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words express what is worst in the world. The Mussulman does not love Christians, but the convert to Moslamism hates them. Such is generally the case with converts of all sorts.
The apostate had three wives, Turkish by birth and religion, who seemed to think better of the Christian and of the Christian's faith than he did. One of them conversed with the slave, and made him sing for her some of those sweet psalms she had probably overheard him singing to himself. He sung for her “By the waters of Babylon, we sat down and wept;" and he sung it with tears in his eyes, for by the waters of Babylon he, too, was weeping. The Turkish wife questioned him as to his religion, and then told her husband that he was wrong in having left it. The heart and conscience of the apostate were smitten ; after a time he explained the state of both to his slave and his priest; and the end of all was that both escaped to France, where the renegade master was publicly reconciled to the Church he had left; and the slave, whose piety had gained his ransom, was taken to the Court of Rome, and soon after sent on a special mission to Henry IV., who
a had obtained the throne, and accepted the religion of France. What became of the three Turkish wives we are not told; it is a pity that the double convert did not bring one, at least, to his side. Henry IV., still called the good king in France, saw the talents of Vincent de Paul, and would have recompensed them, but it was his son Louis XIII., who was to be the patron of his good works.
Perhaps none have ever accomplished great or good works, or devoted themselves earnestly to a philanthropic or peculiar mode of life, without hav. ing been, most probably unconsciously, prepared for such by some event, circumstance or situation, which gave a cast to their whole after life, a tone to their sentiments, a direction to their minds, or a determination to their views. This is called accident by some, providence by others. It is the working of the great, unseen Hand, raising, cutting, hewing, moulding the block, out of which is to come a vessel of honour meet for the master's use.
So we see Vincent de Paul, the young country Priest, prepared for his district visiting societies, his Sisters of Charity, his hospital nurses, his labours among chained prisoners, and more especially among the galley slaves, by his own apprenticeship to suffering and trial as a captive and a slave in Turkey.
This was the preparation for his work; but besides this we generally see a moving cause required for putting that destined work in operation. The same hand is bringing all round, yet all looks like mere accident.
The origin of the Ladies of Charity was a circumstance, not very extraordinary, which took place at Chatillon. It was one that takes place in England, in London, oyer and over again. The “Confrerie de Charité,” or “Association of Charity,” formed by Vincent de Paul, was brought about on this wise. We all know that for the work of reforming both clergy and people, he had formed a congregation of (as they were all to be single women,) in the way we shall now relate in the following extracts, which it is necessary to remark, speak of a period some years after the formation of the aforesaid association of charity.
“The application with which Vincent de Paul, who was then established in Paris, at Saint Lazare, laboured for the reform of the clergy, did not cause him to forget the necessities of the country poor. He had formed the Confreries de la Charité everywhere he could; but neither himself nor his missionary priests could visit them, except very rarely. It was to be feared that the first warmth of an association so useful would slacken by degrees, if there was not some person capable of going among them from time to time, to animate their exertions, and kindle among them that spirit of mercy which should be the principle of their charitable union.
“God sent him a worthy instrument for such a work, in a pious and talented widow named Le Gras, who at his desire undertook for several years to travel from place to place among the various branches of this association, visiting them in each parish, calling together on her arrival in any place or village, the women who composed the association of charity in that place, instructing, animating, directing, or helping them, as they had need. This did great good, but still, owing to all the various accidents of life to which persons living in the world, with all its engagements and necessary duties, must be exposed,