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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 9: The state of the province before the conquest,   pp. 1-6

Page 6

'How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, 
and I perish with hunger!' (Luke, 15,17). To speak of their souls, these
are so much neglected that they seem like men without them  for they live
with the thought of salvation deep buried and forgotten.(61 They pay the
price when they die in the forests. Nothing else can be expected of
Christians who spend their lives like a vine in the midst of a great moor,
deprived of all tending, and exposed on all sides to the depredations of
animals.- Soul without the hedge and circling wall afforded by the Cross,
how can you hope for the Lord's mercy at the end, when you live in
disregard of it, not responding to it with the sweet fruit-(of good living)
but with fruit entirely bitter, (anticipating) hell fire eternal? How
poorly these wretches understand what the Saint said about our spell of
life, that we have no purpose in living other than to live for eternity.
When they die these unhappy ones truly experience what St. Cyprian
declared: "He who lives as if he will never die does not deserve to
comforted at his death by the recollection of Divine Mercy, whose aid he
has refused during life". They will remember to their discomfort what
Prophet said, m that the insolent one who pronounces the name of Jesus as
he dies is barking like a mad dog, so that he angers Divine Justice /f.76r/
rather than appeasing it. And what says Job, chapter 7 : "You who live
sin, will God hear you ?". This then was the state of things before
Conquest. These were the rewards of the devil, his pensions, and the
interest he paid. Thus we can say with reason that it was less to punish
the loose living of the heathen than to punish the faithless living of
these false monks that the Lord sent to this Province the harsh rule of the
(i) All are disdainful and ungovernable. "And makest men as the fish
the sea" (Habakkuk,1,14). Worse than lions and tigers of Hircania.
The fish alone is untanable, it can never be domesticated. So they
finish up in the sea of guilt in which we live. How far beyond this
are all those to whom the words of the prophet can be applied
"And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp and ... on
cockatrice' den" (Isaiah,11,8). Purity, the mortification of vices,
does not appear well-favoured to him : this is to put a hand into "an
asp's hole and the cockatrice' den", to take delight in labours for
the sake of Christ Our Lord, and they do not live in these deserts for
this reason.
(j) The complaint in the Apocalypse referred to all : "Thou hast a name
that thou livest and art dead" (Revelation,3,1). They lived such
heathen lives that they were Christian only in name.


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