Puslapio vaizdai

ing is bitter. So disciplined in selfdenial has he become that, though passing within sight of his paternal halls on his way to the ship, and feeling that his widowed mother's blessing would have been a joy indeed, and the sight of his saintly sister, the noble Abbess of St. Clare, yet he has denied himself this conference with flesh and blood lest he should be turned aside by it from yielding to the high call

solemn vows to become missionaries of the Church, and to preach the Gospel till they die to every man they meet. Full of enthusiasm are they, overflowing; but such is their self-control and clear insight | that they repress all for a while, that they may more duly prepare themselves for so great a work by extraordinary spiritual exercises. Not until 1536 do they propose a missionary crusade, and then only into Palestine; and this mainly for self-ing of a Christian missionary; and now education. When, however, they find that the war which is waging between the Venetians and the Turks prevents all thought of this, they offer themselves to the pope, without remuneration and without reservation, to be sent on any evangelical mission to any part of the world he may please. Their offer is tardily accepted; and it is seven long years before their plans are effectively completed. These seven years of Xavier's life I pass over, only observing that they were spent in all kinds of mortification and self-sacrifice; in most diligent performance of all priestly duties, and in the education of himself in medicine, and such other arts and sciences as he deemed would be most profitable amid uncivilized peoples. He lived in Italy the while; at Venice and Vicenza, at Bologna and at Rome; in hovels and in hospitals; reducing himself almost to death by his voluntary sufferings; incessantly tending the sick, and preaching to the people wherever they would listen to him, in market-places and at crosses, in the corners of the streets and in churches; exhibiting to us throughout as striking an instance as we can meet with anywhere of an ecclesiastical zealot and a Christian ascetic.

Xavier's lot has fallen to the East; we will now, then, turn to him as he is stepping on board the ship which is to carry him to India. It is his thirty-fifth birthday; and there you see him, a plain priest, with no followers of any kind, no baggage, no purse nor scrip; with his Bible and his Breviary, a small vessel of silver, and that crucifix which hangs from his neck, his sole instruments of warfare: a tall, sinewy, fresh-colored man; of most gentle looks, and long hair hanging down over his friar's frock. A thousand companions in that noble ship has he, and he only of the thousand is calm, he only smiles. But for him the vision of the future is more sweet than the memory of what he is leavVOL. XII.-6

that he is on the very eve of being borne a myriad of miles from the land of his fathers, and thus removed finally from all temptation of drawing back, and irrevocably destined to this great sacrifice and labor of love, he is joyous rather than sad, as knowing that God is able to keep that which he has committed unto him unto that day when he shall receive mother, and sister, and brothers, and what is worth a hundred times as much, in the new paradise of God. And so they sail; and five months are they in doing that which is now done in as many weeks, getting to the Cape of Good Hope; but Xavier, considering the ship as his parish, finds work of charity for every hour of the day, and the employment of prayer for half the hours of the night. When on land for the last seven years, since he had been a disciple of Loyola's, he had lodged mostly in hospitals and lived mostly on alms; and so now, here in this ship, he gives up his own cabin to the sick, and divides his allowance from the admiral's table among those worse off than himself. He catechises and converses, visits and preaches, as often as he may; he prays with the whole crew every Sunday, and there is no day in which he does not pray for them. An apostolic primitive spirit there seems to be in him from the first; and when they put in at Mozambique, on the eastern coast of Africa, to winter there, his labors are increased, and only terminated by his own serious illness. He has a local fever; is near to dying; but recovers sufficiently to set sail again in March. Slowly they sail, touching here and there every now and then, not at all in modern fashion, until they land at Goa, which was the place of his present destination. This Goa was the Portuguese capital in India. A bishop of it had been appointed by the pope a few years before, and there was a college of two years' standing. It was a sad place spiritually. Along the coast


and a little inland there were indeed forty villages of Nestorian Christians, (who, Luther said, hold a creed differing but a shade from the orthodox,) and these did not disgrace their name so much as the Catholic Christians of Goa. But still on the whole Christianity was but poorly exemplified in this region; so poorly that Xavier's spirit was instantly moved within him to reformation. So he sets about first the reformation of his own countrymen at Goa, before he attempts to convert the surrounding heathen. And the first thing he does for this end is, that he takes a bell and goes through all the streets, as common crier, and summons all the masters and heads of families for the love of God to send their children and slaves to be catechised in church. Like Jonah in Nineveh seems he to the sinners of Goa; thrown upon them from the ocean to preach to them of coming wrath and instant repentance. A strange and perchance a crazy man they think this new priest; a troublesome man at least, intruding upon them the world to come, and anxieties about their souls. But the children and the poor soon learn to love him, and they crowd about him, and in a few months he seldom can go to church without being followed by disciples more than he can teach. For a year he continues catechising, and preaching, and visiting the sick; turning many to righteousness as much by the singular simplicity and sanctity of his life as by the fervid eloquence of his speech. The improvement, too, of the children improves the character of the parents; and Xavier strengthens this effect by the boldest and wiliest methods of personal influence and intercourse. Strange is it to read of the devices he adopts, and how he becomes as different persons to different men, in order to save some from sin; and how successful he is. All men honor him, though some also fear him; and though there is a large mass of hardened wickedness in the place, which he cannot influence, yet in scarcely more than a year Goa assumes the appearance of a European city.

But the ministry of a town was not the vocation of Xavier. He must out into the wilds; for if ever there was a missienary in spirit it is he. Repose formed no element of his character, and none seemed to welcome hardship so heartily as he. News is brought him that six hun

dred miles off there are some baptized natives, ignorant exceedingly, and yet longing to be instructed. They were the poor creatures engaged in the pearl fishery, Paravas, a people peculiar for their wretchedness. All about them he finds utterly miserable: themselves, their country, their dwellings, their mode of living; no one comfort or visible blessing. Xavier's language, however, writing from among them to Ignatius, breathes only of thankfulness and joy, and deep delight in the work he was engaged in. He lives just as they do, on rice and water; associates with them as one of themselves; learns their rude utterances; teaches them little arts; becomes in every way their friend. He gradually preaches to them of God, and even of Christ, symbolically chiefly; he teaches them letters; and then to read simple words which he writes; he gets them to build little chapels, and interprets the creed and crucifix to them; and within a year finds such a change among them for the better as refreshes and inspires his own soul. After fifteen months he leaves them and returns to Goa for assistance.

After having re-organized the college for the education of the natives there, (of whom there were then sixty students,) and having so arranged as that the college is henceforth given up to his society, (by the name of the College of St. Paul,) he goes back to the Paravas, taking with him several missionary assistants. He finds them in a most melancholy condition in consequence of having been attacked and plundered by a neighboring tribe: many have been driven from their homes, and multitudes are dying of starvation. Xavier, whose faith works very much by love, gets from the nearest Portuguese station twenty boat-loads of provisions, and distributes them among the blessings of the people. As soon as the first pressure of misery is relieved he betakes himself again to spiritual duties. And a remarkable life is that which he seems ever to lead here, personally and pastorally. All but three hours and a half of the twenty-four he wakes and works. Except these hours for sleep, the night is given to the improvement of his own soul through meditation, and prayer, and discipline; as soon as dawn lights up the waters Xavier calls his people to worship; all day he teaches the children and the

new converts; visits the sick; goes inland to other villages; and at twilight again summons all to worship and vesper | benediction. So he lives a while, staying with them until he sees them re-settled; stations some of his followers among them, and then goes on with others into the kingdom of Travancore, where (his own letters tell us) he once baptized ten thousand (read one thousand) persons in one month. He gets thirty chapels built. The people destroy their idols and their temples. The Brahmins hate him and threaten his life. He is shot at; they burn down the houses about him; he has sometimes to sleep in the woods, and at others we find him surrounded by a guard of converts both by day and by night. He does service (as Schwartz after him) to the king of the country by going out to use his influence and that of his followers with a tribe of plundering invaders, and thus obtained (as Schwartz too) the friendship of the king, and the name of the Great Father. The king, however, does not come over to the faith, though he grants permission to the missionaries to preach it where they will. Xavier avails himself of this opportunity zealously. He travels about to this place and to that, night and day, preaching and catechising, baptizing and celebrating the eucharist; a more unweariable man you shall not find under the sun. Little acquainted with the language of the people as he is, (and Xavier never was a good linguist,) he has a marvelous faculty of making an impression upon the minds of rude men; he exercises, if any one ever could or can, a kind of spiritual magnetism over men; he infuses his earnest thought into others with little help of articulate utterance, and makes his own feelings, as it were, infectious. I know of no one of whom are recorded such instances of communicative energy as of Xavier; no one who seems to have had so much influence over uncivilized people as he; none who by this alone has so thoroughly entitled himself to the appellation he was known by among his own, the Thaumaturgus (Wonderworker) of the later ages of the Church.

At length in September, 1545, he goes to Malacca, which was then, as it is now, the central mart of India, China, and Japan. This he makes his center, while he goes on a missionary tour which lasted a year and a half. It would be useless to

enter into details with regard to the places he visited and the work he appears to have done at each, for their very names are strange to us. It must suffice to say that I have never read of so much labor endured in the cause of Christianity by any one man, out of the apostolic records, as by Francis Xavier. We have glimpses, too, of his interior life during this period, through passages in his letters to Loyola, which have been carefully preserved; and if one may take these as faithful exhibitions of Xavier's mind, and interpret them as one would similar words used by one of ourselves, we may assuredly say that this man is no inconsiderable Christian; that he is a saintly man; a man of prayer and of self-denial beyond all example of succeeding times. But even with great allowance for the great difference of language which there generally is between men of different countries and temperaments, and having reduced as much as may be a southern scale of expression to a northern one, one cannot but say that Xavier herein displays a zeal and a piety, a daring and a charity, which all his lamentable errors of belief and his sad superstitious infirmities cannot justly reduce to the standard of ordinary Christians.

He returns to Malacca in 1548. Here for a while he is stationary, but not idle; for here, as before at Goa, he assiduously attempts the reformation of the nominal Christians; and here, again, you might see him, bell in hand, going through the streets and crying loudly, Repent. But he is not here long enough to make a great impression now. His stay, however, is not altogether vain; for while here exercising his accustomed office of priest and spiritual overseer of all the baptized, a Japanese, of the name of Angeroo, addresses himself to Xavier as a penitent. He had come more than a thousand miles on purpose to see him. He was a person of consideration in his own country, of noble birth and rich, but obliged to live an exile in consequence of having killed a man in quarrel. Remorse of conscience brought him to Xavier, whose fame had spread even further than his home, and he found in Xavier's words the hope of forgiveness by a greater tribunal than that of his country. Xavier holds the most fervent, though the most gentle talk with him; and tests the sincerity of his new resolutions by directing him to go as a student

in Malacca, arrives in Japan in August, 1549.

We know little, indeed, of the details of Xavier's labors here; but had he done nothing else but what he did in Japan, he would have been the most wonderful of all missionaries. It is, indeed, by this mission that he is best known in Europe. All this country had only been known to the Portuguese seven years, and there was nothing of Christianity in it when Xavier arrived. The Japanese were then, and are now, a loquacious, sharp-witted, luxurious, busy people; social, mercurial; Athenian, superstitious extremely. Indeed, never could a country be more wholly given up to idolatry with all fervor of worship than was Japan when Xavier entered it. It contained innumerable temples of innumerable deities. No time is to be lost. Having learned by unwearied application on the voyage, a little Japanese from his noble convert, (at whose house he now is lodged,) Xavier translates the Apostle's Creed and an exposition of it, and distributes copies; in time he preaches short sermons. His convert procures him an audience of the king, who permits him to teach. But he soon withdraws his patronage, and Xavier goes to Firando in 1550, leaving Paul with the converts, and a translation of the life of our Saviour taken entirely from the Gospels. His way of traveling would have struck you as strange; he traveled on foot, and barefoot; carrying all that belonged to him in the world on his back. A strange sight truly was this toiling, travel-worn man; no carriage of any kind nor servant; no state, no pomp, no comfort even; literally of apostolic guise. All he had on earth was a mat to sleep on and a wallet; a few papers and a cruciform staff, and the sacred symbols and their vessels. And had you seen him pacing wearily and footsore, solitary yet singing, across the dreary and dangerous wastes of Japan, you could not but have called to mind, in spite of some strange differences, the noble prototype of all missionaries, minding himself to go afoot from Troas unto As

to the college of Goa, and await his arrival, which shall be shortly. Angeroo sets out for Goa, Xavier for Ceylon; thence he visits his old and first converts of the pearl fishery; and then travels along the coast to Goa. He represents this journey as a most successful one, and one that fills him with thankfulness and joy. As soon as he arrives at his old quarters at the Hospital he sets himself earnestly to the instruction of his Japanese convert. This man believes, and is baptized, (by the name of Paul,) and henceforth becomes to Xavier almost what Timothy was to the greatest of the apostles. Rapidly, indeed, does the scholar, who is of a noble nature, ripen under such warmth and light; and as he feels more of the influence of the faith in his own soul he feels increased longings to have it imparted to his countrymen. He pleads for them to Xavier. Xavier's heart was not such as could long hold out against the cry, "Come over and help us," even though it should be wafted as now over a dreary distance of three thousand miles. To Japan he will go; but not instantly; Goa needs his presence; his own spirit, too, wants the refreshment to be obtained by participation in full Christian ordinances, by converse with fellow - Christians, by tranquil contemplation. To these he gives himself up a while, more especially as he would wish to wait for some assistants from Europe shortly to arrive. And such of his letters and memoranda as have been preserved, relating to this period, would seem to intimate that here in the college gardens of Goa he enjoyed revelations, not of truths, but of feelings, apparently as unsuitable to be uttered in words as those which were granted to the apostle to whose honor this institution was dedicated. But he was not even now only a visionary; he was also what he was always, a laborer; accessible at all times to spiritual applicants; even amid his devotions, to children; and content to be interrupted at any time by the necessity of even only catechetical instruction; and spending half of all his waking hours in the hospitals and huts of the town. He had long been accustomed to But in a few months five other members endure hardness as a good soldier of the of the society arrive; and having stationed Forty hours had he once been these, he feels himself at liberty to set out drifting on a plank; rivers he had forded, on his cherished mission to Japan. He and unbroken forests he had forced his takes with him Angeroo, or rather Paul, way through; he had been nigh unto and after a short stay at his old quarters | death through sickness and the sword;



but nowhere had he suffered so much as here from perils and privations, from cold and nakedness, from hunger and from homelessness. But though his sufferings were great he loved the service; nay, I believe I may say he loved the suffering; for he seems never to have thanked God more heartily than when he was called upon to undergo all hardship for the name of Christ. He bears all not only as a man, but as a Christian; and not only as a Christian, but as a saint. He goes on preaching from town to town, just as we read of the first apostles, taking with him two of the society as helpers, and two Japanese Christians. When persecuted in one city they flee unto another; and despite all opposition Xavier keeps preaching; and baptisms follow his preachings | wherever they halt a while, and catechisings, and public disputations, and conversions. Influence of some kind-we hope it is virtue-goes out of him wherever he goes. He translates portions of the litany, organizes societies, erects chapels, worships publicly; becomes all things to all men that he may gain some; ordains elders in almost every city; and writes letters to his converts and fellow-laborers at a distance, of which some portions are almost apostolic. His sanctity does as much as his sermons; and his compan ions are helps meet for him, displaying the peculiar virtues of the Christian in the midst of danger and reproach of all kinds; and when he leaves the mission in their hands, as he does shortly, he does so with the confidence that the unparalleled efforts and successes of the past are but as the first fruits of the future. Xavier sails for India the 20th of November, 1551.

On his return to Malacca we find him full of another missionary enterprise; grander than any that either he or any one else had yet conceived: the carrying of the cross into China. Such a thing in Xavier's time was unthought of, or, if considered, practically pronounced utterly hopeless; and every imaginable argument and influence is now tried to dissuade him from it. But Xavier was not a man whom mere difficulty would deter. A scruple of casuistry might have kept him from a permitted pleasure, but no armed legion would have kept him from an acknowledged duty. Think you that there was much that could deter a man who, on the occasion of his friends trying to dis

suade him from going to the Cannibal Islands of Del Moro, writes thus: "You tell me that they will certainly kill me; well, I trust if they do, it will be gain for me to die. But whatever torments or death they may prepare for me, I am ready to suffer a thousand times as much for the salvation of one soul. I remember the words of Jesus Christ, Whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it; I believe them, and am content on these terms to hazard my life for the name of the Lord Jesus. They urge other ills, Cannibalism; he says: Though the evils you speak of are great, the evil of being afraid of them is greater. I leave it to Him who has put it into my heart to preach his Gospel to preserve me from them, or not, as he will; the only thing I fear is not to dare enough for him who has endured so much for me. They tell him that to preach the Gospel to cannibals is hopeless; he replies: Whatever they are, are they not God's creatures? Did not Christ die for them? Who, then, shall dare to limit the power of our God who is almighty? or the love of our Redeemer who is all-merciful? Are there in the world, think you, any hearts hard enough to resist God's Spirit, if it shall please him to try to soften and to change them? Can they successfully oppose that gentle yet commanding influence which can make even dry bones live? He who has provided for subjecting the whole world to the cross, shall he exempt this petty corner of the earth that it shall receive no benefit from his atonement? Verily, no; and if these islands abounded in spices and in gold, Christians would have courage enough to go thither; no danger would deter them; they are now cowardly because there are only souls to gain. O, while I can do anything to prove the contrary, it never shall be said that charity is less daring than avarice, or that the love of Christ is not as constraining as the love of gold. Verily such a man as this it is not easy for the worldly to deal with. He and they have no common measure of motive, of principle, or

of end.


In this present instance of the Chinese mission, Xavier is as invincible and as invulnerable as of old. But himself believing, though full of ulterior schemes, that it may probably be a mission unto death, he determines to visit once more some of

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