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ries supported by these contributions, and to learn in what way they labor in their respective fields. The subject is too extensive for the limits of this Article, but we may look at some of the features presented in these volumes.
They do not rely on the study of the Bible for the Christianization of unbelievers. That opposition to the circulation of the Bible was one of the powerful motives for the organization of the society, has already been apparent from the circular letter of the Archbishop of Rouen, quoted above, and abundantly appears from other sources. An article* of fortyeight pages in length was published by the society in 1828, on this subject. In this they say, when the Catholic missionaries teach the gospel to unbelievers, they do not, like the heretics, declare to their hearers it is enough for you to receive the Bible for your rule of faith ; we will not force you to believe the doctrines which we find there, you will only be required to believe those which you discover yourselves; but they teach with authority. Still further, they say, “We have letters written by Catholic missionaries, which prove beyond dispute the following assertions. 1. The manners and prejudices of the people of India are such, that by their reading of the Bible without comments, and by becoming acquainted with our mysteries too early and without proper instruction, they are repelled from Christianity. 2. The translations of the Bible into the Tamul and other dialects of India, are inexact and ridiculous, and tend to bring our sacred books into disesteem. 3. The agents of the Bible societies have not obtained any success." Among the subjects which would be calculated to give offense to the Hindoos, are mentioned the use of animals in sacrifice, and of the fatted calf prepared by the father of the prodigal, on the return of his son. One priest relates a story of his preaching at Carrical, to an assembly entirely composed of “native Christians," on the divine origin of the Christian religion, and that in his discourse he stated that this system had for its founder a poor peasant of Galilee, the son of an humble carpenter, and that he had no sooner finished his dis
* Annales, Vol. III, page 1.
course, than three or four of the principal men came to him and told him that all the congregation had been scandalized, and if any Pagans had been there they would have been confirmed in their hatred to the Christian religion, and advised him if he ever had occasion to mention the origin of the Saviour and his apostles again, to say that they were descended from kings.
And, again, the same priest says: “We do not dare to tell the native Christians that the elements of the Eucharist are bread and wine, for this last word would be very revolting to their prejudices. We soften, therefore, this very harsh term by a periphrasis and tell them that the elements of the sacrament are bread, and the juice of that excellent fruit called the grape. The expression, thus turned, gives no offense to Christians or Pagans.
The same priest declares : “To show the scriptures, without long previous preparation, to a pagan, for the purpose of exciting him to a spirit of inquiry, or even to a desire of knowing the truth, is, in my opinion, an absurdity. I have under my care from seven to eight thousand native Christians, and I should be very much troubled to find, among them all, four persons capable of understanding the sense of the Bible, or to whom the simple text of the Bible could be of any use. I have prepared for the instruction of my numerous flock a little catechism of ten or twelve pages, in which is explained the principal truths of the gospel. It is prepared in as simple and clear a style as possible, and I have explained it many times to my assembled people, and yet the great majority do not understand it. Of what use could the scriptures be to persons incapable of understanding a little catechism of ten or twelve pages written in the most simple style ?"
Once more, he says, “I recently received a visit from some Christians residing in a little village called Yalariou, where there are thirty or forty Christian families. After the usual compliments, one of them took from a small bag a book, and, without saying a word, laid it at my feet. On opening it I. discovered it to be a translation of the Gospel of St. Matthew into their language, and desired, before expressing to them my
opinion, to obtain theirs. I learned, in answer to a question, that a Protestant European minister had given the book to two Christians of the village, whom he had met in another place, and recommended them to read it every Sunday in their place of worship. As only five or six persons in the village could read, these were brought together and the book placed in their hands, but none of them could understand a single chapter. They applied to some pagans of the village, who knew how to read, to aid them in understanding the book, but they could not understand it. They all came to the conclusion that the strange priest had given them the book to ridicule them, and many of them were in favor of burning it, but most were curious to know the subject of it, and they, at length, applied to an astrologer who lived in the neighborhood. (The writer naively remarks, this circumstance of Christians being obliged to resort to a pagan astrologer to explain the gospel is not a little curious.) The astrologer having glanced over two or three pages in their presence, told them that the book appeared interesting, but that it was written in a style so negligent and incoherent and in a manner so obscure, that he should require some days to understand it. They left it with him, and returning after a few days, received his answer, as follows: I have read the book from one end to the other, and it is nothing more nor less than a work on magic, and I advise you to destroy it, as it would be a great sin to keep so fernicious a book.” The fact was, says the writer, he did not understand the book, and concealed his ignorance in that way.
While the priests thus ignore the Bible as a means of Christianizing the heathen, they speak contemptuously of the translations which have been made of the sacred text into the native languages of India, and refer to the results of Protestant missions, as follows:* “The Protestant missionaries delight to mention in their letters, the number of Bibles they have distributed; seeking to produce the impression that all who receive them become Protestants. Nothing is more untrue.
* Annales, Vol. III, page 35.
The Bible Society may flatter itself with the money it spends in India, but not with conversions."
Without attempting to defend the Protestant missionaries, or to restate the facts which they have reported to us through our missionary journals, an explanation of the views of the Catholics may be found in their own mode of proceeding. The following extracts will be interesting, especially in view of the recent Mortara case at Bologna.* The apostolic vicar of Su-Tchuen writes : “The mission pursues its work of the baptism of pagan children in danger of death, and the Lord continues to bless it. Each year the number of those thus regenerated is increasing. The number in 1839, was,.
. 20,068. 1843,
.24,881. We have noticed that two-thirds of these children die in the same year that they are baptized, so that in the year 1844 16,793 have taken their flight for eternal blessedness. Can these happy souls, regenerated by ns in the holy waters of baptism, ever forget us? Can they forget the generous association, which, under God, has opened for them the gates of heaven ?" “ We
pay faithful persons, men and women, who are acquainted with the diseases of children, to seek and baptize those who are found dangerously ill. It is easy to meet at fairs a crowd of beggars with their children in extreme distress. They may be seen everywhere in the roads, at the gates of the towns and villages in the most needy condition. Our male and female baptizers approach them with soothing, compassionate words, and offer pills to the little sufferers, with expressions of the most lively interest. The parents willingly permit our people to examine the condition of their children, and to sprinkle on their foreheads some drops of water, securing their salvation while they pronounce the sacramental words. Our Christian baptizers are divided into two classes, those who travel about seeking for children in danger of death; and those who remain at their posts in the towns and villages and devote themselves to the same work in their respective neighborhoods. I intend to print some rules for their direction, and to stimulate them all in their work."
* Annales, Vol. XVII, page 436.
Again, M. Renou writes:* “This work, so dear to the mission of Su-Tchuen, has been, and can be, prosecuted only under the cover of medicine. Each Catholic family is provided with pills suitable for healing the diseases common to children. When the Christians learn that one of their little neighbors is dangerously ill, they hasten to offer these excellent remedies, and thus open the way for the administration of baptism, which the natives are easily persuaded to permit, as being a practice recommended by the medical books. Indeed one of the treatises states that in certain cases friction on the forehead and temples of the child with a wet cloth is an excellent commencement of remedies. If a child appears in danger, our people immediately represent themselves as expert in performing these frictions, and water is at once brought, and is straightway applied to the forehead of the sick child, who is thus regenerated in the arms of its mother.”+
“The expenses of a traveling baptizer are one hundred and fifty francs a year, including his medicines and board; one hundred francs are sufficient for a stationary male baptizer and eighty or eighty-five francs for a female, and yet the number of baptizers is so great that the whole expenses
year (1847) amount to ten thousand francs.”
Again, the apostolic vicar writes:f “Sponges are almost unknown here, (Su-Tchuen.) It occurred to us to import them from Macao, as being more convenient than cotton for baptizing. The pagans wonder at these sponges, and regard them as an infallible means of cure. They are pleased to see the foreheads of their little sick children washed with so wonderful an article."
* Annales, Vol. XX,
Annales, Vol. XXII, page 129.
+ Annales, Vol. XX, page 271.