Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume XII: December. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
St. Francis Xavier, Apostle of the Indies, Confessor
His life was written in Latin by F. Turselin, in six books, first printed at Rome in 1594. The same author translated into Latin, and published in 1596 the saints letters in four books. The life of this saint was also composed by F. Orlandino in the history of the Society: in Italian by F. Bartoli; also by F. Maffei: in Portuguese by Luzena, and in Spanish by F. Garcia. See likewise F. Nierembergs illustrious men: the modern histories of India, especially that of Jarrio: Solias history of Japan, Lewis de Gusmans Spanish history of the Missions to the East-Indies, China, and Japan; and Ferdinand Mendez Pintos Travels in Portuguese. From those and other sources is the life of St. Francis Xavier elegantly compiled in French by the judicious and eloquent F. Bouhours, published in English by Dryden in 1688. See also Maffei, Histor. Indicar. l. 15, F. Ribadeneira, F. Charlevoix, Hist. de Japan. Lafiteau, Découvertes et Conquestes des Indes Orientales par les Portuguais.
A CHARGE to go and preach to all nations was given by Christ to his apostles. This commission the pastors of the church have faithfully executed down to this present time; and in every age have men been raised by God, and filled with his Holy Spirit for the discharge of this important function, who, being sent by the authority of Christ and in his name by those who have succeeded the apostles in the government of his church, have brought new nations to the fold of Christ for the advancement of the divine honour, and filling up the number of the saints. This conversion of nations, according to the divine commission is the prerogative of the Catholic Church, in which it has never had any rival. Among those who in the sixteenth century laboured most successfully in this great work, the most illustrious was St. Francis Xavier, the Thaumaturgus of these later ages, whom Urban VIII. justly styled the apostle of the Indies. This great saint was born in Navarre, at the castle of Xavier, eight leagues from Pampelona, in 1506. His mother was heiress of the two illustrious houses of Azpilcueta and Xavier, and his father Don John de Jasso, was one of the chief counsellors of state to John III. dAlbret, king of Navarre. Among their numerous family of children, of which Francis was the youngest, those that were elder bore the surname of Azpilcueta, the younger that of Xavier. Francis was instructed in the Latin tongue, under domestic masters, and grounded in religious principles in the bosom of his pious parents. From his infancy he was of a complying winning humour, and discovered a good genius and great propensity to learning, to which of his own motion he turned himself, whilst all his brothers embraced the profession of arms. His inclination determined his parents to send him to Paris in the eighteenth year of his age; where he entered the college of St. Barbara, and commencing a course of scholastic philosophy, with incessant pains and incredible ardour, surmounted the first difficulties of the crabbed and subtle questions with which the entrance of logic was paved. His faculties were hereby opened, and his penetration and judgment exceedingly improved; and the applause which he received agreeably flattered his vanity, which passion he was not aware of, persuading himself, that to raise his fortune in the world was a commendable pursuit. Having studied philosophy two years he proceeded master of arts: then taught philosophy at Beauvais college, though he still lived in that of St. Barbara.
St. Ignatius came to Paris in 1528 with a view to finish his studies, and after sometime entered himself pensioner in the college of St. Barbara. This holy man had conceived a desire of forming a society wholly devoted to the salvation of souls; and being taken with the qualifications of Peter Faber, called in French Le Fevre, a Savoyard, and Francis Xavier, who had been school-fellows, and still lived in the same college, endeavoured to gain their concurrence in this holy project. Faber, who was not enamoured of the world, resigned himself without opposition. But Francis, whose head was full of ambitious thoughts, made a long and vigorous resistance, and bantered and rallied Ignatius on all occasions, ridiculing the meanness and poverty in which he lived as a degenerate lowness of soul. Ignatius repaid his contempt with meekness and kindness, and continued to repeat sometimes to him: What will it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul. This made no impression on one who was dazzled with vain glory, and, under pretences, joined false maxims of worldly decency in his idea of Christian virtue. Ignatius assaulting him on the weaker side often congratulated him on his talents and learning, applauded his lectures, and made it his business to procure him scholars; also on a certain occasion when he was in necessity, he furnished him with money. Francis, having a generous soul, was moved with gratitude, and considered that Ignatius was of great birth, and that only the fear of God had inspired him with the choice of the life which he led. He began therefore to look on Ignatius with other eyes, and to hearken to his discourses. At that time certain emissaries of the Lutherans secretly scattered their errors among the students at Paris, in so dexterous a manner as to make them appear plausible, and Xavier, who was naturally curious, took pleasure in hearing these novelties, till Ignatius put him upon his guard. Some time after this, having one day found Xavier more than ordinarily attentive, he repeated to him these words more forcibly than ever: What will it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? and remonstrated that so noble a soul ought not to confine itself to the vain honours of this world, that celestial glory was the only object for his ambition, and that it was against reason not to prefer that which is eternally to last before what vanishes like a dream. Xavier then began to see into the emptiness of earthly greatness, and to find himself powerfully touched with the love of heavenly things. Yet it was not without many serious thoughts and grievous struggles that his soul was overcome by the power of those eternal truths, and he took a resolution of squaring his life entirely by the most perfect maxims of the gospel. For this purpose, he gave himself up to the conduct of Ignatius; and the direction of so enlightened a guide made the paths of perfection easy to him. From his new master he learned that the first step in his conversion was to subdue his predominant passion, and that vain-glory was his most dangerous enemy. His main endeavours, therefore, were bent from that time to humble himself, and confound his pride. And, well knowing that the interior victory over our own heart and its passions, is not to be gained without mortifying the flesh, and bringing the senses into subjection, he undertook this conquest by hair cloth, fasting, and other austerities.
When the time of the vacancy was come, in 1535, he performed St. Ignatiuss spiritual exercises: in which, such was his fervour, that he passed four days without taking any nourishment, and his mind was taken up day and night in the contemplation of heavenly things. By these meditations, which sunk deep into his soul, he was wholly changed into another man, in his desires, affections, and views; so that afterwards he did not know himself, and the humility of the cross appeared to him more amiable than all the glories of this world. In the most profound sentiments of compunction, he made a general confession, and formed a design of glorifying God by all possible means, and of employing his whole life for the salvation of souls. The course of philosophy which he read, and which had lasted three years and a half, according to the custom of those times, being completed, by the council of Ignatius, he entered on the study of divinity. In 1534, on the feast of the Assumption of our Lady, St. Ignatius, and his six companions, of whom Francis was one, made a vow at Montmartre to visit the Holy Land, and unite their labours for the conversion of the infidels; or, if this should be found not practicable, to cast themselves at the feet of the pope, and offer their services wherever he thought fit to employ them. Three others afterwards joined these six, and, having ended their studies the year following, these nine companions departed from Paris upon the 15th of November, in 1536, to go to Venice, where St. Ignatius had agreed to meet them from Spain. They travelled all through Germany on foot, loaded with their writings, in the midst of winter, which that year was very sharp and cold. Xavier, to overcome his passions, and punish himself for the vanity he had formerly taken in leaping, (for he was very active, and had been fond of such corporal exercises,) in the fervency of his soul, had tied his arms and thighs with little cords, which, by his travelling, swelled his thighs, and sunk so deep into the flesh as to be hardly visible. The saint bore the pain with incredible patience, till he fainted on the road; and, not being able to go any farther, was obliged to discover the reason. His companions carried him to the next town, where the surgeon declared that no incision could be safely made deep enough, and that the evil was incurable. In this melancholy situation, Faber, Laynez, and the rest spent that night in prayer; and the next morning Xavier found the cords broken out of the flesh. The holy company joined in acts of thanksgiving to the Almighty, and cheerfully pursued their journey, in which Xavier served the rest on all occasions, being always beforehand with them in the duties of charity. They arrived at Venice on the 8th of January, 1537, and were much comforted to meet there St. Ignatius, by whose direction they divided themselves to serve the poor in two hospitals in that city, whilst they waited for an opportunity to embark for Palestine.
Xavier, who was placed in the hospital of the incurables, employed the day in dressing the sores of the sick, in making their beds, and serving them in meaner offices, and passed whole nights in watching by them. It was his delight chiefly to attend those who were sick of contagious distempers, or infected with loathsome ulcers. Amongst these, one had an ulcer which was horrible to the sight, and the noisomeness of the stench was yet more insupportable. Every one shunned him, and Xavier found a great repugnance in himself when he first approached him. But, reflecting that the occasion of making a great sacrifice was too precious to be lost, he embraced the sick person, applied his mouth to the ulcer, and sucked out the purulent matter. At the same moment his repugnance vanished; and, by this signal victory over himself, he obtained the grace that, from that time, no ulcers, how filthy and fetid soever, caused in him any loathing, but rather a sweet devotion: of so great importance it is to us once to have thoroughly overcome ourselves, and overthrown the proud giant of sensuality, or vanity; whilst remiss acts, performed with sloth, unwillingness, and a false delicacy, rather fortify than vanquish the enemy. And it is more the resolution of the will than the action itself that subdues him. Two months had passed away in these exercises of charity, when St. Ignatius, who stayed behind alone at Venice, sent his companions to Rome, to ask the blessing of his holiness Paul III. for their intended voyage. The pope granted those among them, who were not in holy orders, a license to receive them at the hands of any Catholic bishop. Upon their return to Venice, Xavier was ordained priest upon St. John Baptists day, in 1537, and they all made vows of chastity and poverty before the popes nuncio. Xavier retired to a village, about four miles from Padua, where, to prepare himself for saying his first mass, he spent forty days in a poor, ruined, abandoned cottage, exposed to all the injuries of the weather, lay on the ground, fasted rigorously, and subsisted on what scraps of bread he begged from door to door. St. Ignatius having caused all his company to resort to Vicenza, Xavier, after this retreat, repaired thither, and said there his first mass with tears flowing in such abundance that his audience could not refrain from mixing their own with his. By order of St. Ignatius, he applied himself to the exercise of charity and devotion at Bologna, to the great edification of that city. The house in which he there dwelt as a poor man, was afterwards given to the society, and converted into an oratory of great devotion.
In Lent, in 1538, our saint was called by St. Ignatius to Rome, where the fathers assembled together to deliberate about the foundation of their Order, and their consultations were accompanied with fervent prayers, tears, watchings, and penitential austerities, which they practised with a most ardent desire of pleasing our Lord alone, and of seeking in all things his greater glory and the good of souls. After waiting a whole year to find an opportunity of passing into Palestine, and finding the execution of that design impracticable, on account of the war between the Venetians and the Turks, St. Ignatius and his company offered themselves to his holiness, to be employed as he should judge most expedient in the service of their neighbour. The pope accepted their offer, and ordered them to preach and instruct in Rome till he should otherwise employ them. St. Francis exercised his functions in the church of St. Laurence, in Damaso, in which he appeared so active, that no one distinguished himself by a more ardent charity, or a more edifying zeal. Govea, a Portuguese, formerly president of the college of St. Barbara at Paris, happened to be then at Rome, whither John III. king of Portugal, had sent him on some important business. He had formerly known Ignatius, Xavier, and Faber at Paris, and been a great admirer of their virtue; and he became more so at Rome, insomuch, that he wrote to his master, that men so learned, humble, charitable, inflamed with zeal, indefatigable in labour, lovers of the cross, and who aimed at nothing but the honour of God, were fit to be sent to plant the faith in the East Indies. The king wrote thereupon to Don Pedro Mascaregnas, his ambassador at Rome, and ordered him to obtain six of these aposlic men for this mission. St. Ignatius could grant him only two, and pitched upon Simon Rodriguez, a Portuguese, and Nicholas Bobadilla, a Spaniard. The former went immediately by sea to Lisbon: Bobadilla, who waited to accompany the ambassador, fell sick, and, by an overruling supernatural direction, Francis Xavier was substituted in his room, on the day before the ambassador began his journey. Our saint received this order with joy, and when he went to ask the benediction of Paul III., there shone, through a profound humility, such a magnanimity of soul, that his holiness took from thence a certain presage of the wonderful events which followed. The saint left Rome with the ambassador on the 15th of March, 1540, and, on the road, found perpetual occasions for the most heroic actions of humility, mortification, charity, zeal, and piety, and was always ready to serve his fellow-travellers in the meanest offices, as if he had been every bodys servant. The journey was performed all the way by land, over the Alps and Pyreneans, and took up more than three months. At Pampelona, the ambassador pressed the saint to go to the castle of Xavier, which was but a little distant from the road, to take leave of his mother, who was yet living, and of his other friends, whom he would probably never more see in this world. But the saint would by no means turn out of the road, saying, that he deferred the sight of his relations till he should visit them in heaven; that this transient view would be accompanied with melancholy and sadness, the products of last farewells; whereas, their meeting in heaven would be for eternity, and without the least allay of sorrow. This wonderful disengagement from the world exceedingly affected Mascaregnas, who, by the saintly example and instructions of the holy man, was concerted to a new course of life.
They arrived at Lisbon about the end of June, and Francis went immediately to F. Rodriguez, who was lodged in an hospital, in order to attend and instruct the sick. They made this place their ordinary abode, but catechised and instructed in most parts of the town, and were taken up all Sundays and holidays in hearing confessions at court; for the king and a great number of the courtiers were engaged by their discourses to confess and communicate every week; which they chose to do at their hands. F. Rodriguez was retained by the king at Lisbon; and St. Francis was obliged to stay there eight months, while the fleet was getting ready to sail in spring. Dr. Martin dAzpilcueta, commonly called the doctor of Navarre, who was uncle to Xavier by the mothers side, was then chief professor of divinity at Coimbra, and wrote several letters to our saint, but could not engage him to go to Coimbra. St. Francis, when he left Rome, put a memorial in the hands of F. Laynez, in which he declared that he approved the rules which should be drawn up by Ignatius, and consecrated himself to God, by the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, in the society of Jesus, when it should be confirmed as a religious Order by the apostolic see. At Lisbon, before he went on board, the king delivered to him four briefs from the pope; in two of which his holiness constituted Xavier apostolic nuncio, with ample power and authority; in the third, he recommended him to David, emperor of Ethiopia; and, in the fourth, to other princes in the East. No importunities of the king or his officers could prevail on the saint to accept of any provisions or necessaries, except a few books for the use of converts. Nor would he consent to have a servant, saying, that as long as he had the use of his two hands, he never would take one. When he was told that it would be unbecoming to see an apostolic legate dressing his own victuals, and washing his own linen on the deck, he said he could give no scandal so long as he did no ill. The saint had two companions to the Indies, F. Paul de Camarino, an Italian Jesuit, and Francis Mansilla, a Portuguese, who was not yet in priests orders. F. Simon Rodriguez bore them company to the fleet: and then it was that St. Francis, embracing him, said, that at Rome, in the hospital, he once beheld, whether sleeping or waking he knew not, all that he was to suffer for the glory of Jesus Christ: and that he thence conceived so great a delight in sufferings, that he cried out aloud, Yet more, O Lord, yet more. Which words this F. Rodriguez, who was then in the same chamber, heard; and had often pressed him to explain the meaning of. This the saint did upon his taking leave, adding, I hope the divine goodness will grant me in India what he has foreshown to me in Italy.
The saint set sail on the 7th of April, in the year 1541, the thirty-sixth year of his age, on board the admirals vessel, which carried Don Martin Alfonso de Sousa, general governor of the Indies, who went with five ships to take possession of his government. The admirals vessel contained at least a thousand persons, whom Francis considered as committed to his care. He catechised the sailors, preached every Sunday before the main-mast, took care of the sick, converted his cabin into an infirmary, lay on the deck, and lived on charity during the whole voyage, though the governor was very urgent with him to eat at his table, or accept of a regular supply of food from his kitchen; but he always answered, that he was a poor religious man, and that, having made a vow of poverty, he was resolved to keep it. He, indeed, received the dishes which the governor sent him from his table; but divided the meat among those who had most need. He composed differences, quelled murmuring, checked swearing and gaming, and took the utmost care to remove all disorders. Bad actions he reproved with so much authority that nobody resisted him, and with so much sweetness and tender love that no one was offended at him. The insufferable colds of Cape Verd, the heats of Guinea, the stench of the fresh waters, and the putrefaction of their flesh provisions under the line, produced pestilential fevers, and violent scurvies. After five months of perpetual navigation, and doubling the Cape of Good Hope, they arrived at Mozambique, on the eastern coast of Africa, about the end of August, and there they wintered. The inhabitants are mostly Mahometans, and trade with the Arabs and Ethiopians; but the Portuguese have settlements among them. The air is very unwholesome, and Xavier himself fell sick there: but was almost recovered when the admiral again put to sea in a fresh vessel which made better sail, on the 15th of March, in 1542. In three days they arrived at Melinda, a town of the Saracens, in Africa, where one of the principal inhabitants complained to Xavier, that so little sense of religion was left among them, that, of seventeen mosques which they had, fourteen were quite forsaken, and the three that remained were little frequented. Leaving this place, after a few days sail they touched at the isle of Socotora, over against the strait of Mecca. Thence, crossing the sea of Arabia and India, they landed at Goa on the 6th of May, in 1542, in the thirteenth month since their setting out from Lisbon.
After St. Francis had landed, he went immediately to the hospital, and there took his lodging: but would not enter upon his missionary functions till he had paid his respects to the Bishop of Goa,1 whose name was John dAlbuquerque, and who was a most virtuous prelate. The saint presented to him the briefs of Paul III. declared that he pretended not to use them without his approbation, and, casting himself at his feet, begged his blessing. The bishop was struck with the venerable air of sanctity that appeared in his countenance and deportment, raised him up, kissed the briefs, and promised to support him by his episcopal authority: which he failed not to do. To call down the blessing of heaven on his labours, St. Francis consecrated most of the night to prayer. The situation in which religion then was in those parts, was such as called forth his zeal and his tears. Among the Portuguese, revenge, ambition, avarice, usury, and debauchery, seemed to have extinguished in many the sentiments of their holy religion; the sacraments were neglected: there were not four preachers in all the Indies: nor any priests without the walls of Goa. The bishops exhortations and threats were despised, and no dam was sufficient to stem such a deluge. The infidels resembled rather beasts than men, and the few who were come over to the faith, not being supported by competent instructions, nor edified by example, relapsed into their ancient manners and superstitions. Such was the deplorable situation of those countries when St. Francis Xavier appeared among them as a new star to enlighten so many infidel nations. So powerful was the word of God in his mouth, and such the fruit of his zeal, that in the space of ten years he established the empire of Jesus Christ in a new world. Nothing more sensibly afflicted him at his arrival at Goa, than the scandalous deportment of the Christians, who lived in direct opposition to the gospel which they professed, and, by their manners, alienated the infidels from the faith: he therefore thought it would be best to open his mission with them. In order to compass a general reformation, he began by instructing them in the principles of religion, and forming the youth to the practice of sincere piety. Having spent the morning in assisting and comforting the distressed in the hospitals and prisons, he walked through the streets of Goa, with a bell in his hand, summoning all masters, for the love of God, to send their children and slaves to catechism. The little children, gathered together in crowds about him, and he led them to the church, and taught them the creed and practices of devotion, and impressed on their tender minds, strong sentiments of piety and religion. By the modesty and devotion of the youth, the whole town began to change its face, and the most abandoned sinners began to blush at vice. After some time, the saint preached in public, and made his visits to private houses: and the sweetness of his behaviour and words, and his charitable concern for the souls of his neighbours were irresistible. Sinners were struck with the horror of their crimes, and, throwing themselves at his feet, confessed them with bitter compunction of heart; and the fruits of penitence which accompanied their tears, were the certain proofs of the sincerity of their conversions. Usurious bonds were cancelled, restitution was made of unjust gains, slaves who had been unjustly acquired were set at liberty, concubines dismissed, or lawfully married, and families were well regulated.
The reformation of the whole city of Goa was accomplished in half a year, when the saint was informed, that, on the coast of La Pescaria, or the Pearl Fishery, which is extended from Cape Comorin to the isle Manar, on the eastern side of the peninsula, there were certain people called Paravas, that is, Fishers, who some time ago, in order to please the Portuguese who had succoured them against the Moors, had caused themselves to be baptized, but, for want of instructions, retained their superstitions and vices. Xavier had by this time got a little acquaintance with the Malabar language, which is spoken on that coast, and, taking with him two young ecclesiastics who understood it competently well, embarked in October, in 1542, and sailed to Cape Comorin, which faces the isle of Ceylon, and is about six hundred miles from Goa. Here, St. Francis went into a village full of idolaters, and preached Jesus Christ to them; but the inhabitants told him they could not change their religion without the leave of their lord. Their obstinacy, however, yielded to the force of miracles by which God was pleased to manifest his truth to them. A woman who had been three days in the pains of childbirth, without being eased by any remedies or prayers of the Brachmans, was immediately delivered, and recovered upon being instructed in the faith, and baptized by St. Francis, as he himself relates in a letter to St. Ignatius.2 Upon this miracle, not only that family, but most of the chief persons of the country, listened to his doctrine, and heartily embraced the faith, having obtained the leave of their prince. The servant of God proceeded to the Pearl Coast, set himself first to instruct and confirm those who had been formerly baptized; and, to succeed in his undertaking, he was at some pains to make himself more perfectly master of the Malabar tongue. Then he preached to those Paravas to whom the name of Christ was till that time unknown; and so great were the multitudes which he baptized, that sometimes, by the bare fatigue of administering that sacrament, he was scarcely able to move his arm, according to the account which he gave to his brethren in Europe. To make the children comprehend and retain the catechism, he taught them to recite with him some little prayer upon each question or article. Every lesson or instruction he began with the Our Father, and ended with the Hail Mary. Diseases seem to have been never so frequent on that coast as at that time; which happened as if it had been to drive the most obstinate, in spite of their reluctance, into the folds of the church: for the people had almost all recourse to St. Francis for their cure, or that of some friend; and great numbers recovered their health, either by being baptized, or by invoking the name of Jesus. The saint frequently sent some young neophite with his crucifix, beads, or reliquary to touch the sick, after having recited with them the Lords Prayer, Creed, and Commandments; and the sick, by declaring unfeignedly that they believed in Christ, and desired to be baptized, recovered their health. The great number of miracles, and the admirable innocence, zeal, and sanctity of the preacher, recommended him to the veneration of the Bramins themselves, who were the philosophers, divines, and priests of the idolaters. These, nevertheless, upon motives of interest, opposed his doctrine: and neither his conferences nor his miracles could gain them. The process of the saints canonization makes mention of four dead persons, to whom God restored life at this time, by the ministry of his servant. The first was a catechist who had been stung by a serpent of that kind whose stings are always mortal. The second was a child who was drowned in a pit. The third and fourth a young man and maid whom a pestilential fever had carried off. Incredible were the labours of the saint. His food was the same with that of the poorest people, rice and water. His sleep was but three hours a-night at most, and that in a fishers cabin on the ground: for he soon made away with a mattress and coverlet which the governor had sent him from Goa. The remainder of the night he passed with God or with his neighbour. In the midst of the hurry of his external employments, he ceased not to converse interiorly with God, who bestowed on him such an excess of interior spiritual delights, that he was often obliged to desire the divine goodness to moderate them; as he testified in a letter to St. Ignatius, and his brethren at Rome, though written in general terms, and in the third person. I am accustomed, says he,3 often to hear one labouring in this vineyard, cry out to God: O my Lord, give me not so much joy and comfort in this life: or, if by an excess of mercy, thou wilt heap it upon me, take me to thyself, and make me partaker of thy glory. For he who has once in his interior feeling tasted thy sweetness, must necessarily find life too bitter so long as he is deprived of the sight of Thee.
He had laboured about fifteen months in the conversion of the Paravas, when, towards the close of the year 1543, he was obliged to return to Goa to procure assistants. The seminary of the faith which had been founded there for the education of young Indians, was committed to his care, and put into the hands of the society. The saint enlarged it, and made prudent regulations for the government and direction of the youth; and, from this time, it was called the seminary of St. Paul. The following year he returned to the Paravas with a supply of evangelical labourers, as well Indians as Europeans, whom he stationed in different towns; and some he carried with him into the kingdom of Travancor, where, as he testifies in one of his letters, he baptized ten thousand Indians with his own hand in one month; and sometimes a whole village received the sacrament of regeneration in one day. When the holy man first penetrated into the inland provinces of the Indians, being wholly ignorant of the language of the people, he could only baptize children, and serve the sick, who, by signs, could signify what they wanted, as he wrote to F. Mansilla. Whilst he exercised his zeal in Travancor, God first communicated to him the gift of tongues, according to the relation of a young Portuguese of Coimbra, named Vaz, who attended him in many of his journies. He spoke very well the language of those barbarians without having learned it, and had no need of an interpreter when he instructed them. He sometimes preached to five or six thousand persons together, in some spacious plain. The saint narrowly escaped the snares which were sometimes laid by Bramins and others to take away his life; and, when the Badages, a tribe of savages and public robbers, having plundered many other places, made inroads into Travancor, he marched up to the enemy, with a crucifix in his hand, at the head of a small troop of fervent Christians, and, with a commanding air, bade them, in the name of the living God, not to pass further, but to return the way they came. His words cast such a terror into the minds of the leaders who were at the head of the barbarians, that they stood some time confounded, and without motion; then retired in disorder, and quitted the country. This action procured St. Francis the protection of the king of Travancor, and the surname of the Great Father. As the saint was preaching one day at Coulon, a village in Travancor, near Cape Comorin, perceiving that few were converted by his discourse, he made a short prayer that God would honour the blood and name of his beloved Son, by softening the hearts of the most obdurate. Then he bade some of the people open the grave of a man who was buried the day before, near the place where he preached; and the body was beginning to putrify with a noisome scent, which he desired the by-standers to observe. Then falling on his knees, after a short prayer, he commanded the dead man in the name of the living God to arise. At these words, the dead man arose, and appeared not only living, but vigorous, and in perfect health. All who were present were so struck with this evidence, that throwing themselves at the saints feet, they demanded baptism. The holy man also raised to life, on the same coast, a young man who was a Christian, whose corpse he met as it was carried to the grave. To preserve the memory of this wonderful action, the parents of the deceased, who were present, erected a great cross on the place where the miracle was wrought. These miracles made such great impressions on the people, that the whole kingdom of Travancor was subjected to Christ in a few months, except the king and some of his courtiers.
The reputation of the miracles of St. Francis, reached the isle of Manar, which sent deputies to St. Francis, entreating him to visit their country. The saint could not at that time leave Travancor, but sent a zealous missionary, by whom many were instructed and baptized. The king of Jafanatapan, in the northern part of the neighbouring beautiful and pleasant isle of Ceylon, hearing of this progress of the faith, fell upon Manar with an army, and slew six or seven hundred Christians, who, when asked the question, boldly confessed Christ. This tyrant was afterwards slain by the Portuguese, when they invaded Ceylon. The saint, after he had made a journey to Cochin, upon business, visited Mancar, and settled there a numerous church; in a journey of devotion, which he took to Meliapor, to implore the intercession of the apostle St. Thomas, he converted many dissolute livers in that place. Afterwards, intending to pass to the island of Macassar, he sailed to Malacca, a famous mart, in the peninsula beyond the Ganges, to which all the Indies, and also the Arabs, Persians, Chinese and Japonians, resorted for trade. The saint arrived here on the 25th of September, 1545, and by the irresistible force of his zeal and miracles, reformed the debauched manners of the Christians, and converted many Pagans and Mahometans. This town had been lately possessed by a tribe of the latter sect, who had wrested it from the king of Siam: but Albuquerque had conquered it in 1511. St. Francis, finding no opportunity of sailing to Macassar, passed the isles of Bonda, which are some of the spice islands. Landing in the island of Amboina, he baptized great part of the inhabitants. Having preached in other islands, he made a considerable stay in the Moluccas, and, though the inhabitants were an untractable people, he brought great numbers to the truth. Thence he passed to the isle del Moro, the inhabitants of which he gained to Christ. In this mission he suffered much: but from it wrote to St. Ignatius: The dangers to which I am exposed, and pains I take for the interest of God alone, are the inexhaustible springs of spiritual joys: insomuch, that these islands, bare of all worldly necessaries, are the places in the world for a man to lose his sight with the excess of weeping: but they are tears of joy. I remember not ever to have tasted such interior delights; and these consolations of the soul are so pure, so exquisite, and so constant, that they take from me all sense of my corporal sufferings. The saint returning towards Goa, visited the islands on the road where he had preached, and arrived at Malacca in 1547. In the beginning of the year 1548 he landed at Ceylon, where he converted great numbers, with two kings.
At Malacca, a Japonese, named Angeroo, addressed himself to the saint. Kaempfer tells us, that he had killed a man in his own country, and, to save his life, made his escape in a Portuguese ship. All agree that he was rich, and of a noble extraction, and about thirty-five years of age; and, that being disturbed in mind, with remorse and terrors of conscience, he was advised by certain Christians to have recourse to the holy St. Francis for comfort. The saint poured the mildest balm into his wounded heart, and gave him assurances that he should find repose of mind, but must first seek God in his true religion. The Japonese was charmed with his discourses, and, as he had by that time acquired some knowledge of the Portuguese language, was instructed in the faith, and engaged by St. Francis to embark with his attendants and go to Goa, whither he himself was directing his course, but taking a round. In the straits of Ceylon, the ship which carried the saint was overtaken with a most dreadful tempest, insomuch that the sailors threw all their merchandise overboard, and the pilot, not being able to hold the rudder, abandoned the vessel to the fury of the waves. For three days and three nights, the mariners had nothing but death before their eyes. St. Francis, after hearing the confessions of all on board, fell on his knees before his crucifix, and continued there, wholly taken up and lost to all things but to God. The ship at last struck against the sands of Ceylon, and the mariners gave themselves up for lost, when Xavier, coming out of his cabin, took the line and plummet, as if it had been to fathom the sea, and letting them down to the bottom of the water, pronounced these words: Great God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, have mercy on us. At the same moment the vessel stopped, and the wind ceased. After which they pursued their voyage, and happily arrived at Cochin, on the 21st of January, 1548. Writing from that place to the fathers at Rome, he tells them, that in the height of the tempest, he had taken them, and all devout persons on earth, for his intercessors with God, had invoked all the saints and angels, going through all their orders, and desired particularly for his protectress and patroness, the most holy Mother of God, and Queen of Heaven, he adds: Having reposed all my hope in the infinite merits of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, being encompassed with this protection, I enjoyed a greater satisfaction in the midst of this raging tempest, than when I was wholly delivered from the danger. In very truth, being, as I am, the worst of all men, I am ashamed to have shed so many tears of joy, through an excess of heavenly pleasure, when I was just upon the point of perishing. Insomuch, that I humbly prayed our Lord, that he would not free me from the danger of my shipwreck, unless it were to reserve me for greater dangers, to his own glory, and for his service. God has often shown me by an inward discovery, from how many perils and sufferings he has delivered me by the prayers and sacrifices of those of the society.
The saint, leaving Cochin, visited the villages of the coast of the pearl fishery, and was much edified with the fervour of the converts: he made some stay at Manapar, near Cape Comorin, passed over to the isle of Ceylon, (where he converted the king of Cande,) and arrived at Goa on the 20th of March, 1548. There he instructed Angeroo and many others, and took a resolution to go to Japan. In the mean time, he applied himself more than ever to the exercises of an interior life, as it were to recover new strength; for it is the custom of all apostolical men, by the communications which they have with God, to refresh themselves, and repair their interior spirit amidst the pains which they take with their neighbour. During this retirement, in the garden of St. Pauls college, sometimes walking, at other times in a little hermitage which was there set up, he cried out: It is enough, my Lord: it is enough. And he sometimes opened his cassock before his breast, declaring he was not able to support the abundance of heavenly consolations. At the same time he signified that he rather prayed that God would reserve those pleasures for another time, and here would not spare to inflict on him any pains or sufferings in this present world. These interior employments did not hinder him from the labours of his ministerial vocation, nor from succouring the distressed in the hospitals and in the prisons. On the contrary, the more lively and ardent the love of God was in him, the more desirous he was to bring it forth, and kindle it in others. This charity caused him often to relinquish the delights of holy solitude. F. Gaspar Barzia and four other Jesuits arrived at that time at Goa from Europe, whom the saint stationed, and then set out for Malacca, intending to proceed to Japan. After a short stay at Malacca, he went on board a Chinese vessel, and arrived at Cangoxima, in the kingdom of Saxuma, in Japan, on the 15th of August, 1549, having with him Angeroo, who had been baptized, with two of his domestics, at Goa, and was called Paul of the holy faith.4
The language of the Japonese seems, in the judgment of Kaempfer, to be a primitive or original tongue; for it has no affinity with other oriental languages, though certain Chinese terms are adopted in it. St. Francis learned certain elements of it from his convert during his voyage, and staid forty days at Cangoxima, lodging at Pauls house, whose wife, daughter, and other relations he in the meantime converted and baptized. The same language is used all over the empire; but the words are differently accented when addressed to courtiers or persons of rank, and when to merchants and soldiers, and again differently to the vulgar. During these forty days, St. Francis, by unwearied application, made such progress in it as to translate into Japonian the apostles creed, and an exposition of it which he had composed, and which he got by heart in this language, and then began to preach; but was first introduced by Paul to the king of Saxuma, whose residence was six leagues from Cangoxima. Meeting with a most gracious and honourable reception, he obtained the kings leave to preach the faith to his subjects; of which he made such good use that he converted a great number. Kaempfer pretends that he never spoke the language perfectly; but Charlevoix, from the original authors of his life, assures us that he spoke it even with elegance and propriety. The gift of tongues was a transient favour. He distributed copies of his exposition of the creed among his converts.5 New miracles confirmed his doctrine. By his blessing, a childs body, which was swelled and deformed, was made straight and beautiful: and, by his prayers, a leper was healed, and a pagan young maid of quality, who had been dead a whole day, was raised to life.
After a year spent at Cangoxima, with his usual success, the saint, in 1550, went to Firando, the capital of another petty kingdom; for the king of Saxuma, incensed at the Portuguese, because they had abandoned his port to carry on their trade chiefly at Firando, had withdrawn the license he had granted the saint, and began to persecute the Christians. The converts, however, persevered steadily, and declared they were ready to suffer banishment or death, rather than deny Christ: and St. Francis recommended them to Paul, and left in their hands an ample exposition of the creed, and the Life of our Saviour, translated entire from the gospels, which he had caused to be printed in Japonese characters. He took with him his two companions, who were Jesuits, and carried on his back, according to his custom, all the necessary utensils for the sacrifice of the mass. The saint, in his way to Firando, preached in the fortress of Ekandono, the prince of which was a vassal to the king of Saxuma. The princes steward embraced the faith with several others, and to his care Xavier recommended the rest at his departure; and he assembled them daily in his apartments to recite with them the litany and prayers, and, on Sundays, read to them the Christian Doctrine: and so edifying was the behaviour of these Christians, that many others desired to join them, after the departure of their apostle; and the king of Saxuma, moved by their edifying conduct, became again the protector of our holy religion. At Firando, Xavier baptized more infidels in twenty days than he had done at Cangoxima in a whole year. These converts he left under the care of one of the Jesuits that accompanied him, and set out for Meaco with one Jesuit, and two Japonian Christians. They went by sea to Facata, and from thence embarked for Amanguchi, the capital of the kingdom of Naugato, famous for the richest silver mines in Japan. Our saint preached here in public, and before the king and his court; but the gospel, at that time, took no root in this debauched city, the number which the saint gained there being inconsiderable, though a single soul is, indeed, a great acquisition.
Xavier, having made above a months abode at Amanguchi, and gathered small fruit of his labours, except affronts, continued his journey towards Meaco, with his three companions. It was towards the end of December, and the four servants of God suffered much on the road from heavy rains, great drifts of snow, pinching cold, torrents, and hideous mountains and forests; and they travelled barefoot. In passing through towns and villages, Xavier was accustomed to read some part of his catechism to the people, and to preach. Not finding a proper word in the Japonian language to express the sovereign deity, and, fearing lest the idolaters should confound God with some of their idols, he told them, that having never had any knowledge of the true infinite God, they were not able to express his name, but that the Portuguese called him Deos: and this word he repeated with so much action, and such a tone of voice, that he made even the pagans sensible what veneration is due to that sacred name. In two several towns he narrowly escaped being stoned for speaking against the gods of the country. He arrived at Meaco with his companions in February, 1551. The Dairi, Cubosama, and Saso (or high priest) then kept their court there; but the saint could not procure an audience even of the Saso without paying for that honour a hundred thousand caixes, which amount to six hundred French crowns, a sum which he had not to give. A civil war, kindled against the Cubosama, filled the city with such tumults and alarms, that Xavier saw it to be impossible to do any good there at that time, and, after a fortnights stay, returned to Amanguchi. Perceiving that he was rejected at court upon the account of his mean appearance, he bought a rich suit, and hired two or three servants; and, in this equipage, waited on the king, to whom he made a present of a little striking-clock, and some other things. Thus he obtained his protection, and preached with such fruit, that he baptized three thousand persons in that city, with whom he left two Jesuits, who were his companions, to give the finishing to their instruction. At Amanguchi, God restored to St. Francis the gift of tongues; for he preached often to the Chinese merchants, who traded there, in their mother-tongue, which he had never learned. Sanctity, meekness, and humility are often more powerful in a preacher than the evidence of miracles. By the heroic example of these virtues, the apostles converted the world: and, by the like, did our saint soften the hearts of many hardened infidels. F. Fernandez, one of his two companions, was a proof of this at Amanguchi. As he was preaching one day to a mob who made a sport of him, one of the rabble, coughing up a great quantity of nasty phlegm, spit it full upon his face. The father, without speaking a word, or making the least sign of emotion or concern, took his handkerchief, wiped his face, and continued his discourse. At such an heroic example of meekness, the scorn of the audience was turned into admiration, and the most learned doctor of the city, who happened to be present, said to himself, that a law which taught such virtue, inspired men with such unshaken courage, and gave them so perfect a victory over themselves, could not be but from God: and as soon as the sermon was ended, he confessed that the preachers virtue had convinced him, and desired baptism, which he received, some days after, with great solemnity. This illustrious conversion was followed by many others.
St. Francis, recommending the new Christians here to two fathers whom he left behind, left Amanguchi, towards the middle of September, in 1551, and with two Japonian Christians, who had suffered with joy the confiscation of their goods for changing their religion, travelled on foot to Fuceo, the residence of the king of Bungo, who was very desirous to see him, and gave him a most gracious reception. Here the saint publicly confuted the Bonzas, who, upon motives of interest, everywhere strenuously opposed his preaching, though, even among them, some were converted. The saints public sermons and private conversations had their due effect among the people, and vast multitudes desired to be instructed and baptized. Among others, the king himself was convinced of the truth, and renounced those impurities which are abhorred by nature; but remained still wedded to some sensual pleasures; on which account he could not be admitted to the sacrament of regeneration, till, after some succeeding years, having made more serious reflections on the admonitions of the saint, he reformed his life altogether, and was baptized.6 Our saint took leave of this king, and embarked to return to India, on the 20th of November, 1551, having continued in Japan two years and four months. To cultivate this growing mission, he sent thither three Jesuits, who were shortly followed by others. It had been often objected to him that the learned and wise men in China had not embraced the faith of Christ. This circumstance first inspired him with an earnest desire that the name of Christ might be glorified in that flourishing empire; and full of a zealous project of undertaking that great enterprize, he left Japan. In this voyage, the ship in which he sailed was rescued from imminent danger of shipwreck in a storm, by his prayers; and a shallop, in which were fifteen persons belonging to the ship, from which it had been separated by the same tempest, was saved by the same means according to his confident and repeated prediction, the passengers and mariners in it seeming all the way to have seen Xavier sitting at the helm and steering it. Many other clear predictions of the saint are recorded. At Malacca he was received with the greatest joy that can be imagined, and he immediately set himself to contrive how he might compass his intended journey to China. The greatest difficulty was, that besides the ill understanding which was between China and Portugal, it was forbidden to strangers on pain of death, or of perpetual imprisonment, to set foot in that kingdom. Even some Portuguese merchants who had stolen thither for the benefit of trade, having been discovered, some of them had lost their heads, others had been put in irons, and cast into dungeons, there to rot for the remainder of their lives. To remove this obstacle, St. Francis discoursed with the old governor of Malacca, Don Pedro de Sylva, and with the new one, Don Alvarez dAtayda, and it was agreed that an embassy might be sent in the name of the king of Portugal to China to settle a commerce, with which the saint might with safety land in that kingdom. In the mean time the saint set out for Goa. Arriving at Cochin on the 24th of January, in 1552, he there met the king of the Maldives, whom F. Heredia had instructed in the faith, fleeing from rebellious subjects, and St. Francis baptized him.
The exiled prince married a Portuguese lady, and lived a private life till the day of his death; happy in this, that the loss of his crown procured him the gift of faith and the grace of baptism. Xavier reached Goa in the beginning of February, and having paid a visit to the hospitals, went to the college of St. Paul, where he cured a dying man. The missionaries whom he had dispersed before his departure, had spread the gospel on every side. F. Gaspar Barzia had converted almost the whole city and island of Ormuz. Christianity flourished exceedingly on the coast of the pearl fishery, and had made great progress at Cochin, Coulan, Bazain, Meliapor, in the Moluccas, the isles of Moro, &c.7 The king of Tanor, whose dominions lay on the coast of Malabar, had been baptized at Goa. The king of Trichenamalo, one of the sovereigns of Ceylon, also embraced the faith. The progress of the faith in many other places, was such as gave the greatest subject of joy to the holy man. But F. Antonio Gomez, a great preacher and scholar, whom the saint had appointed rector at Goa, had made such changes and innovations even in the domestic discipline of the society, that the saint was obliged to dismiss him from the Order. Xavier appointed F. Barzia, a person of eminent piety, rector of Goa and vice-provincial, sent new preachers into all the missions on this side the Ganges, and obtained of the viceroy, Don Alphonso de Norogna, a commission for his good friend, James Pereyra, to go on an embassy to China. Having settled all affairs at Goa, he made the most tender and ardent exhortations to his religious brethren, then leaving F. Barzia vice-provincial, set sail on the 14th of April, 1552, and landing at Malacca, found the town afflicted with a most contagious pestilential fever. This he had foretold before he arrived; and no sooner was he come on shore, but running from street to street, he carried the poor that lay languishing, up and down to the hospitals, and attended them with his companions. At that time he restored to life a young man named Francis Ciavos, who afterwards took the habit of the society. When the mortality had almost ceased, the saint treated about the embassy to China8 with the governor of Malacca, on whom Don Alphonso de Norogna (the fifth viceroy and seventeenth governor of the Indies) had reposed the trust of that affair. Don Alvarez dAtayda Gama had lately succeeded his good brother Don Pedro de Sylva Gama in the government of Malacca. This officer, out of a pique to Pereyra crossed the project of the embassy, and, when St. Francis urged the authority of the king, and the command of the viceroy, Alvarez flew into a rage, and treated him with the most injurious language. The saint ceased not for a whole month to solicit the governor, and at length threatened him with excommunication in case he persisted thus to oppose the propagation of the gospel. Upon this occasion the saint produced the briefs of Paul III. by which he was appointed apostolic nuncio: which, out of humility, he had kept a profound secret during ten years that were expired since his coming to the Indies. The governor continued to laugh at the threats, so that the bishops grand-vicar at length fulminated an excommunication against him in the name of Xavier, who seeing this design utterly destroyed, determined to go on board of a Portuguese ship that was setting sail for the isle of Sancian, a small barren island near Macao, on the coast of China. This governor was afterwards deposed for extortions and other crimes, by an order of the king, and sent in chains to Goa. St. Francis during this voyage wrought several miracles, and converted certain Mahometan passengers, and on the twenty-third day after the ships departure from Malacca, arrived at Sancian, where the Chinese permitted the Portuguese to come and buy their commodities. When the project of the embassy had failed, St. Francis had sent the three Jesuits he had taken for his companions into Japan, and retained with him only a brother of the Society (who was a Chinese, and had taken the habit of Goa) and a young Indian. He hoped to find means with only two companions to land secretly in China. The merchants at Sancian endeavoured to persuade him that his design was impracticable, all setting before his eyes the rigorous laws of the government of China, that all the ports were narrowly guarded by vigilant officers who were neither to be circumvented nor bribed; and that the least he could expect was scourging and perpetual imprisonment. The saint was not to be deterred; and answered all these and many other reasons, saying, that to be terrified by such difficulties from undertaking the work of God, would be incomparably worse than all the evils with which they threatened him. He therefore took his measures for the voyage of China, and first of all provided himself with a good interpreter; for the Chinese he had brought with him from Goa was wholly ignorant of the language which is spoken at the court, and had almost forgotten the common idiom of the vulgar. Then the saint hired a Chinese merchant called Capoceca, to land him by night on some part of the coast where no houses were in view: for which service Xavier engaged to pay him two hundred pardos,9 and bound himself by oath that no torments should ever bring him to confess either the name or house of him who had set him on shore.
The Portuguese at Sancian fearing this attempt might be revenged by the Chinese on them, endeavoured to traverse the design. Whilst the voyage was deferred Xavier fell sick, and when the Portuguese vessels were all gone except one, was reduced to extreme want of all necessaries. Also the Chinese interpreter whom he had hired, recalled his word. Yet the servant of God, who soon recovered of his illness, did not lose courage; and hearing that the king of Siam was preparing a magnificent embassy to the emperor of China, he resolved to use his best endeavours to obtain leave to accompany the ambassador of Siam. But God was pleased to accept his will in this good work, and took him to himself. A fever seized the saint a second time on the 20th of November, and at the same time he had a clear knowledge of the day and hour of his death, which he openly declared to a friend, who afterwards made an authentic deposition of it by a solemn oath. From that moment he perceived in himself a strange disgust of all earthly things, and thought on nothing but that celestial country whither God was calling him. Being much weakened by his fever, he retired into the vessel which was the common hospital of the sick, that he might die in poverty. But the tossing of the ship giving him an extraordinary headache, and hindering him from applying himself to God as he desired, the day following he requested that he might be set on shore again; which was done. He was exposed on the sands to a piercing north wind; till George Alvarez, out of compassion, caused him to be carried into his cabin, which afforded a very poor shelter, being open on every side. The saints distemper, accompanied with an acute pain in his side, and a great oppression, increased daily: he was twice blooded, but the unskilful surgeon both times pricked the tendon, by which accident the patient fell into swooning convulsions. His disease was attended with a horrible nauseousness, insomuch that he could take no nourishment. But his countenance was always serene, and his soul enjoyed a perpetual calm. Sometimes he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and at other times fixed them on his crucifix, entertaining divine conversations with his God, in which he shed abundance of tears. At last, on the 2d of December, which fell on Friday, having his eyes all bathed in tears, and fixed with great tenderness of soul upon his crucifix, he pronounced these words: In thee, O Lord, I have hoped: I shall not be confounded for ever; and, at the same instant, transported with celestial joy, which appeared upon his countenance, he sweetly gave up the ghost, in 1552. Though he was only forty-six years old, of which he had passed ten and a half in the Indies, his continual labours had made him grey betimes, and in the last year of his life he was grizzled almost to whiteness. His corpse was interred on Sunday, being laid, after the Chinese fashion, in a large chest, which was filled up with unslacked lime, to the end that the flesh being consumed, the bones might be carried to Goa. On the 17th of February in 1553, the grave was opened to see if the flesh was consumed; but the lime being taken off the face, it was found ruddy and fresh coloured: like that of a man who is in a sweet repose. The body was in like manner whole, and the natural moisture uncorrupted: and the flesh being a little cut in the thigh, near the knee, the blood was seen to run from the wound. The sacerdotal habits in which the saint was buried, were no way endamaged by the lime; and the holy corpse exhaled an odour so fragrant and delightful, that the most exquisite perfumes came nothing near it. The sacred remains were carried into the ship, and brought to Malacca on the 22d of March, where it was received with great honour. The pestilence which for some weeks had laid waste the town, on a sudden ceased. The body was interred in a damp church-yard; yet in August was found entire, fresh, and still exhaling a sweet odour, and being honourably put into a ship, was translated to Goa, where it was received, and placed in the church of the college of St. Paul, on the 15th of March in 1554, upon which occasion several blind persons recovered their sight, and others, sick of palsies and other diseases, their health, and the use of their limbs. By order of king John III. a verbal process of the life and miracles of the man of God was made with the utmost accuracy at Goa, and in other parts of the Indies. Many miracles were wrought through his intercession, in several parts of the Indies and Europe, confessed by several protestants:10 and Tavernier calls him the St. Paul, and the true apostle of the Indies. St. Francis was beatified by Paul V. in 1554, and canonized by Gregory XV. in 1662. By an order of John V. king of Portugal, the archbishop of Goa, attended by the viceroy, the marquis of Castle Nuovo, in 1744, performed a visitation of the relics of St. Francis Xavier; at which time the body was found without the least bad smell, and seemed environed with a kind of shining brightness: and the face, hands, breast, and feet, had not suffered the least alteration, or symptom of corruption.11 In 1747, the same king obtained a brief of Benedict XIV. by which St. Francis Xavier is honoured with the title of patron and protector of all the countries in the East Indies.
Holy zeal may properly be said to have formed the character of St. Francis Xavier. Consumed with an insatiable thirst of the salvation of souls, and of the dilatation of the honour and kingdom of Christ on earth, he ceased not with tears and prayers to conjure the Father of all men not to suffer those to perish whom he had created to his own divine image, made capable of knowing and loving him, and redeemed with the adorable blood of his Son; as is set forth in the excellent prayer of this saint, printed in many books of devotion. For this end the saint, like another St. Paul, made himself all to all, and looked upon all fatigues, sufferings, and dangers, as his pleasure and gain. In transports of zeal he invited and pressed others to labour in the conversion of infidels and sinners. In one of his letters to Europe, he wrote as follows:12 I have often thoughts to run over all the universities of Europe, and principally that of Paris, and to cry aloud to those who abound more in learning than in charity. Ah! how many souls are lost to heaven through your neglect!Many, without doubt, would be moved, would make a spiritual retreat, and give themselves the leisure for meditating on heavenly things. They would renounce their passions, and, trampling under foot all worldly vanities, would put themselves in a condition of following the motions of the divine will. Then they would say: Behold me in readiness, O Lord. How much more happily would these learned men then live! With how much more assurance would they die.Millions of idolaters might be easily converted, if there were more preachers who would sincerely mind the interests of Jesus Christ, and not their own. But the saint required missionaries who are prudent, charitable, mild, perfectly disinterested, and of so great a purity of manners, that no occasions of sin could weaken their constancy.13 In vain, says he, would you commit this important employ to any, howsoever learned and otherwise qualified, unless they are laborious, mortified, and patient: unless they are ready to suffer willingly, and with joy, hunger, and thirst, and the severest persecutions.14 This saint was a model of such preachers, formed upon the spirit of the apostles. So absolute a master he was of his passions, that he knew not what it was to have the least motion of choler and impatience, and in all events was perfectly resigned to the divine will; from whence proceeded an admirable tranquillity of soul, a perpetual cheerfulness, and equality of countenance. He rejoiced in afflictions and sufferings, and said that one who had once experienced the sweetness of suffering for Christ will ever after find it worse than death to live without a cross.15 By humility the saint was always ready to follow the advice of others, and attributed all blessings to their prayers, which he most earnestly implored. Of himself he always sincerely spoke as of the basest and most unworthy of men, with the most perfect sentiments of distrust in himself. The union of his soul with God by holy prayer raised him above the world. Ingulphed in deep meditations, he was sometimes found suspended in the air, with beams of glory round his countenance, as many ocular witnesses deposed.16
Note 1. The Portuguese, in 1418, under the direction of Prince Henry, fifth son of John I. king of Portugal, began the discovery of Madeira, and several other islands which lie on the western coast of Africa, and made some small settlements in Guinea. Emmanuel the Great, who succeeded his father, John II. in the throne in 1495, and died in 1521, nominated Vasco de Gama his admiral, to find a passage to the East Indies by sea, with which no commerce was then open but through Egypt or Persia. By his encouragement Americus Vespucius discovered Brazil in America, in 1497, where Columbo had first fallen upon Guanahani, one of the Lucay islands, in 1492. Gama doubled the Cape of Good Hope in 1498, discovered the coast of Mozambique, and the city of Melinda, upon the coast of Zanquebar in Africa, and thence sailed to Calicut in the East Indies. He made an alliance with the king of Calicut, who afterwards became a Christian. Gama made farther discoveries, and great acquisitions and conquests. In 1507, Almeyda was appointed the first Portuguese viceroy in those parts. Alfonso dAlbuquerque, his most successful and prudent general, succeeded him in 1509, and governed the Indies till his death in 1515. Having taken Goa in 1510, he enlarged and fortified it, and made it the Portuguese capital in the Indies. John III. surnamed the Pious, succeeded his father Emmanuel in the throne of Portugal, in 1521, and inherited all his virtues, especially his piety and zeal for religion; but was a stranger to many injustices committed by several of his governors and generals in the Indies. The first missionaries or chaplains who attended the Portuguese in the Indies were Franciscans, with a bishop, who was an apostolic-vicar. The governor Alfonso dAlbuquerque, procured an episcopal see to be erected at Goa, and John dAlbuquerque, a Franciscan, was the first bishop. The see of Goa was afterwards raised to the metropolitical dignity, when other bishoprics were erected in those parts; viz. those of Cochin and Malacca, in 1592, that of Meliapor, in 1607, &c. A zealous officer in the army, named Antony Galvan, founded a seminary in the Molucca islands, which was a model of another soon after erected at Goa, in 1540. The old Christians of St. Thomas, or of Malabar, in those parts were chiefly Nestorians, obeyed the patriarch of Babylon, and used the Syriac language in their liturgy. They inhabited a hundred and forty villages, had a hundred and twenty-seven churches, and amounted to the number of about twenty-two thousand souls. Vincent Gouvea, a Franciscan, who went to the Indies with John dAlbuquerque, first bishop of Goa, had many conferences with the Christians of St. Thomas, and many of them came over to the Catholic communion; others continued obstinate, and, since the Dutch are masters of Cochin, live under their protection. See Gouvea, Jornada do arcobispo de Goa, &c. p. 6, Raulinus, Hist. Malabar. Jos. Assemani, Diss. de Syris Nestorianis. Lettres Edificant. Recu. l. 12, p. 383. Serris Relation to the Congr. de Propagandâ. The Malabar rites, which some have been desirous to connive at, out of condescension to certain Gentiles on the coast of Malabar, consisted in the omission of some of the ceremonies of baptism; the deferring baptism of infants; women keeping the tally, on which was an image of an idol called Pyllajar, and using a cord of a hundred and eight strings; the refusing to afford certain less essential spiritual succours to the Parei (a despicable servile rank of men) at their own houses; Christian musicians playing in the temples of idols, or at their feasts; forbidding women the use of the sacraments under certain infirmities, &c. Which connivance and toleration was condemned by Cardinal Tournon, under Clement XI., by Benedict XIII. in 1727, Clement XII. in 1739, and most severely by Benedict XIV. in 1741, who yet allow particular priests to be deputed to attend the Parei alone, and others to serve the nobility. The infidels on this coast were in our apostles time partly Mahometans, partly Indian sects, and partly a remnant of the Persian idolaters. The Pattan Arabs, who were Mahometans, conquered Indostan, but, many years after, were vanquished by Gingischan, a Tartar, about the year 1200. That prince professed the religion which is followed by the great ones and the learned men of China, worshipping Tien as the sovereign being; but his posterity embraced the established Mahometanism of the country. One of these made great conquests in Persia, took Bagdat, and slew Motazen, the last Saracen caliph or vicar of Mahomet, in whom that religious dignity was extinguished. Tamerlane, a Mahometan Tartar, extended his conquests towards India in 1402, and one of his sons, with an army of Mogul Tartars, conquered Indostan in 1420; whence the name of Mogul. These took up the Mahometan religion. One of these Moguls, descendants of Tamerlane, named Aureng-zeb, who died in 1707, conquered Decan, Visapour, Golcond, and almost all the peninsula on this side the Ganges. (See Berniers History of Aureng-zeb, and Catrous Histoire du Mogol.) Since Kouli Khan, the Persian, almost ruined the Mogul by his conquests, the original Indians, called Marattas, have shook off the yoke of the Great Mogul. The Marattas are so called from the title of Mar-Rajah, which is given to the king of the most powerful tribe among them. The kings of smaller tribes are called Rajahs. Among this people the Mahometan remains of the Pattan-Arabs, &c. live unmolested; but chiefly occupy the mountains and fastnesses into which they retired from the conquerors. The same is the condition of the Parsees in these parts, or those Persians who left their country upon the coming of the Arabs, and some of them still retain in India the Magian religion, though much adulterated. The Marattas are the original Indian inhabitants, and are all of the Gentoo religion; so called from Gentio, the Portuguese name for Gentiles or idolaters. Most of these Indian Gentiles believe a transmigration of souls; which doctrine Pythagoras is supposed to have learned from them. Their idols are of various kinds. Their Bramins are thought to be the successors of the Brachmans; they are called Butts, from their idols, of which that is the name. They touch no animal food; are very healthy, but not strong bodied: their taste and other senses are much quicker than in men who eat much flesh. Several Indian tribes live almost altogether on rice and vegetables. The wisdom of the Bramins is famed: their skill admirable in secret remedies of many diseases. They have many fine moral precepts: but adopt many monstrous absurdities, as the thousand forms under which the god Wistnow is pretended to have appeared, (their pagods or idols being in as many fantastical shapes,) the wars of the god Ram, the virtues of the cow Camdoga, &c. It is a mistake that the Bramins are the gymnosophists of the ancients: these are the Gioghi, who still pray almost naked, torture themselves out of vanity and superstition, and wander in forests, pretending to assiduous contemplation. (See Groses Travels.) Some of the Gentoos in Hither India worship cows, and annex sanctity to whatever comes from that animal, purify themselves with its urine, burn its excrements into a powder, with which they sprinkle their foreheads and breasts, and besmear their houses with its dung. It is said they would sooner kill their parents or children than a cow. The Banians feed birds, insects, serpents, and other living creatures with the utmost care, tenderness, and superstition. In this variety of whimsical religions, we cannot but deplore the blindness of the human understanding, destitute of the light of divine faith, whilst we remark in them not the cure, but the bent and gratification of the most violent and subtle passions, and, at the same time, so strong an inborn sentiment of religion that the mind of men rather embraces the most absurd and false religion than none at all. See Lâfiteaus Histoire des Conquestes des Portugais dans les Indes, &c., in two volumes, 4to. (a work which falls much short of the authors reputation.) The truly Ciceronian Latin History of India by the Bishop Jerom Osorio: that of the Jesuit Maffei, almost equal to the former in elegance of style, in point of facts are little more than abstracts of the accurate Portuguese history of John de Barros on the same subject. See also the Portuguese Asia, in four tomes, by Manuel de Faria y Sousa. [back]
Note 4. The empire of Japan, the most eastern part of Asia, consists of a cluster of islands, the largest and principal of which is called the Japonese Niphon, which in their language signifies the East or Origin of the sun. From the Chinese name Gepuanque, that is, kingdom of the rising sun, Europeans have formed the word Japan. There are two other large islands, the one called Saikokf or Bungo, the other Takosy or Sikokf. The city of Meaco in Niphon is the ancient capital of the empire; the Dairi still resides there in a sumptuous palace, and in it flourish the best manufactures and artisans in cloths, staining linen, varnishing, printing, working in gold, copper, steel, &c. Kaempfer, in 1691, reckoned in Meaco three thousand eight hundred and ninety-three tira, or temples of new or strange divinities; two thousand one hundred and seventeen mia, or temples of the original ancient divinities of Japan; one hundred and thirty-seven palaces, eighty-seven bridges, thirteen thousand eight hundred and seventy-nine houses, fifty-two thousand one hundred and sixty-nine bonzas or religious persons, and four hundred and seventy-seven thousand, five hundred and fifty-seven lay persons, besides the officers of the Dairi, and a great number of strangers, these never being comprised in the Artama or yearly registry. Jeddo in the same isle Niphon, is now grown far the largest city in the empire, and is the residence of the Cubo or secular emperor; but very irregularly built. The cities of Ozacca in Niphon, and Nangasaki in Saikokf are the chief places of trade. The empire of Japan is not much inferior to that of China in riches, fruitfulness in some parts, stateliness of buildings, and the culture of arts and sciences. Yet the Japonese seem to acknowledge a superiority in the Chinese: though Charlevoix attributes to the Japonese more sincerity, liveliness of genius, delicacy of sentiment, and taste in magnificence. Japan was discovered by three Portuguese thrown on the coast of Saikokf by a storm, in 1542, and that nation soon set on foot a flourishing trade thither, and made a settlement at Nangasaki, in the principality of Omura; and during almost a century carried thence immense treasures before they were banished, in 1639. Since which the very ambassadors which the Portuguese sent to the Cubo in 1640 were beheaded by his order. The Dutch began to trade to Japan in 1609, and in 1611 established a factory at Firando, which, in 1641, was removed to Nangasaki: but was soon after confined to the little island of Desima. Once a-year the director of this factory is conducted to Jeddo, when he carries an annual present to the Cubo. The Japonese are extremely superstitious, haughty, and shamelessly abandoned to all kind of incontinence: although their wives are very faithful, and strictly guarded. Their spirit of revenge, jealousy, and pride, is insupportable; yet their veracity, fidelity, and constancy in suffering, are astonishing. Population would soon overstock their land, if wars, cruelty, and the most frequent practice of suicide, from a false principle of honour and a cool contempt of death, did not sweep off great numbers. Poor parents expose and murder their infant children, and see them expire without changing their countenance. Their principal food is rice, which in Japan is the best in the world, they add roots and pulse, but seldom eat any flesh, to which many have an abhorrence. Milk they detest, calling it a kind of white blood. They drink tea at meals, and use a strong liquor extracted from rice fermented. They are excessively ceremonious, and sit on the ground leaning backward on their heels, and cross-legged. The Japonese distinguish three dynasties of their monarchs: the two first fabulous, of the Chamis or gods of heavenly extraction, and of demigods. The third dynasty is allowed real, and begins in Syn-mu, whom Charlevoix places six hundred years before Christ. This emperor was styled Dairi. The family of Syn-mu, said to be the most ancient sovereign house in the world, after having enjoyed both the throne and the sovereign priesthood, was reduced to the latter; it still confirms and installs the Cubo at every succession. Konjei, the sixty-sixth Dairi, in 1142, seeing his empire disturbed with civil wars, created Joritomo general of all his armies, who usurped the sovereign civil authority, yet acknowledging a nominal dependence, which his successors also did for the space of four centuries. The Jacatas or governors of provinces, had before that time assumed the subordinate sovereignty in their districts, and their successors reigned as so many petty kings. This was the situation of Japan when St. Francis preached there. But in 1585, Fidejos, the twenty-ninth Seogon, or general, rebelled against Ookimatz, the hundred and seventh Dairi, shook off all dependence in civil affairs, took the title of Taikosama, or great lord, and compelled the Dairi to confer on him that of Quambuku, or Quambacundono, i. e. regent. But the ordinary title of Taikosama and his successors is, Cubo, or Cubosama, Cubo being the ancient title of the general of the militia. Taikosama abolished all the Jacatas or subordinate kings; from which time the Cubos are absolute monarchs of all Japan. The very title of Jacatas is extinct: hereditary governors of provinces are now styled Daimio or lords: those of smaller districts, Siomio; and these compose the two first ranks of the nobility: the Tonosama are governors of imperial cities. Since the revolution completed by Taikosama, the Dairi, or Mikaddo, who is the descendant of Ookimatz, is only the ecclesiastical emperor and high-priest of the religion of Sintos; enjoys the chief authority in all religious matters, and is treated with great honour even by the Cubo, served with a kind of adoration, and always carried about, not being suffered ever to touch the ground lest he should be defiled by it. For his expenses and pleasures he enjoys the revenues of Meaco and its territory, and has a very numerous court, all of ecclesiastics; but in it, says Kaempfer, there reigns a splendid indigence. There are in Japan twelve religious sects of idolaters. The two principal are those of the Sintoists or Chamis, and the Budsdoists. The first is the reigning religion: its professors worship seven gods called Chamis, and five demi-gods, both of whom they pretend to have reigned in Japan several millions of years, and to compose the first and second dynasties of their kings. Their temples are very rich, filled with ornaments of gold, silver, and brass, and lofty pillars of cedar. Tensio-Dai-Dsin is the chief Chamis, the father and founder of their nation: his temple of Ixo or Isjo, in the province of that name, is famous for pilgrimages, from which only the Dairi is exempt. The Jammabus are religious persons of austere lives, but addicted to unnatural lust, who are also soldiers for the protection of their gods. Kaempfer will have the apostle of this religion in Japan, who is called Koosi, to have been Confucius, which cannot be, and he confesses in another place that Confucius never left China. The Sintoists admit numberless other gods; allow a state of happiness after death, in a region above the heavens, but think little of another life: and as foxes are most pernicious in that country, they believe their souls to be the devils. The second religion is called of Budsdo, (from Buhda, one of the names which their Bramins give Zaca,) or of Fotogues, (from Fotoge, a generical name of any god.) This is professed by those who adore Zaca, an ancient Indian legislator. Amida is the chief god of this sect, as he is of the Indians, who imagine him to have been Wistnow in his ninth apparition in a human shape. This sect is of Indian extraction. The Budsdoists adore Zaca or Siako, who first established the worship of Amida, and many other gods: they believe the transmigration of souls from brutes into human bodies, and an everlasting heaven and hell for very good and bad human souls after death; never kill any living creature or eat flesh: have pilgrimages, idols, temples, and various kinds of religious persons and anchorets, very austere in their manner of living, though extremely addicted to debauchery. Charlevoix relates, that the Budsdoists often murder themselves in honour of their god Amida, hoping he will receive their souls: some drown themselves in the sea, others wall themselves up in caverns to perish with hunger, and others throw themselves headlong into burning volcanoes: after which they are often themselves honoured as gods. The religion of the Sintoists was also very numerous in Japan; in this no divinities are acknowledged but Tien, or the heaven, which they pretend to have been created with the earth by In and Io: they extol suicide as the most heroic act of virtue: practise certain religious ceremonies, but have neither temples nor idols. This religion is derived from that of the learned in China; it is sunk extremely since the persecution of the Christians in Japan, the Sintoists having placed an image of some god of the country in their houses that they might not be suspected to be Christians. Certain sects in Japan worship the sun, moon, apes, and other beasts; men deified, and fantastical idols. Some, as in China, follow the religion of the Lamas of Thibet in Great Tartary, who worship the Great Lama, a living man whom they imagine to be immortal; the Lamas substituting one who resembles the former, when he dies. The name of Bonza (the original of which is not known) was given by the Portuguese to the priest and religious of many different denominations of all idolatrous sects in China and Japan; and sometimes to the Talopians of Siam, &c. See F. Charlevoix, Hist. du Japan, in nine volumes; Kaempfer, physician to the Dutch factory there, in his History of Japan, in folio, and Histoire Moderne pour servir de suite à lHistoire Ancienne de Rollin, Paris, in 1752, t. 2, Hist. de Japonnois. Abbé Roubaud, Hist. Gén. de lAsie, de lAfrique, et de lAmérique, t. 1, p. 8, &c. [back]
Note 5. The Japonese write or print, like the Chinese, from the top to the bottom of the page, and from the right hand to the left. The ancient Japonian letters were so shapeless that this people have abolished them, and make use of the Chinese alphabet: but the letters are very differently accented and pronounced in Japan. It is pretended by many that the art of printing was practised in China, Japan, and the Eastern Tartary many ages ago, and they have books so old, printed by words cut in boards of entire pages. But this is not properly the art of printing. Engraving letters on boards is at least as old as Homer, and is proved by Fournier to have been in use through every succeeding age. In the thirteenth century, both cuts or images and letters were printed, by being cut in wood, on which, afterwards, a thick ink was laid. M. Schoepflin makes the mobility of the types to be an essential part of printing; consequently neither the Chinese nor John Coster of Haerlem were printers, since they only used boards in which words were cut: the Dutch, who ascribe the invention of the typographic art to this Coster, (whose true name was Laurence Jansson,) produce no other proofs than books without date, printed by whole pages engraved or cut in wood. The ingenious Fournier advances, that the mobility of the types is not sufficient, unless they are cast in metal: for St. Jerom speaks of movable types made of box and ivory. Upon this principle he calls, not John Guttemberg of Mentz, but Peter Schoëffer, the first inventor of the typographic art. Trithemius, in his chronicle, says, that John of Guttemberg, a gentleman who was a native of Mentz, but settled at Strasburg, laid out a great deal of money in this discovery, without making any progress, till he took John Fust or Faust into partnership. Faust, afterwards, made Peter Schoëffer his partner, about the year 1457, and gave him his daughter in marriage. The first book that was printed came out of their press by their joint labours, in 1459; this was Durandi Rationale Divinorum Officiorum. About the year 1462, this art was propagated in France, Italy, England, &c. The letters which the first printers used were very beautiful, and represented with great exactness the letters which were then used in writing. See Lambecius, (Bibl. Vindob. l. 2, p. 989,) Chevalier, (Orig. de lImprim.) La Caille, (Hist, de lImprim.) Ames, (Hist. of Printing,) and especially the excellent dissertations of M. Schoepflin, (Mem. de lAcad. des Inscript. vol. 17,) and M. Fournier. (Diss. sur lOrigine de lArt de Graver en Bois, Paris, 1758.) As the sources of the largest rivers often escape observation, because small and inconsiderable; so is the first original of arts, like that of empires and nations, obscure. The greatest discoveries are usually owing to hints given by others, whose names are forgotten. The system of universal gravitation was a key to that of attraction, and was itself struck out from former progressive discoveries made of the laws of motion or nature. From logarithms, the step was not large to fluxions; and former progressive rules of numbers opened the way to Lord Napiers discovery of logarithmic tables. The art of printing (as well as most other arts) is still in a very imperfect state in China: the improvements of that nation have been falsely exaggerated by some moderns, and it is apparent that this people, though more cultivated than the neighbouring nations, fall, in general, far short of the more polished countries on this side of the globe. We, indeed, justly admire the liveliness and beauty of their azure, and other colours in painting; but this invention must have been the mere result of observation and experience, as our artists have never been able to give them any taste for proportions, and regularity in their drawings; instanced in that stupidity and slowness of genius which those Chinese, who, with their emperors leave, travelled into Europe, have betrayed on all occasions. The colours used by our own ancestors, even in ages wherein genius seems to have been least cultivated, were far superior to ours: as appears in their painted glass, and in the beautiful painted figures with which the magnificent ancient copy of Froissart, in the kings library at Paris, and part in the British Museum at London, is embellished in every part of each volume, representing with admirable beauty the exploits, dresses, and manners of that age; also in Lydgates Life of St. Edmund, in the copy presented to Henry VI., and several prayer-books, &c. on vellum. The finest gold, and the choicest sky-blue metallic particles of the hardest oriental lapis-lazuli, &c. were not then spared, which are now thought too expensive for such purposes. Yet every one will allow that this gives no advantage of genius to the monks, to whom we are indebted for those curious works. In like manner, the Chinese may raise our admiration with the beauty of their colours, but cannot therefore claim the merit of genius. [back]
Note 6. The divine seed sown by St. Francis Xavier in Japan increased so much that when the persecution was raised, there were reckoned in that empire four hundred thousand Christians. Paul, the first fruits, or rather the father of this church, died happily, and in great sentiments of piety and holy spiritual joy, in 1557. The Prince of Omura was baptized in 1562. That prince and the two kings of Bungo and Arima, who had received baptism, sent ambassadors of obedience, who were their own near relations, to Pope Gregory XIII. in 1582. They were conducted in their voyage by F. Valegnani, a Jesuit, and received with great honour in the principal cities of Portugal, Spain, and Italy, through which they passed, and especially at Rome. The faith flourished daily more and more in Japan; and, in 1596, there were in that empire two hundred and fifty churches, three seminaries, a novitiate of the Jesuits, and several Franciscans. The Cubo, or Emperor Nabunanga, at least out of hatred to the Bonzas, was very favourable to the missionaries, and his prime minister, Vatadono, viceroy of Meaco, was the declared protector of the Christian religion. When the conversion of all Japan was looked upon as at hand, this undertaking was entirely overturned. Nabunanga was cut off by a violent death, and Taikosama usurped first the regency for the son of Nabunanga, and afterwards the empire, by contriving to have that heir put to death. Partly by policy, and partly by force, he subdued all Japan, and extinguished the Jacates or petty kings. For some time he was favourable to the Christians, till, by various accidents, he was excited to jealousy at their numbers and progress. In 1586, he, by an edict, forbad any Japonese to embrace the faith, and shortly after caused many Christians to be crucified: in the year 1590, no fewer than twenty thousand were put to death for the faith. In 1597, the twenty-six martyrs suffered, whom Urban VIII. thirty years after, declared such. On their death and miracles, see Charlevoix, (l. 10, c. 4, p. 330, and this work on Febr. 5.) Taikosama died in 1598; and Ijedas, (to whom he left the regency and care of his young son, Fidejori, a prince fond of the Christians,) having murdered the heir, his pupil, and usurped the throne, continued the persecution; and, in 1615, banished all the missionaries, forbidding entrance for the time to come under pain of death. The year following Fide-Tadda, his son, succeeded him in the throne, and put great numbers of Christians to barbarous deaths. Xogun or Toxogunsama, to whom he resigned the crown, or at least the regency, in 1622, carried his cruelty against the Christians to the last excess, and put incredible numbers to the most barbarous deaths. In 1636 the Dutch accused to this Emperor Moro and other Japonese Christians of a conspiracy with the Portuguese against the state, which Kaempfer (b. 4, c. 5,) pretends to have been real; but Charlevoix endeavours to prove counterfeit, (t. 2, p. 406.) This charge exceedingly enraged the persecutors. The Christians in numberless crowds had suffered martyrdom with the most heroic patience and constancy; but many of those who remained in the kingdom of Arima, by an unjustifiable conduct, very opposite to that of the primitive Christians, broke into rebellion, and with an army of forty thousand men took some strong places; but being at length forced, all died fighting desperately in the field, in 1638. After this, Toxogunsama continued the persecution with such fury, that at his death, in 1650, very few had escaped; and his successor, Jietznako, who pursued the same course, seems to have discovered very few to put to death. The researches have been so rigorous, that in some provinces all the inhabitants have been sometimes compelled to trample on a crucifix. Only the Dutch are allowed to trade there under the most severe restrictions, but their factory is confined to the isle of Desima, i. e. isle of De, which is one long street, before the harbour, and joined by a bridge to the city of Nangasaki on the western coast of the island Ximo. This city was subject to Sumitanda, prince of Omura, one of the first sovereigns in Japan who embraced the faith, which he established alone throughout all his dominions, situate in the kingdom of Arima. That king was himself baptized with a considerable part of his subjects. After several Christian kings, King John, otherwise Protasius, suffered martyrdom: his son Michael apostatized to preserve the crown, and became a persecutor. The rebellion of 1638 totally extinguished the faith in this kingdom and in the rest of Japan. Nangasaki in the time of the Portuguese was all Christians, and counted sixty thousand inhabitants: now about eight thousand only, and these Japonese idolaters. It is the only town in Japan which any strangers are now allowed to approach; and are here watched as if prisoners. By an inviolable edict of the emperor, all other nations except the Dutch are forbid these dominions, and all their natives are commanded to remain in their own country. The missionaries who have attempted to find admittance, seem never to have succeeded. The last that is known, was M. Sidotti, a Sicilian priest, who, in 1709, found means to land in Japan; but what became of him after this was never known in Europe. See Charlevoix, Dr. Kaempfer, and Hist. Moderne, t. 2, des Japonois. Also Hist. Provincia Philippin. Dominicanor. et Jac. Lafonus, Annal. Dominican, et F. Sardino, Jesuit. Catalogus Regularium et Sæcularium qui in Japonia et sub quatuor tyrannis sublati sunt. Also the History of the Martyrs who, in Japan, suffered cruel and intolerable torments and death for the Roman Catholic religion, in Dutch, by Rier Guyesberts, (who was an eye-witness to several living at Nangasaki in 1622,) printed at the end of Carons description of Japan. See also relations of this persecution, published by several Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, &c. [back]
Note 7. The Dutch, in the reigns of Philip III. and IV. of Spain and Portugal, and John IV. of Portugal, (duke of Braganza,) wrested from the Portuguese Malacca, and most of their settlements in Java and the other isles of the Sonde, the Moluccas, Cochin, Meliapor, &c. Since which time Christianity has exceedingly declined in those parts, as Cerri, Salmon, &c. complain. The Society for the propagation of the Gospel, set on foot by the English, is not likely to gain over any nation, unless men can be found who count as nothing the drudgery of learning the languages of savages, and of conforming to many customs very contrary to our European manners; moreover, they must lead most austere lives, and be ready cheerfully to suffer every hardship and denial, fearless of dangers and of martyrdom, as Mr. Salmon frequently remarks in his Modern History, wherein he complains of the strange neglect of the English, Danes, and Hollanders in this particular, (t. 3, p. 58, on Daman. and p. 196, on Madras,) and as Gordon has done before him. Among the conditions Salmon required in missionaries sent to infidel countries, he ought to have mentioned, in the first place, that they must be persons who, by habits of self-denial and patience, are dead to themselves, disinterested, men of prayer, and altogether heavenly-minded. Such were the holy apostles of infidel nations, on whose labours the divine blessings were plentifully showered down. The Danish missionaries furnish us with pompous relations of their endeavours and success at Tranquebar and other places. (See their letters in the History of the Propagation of the Gospel in the East, part 2 and 3.) Yet the authors of the Bibliothèque Angloise observe, that preachers who travel in state, and are carried in litters take not the method of those who hitherto converted nations. As to a small number who in some of the European settlements, may be induced to become Christians, it is to be feared that motives of interest, or the influence of the legislative or civil authority often render the sincerity of such conversions suspected: and the want of instruction in many such converts, and their supine behaviour often give reason to fear the curse which Christ pronounced against some proselytes of the Pharisees. It is hoped, however, there is more exaggeration than truth in what the Protestant author of the late third Letter from North America, in 1758, tells us: An Indian proselyte, who had been admitted to a participation of the Christian mysteries, being asked what he thought of the holy rite, had nothing to answer, but that he should have liked it better had they given him rum. And I must say (with sorrow) that I have never myself remarked an Indian to have a better inducement to Protestantism than his passion for spirituous liquors; the initiation into our first sacrament being made an affair of jollity, wherein the adult infant largely partakes. This remark is meant not as a reproach to any, but as a caution to all. It must be acknowledged that great injustices have been sometimes committed by several Spanish and Portuguese governors or generals in the Indies, and that avarice and ambition were the inducements to many adventurers, who, by despising the Maldives, and other barren rocks or sands, showed they went in quest of gold and spices. A corruption of manners likewise crept into their settlements, and preachers themselves have been sometimes dupes of a worldly spirit. It were infinitely to be wished that none who have the happiness to profess the gospel, were rebellious to the light, and a scandal to their holy religion. Yet the degeneracy of those that fall, cannot weaken the grounds of the Christian faith, nor reflect dishonour on those who live by its maxims. And it is most certain that holy ministers of the gospel have never been wanting, who, inheriting the spirit of the apostles, have succeeded them in their labours. Many such were raised by God among those who planted the faith in so many new discovered nations. Many have propagated it not only in the neighbourhood of all the new settlements of the Spaniards, Portuguese, &c., but also in many very remote barbarous countries, as in Tonquin, Cochin-China, some parts of the dominions of the Mogul, even at Delli itself. (See F. Catrou, Hist. de lEmpire du Mogol, &c.) If some received the faith without imbibing its maxims and spirit, examples even of heroic sanctity are not wanting, whether among these converts or missionaries, as the lives of a considerable number, authentically written, sufficiently evince. [back]
Note 8. The religious sects in China are, first, that of Confucius, in the original language Cum-fu-cu, or Cong-fou-tse. This is professed by the emperor, princes, and all the men of learning. In every town is an oratory, in which the mandarins offer on several festivals, wine, fruit, flowers, and rice set on a table amidst lights, with many profound bows, in honour of Confucius, singing verses in his praise. They bury the blood and hair of a hog which was killed the day before, and they burn part of its liver. The emperor makes this offering in a great temple. They have two feasts a-year in honour of Tien, or the heaven, which they worship. A sect of these called Jukiau are accused of Atheism. Some missionaries have pretended that by Tien they mean the master of the heavens, not the material heaven, which is condemned by Benedict XIV. The third volume of Du Haldes Description of China, in which is inserted an apologetic account of some of these rites, is condemned by an order of Clement XII. The sect of Lao-kiun is also very ancient. The author, a philosopher of that name, is said to have lived six hundred years before Christ. His famous book called Tautse is still in great veneration among his followers, who are extremely addicted to auguries and superstitious ceremonies; and their priests study to discover an art of making men immortal, of which many of them make wonderful boasts. Lao-kiun taught that the human soul perishes with the body; that God is material, and that there are many subaltern gods which they worship. His followers worship him, and many other men whom they have deified, and whose idols they keep in their temples. These princes and heroes deified they call Chang-ti, whence it is surprising that F. Du Halde should imagine that this word in the Chinese language signifies the Creator and absolute Master of the Universe, or conveys an idea which falls not much short of that of the true God. The sect of Foe was introduced into China about the year of Christ 64. Foe was a philosopher who lived in the Indies long before the age of Pythagoras, and taught the transmigration of souls. He left five precepts: 1. Never to kill any living creature. 2. Never to take the goods of another. 3. To refrain from impurity. 4. Never to lie. 5. Not to drink wine. The idol Foe is represented very large, and frequently in three frightful shapes placed in the same temple, the principal resembling a man with a monstrous belly, sitting cross-legged, according to the custom of the Orientals. This is called the Idol of Immortality. The second is the Idol of Pleasures, twenty feet high. And the third is thirty feet high, wears a crown, and is called the Great King Kang. Besides these they have numberless little idols in pagoda, in the highways, and all public places: and others called Jos, in every house. The name Pagod is given both to these little idols and their temples. The Bonzas of this sect are universally despised, and most mercenary; but practise painful ridiculous austerities for the sins of others as they pretend, some dragging heavy chains twenty or thirty feet long, others striking their head or breast with a stone, &c. They teach the deluded people that their sins and the punishment of the other life are redeemed by giving alms to their communities, and they sell to those that are dying passports for the other world. There are also in China adorers of the Great Lama who resides at Barantola in Thibet, and is called the Eternal Father. See Du Halde, p. 460. The Chinese call their sacred books King, i. e. sublime doctrine; the principal of these are five. 1. Y-king, the oldest and most respected, attributed to Fo-hi, consists of hieroglyphic figures in lines, circles, polygons, &c., the key being lost, this book is unintelligible, and rendered still more puzzling and obscure by interpreters. 2. Chou-king, written by Confucius, contains the history of the three first dynasties, true or false. 3. Che-king, which consists of poems without life or style, some moral, others impious and obscene; to excuse these, some think them suppositious, and the work of an interpolater. 4. Tchun-Tsicou, spring and autumn, is a history of twelve kings who reigned in Lou, now Quantong. 5. Li-ki, treats of ceremonies, rites, and customs. It is a popular opinion among the Chinese, that their nation has subsisted above forty thousand years, and was governed by emperors four thousand years, in twenty-two dynasties from Yo, or Yao, comprising the present reigning Tartar family, besides eight emperors from Fo-hi to Yo. Martini, in his Chinese History, places Fo-hi immediately after the deluge. Shuckford and others imagine Fo-hi to have been Noah, or Sem, who, according to those authors, travelled to the utmost boundaries of the eastern continent of Asia. Du Halde, Le Compte, and other Jesuits who first gave us annals of the Chinese empire, carry its pretended antiquity as high, though upon other principles. The enthusiasm which seized the first discoverers of this remote country at the sight of the magnificence and policy of so vast an empire in the midst of nations sunk in barbarism, magnified every object in their ideas, and inclined them to receive with implicit credulity whatever the most ignorant of the natives could publish either to flatter their own vanity, or to raise the wonder of strangers. But when time and reflection had cooled their imagination, travellers began to judge of things more impartially. The moral precepts of Confucius, like those of Zoroaster and many others, even in America itself, appear to have been derived from a patriarchal tradition, which was disfigured by a mixture of superstition, but not entirely effaced: by which the truth of divine revelation and the sacred history is confirmed. Of this, however, we have mere pregnant proofs among the Assyrians, Phenicians, and Egyptians; as appears from the fragments of their historians collected by Josephus against Appion, &c., from Sanconiatho, &c. (See Clercs notes on Grotius on the truth of the Christian religion.) In this, therefore, nothing appears very singular. It is affirmed by many that the Christian religion flourished anciently in China; some say it was planted there by St. Thomas the Apostle. It is certain that the Nestorians in Asia extended Christianity in Georgia and other places near the Caspian sea soon after the year 778. (See Jos. Assemani, Bibl. Orient, vol. 4, pp. 478, 481, 482.) That Christianity flourished many years ago in several parts of Great Tartary near China, is manifest, though in the middle ages tainted with Nestorianism. (See Abulpharagius, Assemani in Bibl. Orient. t. 3, part 2, c. 9; Mosheim. Hist. Tartar. Eccl. c. 3, § 4, p. 129; Herbelot, Bibl. Orient. passim; Renaudot. not. in Vet. Latin. Itiner. in Indiam. n. 319.) Some of those countries subject to the Muscovites, have again received the faith, overawed by their masters, says Salmon, who have lately erected bishoprics among them. (See Nuncios Liter. Florent. ad an. 1748.) From Tartary some tell us the faith was propagated in China; Kircher thinks from the Indies. (China illustr. part 2, c. 7, p. 92.) At least Arnobius (l. 2, adv. Gent. p. 50,) mentions that the faith was settled in India, and amongst the Seræ, Medes, and Persians. And Ebedjesu says the metropolitans of the Chinese were constituted by the patriarch of the Chaldæans, (ap. Jos. Assemani, Bibl. Orient. t. 3, part 2, c. 9, p. 521, and part 1, p. 346.) As for the Christian monument found at Singanfu, commonly called Canton, (on which Kircher and Muller have published dissertations,) it is regarded as genuine by Kircher, Muller, Assemani, and Renaudot, but rejected by Horn, La Croze, &c. The travels of two Mahometans into China, in the ninth age, (published by Renaudot in 1718,) in which it is related that, in 877, the Christians, Jews, and Mahometans, were put to the sword by barbarians in China, are rejected as fabulous by La Croze Jablonski, (Inst. Hist. p. 242, &c.) and that they are a forgery is well proved by F. de Premare, a Jesuit, (Lett. Edif. t. 19, p. 420,) and F. Parennine. (Ib. t. 21, p. 158.) Whatever had happened in former ages, it is certain that when the Portuguese entered China, in 1517, no footsteps of Christianity were found there. In 1556, certain Dominicans began to preach in China; but some were banished, others had little success. (See Ann. Dominic, p. 158.) Also Souza, (part 3, Hist. S. Domin. l. 3, c. 1,) Le Quien, (Oriens Christ, t. 3, p. 1453.) And the Dominicans made no settlement in China before the year 1630. (See Navarret, Advart, and Gonzales, Hist. Prov. Philipp. Dominicanorum.) The Jesuits, first F. Roger, a Neopolitan, then F. Ricci. entered China in 1580, and got leave to settle there in 1583. (See F. Schall, Narrat. de initio missionis Soc. Jesu, et de ortu Fidei in regno Chin.) The Christian religion made such progress, that in 1715, there were in China above three hundred churches, and three hundred thousand Christians. But the Emperor Kang-hi, after having been long favourable to them, began to conceive some jealousy, and in 1716, forbade the missionaries to build churches or make proselytes. This prince dying in 1722, his successor, Yong-tching, upon complaints made by the governor of Fokien, against the Christians, published most barbarous edicts, which, in a great measure, extirpated Christianity out of the empire. Amongst other scenes of inhumanity, he loaded with chains, and banished into Tartary, a prince of the blood, fourscore years old, and his whole numerous family, because they would not renounce the faith. They had been condemned to die; and their exile was but a more severe kind of death, seeing most of them died soon after in close dungeons, through hardships and want; and the rest were dispersed into other provinces, to end their days in prisons, fetters, and misery. In 1731, he banished all the missionaries to Macao, a small island in the province of Canton, in which the Portuguese were permitted to settle. Tong-tching died in 1736, and the missionaries hoped to be restored, but in vain; and, since the year 1733, the Christians are left in most parts of China without churches and without pastors, under severe persecutions. The preachers who remained behind were crowned with martyrdom. Only some Jesuits are still retained at court, but not suffered to act as missionaries, but merely as mandarins who preside over the mathematics, paintings, &c. in which offices they continue in hopes of finding circumstances at length more favourable to religion. Yet they often succour the Christians who still remain in the capital, and obtain a mitigation of persecutions in the several provinces. And, since the year 1753, the Jesuits in China are allowed some liberty to assist the Christians there. See Hist. Moderne, contin. de Rollin, t. 1, part 5, c. 2, p. 344; Modern Univ. Hist. in octavo, t. 8, l. 13, c. 1, sect. 6, p. 520; Lettres Edif. et Cur. de Missionaires, vol. 27 and 28; these Lives of Saints, Feb. V.; and chiefly Lettres Edifiantes, vol. 28, anno 1758. [back]
Note 9. Tavernier reckons the value of a pardo at twenty-seven sols, French money. [back]
Note 10. See his life by Bouhours, translated by Dryden, b. 6. Some have objected, that F. Acosta, who published, in 1589, his book, De Procurandâ Indorum Salute, acknowledges, (l. 2, c. 8,) that the power of working miracles did not subsist among the missionaries. But he speaks of missionaries in general compared with the apostles, who all wrought miracles, and in all places. For Acosta himself (c. 10, ib.) bears express testimony to the evidence and great number of stupendous miracles wrought by St. Francis Xavier: and mentions that some other preachers had performed miracles both in the East and West Indies. That the miracles of St. Francis were famous during his life, and immediately after his death, see Tursellin, l. 6, vit. S. Fr. c. 1, and the letter of King John III. to Bareto, viceroy of the Indies, in 1556, in Acostas Rerum in Oriente Gestarum 1, printed at Dilingen in 1571, and at Paris in 1472. See F. Mn, Review of the Important Controversy concerning Miracles, in the Appendix added by F. My, p. 448. [back]
Note 11. Lettres Edif. et Cur. des Mission, vol. 27, pref. p. 24. [back]
Note 12. S. Fr. Xav. ep. 5, from Cochin, anno 1544, p. 67. [back]
Note 13. Id. l. 2, ep. 9. Sec Lett. Edif. ct Curi. des Mission. Recues, l. 7, p. 70. [back]