Изображения страниц

be the fearful portent none might divine, and none presumed to ask. A contagious terror passed from eye to eye, but every voice was hushed. It was as the calm preceding the first thunder peal which is to rend the firmament. Xavier arose, his countenance no longer beaming with its accustomed grace and tenderness, but glowing with a sacred

a indignation, like that of Isaiah when breathing forth his inspired menaces against the king of Babylon. Standing on a rock amidst the waters, he loosed his shoes from off his feet, smote them against each other with vehement action, and then casting them from him, as still tainted with the dust of that devoted city, he leaped barefooted into the bark, which bore him away forever from a place from which he had so long and vainly labored to avert her impending doom.

She bore him, as he had projected, to the island of Sancian. It was a mere commercial factory; and the merchants who passed the trading season there, vehemently opposed his design of penetrating farther into China. True he had ventured into the forest, against the tigers which infested it, with no other weapon than a vase of holy water; and the savage beasts, sprinkled with that sacred element, had forever fled the place: but the mandarins were fiercer still than they, and would avenge the preaching of the saint on the inmates of the factory.

Long years had now passed away since the voice of Loyola had been heard on the banks of the Seine urging the solemn inquiry, “What shall it profit?” But the words still rung on the ear of Xavier, and were still repeated, though in vain, to his worldly associates at Sancian. They sailed away with their cargoes, leaving behind them only the Holy Cross in charge of the officers of Alvaro, and depriving Xavier of all means of crossing the channel to Macao. They left him destitute of shelter and of food, but not of hope. He had heard that the King of Siam meditated an embassy to China for the following year; and to Siam he resolved to return in Alvaro's vessel, to join himself, if possible, to the Siamese envoys, and so at length to force his way into the empire.

But his earthly toils and projects were now to cease forever. The angel of death appeared with a summons, for which, since death first entered our world, no man was ever more triumphantly prepared. It found him on board the vessel on the point of departing for Siam. At his own request he was removed to the shore, that he might meet his end with the greater composure. Stretch


ed on the naked beach, with the cold blasts of a Chinese winter aggravating his pains, he contended alone with the agonies of the fever which wasted his vital power. It was a solitude and an agony for which the happiest of the sons of men might well have exchanged the dearest society and the purest of the joys of life. It was an agony in which his still uplifted crucifix reminded him of a far more awful woe endured for his deliverance; and a solitude thronged by blessed ministers of peace and consolation, visible in all their bright and lovely aspects to the now unclouded eye of faith ; and audible to the dying martyr through the yielding bars of his mortal prison-house, in strains of exulting joy till then unheard and unimagined. Tears burst from his fading eyes, tears of an emotion too big for utter

In the cold collapse of death his features were for a few brief moments irradiated as with the first beams of approaching glory. He raised himself on his crucifix, and exclaiming, In te Domine, speravi-non confundar in æternum ! he bowed his head and died.

SIR JAMES STEPHEN, Essays on Ecclesiastical Biography.



This great success of the Catholics in these islands, reminds us of the more glorious results attendant on the mission of the priests than on that of the Puritans in North America. While the former, through the benign influence of genuine religion, and a reasonable conformance to the outward life, simple habits, and natural instincts of the Indian, possessed themselves of the door of human nature, the heart, and by kindness, sympathy, persuasion, and rational appeal, passed through it to the inner seat of his convictions ; the cold, unbending, unpitying, and uncompromising disciple of Puritanism, sought to attain the same end by dictatorial harangues on election, justification, and sanctification, unintelligible to themselves and incomprehensible to their hearers ; and by harsh decrees, fierce denunciations, and finally by the practical enforcement of death and damnation. The result of these two systems of proselytism are matters of record. The former, introduced by the French Franciscans, on the rocky shores of Maine, was subsequently borne thence along the great valley of the St. Lawrence and the lakes, even to that of the Father of Waters, by the Jesuits; winning the confidence and love of the untamed savage, guiding him to the peaceful contemplation of truth, and along the path that leads to eternal life. While the latter wrote in blood the record of aboriginal repugnance, and of their own persecutions, oppression, and final extermination of a race whom they professed to seek with the Gospel of Peace, but in fact destroyed with the weapons of war; and when at a later day they seized the happier fields of Catholic missions along the St. Lawrence and the lakes, there too they blasted the fair face of a benignant Christianity, by the terrors of uncompromising heartlessness, intolerance, cruelty, and selfishness. As a New England historian has asked in regard to the contrasted spirit of the missions of that day, equally applicable to the missions of which we have been speaking in the Hawaiian Islands—“Can we wonder that Rome succeeded and that Geneva failed ? Is it strange that the tawny pagan fled from the icy embrace of Puritanism, and took refuge in the arms of the priest and Jesuit ?”

H. WILLIS BAXLEY, West Coast of South and North America, and the Hawaiian Islands.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »