« EdellinenJatka »
corvino AND Ricci's LABors. 301
ment was still more strongly opposed to the residence of the soreign missionaries. Francis Xavier started from Goa in 1552 in company with an ambassador to China, but the embassy was hindered by the governor of Malacca, who detained Pereyra and his ship, and Xavier was obliged to go alone. He died, however, at Sanchuen, Sangian, or St. John's, an island about thirty miles south-west of the present site of Macao, disappointed in his expectations and thwarted in his plans by the untoward opposition of his countrymen living there. Other attempts were made by priests to accomplish this design, but it was reserved for the Jesuits to carry it insp effect. Valignano, the superior of all Romish missions in | 2ast, selected Paccio, Ruggiero or Roger, and Ricci, for this enterprise. Ruggiero arrived first in China in 1579, and commenced the study of the language; after two years he went to Canton, and “gave vent to his vocation, and began converting the people.” According to one author cited in the Repository, he and Ricci, by whom he had been lately joined, “to conceal their real intention, recurred unblushingly to a falsehood, affirming that their only wishes were to make themselves masters of the Chinese language, and to become acquainted with the arts and sciences of the country.” By persevering efforts Ricci obtained permission to reside at Shauchau fu, where he remained some years, wearing the costume of a Budhist priest, and winning the good opinions of all classes by his courtesy, presents, and scientific attainments, though his teachings were opposed by learned Confucianists and suspicious magistrates. In 1594, Valignano advised him and his associates to exchange their garb for the more respected dress of the literati; and soon after he set out for Nanchang fu, the capital of Kiangsi, and thence made his way to Nanking, still a place of great importance, although not the capital of the empire. He was directed to depart, and returned to Nanchang, where he was permitted to lay the foundation of a religious institution, and establish his associates. He then left again for Nanking, but finding many obstacles, proceeded to Suchau, the capital of Kiangnan, and there, too, established a school. The times becoming favorable, he appeared a third time at Nanking, where he was received with amity, frankness, and good breeding, and his
• Sir Andrew Ljungstedt's Macao. Chinese Repository, Vol. I., p. 430.
lectures on the exact sciences listened to with rapture. He was also furnished with letters of recommendation to men high in rank and favor at court, and with letters from a high magistrate granting him liberty to carry a few European curiosities to the presence of the emperor; but being delayed six months on his journey at Lintsing chau, he did not reach the capital till January, 1601. The pleasing manners and extensive acquirements of Ricci, joined to a liberal distribution of presents, gained him the favor of men in authority, and he soon numbered some of them among his adherents, among whom Siu, baptized Paul, a native of Shanghai, was one of his earliest and most efficient co-operators, and assisted him in translating Euclid into Chinese.
The emperor Wanleih received him with kindness, and allowed him and Diego Pantoja, his companion, to be accommodated at the place where foreign envoys usually remained; he subsequently permitted them to hire a house, and assigned them a stipend. In the meantime, other Jesuits joined him at Peking, and were also settled in all the intermediate stations, where they carried on the work of their missions under his direction with success and favor. Paul Siu and his daughter, who took the baptismal name of Candida, proved efficient supporters of the new faith. The new religion encountered many obstacles, and the officers who saw its progress, felt the necessity of checking its growth before it got strength to set at naught the commands of government. A decree in 1617 ordered the missionaries to depart from court to Canton, there to embark for Europe, but like many others of the same import subsequently issued, it received just as much obedience as the missionaries thought expedient to give it;—and properly too; for if they were not disturbers of the peace or seditious, they ought not to have been sent out of the country. This edict hindered their work only partially, and such was their diligence, that by the year 1636, they had pub. lished no fewer than 340 treatises, some of them religious, but mostly on natural philosophy and mathematics. Ricci, who had been appointed superior of all the missions by the general of the order, published a set of rules for their guidance, in which he allowed the converts to practise the rites of ancestral worship, because he considered them purely civil in their nature. This matter subsequently became a bone of contention between the Jesuits and Franciscans, and their disputes as to the nature of
ESTABLISHMENT OF ROMAN MISSIONS. 303
these rites alarmed the Chinese to such a degree that they seized the Jesuit Martinez, and punished him so severely that he died. The talented founder of these missions died in 1610, at the age of 80. He has been extolled by the Jesuits as a man possessed of every virtue; but another writer of the same church gives him the following character. “Ricci was active, skilful, full of schemes, and endowed with all the talents necessary to render him agreeable to the great, or to gain the favor of princes; but at the same time so little versed in matters of faith, that as the bishop of Conon said, it was sufficient to read his work on the true religion, to be satisfied that he was ignorant of the first principles of theology. Being more a politician than a theologian, he found the secret of remaining peacefully in China. The kings found in him a man full of complaisance; the pagans a minister who accommodated himself to their superstitions; the mandarins a polite courtier skilled in all the trickery of courts; and the devil a faithful servant, who, far from destroying, established his reign among the heathen, and even extended it to the Christians. He preached in China the religion of Christ according to his own fancy ; that is to say, he disfigured it by a faithful mixture of pagan superstitions, adopting the sacrifices offered to Confucius and ancestors, and teaching the Christians to assist and co-operate at the worship of idols, provided they only addressed their devotions to a cross covered with flowers, or secretly attached to one of the candles which were lighted in the temples of the false gods.” These conflicting accounts must be taken for what they are worth, but in giving these instructions Ricci did not violate the rules of his order, or give his neophytes greater latitude than was allowed himself. After his death, the work continued to prosper under the patronage of Siu, who in 1622 obtained the reversal of the edict of expulsion, and thereby caused the persecution to cease which had raged nearly four years. The talents and learning of Schaal, a German Jesuit, who was recommended by Siu to the emperor's regard in 1628, soon placed him at the head of all his brethren, and ranked him among the most distinguished men in the empire. The Dominicans and Franciscans also flocked to the land which had thus been opened by the Jesuits, but they were not welcomed by those who wished to build up their own power, and the Jesuits had the advantage over their rivals in the imperial favor, and in the number of their missions already established. During the troublous times which followed the decay of the Ming dynasty, and the establishment of the present family on the throne (1630–1660), the missions throughout the country suffered much, their spiritual guides retired to places of safety from the molestations of soldiers and banditti, and the converts were ne: cessarily left without instruction. The missionaries in the north sided with the Manchus, and Schaal became a great favorite with the new monarch and his advisers, by whom he was appointed to reform the calendar. He succeeded in showing the incompetency of the persons who had the supervision of it, and after its revision was appointed president of the Kin Tien Kien, an astronomical board established for this object, and invested with the insignia and emoluments of a grandee of the first class. He employed his influence and means in securing the admission of other missionaries, and to build two churches in the capital, and repair many of those which had fallen to decay in the provinces. The exertions of the native converts did much to advance the cause of religion, and none more than Siu and his daughter Candida. He gave his influence in favor of the missionaries, and his property to assist in building churches, while his revision of their writings made them acceptable to fastidious scholars. His daughter also spent her life in good works. According to Du Halde, she exhibited the sincerity of her profession in consecrating her property to the cause of religion, by building 39 churches in different provinces, and printing 130 Christian books for the instruction of the surrounding heathen. Having heard that the pagans in several of the provinces were accustomed to abandon their children as soon as born, she established a foundling hospital for infants; and seeing many blind people telling idle stories in the streets for the sake of gain, she got them instructed and sent forth to relate the different events of the Gospel history. A few years before her death, the emperor conferred on her the title of shojin, or virtuous woman, and sent her a magnificent habit and head-dress adorned with pearls, which it is said she gradually sold and expended the proceeds in benevolent works. She received the last sacrament with a lively faith of being united to that God whom she had so zealously loved and served. She and
* Anecdotes de la Chine, tome I, pref. vi. vii.
PAUL SIU AND HIS DAUGHTER CANDIDA. 305
her father have since been deified by the people, and are worshipped now at Shanghai for their good deeds. Her example was emulated by another lady of high connexions, named Agatha, who was zealous in carrying on the same works. We can but hope that although the worship of these converts was mixed with much error, and Mary, Ignatius, and others received their homage as well as Christ, their faith was genuine, and their works done by an actuating spirit of humble love.” The Romish missionaries had friends among the high families in the land during the first hundred years of their labors, besides converts of both sexes. Few missions in pagan countries have been more favored with zealous converts, or their missionaries more aided and countenanced by rich and noble supporters, than the early papal missions to China. Le Comte speaks of the high favor enjoyed by all the laborers in this work through the reputation and influence of Schaal at court. One of those who obtained celebrity was Faber, whose efforts in Shensi were attended with great success, and who wrought many miracles during his ministry in that province. Among others, he mentions that the “town of Hang ching was at a certain time overrun with a prodigious multitude of locusts, which ate up all the leaves of the trees, and gnawed the grass to the very roots. The inhabitants, after exhausting all the resources of their own superstitions and charms, applied to Faber, who promised to deliver them from the plague, provided they would become Christians. When they consented, he marched in ceremony into the highways in his stole and surplice, and sprinkled up and down the holy water, accompanying this action with the prayers of the church, but especially with a lively faith. God heard the voice of his servant, and the next day all the insects disappeared. But the peoPle refused to perform their promise, and the plague grew worse than before. With much contrition they came to the father, confossing their fault and entreating his renewed interposition; again he sprinkled the holy water, and the insects a second time disapPeared. Then the whole borough was converted, and many years afterwards was reckoned one of the devoutest missions in China. His biographer mentions that Faber was carried over rivers through the air; he foretold his own death, and did several