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Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)

Chapter 6: The port of Bichangor, its site and the fertility of the land, and the heathen of the district,   pp. 1-5

Page 2

If this lily was planted among thorns, it was nevertheless
surrounded by variety, as represented by the residents, for whites and
half-whites live here with the blacks.   The colour of the first points
tolpurity of the Virgin; the off-white colour of the second to the
labours of Our Lady's 63 years of pilgrimage here on earth; and the
third /f.22/ represents the outward blackness of Mary, that Nigra sum
[ Black (and comely) am I, Song of Solomon, 1:4J received from Adam.
This blackness is outward only, since the paintbrush of sin never reached
her, for if it approached her it did not do so fast enough not to be
repelled by grace and equally by the scarlet of charity. The latter is
largely reflected in the House of Our Lady, in the most ingenious and
delightful decorations and pictures, a pious supporter having devoted
his art to this aspect of thc building. The holy House does not lack
ornaments and lamps habitually burning, any more than it lacks the
charitable gifts which the ministers of the holy sacrifices receive from
the stewards and devotees of Our Lady, who present them with generous
I cannot remain silent regarding the sincerity of the gratitude of
the land to the Sacred Virgin for her singular kindness in giving them a
site so convenient in all respects. Its pleasing view is of trees of
different kinds, which form a fine wood in the direction of the water's
edge.  A river flows from the South West, emerging from a source in a
bubbling spring, and it pours gracefully into the sea through sandbanks
and shady woods.  As well as completely overshadowing it, the woods, by
their welcome view, invite thoughts that when holy and on the subject of
eternal deliverance and the epoch of Glory, as were the thoughts of the
Prophet in the Psalter, ar, -:ell employed.  Such were those of that holy
religious, my beloved (friend), Padre Joao Delgado,(b) a man truly
apostolic, of exceptional discretion and learning, to whom, in recompense
for the services of her devotees, the Sacred Virgin was pleased to give a
tomb in her own house. I could speak of his excellent virtues; but what
can I say to enlarge on a man who has continually progressed in God's
eye, who for this reason alone is undoubtedly a great man, as are all
those who are raised to face the Lord?   Being no more, even though here
it is easy to imagine otherwise, his full portrait will be presented (?).
While he was here the padre continually increased his loving care and
zeal for the salvation of souls, and he drew all after him. The power of
his love was such that the savages, and even their leading men, came to
(b) Padre Joao Delgado of the Society of Jesus.


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