Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

thing mysterious.” “Ah! come quickly and point them out to me," exclaimed Mercica, who thus guided had an old cloth pointed out to bim in a very deep hole, about six palms and a half from the ground: i. e. three layers and a half of the stone wbich forms the base to the threshold of the gate. The hole was a palm and five-sixths in height, and five-sixths of a palm broad, situated in the middle of the wall under the last arch of the bridge. Mercica, who is of middling stature, climbed up, stretched out his hand : and oh ! sweet, and at the same time tremendous, surprise ! his fingers came in contact with the sacred pyx for which he was seeking, and which be found wrapped up and secured in torn linen. Delightful fortune! His heart could not contain bis abundant joy; and having thus reached the climax of his desires, he was not wanting in courage to complete the undertaking, and to crown it with complete decorum and perfect triumph of the re-found Lord.

Leaving the sacred deposit untouched, he took the lad with him, and running towards the nearest clerical habitation, even before he arrived, be impatiently called to bis brother, the priest Don Rosario, and publicly announced the wonderful discovery of the sacred pyx. At such unexpected news, guided by his brother, the priest, in a plain cassock, reached with much solicitude this new sacred monument, and being of low stature, caused himself to be lifted up by his companion : he drew forth the sacred pyx from its recess, and found that nothing was wanting, except the little cross which surmounted the lid as a finishing ornament. He opened it, and saw that the particles contained in it, which were near fifty in number, and supposed to be the whole of those kept therein, were entire and untouched. He sent to the nearest church--that of the Conservatorio di San Guiseppe—for a surplice and stole, and holding the regained inestimable jewel in his hands, did not resign it until as decent a little altar as possible had been prepared, adorned with lights, cloths, and dorsello, which had been carried with emulation from the church of Santa Teresa (where Mercica ran to impart the consoling news to the Father Prior, and to those afflicted monks, who were the first to hasten and venerate their recovered and beloved Lord), as also from the neighbouring churches of Santa Margherita, the Conservatorio, the Annunziata, and San Lorenzo. In this way, scarcely an hour bad elapsed since the sun reached its meridian, and scarcely hálf an hour since Mercica descended into the ditch in search of the venerable sacrament. In so sbort a time was the wonderful discovery made ; with such rapidity was this very joyful intelligence spread. Besides the Fathers of Santa Teresa, were assembled Don Carlo Aquilina, Archpriest of Vittoriosa, and divers other priests of the regular and secular clergy, who, after having reverently kissed the sacred pyx, as held by the before-mentioned Don Rosario, assisted by his brother, the monk, Father Theodosius, continued united together before the recovered sacrament, to give thanks, bless and praise the mercy of God, whilst the belfries of Santa Teresa and the barefoot Carmelite monks of Santa Margherita, as also soon after, those of all the churches of the four cities of Cospicua, Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Valletta, announced to the mourning people the desired wondrous recovery. In the mean time, no sooner was the bappy intelligence conveyed to the Father Prior, than be immediately left Cospicua for Valletta, to give the necessary information to Mons. the Archbishop, and to ascertain what he would be pleased to prescribe respecting the removal of that most sacred ark, and its return to Sion, i.e. to the temple wbence it had been stolen. At the same time, the canon Don Gio, Battista Debono, and the priest Don Paolo Cilia of Cospicua, left Vittoriosa bassy to fetch Mons. the Vicar General, who, transported beside himself with joy, instantly set out, and as it were on the wings of the wind, in a boat pulled swiftly by four strong rowers, was quickly taken near the place of the discovery, whither he proceeded on foot; and when he saw the sacred pyx already placed on the prepared altar, and the Sacramentalized Monarch adored by the immense multitudes which had come together from all sides, he also most profoundly adored him, and immediately put on surplice, stole, and cape: and without seeking for the proper bonoured vestments, out of overflowing zeal and joyfulness, addressing bis discourse to the assembled people, he broke forth in a most emphatic sermon, which contained the most sublime sentiments and affections of true piety, most fervent love, the highest gratitude, living faith, and holy religion. And oh! what a joyous spectacle! the people, every where crowded together, were moved, prostrate in adoration of their Lord, weeping with consolation and tenderness, and presented the most magnificent, unexpected, and solemn triumph to heaven and earth ; so that even some who were of another communion, and who were also spectators, as if deeply struck and penetrated, spontaneously rejoiced in the joy, and mingled their tears with the tears of the faithful, and thus rendered still more lovely and wondrous the triumph of our faith, and the spectacle most surprising and imposing. This memorable religious ceremony, and noble sacred triumph, did not however end here. As the people went on beyond measure increasing, and as not only the balconies and terraces of the houses, but even the ramparts, the pavement, and the neigh. bouring place d'armes, were already crowded; Mons. the Vicar, when he had ended his sermon, prudently fearing some disaster, if the multitude should be allowed to go on increasing, gave the sacramental benediction to the people ; and as there was a sufficient number of priests assembled, previous to the arrival of the directions for such an occasion emanating from Mons. the Archbisbop, tbe removal of the pyx was anxiously decided on, amidst vivas, applauses, and tears. The monks of Santa Teresa and the Annunciata, some Capuchins, various canons, and a multitude of priests, some with lighted torches, others with lanthorns, all with their heads uncovered, promiscuously walked together into the ditch; and a very devout procession being formed, in the midst of the very dense multitude which extended from the gate of Vittoriosa even to the church of Santa Teresa, Mons. the Vicar General conducted under the canopy the recovered ryx with the adorable sacrament; the whole singing the hymn of Ambrose in gratitude to God, and in demonstration of the universal exultation. In order to leave the passage, and the approach into the church, clear for the procession, it became ne. cessary that the serjeants of police should prevent the entrance of the multitude ; but in order to leave none without full satisfaction, Mons. the Vicar, having arrived near the threshold of the temple, turned to the immense populace assembled there, and imparted to them the sacramental benediction, which was followed by most clamorous shouts of viva il santissimo sacramento; whilst, in token of the inexpressible fervour, handkercbiefs were seen flying, and hats way. ing aloft, and the air resounded and echoed through all that vastly extensive place with incessant applause, wonderfully signifying the energy of faith, and the very noble triumph of our holy and dominant Catholic religion. The procession having entered into the church, which was very full of people, the gates were carefully closed, in order to obviate any injury which might happen to so extra. ordinary and excessive a crowd. Mons. the Vicar (weary, and with large drops of perspiration falling from him, yet joyful) arrived, with the divine deposit, at the great altar, which was brilliantly illuminated; and having there placed it, he raised his eyes to the holy titular mother of the temple, the seraphic Teresa, and in a very lively apostrophe, congratulated her on the happy recovery of her Jesus; and then turning to the people, made so moving a discourse, imbued with so sweet and celestial an unction, that through the whole sacred edifice were discerned tears and sobs of compunction, joy and unspeakable consolation. After giving the third benediction, profusely offering the most profound adoration, and thrice repeating the little verse, Every moment I adore thee, O living Bread of Heaven, great Sacrament ! he removed the sacred pyx tbence to the side chapel of San Giovanni della Croce, where he caused the Eucharist to be placed, and having deposited it on the altar, before he replaced it in the tabernacle, for the third time, but in a brief but energetic sermon directed to the people, be exhorted them that, after the example of Jesus Christ, who, when agonizing on the cross, prayed for his persecutors, they also should present supplications to the Father of mercies for the unhappy wreteh who committed the execrable crime; and, finally, the fourth benediction having been given, he laid it in the little pyx. The great ceremony being thus terminated, the doors were opened, in order that all might in turn satiate their desires, and adore the recovered divine treasure in the tabernacle, which, for that purpose, was left adorned with a multitude of lighted candles until the advance of night, and even so late as 10 o'clock, when it became necessary to shut the church, as it were by force, and to issue licences to persons who resorted thither from all parts of the island to visit Jesus Sacramentalized, and to praise him, and in like manner to visit the place whence he was drawy forth, and wbere for this end a crucifix had been placed with multitude of lighted lamps, to indicate what had happened there.

an em,

We must not omit to speak of the very brilliant illumination (it even merits a distinct and special notice) which distinguished that and the two following nights (which were marvellously serene) not only in all the parochial and sacra. mental churches of the diocese, but also in all the houses, generally speaking. This contributed not a little to the unusual festive joy occasioned by the disco. very of that most precious gem, which makes earth a paradise, and comforts the church even to the consummation of ages. The remaining days of the Triduum, which had been set apart for prayer by Mons. the Archbishop, being turned into days of solemn thanksgiving, all the churches were heard to resound with eulogies, canticles, and the Te Deum. This was especially the case in the church of Santa Teresa, where, to crown the triumph, the most holy sacrament was all the next day exposed with much pomp ; and Mons. the Vicar General himself was pleased, in an eloquent sermon from that pulpit, justly to commend the signal piety and invincible faith of the Maltese, which had been evidently shewn, with the highest edification in so wondrous an event; and on the next day Dr. Don Guiseppe Schembri, Vicar-Curate of Cospicua, with learned reasonings, closed the solemn Triduum. Thus Malta, the first-born daughter of the faith, after Rome, which is the very centre of the faith-Malta, the island beloved of God and of the great apostle St. Paul, its very dear father, protector, and vindicator : freed from danger by the total cessation of the cholera morbus, and cheered by the wonderful recovery of the sacred pyx, marking with a white stone the 21st Oct. 1837, bas become celebrated and memorable for ever. Note.—The following circumstances, as being singular, are worthy to be noted :

1. That on the morning of the very same day on wbich the sacrilegious robbery happened, and became known, an individual was arrested and subjected to examination who had offered for sale a small silver cross, which was soon recognized as that which surmounted the lid of the stolen pyx.

2. That the author of the impious crime took care securely to cover the hole in the lid of the pyx, whence the cross had been taken, so that the ants or other insects, wbich probably were in the vile place where he had concealed it, could not penetrate, so as to injure the consecrated species contained therein; and even wrapped up the whole pyx in linen, which was drawn very tight round it.

3. That on the day destined for the solemn thanksgiving (Monday the 23d October), the ordinary prescribed for celebration in the diocese, the festival of the Divine maternity of the blessed Virgin Mary, in the proper mass the Gospel of St. Luke was sung, which commemorates the mysterious loss of our Lord Jesus Christ in Jerusalem for three days, after which he was found again by bis parents, just as it happened to us, when likewise on the third day the lost Sacramentalized Lord is refound. (Luke ii. 46.)

4. That the event was inserted at the end of the Malta Government Gazette, on the 25th Oct. 1837. No. 1403.

5. That the fathers of Santa Teresa, being unable to build a chapel where the Divine sacrament was refound, decided to place there a stone, with an inscription, as a memorial.

REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.

MISSIONARY AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS ON INDIA AND

CHINA.

1. The Rev. J. Hough's History of Christianity in India :-2. Massie's

Continental India :—3. The Rev. Dr. Duff"s India and India Missions :-4. The Rev. J. Bateman's La Martiniere :-5. The Rev. H. Malcom's Travels in South Eastern India :-6. Montgomery's Colonial Magazine :—7. Memoirs of Dr. Morrison, by his widow :-8. Gutzlaff's Journal of three Voyages along the Coast of China :-9. A Sketch of Chinese History, by the same.

(Continued from page 250.) Our missions are our honour and cently, was there need for “A our disgrace. It is an honour to Missionary Atlas of the World, labour in our Divine Master's shewing the stations of Protestant vineyard; and when we think (chiefly British) Missions,” (we what Great Britain has done and allude to Wyld's very useful little is still doing, we thank God and Atlas with this title, published

When, till re- last year) ; and never since the

take courage.

Apostolic age was there, till ters, bibles, and tracts--compared within a late period, as much either with the necessities of a effected in a whole generation perishing world, or the wealth by all Christendom as now falls and power of this highly-favoured within the annual allotment of land ? Look at our aristocratic British religious enterprise at squares and streets of palaces; home and abroad. What would our manufactories, our wealthy our forefathers have thought of shops, our well-appointed habitanumbering the distribution of tions; at our ships and comtracts, not by thousands, or tens merce ; the rich produce of our of thousands, or even of millions, fields and mines; the enormous but by hundreds of millions ! gains and expenditure of London What would they have thought of alone, and of many of our oputhe declaration, that one Society lent towns; and what comparison has issued more than TWELVE do the revenues of all our religious MILLION COPIES, (in whole or in societies bear to the overwhelming part) of the word of God; or, to mass of riches displayed in them? take one striking fact as a speci. The calculation presents a paltrimen, that it lately gave an order ness in what we do for God, as on the same day for 433,000 contrasted with what we do for Bibles, Testaments, and (we be- ourselves, that may well humble lieve) Psalters. Taking one with us as a nation for having received the other, most persons would so much and returned so little. think it no slight labour to tran- Many an opulent district may be scribe a copy in two years; but traversed far and wide, and only had the canon of revelation been here and there be found a solitary completed when Adam was ex- contributor to a Bible or Mispelled from Paradise, and had sionary institution among those one hundred persons, (if there who lavish treasure profusely had been as many in the world,) upon their pride and worldly begun to write at the above pleasure. The battle of Waterloo average, and lived to the present may be said to have cost a hun. hour labouring at the same rate, dred millions of money; and they would still be very far from every day's expense for weeks having accomplished the blessed and months preceding it, reached task which the British and Foreign an amount far surpassing the Bible Society made but a frag- annual rental of all our Bible ment of its annual labours ; giving and Missionary institutions. The the order in a single day, with the Gospel might be sent-we speak most confident expectation (in the of human instrumentality and the ordinary course of God's provi- use of means, for God alone can dence) of its prompt fulfilment, give the increase—to millions of and of a succession, perhaps in- mankind, by slight retrenchcrease, of such orders.

ments of articles of luxury, perThis is magnificent; but it is haps of enervation or vice, the so only by comparison with the absence of which would not be littleness of former efforts ; for worthy to be called a sacrifice. what are all the united labours of It were superfluous to ask why all our religious iustitutions ; or those do not contribute to objects to take that most grovelling test, of Christian philanthropy among pecuniary liberality, what are all the heathen, who are unconcerned the funds expended by England for the glory of God, or the for missionary purposes—we in- spiritual welfare of mankind at clude schools, catechists, minis- home. We speak not of Social

now we

ists or professed unbelievers ; but our conduct! Instead of needing to of persons of decent habits,-it be reminded that we have souls, we may be church-goers and zealous might perhaps rather need to be ecclesiastical and political con- reminded that we have bodies. In servatives. But if they live the overwhelming inportance of themselves, and bring up their what ought to be done, we might children, in the violation of their seem to be in danger of forgetting baptismal vows, it is not strange what is not to be left undone. that they think little of the con- Our whole scale of accumulation version of the heathen. If they and expenditure would be modisee no evil in the theatre or opera fied—we will not say by new in a country professing to be principles, but by a more approChristian, they are not likely to priate application of those prinbe very anxious to overturn the ciples by which even car of Juggernaut ; to rescue the profess to be guided ; and such a Nautch girls of India ; or to send modification would to many be an out Bibles instead of opium to almost total change of habits. We the Chinese. We may say the do not speak universally or with same of the slaves of mammon, severity; many, blessed be God, and the worshippers of the god act in a high, though imperfect, of this world under all his dis- measure, according to the dictates guises; of those who in their of their holy vocation, and the whole spirit and conduct contra. hearts of the righteous are not to dict the declaration of inspired be made sad by harsh censures; truth, that “man doth not live but do we err in saying that the by bread alone; but by every prominent facts are as we have word which proceedeth out of stated ? the mouth of God;"'--for what But we hear it reiterated “What is it but a contradiction of this have your missions effected? and assertion of holy writ, to shout what encouragement can you hold out from morning to night, and out to any person to labour in a from January to December,"ships, cause so obviously hopeless?" A colonies, and commerce;" agricul- gentleman of New York, at whose ture and manufactures; rail-roads house Dr. Morrison was kindly and steam-engines ; any thing entertained when he was going that augments the supply of “the out to China in 1807—the East bread that perisheth; " and wholly India Company not allowing a to neglect all that relates to the missionary to proceed in their immortal soul, and the affairs of ships -says, “I cannot forget the the unseen world ?

air of suppressed ridicule which But what shall be said of those lurked on the merchant's features, who know better, and feel betterand in his speech and manners and to a certain extent do better? towards Morrison, whom he apAlas! even here, too often, much peared to pity as a deluded enthu.

There is sound prin- siast, while he could not but secret.. ciple, and this is well; but lovely respect his self-denial, devotion, and faith are languid; and hence courage, and enterprise. When the results are languid also. If all business matters were arranged we perceived with that vividness he turned about from his desk, of faith which will flash upon us and with a sardonic grin, address. when we meet our Lord at his ing Morrison, (whose countenance coming, how different–in degree was a book wherein men might at least-would be our sensations, read strange things), said, “And and how different in consequence so, Mr. Morrison, you really ex: CHRIST. Observ. No. 29.

2 R

is lacking.

« VorigeDoorgaan »