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as to the merits of a classical vs. a realschule education.

time:2023-12-06 15:41:50 author:control read:188次

We made no long stay in a place where they stopped their ears against the voice of God, but returned to the foot of that mountain which we had left some days before; we were surrounded, as soon as we began to preach, with a multitude of auditors, who came either in expectation of being instructed, or from a desire of gratifying their curiosity, and God bestowed such a blessing upon our apostolical labours that the whole village was converted in a short time. We then removed to another at the middle of the mountain, situated in a kind of natural parterre, or garden; the soil was fruitful, and the trees that shaded it from the scorching heat of the sun gave it an agreeable and refreshing coolness. We had here the convenience of improving the ardour and piety of our new converts, and, at the same time, of leading more into the way of the true religion: and indeed our success exceeded the utmost of our hopes; we had in a short time great numbers whom we thought capable of being admitted to the sacraments of baptism and the mass.

as to the merits of a classical vs. a realschule education.

We erected our tent, and placed our altar under some great trees, for the benefit of the shade; and every day before sun-rising my companion and I began to catechise and instruct these new Catholics, and used our utmost endeavours to make them abjure their errors. When we were weary with speaking, we placed in ranks those who were sufficiently instructed, and passing through them with great vessels of water, baptised them according to the form prescribed by the Church. As their number was very great, we cried aloud, those of this rank are named Peter, those of that rank Anthony. And did the same amongst the women, whom we separated from the men. We then confessed them, and admitted them to the communion. After mass we applied ourselves again to catechise, to instruct, and receive the renunciation of their errors, scarce allowing ourselves time to make a scanty meal, which we never did more than once a day.

as to the merits of a classical vs. a realschule education.

After some time had been spent here, we removed to another town not far distant, and continued the same practice. Here I was accosted one day by an inhabitant of that place, where he had found the people so prejudiced against us, who desired to be admitted to confession. I could not forbear asking him some questions about those lamentations, which we heard upon our entering into that place. He confessed with the utmost frankness and ingenuity that the priests and religious have given dreadful accounts both of us and of the religion we preached; that the unhappy people were taught by them that the curse of God attended us wheresoever we went; that we were always followed by the grasshoppers, that pest of Abyssinia, which carried famine and destruction over all the country; that he, seeing no grasshoppers following us when we passed by their village, began to doubt of the reality of what the priests had so confidently asserted, and was now convinced that the representation they made of us was calumny and imposture. This discourse gave us double pleasure, both as it proved that God had confuted the accusations of our enemies, and defended us against their malice without any efforts of our own, and that the people who had shunned us with the strongest detestation were yet lovers of truth, and came to us on their own accord. Nothing could be more grossly absurd than the reproaches which the Abyssinian ecclesiastics aspersed us and our religion with. They had taken advantage of the calamity that happened the year of our arrival: and the Abyssins, with all their wit, did not consider that they had often been distressed by the grasshoppers before there came any Jesuits into the country, and indeed before there were any in the world.

as to the merits of a classical vs. a realschule education.

Whilst I was in these mountains, I went on Sundays and saints' days sometimes to one church and sometimes to another. One day I went out with a resolution not to go to a certain church, where I imagined there was no occasion for me, but before I had gone far, I found myself pressed by a secret impulse to return back to that same church. I obeyed the influence, and discovered it to proceed from the mercy of God to three young children who were destitute of all succour, and at the point of death. I found two very quickly in this miserable state; the mother had retired to some distance that she might not see them die, and when she saw me stop, came and told me that they had been obliged by want to leave the town they lived in, and were at length reduced to this dismal condition, that she had been baptised, but that the children had not. After I had baptised and relieved them, I continued my walk, reflecting with wonder on the mercy of God, and about evening discovered another infant, whose mother, evidently a Catholic, cried out to me to save her child, or at least that if I could not preserve this uncertain and perishable life, I should give it another certain and permanent. I sent my servant to fetch water with the utmost expedition, for there was none near, and happily baptised the child before it expired.

Soon after this I returned to Fremona, and had great hopes of accompanying the patriarch to the court; but, when we were almost setting out, received the command of the superior of the mission to stay at Fremona, with a charge of the house there, and of all the Catholics that were dispersed over the kingdom of Tigre, an employment very ill-proportioned to my abilities. The house at Fremona has always been much regarded even by those emperors who persecuted us; Sultan Segued annexed nine large manors to it for ever, which did not make us much more wealthy, because of the expensive hospitality which the great conflux of strangers obliged us to. The lands in Abyssinia yield but small revenues, unless the owners themselves set the value upon them, which we could not do.

The manner of letting farms in Abyssinia differs much from that of other countries: the farmer, when the harvest is almost ripe, invites the chumo or steward, who is appointed to make an estimate of the value of each year's product, to his house, entertains him in the most agreeable manner he can; makes him a present, and then takes him to see his corn. If the chumo is pleased with the treat and present, he will give him a declaration or writing to witness that his ground, which afforded five or six sacks of corn, did you yield so many bushels, and even of this it is the custom to abate something; so that our revenue did not increase in proportion to our lands; and we found ourselves often obliged to buy corn, which, indeed, is not dear, for in fruitful years forty or fifty measures, weighing each about twenty-two pounds, may be purchased for a crown.

Besides the particular charge I had of the house of Fremona, I was appointed the patriarch's grand-vicar through the whole kingdom of Tigre. I thought that to discharge this office as I ought, it was incumbent on me to provide necessaries as well for the bodies as the souls of the converted Catholics. This labour was much increased by the famine which the grasshoppers had brought that year upon the country. Our house was perpetually surrounded by some of those unhappy people, whom want had compelled to abandon their habitations, and whose pale cheeks and meagre bodies were undeniable proofs of their misery and distress. All the relief I could possibly afford them could not prevent the death of such numbers that their bodies filled the highways; and to increase our affliction, the wolves having devoured the carcases, and finding no other food, fell upon the living; their natural fierceness being so increased by hunger, that they dragged the children out of the very houses. I saw myself a troop of wolves tear a child of six years old in pieces before I or any one else could come to its assistance.

While I was entirely taken up with the duties of my ministry, the viceroy of Tigre received the commands of the Emperor to search for the bones of Don Christopher de Gama. On this occasion it may not be thought impertinent to give some account of the life and death of this brave and holy Portuguese, who, after having been successful in many battles, fell at last into the hands of the Moors, and completed that illustrious life by a glorious martyrdom.


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