Page images

Accompanied by two faithful converts he proceeded to Funai, on the Bungo channel. The Portuguese, who always had one eye to religion and another to trade and conquest, received him with great distinction, and surrounding him with all the pomp and circumstance they could muster, escorted him to the presence of the king of Bungo. The Saint, for once departing though reluctantly, from his accustomed humility of apparel, appeared in a splendid robe of velvet and brocade. Thirty distinguished Portuguese, apparelled in their best and decorated with diamonds and chains of gold, formed the guard of honor. Five others marched next him, the first of whom carried, wrapped in white satin, a volume—either the Breviary or Catechism. The others carried a bamboo cane mounted with gold, a pair of black velvet slippers, a picture of the Virgin, and a highly ornamented parasol. Edward de Gama, uncovered, in token of reverence for the Saint, led the cortége. The whole was preceded by a military band, and followed by a body of select slaves and pages.

The king of Bungo received his distinguished guest with corresponding honors. Xavier, in a familiar interview, expounded to him the mysteries of the faith. He then preached to the people, who had assembled in crowds to see the spectacle; and during the month and more that the Portuguese staid at Funai, he pursued his labors with such success, that the whole court and people seemed about to embrace Christianity. The king reformed his own morals, and promulgated stringent laws, forbidding infanticide and certain other vices to which the natives were addicted.

The bonzes became desperate at the prospect of losing their influence and living. They brought their most expert doctors to dispute with the missionary; they openly insulted the king for protecting him. Finally they roused the fanaticism of the people, and threatened so serious an outbreak that the Portuguese thought it prudent, for the king's sake as well as their own, to withdraw to their ships. Xavier was with great difficulty persuaded to abandon his converts. But his thoughts were now turned earnestly towards China. His success had been much less in prosecuting his mission among the acute, cultivated and disputatious people of Japan than he had ex

pected. Two years of the most zealous labors had produced only two or three hundred converts. Xavier concluded that, in order to the conquest of Japan, China must first be converted. It was thence the Japanese had received their religion and sacred rites; and Christianity once planted in China, would be readily introduced from there, as he supposed, into the neighboring insular empire.

The voyage proved a stormy one, and gave occasion for more than one exercise of the “Saint's” miraculous powers. His prayers righted the ship when on her beam-ends, and brought back the lost long-boat, as already mentioned. More than fifty sworn affidavits were laid before the Auditors of the Roman Rota affirming that the Saint was present at the same time in the long-boat and in the ship.*

Xavier never again set foot in Japan. His health had been broken by his fatigues and exposures. He voyaged successfully to Goa, and returning just reached the coast of China in time to die. He sunk under a fever, December second 1552, at the age of only forty-six.

Before proceeding further to trace the conquests and the catastrophe of Romanism in Japan, it will be in place to exhibit the remarkable correspondence which, as already suggested, the missionaries found between the rites and doctrines of their own church, and those of the people they had come to convert. It seemed to the Jesuits a special effect of Satanic ingenuity, that here in the ends of the earth, they should be met by so cunning a counterfeit of the true faith. Each feature in the worship of Rome had its counterpart in the Kami-no-mitsi ; f “the mysteries, by a monstrous transfiguration being changed into fables, the sacraments into superstitions, and the ceremonies into imposture.”

There are indeed certain outward points of resemblance between Buddhism, (which had blended itself with the Sintoo religion,) and Christianity. There is the Buddhist Trinity, expressed in the common saying that “Fo (or Buddha) is one

• Bartoli : Dell' Asia iü. 41.

+ This, as we have observed, is the proper name of the old Japanese religion. The Chinese rendered it by the word Shin-tao, which the Japanese adopted, “ softening it according to the genius of their language, into Sintoo." M Farlane, p. 173.

person but has three forms,” and represented visibly by a triple-headed image. There is the miraculous incarnation of the first Buddha, together with various incidents in his personal history corresponding to events in the life of the Redeemer.

But the resemblance between the Japanese religion and Romish Christianity, is to a singular degree close and particular. The missionaries were first struck with the fact that the natives were familiar with the sign of the cross. They marked themselves with it like the Papists; in the form, however, of the St. Andrew's or Greek cross, instead of the Latin. When they ripped themselves up, it was with a transverse cut. They said their prayers with a rosary, consisting of an hundred and eighty beads, which demanded more manual piety, by just a sixth, than the Romish rosary. These prayers are meritorious, and serve as a compensation for sin. They had a Purgatory, from which the bonzes could deliver souls for a consideration. They had a mass by which the merits of Amida and Sakya could be applied to the redemption of the faithful, living and departed. They were accustomed to pray daily at the sounding of a bell, just as at the Ave-Mary in Romish countries. They held relics in great honor, and used them precisely as they do in Naples, conducting them in processions about the streets, as a means of obtaining rain or sunshine. At Meaco they had a tooth of Sakya, which they showed with as profound a reverence as the monks do the hair from the tail of Balaam's ass, or a feather from the angel Gabriel's wing, or any one of the several heads of John the Baptist. They made pilgrimages to holy places, for which they received a plenary indulgence.

The Sintoo church corresponded to the Romish as closely as its religion. At the head of it was the Sasso, or Pontifex maximus, whose powers closely resembled those of the Pope. Under him were different grades of clergy, answering to archbishops and bishops, with a tonsured and celibate priesthood. Besides these were various orders of friars, black and gray, with a habit of the same cut as that worn by their brethren in Europe.* To die in a certain robe was as good a passport to

• Bartoli : Dell' Asia iii. 6. That most pleasant and entertaining Jesuit, M. Huc, roakes similar acknowledgments. Speaking of a certain Grand Lama, he says, “ If

heaven, as formerly in Europe to expire in the habit of a Franciscan. Finally, they had an order of military monks, who were quite as respectable, no doubt, as the Templars and Knights of St. John. Certainly, it would be strange if a bonze and a Jesuit should be able to look one another in the face without laughing. The opposition of the former may not unreasonably be ascribed in part to the fact, that the “bonzes from Europe” had so successfully stolen their thunder.

At the time that Xavier left Japan in 1551, Romanism had scarcely yet made good its footing in the Empire. Welcomed by the rulers as an auxiliary to trade with the Portuguese ; observed with interest by the people as a religious novelty, and opposed only by the interested priesthood of the country; still the number of its adherents was very small. There was a handful of converts in the kingdoms of Bungo and Satsouma, a few on the island of Firando, and a small but growing church at Amanguchy.

We have now to trace the process of rapid growth and rapid ruin, by which Romanism in Japan grew and perished like the gourd of the prophet. But we find that this article has grown so much under our hand, that another will be needed to do justice to the subject.

we were but little struck with his person, we were much so with his dress, which was precisely that of a Bishop; for he had on his head a yellow mitre, a long staff in the form of a crozier in his right hand, and on his shoulders a mantle of velvet-coloured taffeta, fastened in front with a clasp, and exactly resembling a cope. We had, indeed, subsequently often occasion to remark the analogies between the Catholic and Buddhist costume and ceremonial.” Journey through Tartary, Thibet &c. ïi. 81.


1. Records of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of Ame

rica: embracing the Minutes of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, from A. D. 1706 to 1716: Minutes of the Synod of Philadelphia, from A. D. 1717 to 1758: Minutes of the Synod of New York, from A. D. 1745 to 1758 : Minutes of the Synod of Philadelphia

and New York, from A. D. 1758 to 1788. Philadelphia : Presby· terian Board of Publication. 1841. pp. 548. 2. Minutes of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the

United States of America, from 1789 to 1837. 3. The Constitutional History of the Presbyterian Church in the · United States of America. By CHARLES HODGE, Professor in the

Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey. Part I. 1705 to 1741. Part II. 1741 to 1788. Philadelphia : William S. Martien,

1839, 1840. Two volumes, pp. 256, 516. 4. A History of the Rise, Progress, Genius and Character of Ameri

can Presbyterianism : together with a Review of The Constitur tional History of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, by Chas. Hodge, D. D. Professor in the Theological Seminary at Princeton, N. J.By WILLIAM HILL, D. D. of Winchester, Virginia. Washington City: J. Gideon, Jr. 1839. pp.

224. 5. The History of the Presbyterian Controversy, with Early Sketches

of Presbyterianism. By H. Woods. Louisville. 1843. pp. 204. 6. Letters of the REV. JAMES PATTERSON, Pastor of the First Presby

terian Church, N. L. Philadelphia, to his Presbyterian Brethren in the United States. Pittsburgh: William D. Wilson. 1836. pp. 108.*

A. A Historyterianisme Presbyter. D. Profi

• For the use of the following, we are indebted to Dr. James P. Wilson, Professor of Theology in the New York Union Theological Seminary. They are from his Father's collection. 1. A particular Narrative of the Imprisonment of two Non-Conformist Minis

ters; (Francis Makemie and John Hampton) and Prosecution or Tryal of one of them, for preaching a Sermon in the City of New York. Pp. 46. (Date

and some pages at the end destroyed.) . 2. Remarks upon a Pamphlet, entitled a Letter to a Friend in the Country, con

taining the substance of a Sermon preached at Philadelphia, in the Cangrega

« PreviousContinue »