Thursday, April 23, 2009

St. Francis Xavier explaining the justice of EENS

The elder Bonza's, in the mean time, more harden'd in their Sect, and more obstinate than the young, spar'd for nothing to maintain their possession. They threatn'd the people with the wrath of their Gods, and denounc'd the total destruction of the Town and Kingdom; they said, The God whom the Europeans believ'd, was not Deos, or Deus, as the Portuguese call'd him, but Dajus, that is to say, in the Japonian Tongue, a Lie, or Forgery. They added, That this God impos'd on men a heavy Toke. What Iustice was it to punish those who transgress'd a Law, which it was impossible to keep· But where was Providence, if the Law of Jesus was necessary to Salvation, which suffer'd fifteen Ages to slide away, without declaring it to the most noble part of all the world? Surely a Religion, whose God was partial in the dispensation of his Favours, cou'd not posibly be true. And if the European Doctrine had but a shadow of truth in it, China cou'd never have been so long without the knowledge of it. These were the principal heads of their Accusation, and Xavier reports them in his Letters; but he gives not an account of what answers he return'd; and they are not made known to us by any other hand: Thus, without following two or three Historians, who make him speak according to their own Ideas, on all these Articles, I shall content my self with what the Saint himself had left in writing. The Idolaters instead of congratulating their own happiness, that they were enlighten'd by the Beams of Faith, bemoan'd the blindness of their Ancestors, and cry'd out in a lamentable tone; What are our Fore-fathers burning in hell-fire, because they didn't adore a God, who was unknown to them, and observ'd not a Law, which never was declar'd? The Bonza's added fuell to their Zeal, by telling them, The Portuguese Priests were good for nothing, because they cou'd not redeem a Soul from Hell, whereas they cou'd do it at their pleasure, by their Fasts and Prayers: That eternal punishments, either prov'd the cruelty or the weakness of the Christian God: His cruelty, if he did not deliver them, when he had it in his power; his weakness, if he cou'd not execute what he desir'd. Lastly, That Amida and Xaca, were far more merciful, and of greater power; but that they were only pleas'd to redeem from Hell, those who, during their mortal life, had bestow'd magnificent Alms upon the Bonza's

We are ignorant of all those particular answers of the Saint, as I said above: we only know from his Relation, that concerning the sorrow of the Iaponians, for having been bereft for so many Ages of Christian Knowledge, he had the good fortune to give them comfort, and put them in a way of more reasonable thoughts: For he shew'd them in general, That the most ancient of all Laws, is the Law of God, not that which is publish'd by the found of words, but that which is written in Hearts, by the hand of Nature; so that every one who comes into the World, brings along with him certain Precepts, which his own Instinct and Reason teach him. Before Japan receiv'd its Laws form the Wisemen of China, said Xavier, it was known amongst you, that Theft and Adultery were to be avoided; and from thence it was that Thieves and Palliards sought out secret places, wherein to commit those Crimes. After they had committed them, they felt the private stings of their own Consciences, which cease not to reproach the guilty to themselves, though their wickedness be not known to others, nor even so much as prohibited by Humane Laws. Suppose an Infant bred up in Forrests amongst the Beasts, far from the society of Mankind, and remote from the civilis'd Inhabitants of Towns, yet he is not without an inward knowledge of the Rules of Civil Life; for ask him, whether it be not an evil Action to murther a man, to despoil him of his Goods, to violate his Bed, to surprise him by Force, or circumvent him by Treachery, he will answer without question, That nothing of this is to be done. Now if this be manifest in a Salvage, without the benefit of Education, how much more may it be concluded, of men well educated· and living in mutual Conversation? Then, added the holy man, it follows, that God has not left so many Ages destitute of Knowledge, as your Bonza's have pretended. By this he gave them to understand, that the Law of Nature was a step, which led them insensibly to the Christian Law: And that a man who liv'd morally well, shou'd never fail of arriving to the knowledge of the Faith, by ways best known to Almighty God; that is to say, before his death, God wou'd either send some Preacher to him, or illuminate his Mind by some immediate Revelation. These Reasons, which the Fathers of the Church have often us'd on like occasions, gave such satisfaction to the Pagans, that they found no farther difficulty in that point, which had given them so much trouble.

The Life of St. Francis Xavier:
text version

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe