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natural opening, and with no food except what could be supplied by the few who knew his place of concealment. Here he continued to govern his diocese, chiefly through the agency of his native clergy, who, full of holy zeal, were ready to encounter any danger in the cause of religion. On Holy Thursday, at midnight, he had crept out of his lurking-place to his residence, which he found plundered and dismantled; and having there met by appointment a sufficient number of his native clergy, blessed the holy oils which are used in the administration of several sacraments. Throughout these letters it is at once consoling and edifying to see the spirit of resignation and cheerfulness with which every hardship is endured, and every suffering deemed honourable, because undergone for the name of Christ.
But things have not remained in this situation. MinhMenh, at length broke through all reserve, and on the 6th of January, 1833, issued a decree of extermination against our holy religion. It begins thus, “I Minh-Menh, the king, speak as follows. It is many years since men come from the east, to preach the religion of Jesus, and deceive the vulgar by preaching to them that there is a place of supreme happiness and a dungeon of frightful misery; they have no respect for the god Phat, and worship not their ancestors, which are truly great crimes against religion. We therefore enact that all who follow this religion, from the Mandarin to the lowest of the people, sincerely abandon it. We enjoin that all Mandarins diligently make enquiry whether the Christians in their respective districts prepare to obey our orders, and that they oblige them to trample on the cross in their presence, upon doing which they shall dismiss them. The houses of worship and the priests' dwellings the Mandarins shall take care utterly to destroy: for, from henceforth, whoever is convicted or accused of these abominable practices shall be punished with extreme rigour, so that this religion may be destroyed
* Here follow several abominable accusations against the Christian religion, similar to those formerly invented by the pagans against the early Christians. One is that the priests pluck out the eye-balls of the dying, alluding to the anointing of the eyes in administering extreme unction
to its very
last roots. And these our commands we wish to be strictly observed."
Upon the publication of this edict, the Christians prepared themselves for the combat, and quietiy took down their wooden churches and other sacred buildings, which disappeared as if by magic. The priests were obliged to conceal themselves in the meanest huts, to afford the consolations of religion to their timid and scattered flocks; and yet their letters breathe a sweet spirit of joy and self-devotion worthy of the early ages. The country is traversed by bands of soldiers, searching for new victims, the false brother and the apostate betray their friends, and the poor Christians bave been wandering among rocks and forests, or have emigrated from their country, not knowing whither they were flying. Four hundred churches have been destroyed, innumerable believers of evury age and every sex have confessed the name of Christ in prison and tortures, and not a few have sealed their faith with their blood.
In Tonkin, the most distinguished of these martyrs, in 1833, was a native priest, Peter Tuy, venerable for his age
and virtues. When brought before the judges, a lie would have saved him, but he persisted in acknowledging himself a priest. On being condemned, he only declared that he never could have believed himself worthy of such a grace; and after supping cheerfully, and spending the night in prayer, he walked with an alacrity which astonished the beholders, to the place of execution, where he prayed for a few moments prostrate on the ground, and then presented his neck to the sword. His execution was the signal for new vigour, and many who had been set at liberty were arrested again, and shut up in prison, with the canga, or frightful Chinese collar, on their necks. Among them were women, and even children. I must pass over the afflicting yet consoling details of particular cases, as well as the beautiful letters written by the sufferers themselves, and mention one or two particulars of the persecration in Cochin-China.
This province, being the residence of the cruel emperor, has been the scene of more atrocious barbarities. Two martyrs
have here more particularly distinguished themselves; the one, a European, the other a native. The former was the Abbé Gagelin, a priest of the diocese of Besançon. He was in prison, when on the 12th of October, 1833, his friend and brother martyr, M. Jaccard, informed him of his impending death by the following note:—“I think it my duty to inform you, my happy brother, that you have been condemned to death, for having preached in different provinces. I am sure, that if God grant you the grace of martyrdom, which you have come so far to seek, you will not forget those whom you
leave behind." The blessed confessor could not believe the tidings, as being too good for his deserts; and replied, that he believed he was only condemned to exile. Upon M. Jaccard's assuring him that his death was irrevocably decided on, he thus replied: “ The news which you communicate, penetrates with gladness the very centre of my heart. Never did I before experience such joy. "I have rejoiced in the things which have been said to me, we will go into the house of the Lord.' The grace of martyrdom, of which I am every way unworthy, has been the object of my most ardent desires since my infancy; I have especially prayed for it every time that I have elevated the precious blood of Christ in the holy sacrifice of the mass. I quit a world in which I have nothing to regret; the sight of my dear Jesus crucified, consoles me, and robs death of all its bitterness. All my ambition is to go out speedily from this body of sin, to be united to Christ Jesus in a happy eternity."
On the 17th of the same month, this holy priest was conducted from his prison to the place of execution, surrounded with a terrible
array troops, with their swords drawn, while before him went a herald bearing a board, on which it was recorded that he was condemned to be strangled, for having preached the religion of Jesus. This sentence was soon executed
upon him, and his body was ransomed by the Christians from the guard. The king's vengeance, however, pursued him to the grave, and he ordered his place of burial to be discovered, and the body kept for some time uninterred.
The representative of the natives, and of the lay order, in
this glorious conflict, was Paul Doi-Buong, captain of the royal guards. He had been already a year in prison, with six soldiers of his troop, who bore with equal fortitude with himself, the horrors of imprisonment as suffered in that country, as well as many supernumerary tortures inflicted on them. Soon after the martyrdom of M. Gagelin, the king ordered him to be beheaded on the site of a ruined church, and left unburied for three days. He walked cheerfully to execution, though it was a difficult and long journey, and only asked permission to suffer on the ruins of the altar; where, having prostrated himself for a few moments in prayer, he meekly raised his head and received the glorious stroke.* Allow me, my Catholic brethren, to ask
you, if you feel not a just pride in these new testimonies to the evidences of your faith. Is it not a consolation to you to feel how, even in this eleventh hour, its radiancy and power are as strong as ever, and can instil into the souls of the timid and weak, the heroism of an apostolic age? For, while I was recounting this touching history of a distant land, were you not inclined to imagine that time, rather than space, separated you from these glorious sufferers, and that I was but repeating the well known history of Dioclesian's cruelties? But let me also ask, if, in this, there be no sting of self-reproach; if our lukewarmness, while our fellow-members were thus suffering every extremity, nay, if our very ignorance of what was befalling them, is not a subject of just reproof? For, if the sympathy of a common body require that the most separated members should mutually feel each other's griefs, if, in former ages, when communication between country and country was more difficult, the rumour of a distant persecution, wherein the Church was glorified by new proofs of constancy, thrilled throughout its body with a holy emotion, and touching the harmonious cords which bird it together, raised a universal note of encouraging sympathy which seemed to re-echo from the Church to heaven; is
* I am indebted for this account of the persecution, to the · Annales,' or rather to an extract of them, published at Lyons
a separate form, as I cannot find access to the original work in this country
it not cruel to think how little we have partaken in spirit, in these great things, how little we have known of the contemporary yet painful triumphs of our religion?
How seldom do we speak of the natives of those distant countries, except as of barbarous tribes, with whom we have no common feeling; and yet are there among them not only many dear brethren in Christ Jesus, but venerable martyrs, the latchet of whose shoes we are not worthy to untie, the true inheritors of God's brightest promises, the surest pride and glory of our religion! How often have we chid the cold and faint-hearted spirit of our age's faith, while it was burning clear and potent in the breast of the Eastern missionary, and of the Chinese maiden; while angels turning, perhaps, aside from our indifference, were looking down, as on a spectacle worthy of their gaze, upon the deserts of Tartary, or the noisome dungeons of Tonkin!*
But I trust, that this reproach will not last longer, and that our sympathies and prayers, and, if needful, our more substantial aid, will be cheerfully impended upon our afflicted brethren.
And to return from this painful digression; we may fairly challenge other religions to produce a parallel to what I have laid before
you. Let them show us, among their missionaries, men who, instead of going with their wives in litters round countries where their persons are secure, and distributing Bibles,f fearlessly penetrate, where they know that bonds and torments await them, and water with their blooa the harvest which they sow. Let them show us, thousands of Christians, converted by them, who lose all rather than renounce their faith; and who are ready to endure stripes, and imprisonment, and even death, for the name of Christ. Nor
* Still more splendid martyrdoms have occurred, since these Lectures were delivered, for the account of which the reader is referred to the Annals now published in English, a work which will fully repay a regular perusal.
+ Such is the account given us of the Methodist missionary at PaloPinang, in a letter dated 5th March, 1828. Annals, No. xx. p. 313.
| It seems, however, that an attempt is about to be made to preach the Protestant religion in China. Drs Reid and Matheson give us as