remain there for some time to train their Novices. Proceeding thence towards his final destination, he reached Douai. Here, also, he was ordered to undertake the same office, and remained at the Benedictine Monastery in the exercise of his arduous duties from the year 1607 till 1612. In this latter year he was appointed Vicar General over all the English Benedictines of the Spanish Congregation residing out of Spain. Throughout the period during which he exercised this office, his most strenuous efforts were directed towards bringing about a union between the Old English and Spanish Congregations. It It was only natural that since he belonged to the latter of these two, he should direct the whole weight of his influence towards bringing the English Fathers of the Old Congregation under the authority of the Spanish General. Owing,
however, to the exertions of Father Anselm Beech, who had lately been elected President of the Cassinese and Old English Congregations, the latter, which had come down by direct succession from St. Augustine, and had for centuries flourished in this country, was saved from losing its independent existence.
In 1617 nine Definitors were elected to draw
up the terms of union between the two Congregations. Father Leander's name stood first among these, and as soon as matters were finally arranged, Dr. Gifford was chosen first President Elect, and Father Leander second President Elect, to succeed in case the President should die before the expiration of his term of office. Dr. Gifford, however, was elevated at this time to the episcopal dignity, and thus the honour of being the first President of the present English Congregation devolved upon Father Leander.
At the meeting of the first General Chapter held at Douai in 1621, he ceased to be President, because it was not usual in our Congregation at that time to be re-elected to the same office, and was then appointed to the Priorship of St. Gregory's. After the lapse of twelve years, he was again called to be President, and on the
23rd of April, 1634, had the satisfaction, at St. Gregory's in Douai, of hearing the promulgation of the famous Bull Plantata, issued by Urban VIII., whereby the English Congregation was firmly established and confirmed in all its immunities and privileges.
He was a man of extraordinary eloquence, famous for his mastery of the Oriental languages, and for his wide and varied knowledge in all the arts and sciences. Multiform and harassing as were the duties of his public life, he nevertheless continued to discharge the office of Professor of Theology and Hebrew for twenty-four years, either in the College of Marchienne, or in that of St. Vedast. He died at London on the 27th of December, 1635, in the sixtieth year of his age.*
* The following are the works of Father Leander Jones :
I. Sacra Ars Memoriæ, ad Scripturas Divinas in promptu habendas, memoriterque ediscendas accomodata. Duaci. 1623.
II. Conciliatio Locorum Communium totius Scripturæ. Duaci. 1623.
III. Biblia Sacra. 6 vols. Published under Father Leander's care.
IV. Opera Ludovici Blosii.
V. Arnobius, cum Notis.
Father John Fursden was the eldest son of Mr. Philip Fursden of Thornton in Devonshire. About the spring of the year 1620, Father Baker was appointed by his Superiors to be Chaplain in the house of this gentleman. The eminent sanctity of this great Ascetic made so profound an impression upon John, that he put himself entirely under his direction, and became one of his most enthusiastic disciples. He soon made such progress that his spirit of prayer and his spotless innocence of life won for him from God the great privilege of a call to the Religious state. He accordingly proceeded to Douai, and received the holy habit of St. Benedict at St. Gregory's. On completing the year of probation, he took the solemn vows of Religion in 1622. While he remained in the Monastery, he was remarkable for his exact observance of all the discipline of Religious life, for his sublime spirit of Prayer, and for his total abstraction from everything which could disturb the intimate union of his soul with its Maker. When sent on the English Mission he continued to lead a life
VI. Apostolatus Benedictinus. 1626. (The third Tract was compiled by him, and the whole work penned by him in Latin.)