Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius, are something more than a collection of meditations, and christian considerations: if they were that, and no more, there would be nothing in them particular and new. Ignatius is not the first who has taught us the way of raising our minds to God, and of looking into our souls, by the means of prayer and contemplation. Before him, were known the several heads of meditation, as concerning the end for which we were created, the enormity of sin, the pains of hell, the life and death of our Saviour; but this much may be said, that before him, there was not a certain and prefixed method for the reformation of manners : to him enlightened by God, we owe this method, and he it was who, in a systematic way, after a manner altogether new,
reduced (as it were) into a holy art the conversion of a sinner Knowing, on the one hand, the perverse inclinations of the heart of man; and on the other hand, the power and virtue of the particular truths of Christianity, when rightly applied, to rectify those corruptions, he had set down a process or way, by which man with the succour of grace may recover himself out of his sin and degradation, and climb to the highest degree of Christian perfection.
In effect, if we look narrowly into the matter, there is as much difference between the ordinary meditations of religious books and these exercises, as between the knowledge only of simples and the entire science of medicine ; which has its principles and aphorisms, (the result of accumulated experience,) for the cure of diseases, according to the constitution of bodies, the nature of distempers, and the quality of remedies. But that the reality of what is above stated may be apparent, we shall here set down the whole order and Scheme Of Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises ; which are adapted for a Four Week's Retreat, for such as desire to Enter Upon A Christian Life. .