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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 25: The state of Christianity in the Serra,   pp. 1-10

Page 2

There were two sources (of evil) /f.112/.  The first was the lack of
knowledge and will-power on the part of these savages. There can be no
desire for improvement unless the understanding appreciates the essence of
what it ought to love. The will can only embrace that which the secondary
power of the soul presents to it as good.C)  All the heathen in Ethiopia
are servile and they tend to follow Epicurean ways. They believe only what
they see and touch, and they are guided only by self-interest. This is the
idol on which everything is based in the Serra; so it had to be; twice it
was hidden. The infidel savage is lacking in hope; he has lost it. Yet
having sight of a vile master, there were afterwards crescent moons; but
not having any news of it in 1611 and 1612, they were in suspense, they did
not know what had happened to it, whether it had met with a disaster or had
been destroyed. Having lost hope of seeing it, they gradually showed us
their deceitful tricks, their falsehood, their dissimulation, and the
pretences with which they approached in person the Lord's house. Now they
no longer concealed or gilded over their deceitful Christianity, so
greatly were they involved in their false superstitions and idolatrous rites.
What can one expect of pagans who had been bathed, not in the waters of
faith but in those of self-interest, other than the brash folly of reopening,
in secret and publicly, the grave of idolatry? It was not grace which
called them, but self-interest did : It was not the sweet-smelling waters
faith which touched them but the deceitful. odour of worldly goods.
(c) Bure's marriage. "No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an
old", Luke S [: 36J7. Thus, new people into the faith, little by
little. See Genesis 33 [:13-14J7, "My lord kneweth that the children
are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me; and if
men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die... I will
lead on softly.. .as the children [Alvares misquotes, tcattle'] be
able to endure". And l Corinthians 3 [:12], "I have fed you with
milk and not with meat", etc.


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