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one of those triumphs, which the Romans were accustomed to decree to conquerors. First were paraded the Indians, painted according to their savage fashion, and decorated with tropical feathers, and with their national ornaments of gold; after these were borne various kinds of live parrots, together with stuffed birds and animals of unknown species, and rare plants, supposed to be of precious qualities: while great care was taken to make a conspicuous display of Indian coronets, bracelets, and other decorations of gold, which might give an idea of the wealth of the newly-discovered regions. After these followed Columbus, on horseback, surrounded by a brilliant cavalcade of Spanish chivalry.
The streets were almost impassable from the countless multitude; the windows and balconies were crowded with the fair; the very roofs were covered with spectators. It seemed, as if the public eye could not be sated with gazing on these trophies of an unknown world, or on the remarkable man by whom it had been discovered. There was a sublimity in this event, that mingled a solemn feeling with the public joy. It was looked upon as a vast and signal dispensation of Providence, in reward for the piety of the monarchs; and the majestic and venerable appearance of the discoverer, so different from the youth and buoyancy that are generally expected from roving enterprise, seemed in harmony with the grandeur and dignity of his achievement.
To receive him with suitable pomp and distinction, the sovereigns had ordered their throne to be placed in public, under a rich canopy of brocade of gold, in a vast and splendid saloon. Here the king and queen awaited his arrival, seated in state with the prince Juan beside them, and attended by the dignitaries of their court, and the principal nobility of Castile, Valentia, Catalonia, and Arragon, all impatient to behold the man, who had conferred so incalculable a benefit upon the nation.
At length Columbus entered the hall, surrounded by a brilliant crowd of cavaliers, among whom, says Las Casas, he was conspicuous for his stately and commanding person, which, with his countenance rendered venerable by his gray hairs, gave him the august appearance of a senator of Rome. A modest smile lighted up his features, showing that he enjoyed the state and glory in which he came; and certainly nothing could be more deeply moving, to a mind
inflamed by noble ambition, and conscious of having greatly deserved, than were these testimonials of the admiration and gratitude of a nation, or rather of a world.
As Columbus approached, the sovereigns rose, as if receiving a person of the highest rank. Bending his knees, he requested to kiss their hands; but there was some hesitation on the part of their majesties to permit this act of vassalage. Raising him in the most gracious manner, they ordered him to seat himself in their presence; a rare honor in this proud and punctilious court.
At the request of their majesties, Columbus now gave an account of the most striking events of his voyage, and a description of the islands which he had discovered. He displayed the specimens he had brought of unknown birds and other animals; of rare plants, of medicinal and aromatic virtue; of native gold, in dust, in crude masses, or labored into barbaric ornaments; and, above all, the natives of these countries, who were objects of intense and inexhaustible interest; since there is nothing to man so curious as the varieties of his own species. All these he pronounced mere harbingers of greater discoveries he had yet to make, which would add realms of incalculable wealth to the dominions of their majesties, and whole nations of proselytes to the true faith.
The words of Columbus were listened to with profound emotion by the sovereigns. When he had finished, they sunk on their knees, and raising their clasped hands to heaven, their eyes filled with tears of joy and gratitude, they poured forth thanks and praises to God for so great a providence; all present followed their example; a deep and solemn enthusiasm pervaded that splendid assembly, and prevented all common acclamations of triumph.
The anthem of Te Deum laudamus, chanted by the choir of the royal chapel, with the melodious accompaniments of the instruments, rose up from the midst, in a full body of sacred harmony, bearing up, as it were, the feelings and thoughts of the auditors to heaven, so that,' says the venerable Las Casas, 'it seemed as if in that hour they communicated with celestial delights.' Such was the solemn and pious manner in which the brilliant court of Spain, celebrated this sublime event: offering up a grateful tribute of melody and praise; and giving glory to God for the discovery of another world.
When Columbus retired from the royal presence, he was
attended to his residence by all the court, and followed by the shouting populace. For many days he was the object of universal curiosity, and wherever he appeared, he was surrounded by an admiring multitude.
Extracts from Lives of the Apostles.
JAMES, the son of Zebedee, and the brother of John, is the third named on Matthew's list of the apostles. Of his father we are told nothing; but his mother, as appears by a comparison of parallel passages, was Salome, who emulated her children in attachment to the Savior, and is spoken of as one of those women, who followed and occasionally served him, who accompanied him to the cross, and were the first, who were permitted to see him after his resurrection.
He, with his brother John, pursued the same occupation with their townsmen, Peter and Andrew, and were partners with them. They were also washing their nets on the shore, when Jesus entered the vessel of their partners. They beheld the miraculous draught of fishes; they assisted to secure it; they were astonished at it; and when Jesus, after calling Peter and Andrew, called them also, they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.'
Here I cannot help requesting my readers to pause a moment, and consider the fortunes, the singular, and, if the word were holy enough, I would say romantic, fortunes of these four men. Simon and Andrew, James and John, brethren of two different families, dwell together with their parents, in a village at the northern extremity of a lake or small sea, in the district of Galilee, and on the confines of the land of Judea.
The sea is a large sea to them, and to them the towns, which here and there dot its coast, and the light barks, which, for the purposes of amusement, or traffic, or. their own calling, skim along its pleasant waters, are the world. They are fishermen. Day by day do they rise up to the contented exercise of their toil, to throw their nets, to spread their sails, to ply their oars, and, when successful in pursuit, to dispose of their freight in their native village,
or the neighboring towns, for the support of themselves and their families.
They are friends; they have joined themselves to each other in their humble profession, and agreed to share profit and loss, storm and calm, together. Their low roofed dwellings look out on each other, and on their native lake, and within these dwellings are bosoms which throb anxiously at their protracted absence, and beat gladly at their return.
Their boats contain all their wealth, and their cottages all that they love. Their fathers, perhaps their ancestors, were fishers before them. They themselves have no idea of a different lot. The only changes on which they calculate, are the changes of the weather and the vicissitudes of their calling; and the only great interruptions of the even courses of their lives, to which they look forward, are the annual journeys which they take, at the periods of solemn festival, to the great city of Jerusalem. Thus they live, and thus they expect to live, till they lie down to sleep with their fathers, as calmly, as unknowing, and as unknown as they. Look at them, on the shore of their lake. Think not of them as apostles, as holy men; but look at them as they actually were, on the morning when you first hear of them from the historian. They have been toiling through a weary night, and have caught nothing; and now, somewhat disheartened at their ill success, they are engaged in spreading their nets, washing them, and preparing them, as they hope, for a more fortunate expedition.
Presently, surrounded by an eager crowd, that teacher approaches, whom they have before seen, and whose instructions some of them have already listened to. With his demeanor of quiet but irresistible dignity, he draws toward the spot where they are employed; he enters Simon's vessel, and prays him to thrust out a little distance from the land; then he speaks to that assembled multitude as never man spake; then he bids Simon launch out further, and cast his net in the deep; then follows the overwhelming draught of fishes; and then those four partners, filled with wonder and awe, are called to quit their boats, and throw by their nets, and become fishers of men.
And now what a change, like the change of a dream or of enchantment, has passed over their lives, dividing what was, from what was to be! It was long before they themselves were aware, how entire and how stupendous it was. In a few years, they are to be the principal actors in the most extraordinary events of recorded time.
Home, kindred, country, are to be forsaken forever. Their nets may hang and bleach in the sun; their boats may rot piecemeal on the shore; for the owners of them are far away, sailing over seas to which that of Gennesareth is a pond; exciting whole cities and countries to wonder and tumult; answering before kings; imprisoned, persecuted, tortured; their whole existence a storm, and a greater one than ever swept over their lake. On the peaceful shore of that lake, even their bones may not rest. Their ashes are to be separated from the ashes of their kindred. Their blood is to be sprinkled on foreign soils; the headsman and executioner are to preside over their untimely obsequies.
A few years more, and the fame and the doctrine of these fishermen have gone out into all lands. Magnificent churches are called by their names. Kingdoms adopt them for their tutelar saints; and the men, who claim to succeed to the office of one of them, rule for centuries over all civilized kingdoms, with a despotic and overshadowing sway, and by virtue of that claim give away a continent, a world, which, when their predecessor lived, was entirely unknown.
History tells us of a fisherman of Sicily, who was raised to that island's throne; but who will compare that, or any earthly throne, to the twelve thrones which were set up over the twelve tribes of Israel? What is a king of Sicily to an apostle of Christ? A wonderful man has risen up in our own, as we call it, wonderful time, risen up from a moderate station to the empire of Europe; and yet the eight volumes, which another wonderful man has written of that emperor's deeds and fortunes, have not preserved, and cannot preserve, such a name for his hero, as is secured by hardly more than eight lines, which tell us of those men who first fished for their living on the sea of Galilee, and then were called to be the apostles of Christ.
Second Extract from the Same.
THERE is one other circumstance in the lives of the apostles, which I am bound to notice for the sake of its singularity and importance. I have several times had occasion to speak of the national prejudices of these men, and the diffi