GORDON, JAMES, a member of the noble family of
Gordon, and distinguished for his erudition, was born in the year 1543.
Having been sent to Rome for his education, he there became a Jesuit,
while yet in the twentieth year of his age, and such was his extraordinary
progress in learning, that in six years afterwards (1569) he was created
doctor of divinity. He next became professor of languages and divinity, in
which capacity he distinguished himself in various parts of Europe,
particularly in Rome, Paris, and Bourdeaux. In these duties he was
occupied for nearly fifty years, during which time he acquired such
reputation for learning and acuteness. Gordon was frequently deputed as a
missionary to England and Scotland, and was twice imprisoned for his zeal
in attempting to make converts. He was also, on account of his superior
abilities, often employed by the general of his order in negotiating their
affairs; a duty for which his penetration and knowledge of the world
especially qualifed him.
Alegambe describes Gordon as a saint; but
with all his talents and learning, he does not seem to have had any very
great pretensions to the honour of canonization, since it is beyond doubt
that he led, notwithstanding Alegambe’s account of him, an exceedingly
dissipated life. He, however, rigidly practiced all the austerities of his
order, and, with all his irregularities, rose every morning at three o’clock.
His only writings, are "Controversiarum Fidei Epitome," in three
parts or volumes; the first printed at Limoges, in 1612, the second at
Paris, and the third at Cologne, in 1620.