Page images

entitled to an acquittal of the high crime and misdemeanour of distributing vernacular copies of the Scriptures; and the innocence of the Jesuits in particular is further corroborated by, I believe, the uniform silence of their rivals, the Capuchins, Franciscans, &c. respecting every such charge, for which, so far as I am aware, there is just as little ground of suspicion to be found in their own voluminous Missionary Register, entitled “Edifying and Curious Letters written from the Foreign Missions.” “I have read,” says a very competent witness, * “all those letters published by the Jesuits, but I have no where read in them that the Gospels or New Testament were distributed or recommended to their converts, but things of a very different description." An indirect attestation of the general prevalence of this omission might be found, if wanted, in the following incident :-"Having visited the Roman Catholic Bishop of Meliapore," says Schulze,t "I had some conversation with another Ecclesiastic on the subject of religion. Having seen the Malabar Bibles published by our countrymen at Tranquebar, he did not approve of this plan, but expressly declared that it was not proper that these pearls should be flung before heathens as before swine" Such they may seem to have been, in some measure, regarded by their Roman Pastors, who, in this famine of the word, took care to feed them with plenty of husks.

We must wait then awhile for further evidence, before we can believe that it was the purpose of the Jesuits to evangelize the heathen. That such was not their object, but that they had another and very different end in view, will be admitted by every one who can admit that any credit is to be given to the memorials and reports of their fellowlabourers, and that the practices there charged upon the disciples of Loyola, are incompatible with the propagation of the Gospel. The published reports of the Jesuits themselves are found to corroborate these charges, by furnishing a variety of facts and incidents differing only in degree, but not in their nature and tendency from those imputed to them by their opponents, and therefore worthy of attention as so many instances of undesigned coincidence. But these documents have been lately sifted with such diligence as to supersede the necessity of many other references to them with a similar view. It may, therefore, suffice me to add this general remark, that the Missionaries of the Company appear to bave fully atoned, in a certain way, for the laxity of its Moralists, by their own ceremonial strictness, by their punctilious inculcation of a devout regard for holy water, rosaries, beads, images, processions, and all those other gaudy pomps and pageants, derivedi

J. Jac. Zimmermann, in his Meditatio, 8va, de causis incredulitatis. Tom. 1. of his Opuscula, p. 335. If any alteration for the better has taken place in their mission. ary system since that period, (1751) I should be glad to find, or to hear of it.

* In continuat. 23. Narrationis progressuum religionis Christianæ et Missionis Malabaricæ, p. 324, apud Zimm. ibid p. 331.

See the last number of the Prot. Guard. p. 312, note.

This point has been clearly proved by a number of Protestant writers; by Dr. Middleton, for instance, in his celebrated "Letter from Rome, shewing an exact confor. mity between Popery and Paganism," &c. To the fifth edition (1742), and therefore I should suppose to all the subsequent impressions, there is prefixed a long Prefatory Discourse, ably refuting all the sophistical objections of the author of " The Catholic Christian Instructed." The same argument had been previously handled by Mussard in his “ Conformites des Ceremonies Modernes avec les anciennes,”' &c. Geneva, 1667, 8vo. republished in German, in 1695, &c. with notes by Hossman, and afterwards in English with considerable additions by Dr. Middleton. A copious enumeration of the many other Protestant authors who have written on this topic, either professedly or incidentally, may be seen in Jo. Alberti Fabricii Bibliographia Antiquaria, cap iv. 6 & 8.

It deserves to be remarked that several Romanists, as Baronius, Aringhus, and others, (specified by Mussard, p. 3,) admit this ceremonial conformity in some parti. cular instances.

from ancient Paganism, which the Church of Rome has most carefully incorporated into her ritual. It would be as tedious as it is needless to adduce formal proofs of circumstances so notorious, and which no one moderately acquainted with the genius of Popery and the zeal of Jesuitism, will feel disposed to question. I will merely extract an account of one of these religious processions as a sample :-“At ten o'clock at night,” writes* the Jesuit Caron, the Master of the Ceremonies on this occasion, “I commenced, in a large plain, a fine procession, in which the image of the holy Virgin was carried on an elegantly decorated litter. The night was illuminated by three hundred torches, and a quantity of fire works which played without intermission. The vast crowd of Christians and idolaters was delighted with this ceremony, which continued from ten o'clock at night till three in the morning. The display of fêtes of this kind contributes greatly to impress the Indians with a high opinion of our mysteries.” Instead of mysteries, I would say, read

mummeries,” a conjectural emendation of the text, which, though not sanctioned by any ancient manuscript or early edition, seems more suitable to the context. The greatest mystery about the natter is in the question—what sort of Christians they could be, who could take any pleasure in viewing such a raree-show as a religious procession. They were probably some of the natives of either Terra australis incognita, or of Nusquamia, a city of Utopia, the native place of several eminent saints, such as St. Synoris, alias St. Couple, and St. Veronica, who figured as a conspicuous character in another “majestic and affecting” procession narrated in a subsequent volume, with which, though represented as extremely edifying, I will not trouble the reader.

• Lettres edif. et cur. Tom. 16, p. 143.

+ In Vol. 15, there is an account of a feat of exorcism performed by Father Bernard de Sa, superintendant of the Mission at Ariopatti, near Madura, which, as the Jesuit Bouchet, the narrator, expresses it, “deserves to be reported to you." “The Gentiles brought to him an Indian whom an evil spirit tormented in a cruel manner. The father interrogated him in the presence of a great number of idolaters, and his answers astonished the by-standers. He first asked him where were the false gods which the Indians adored ; the answer was, they were in hell, where they were suffering borrible torments. But, the Father proceeded, what will become of those who worship false deities? They will go to hell, replied he, to burn there with the false gods which they adore. At last, the Father asked him which was the true religion, and the demon replied by the mouth of the person possessed, that there was no true religion but that taught by the Missionaries, and that it was the only one which led to heaven." When the respectable and disinterested character of the witness is considered, it must be ac. knowledged that we have here a most weighty attestation to the exclusive preten. sions of the Church of Rome, out of whose pale no one can be saved," as it is pithily expressed in the creed of Pius IV. Father Bernard's policy in applying for a testimo. nial to such a quarter, puts to shame the inferior management of both Dr. Geddes, the free-thinking commentator, who summoned Pharaoh to give evidence against the credibility of the Mosaic narrative of the miracles in Egypt, and of Dr. Priestley, who, on one occasion, tried to disprove the divinity of Christ upon the authority of Judas Iscariot.... Romanists have, it is reported, applied for an opinion to Counsellors of the Satanic Court on more occasions than that above mentioned. One other, and a rather curious instance of partly a similar nature is referred to in that curious and scarce tract, the “ Anticotton," chap. 3, and related at greater length, inter alios, by Thuanus, in his History, lib. 132, sub anno 1604, and in Sully's Memoirs, Bk. 23. It is there recorded that Mons. Gillot, a Counsellor of Parliament, having received back a book, which he had lent to Father Cotton, (an intriguing Jesuit at the court of Henry IV. of France,) found, between the leaves, a written paper, which different persons well ac. quainted with the hand of that Rev. Father, affirmed, after comparing it with letters received from him, to be in his hand-writing. It purported to be a list of ques. tions, which he apparently intended to put, when exorcising a young woman named Adriana de Fresne, who made a great noise at that time, as she was supposed to be possessed, and served (says Anticotton) “ as an organ for the devil to give utterance to many things which seemed wonderful." The memorandum aforesaid, after reminding the enquirer duly to conjure his infernal informant" by the merits of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles, of St. Prisca the Virgin Martyr, of Saints Moses and Ammon, mar

Instead, therefore, of accumulating proofs or examples of cirouinstances so notorious, I will subjoin a judgment passed upon them by one of the most learned of Romanist Divines, which,

though it brought upon him the sharp censure of a Jesuit, will scarcely fail to obtain the cordial concurrence of all who consider Christianity as any thing better than a mere system of capricious ceremonial observances, and pompous formalities. "It were to be wished," says Father Richard Simon, “that the Missionaries had not carried to the Indies the greater part of our devotions, and our exterior worship, so as not to have given the rude natives of those countries any ground to suppose that the Christian religion had any thing in common with their own. For it was not thus that the Apostles acted in regard to all the ceremonies of the Synagogue, or to those of Paganism. One can discover nothing more simple than the rites of the primitive Church ; and, in fact, it is not by the conformity of our worship to that of Jews or Gentiles that they can be made to perceive the falsity of their religion; so far from that, that end can only be attained by the exhibition of something in the nature of a contrast. Moreover, it does not seem very easy to make neophytes comprehend that we have only one Mediator, in the midst of that numerous multitude of saints, who are associated with him, and whose festivals are sometimes celebrated with more solemnity than his. What also can they think when they are loaded with images, chaplets of beads, scapularies, and relics, immediately after their baptism? Is not this stifling their faith, by mere dint of trying to give it support? The knowledge of infant Churches is to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified; all beyond that being only accessory, ought to be reserved to a more convenient season." If such accessions as he has specified had been postponed sine die, like Felix's good resolutions, probably neither the Missionaries would have lost any credit, nor their disciples have been “ defrauded of any necessary grace.”

Most of the preceding observations are probably applicable to Roman Missionaries in general ; but the following have a more particular reference to the followers of the ecstatic knight-errant of Guipuscoa. After his disciples, the Jesuits who succeeded Robert de Nobili, had fairly got quit of the Franciscans, (who, as the reader may perhaps recollect, were their senior partners in the Madura Mission, they gave freer scope to their ingenuity, and proceeded to manufacture neophytes upon an original plan. The thick texture of ancient Paganism already interwoven into the Roman ritual, was not, it seems, sufficiently variegated to their taste ; an addition of something modern, it was thought, would be an improvement; they, therefore, determined to embellish it still further with an embroidered border of genuine Hindooism,-a politic compliance with the fashion of the country; in other words, under the specious plea of facilitating the conversion of the natives, they attempted to effect a compromise between Brahma and Christ, and with this view, they not only permitted in their converts, but publicly sanctyred soldiers, of St. Antenogenus, martyr and theologian, of St. Volusien, Bp. of Tours, of St. Leobard, monk, and of St. Liberata, the Virgin," proceeded to state a number of queries, many referring to affairs of state, some to the writer's private con. cerns, but several others on subjects of deep and anxious interest to every zealous Ro. manist. He wished, for instance, "to know from the devil, what passage of Scripture is the clearest and most cogent in proof of purgatory, the invocation of saints, and the power of the Pope; when the heresy of Calvin will be extinct ; how many points of faith have been corrupted by heretics; how the King and Queen of England, and all the English nation may be most easily converted," &c. &c. If any answer was ever received to the question respecting purgatory, it is to be feared that it was either not very favourable, or, at least, that Mr. Maguire had not been so fortunate as to hear of it, otherwise he might perhaps have been rather more successful in the late Dublin discussion.

R. Simon's Biblioth. Crit. p. 83, apud Zimmermann. Tom. 1. p. 327.
VOL. 1.

2 Z

tioned by their own example most of those grovelling, superstitious, and idolatrous practices to which the Hindoos are enslaved. Some of these appeared too gross even for them in their original appropriation; but instead of proscribing them, as the Capuchins did, they took these also under their ghostly patronage, pretending that though they were wicked as practised by the heathens, they might be innocently observed by Christians, (i. e. their Christians) when diverted from their former application, and consecrated to the service of religion, by the right direction of the intention.

It may seem only proper to support these general allegations by some details of a more specific character, the reader shall therefore be now presented with a few particulars, such as will perhaps satisfy him, unless he happen to be an adept in the Jesuitical art of hair-splitting ; if so, he may possibly desery such rays of Christian honesty in the Missionaries, and such bright tints of innocence in their practices, as no one else, not furnished with a good casuistical microscope, will be able to discover. The following extract, containing an account of a marriage of Hindoo Christians, as solemnized under the auspices of Jesuits, is taken as a specimen, from a “parallel or comparison of ceremonies observed by the converts of the Fathers of that society with those practiced by the Malabar Gentiles.” And as Norbert observes, * " it is proper to remark that this parallel,” drawn up by the Capuchin Missionaries,"contains nothing but ceremonies, of which the Jesuits publicly permitted the practice in their Catechists and Christians.”

* In the midst of the court of the house, where the marriage is to take place, under a large tent ornamented with branches of trees, printed cotton, &c. the Indian Christians plant a bamboo tree, or branch, which they designate by the term Arecani, a compound word signifying the nail which supports the Arachou, another tree consecrated to the God Vichnu. The Arecani being thus fixed, is ornamented with branches of trees, which are terminated on one side by branches of the tree Arachou, and on the other, by branches of the tree called Manguier, which denotes the presence of Lachimi, the Goddess of Beauty, and Riches, and properly the Venus of the ancients. In front of the Arecani, an altar is erected, on which is placed an image of the holy Virgin, or a crucifix, according to the devotion of the Christian at whose house the marriage is celebrated. The Christians set before the altar two vessels of copper or earthenware, crowned with branches of the tree Manguier, and containing holy water, with which the Catechist of the Jezuits sprinkles the bride and bridegroom, using for that purpose the leaves or twigs of the Manguier which served to crown the vessels.” The young couple being then seated before the altar, one of the female attendants presents to some of the company the Manapouguel, or marriage sacrifice, consisting of a quantity of rice, boiled with milk and saffron; after which, the Thali, which serves in the place of the nuptial ring, is brought in a dish garnished with flowers. “This Thali is a bust or miniature figure of the Idol Poullear (the God of uncleanness,

and properly the Priapus of the ancients,) and differs from that of the heathens in no other respect than having a small cross placed on its front, and another on its back. The dish in which the Thali is placed, is then presented to all the company, who touch it with their hands, after having presented it to the image which is upon the altar; the bridegroom then suspends the Thali round the neck of his spouse by a cord which ought to be composed of a certain number of threads died saffron.”A quantity of raw rice is then offered as marriage dues to the Catechist of the Jesuits, who acts as master of the ceremonies, and “the Christians having repeated the litanies of the holy Virgin, and some prayers

Memoires Historiques, &c. Tom. 3. p. 13.

before the altar, the Catechist dips the twigs of the Manguier in the two vessels containing the holy water, with which he sprinkles the young couple, after which two cocoa-nuts are broken as an offering to Poullear." This is followed by the ceremony of throwing grains of rice over the heads, shoulders, &c. of the young couple, accompanied with wishes that they may have discretion to govern, and strength to labour for, the support of their future family, with some other allusions not sufficiently decent to deserve a more particular recital. “ Behind the altar and the Arecani, five small vessels are to be seen filled with earth, in which a quantity of rice, having been sown some days before the marriage, is by that time sprouted to about a finger's length. The soil in the vessels is consecrated to Boumidevy, the Goddess of the Earth. The vessel which is set in the midst of the rest is in honour of the God Brouchma. The other four, which are placed east, west, north, and south, are consecrated to the honour of the Gods Indiren, Varounen, Courouben, and Yemen respectively. “ These four deities, say the Gentiles, preside over the four parts of the world. And as the God Brouchma is consi. dered their superior, the vessel consecrated to him is placed in the midst, as governing and presiding over the others.”—“Behind the same Arecani and near the altar, are to be seen two other vessels considerably larger than the five others before mentioned. In these two, conformably to the ceremonial of the heathens, there ought to be some of the water of the Ganges; but, as that is not easily to be procured in regions remote from the river, the Brahmins allow them to substitute water from some other stream. These two vessels are set in honour of Guingué, the Goddess of the Ganges, or the Ganges itself, and of Codavani another river.”* &c. &c.

The reader has now, I suppose, seen enough of the Jesuits' mode of solemnizing the sacrament of matrimony to satisfy him of the character of the whole proceeding. Leaving, therefore, the Master of the Ceremonies and his friends to the undisturbed enjoyment of the nuptial feast, we will take a view of one of their funerals, “For,” says the Memorialist, "the ceremonies which the Missionaries of the Society observe in the interment of their Christians are not less worthy of the reader's attention.”—“Upon coming out of the house of the deceased, says the author from whom we derive this account (the Rev. Father Thomas, Warden of the Capuchins,) "a Chirolle or kind of frame, garnished with fig leaves, printed cotton, &c. similar in every respect to those in which the heathens carry their idols, was placed in the street before the door ; they then brought an image of the holy Virgin, which was placed within the frame, after which one brought a vessel of considerable size; I could not see what it contained, because it was covere with flowers; three wax tapers fastened together and lighted were set in the middle of the vessel, which was thus placed in the frame at the foot of the image. Father Dolu (a Jesuit) then appeared in his surplice, and stole, along with some of the children of his school, who were also in surplices. The procession then started, preceded by drums and trumpets, borrowed from the pagodas, and proceeded towards the burial ground which was then near what was called the Madras gate. I followed the procession at a little distance, and when arrived at the bury, ing-ground, I saw a pandel or tent erected over the grave, ornamented with branches of the fig tree, and printed cotton, &c.; the interior was fitted up with small lamps lighted ; at the farther end stood an altar; the frame was set down at the entrance, and the image of the holy Virgin taken out, and placed upon the altar, the vessel was also brought to the foot

of the altar and placed immediately above the head of the deceased. Father Dolu, with the children of his choir, then re

Norbert's Memoires Histor. Tom. 3. pp. 14--27.

« PreviousContinue »