« AnteriorContinuar »
God, and may find grace in the eyes of this people., Our company with one voice thanked me for my good admonition, and promised me to live soberly and civilly, and without giving any the least occasion of offence. So we spent our three days joyfully, and without care, in expectation of what would be done with us, when they were expired. During which time, we had every hour joy of the amendment of our sick; who thought themselves cast into some divine pool of healing; they mended so kindly, and so fast.
The morrow after our three days were past, there came to us a new man that we had not seen before, cloathed in blue as the former was, save that his turban was white, with a small red cross on the top. He had also a tippet of fine linen. At his coming in he did bend to us a little, and put his arms abroad. We of our parts saluted him in a very lowly and submissive manner; as looking that from him we should receive sentence of life or death. He desired to speak with some few of us : whereupon six of us only stayed, and the rest avoided the room. He said ; I am by office governor of this house of strangers, and by vocation I am a christian priest; and therefore am come to you, to offer you my service, both as strangers, and chiefly as Christians. Some things I may tell you, , which I think you will not be unwilling to hear,
The state hath given you licence to stay on land for the
space of six weeks : and let it not trouble you if your occasions ask farther time, for the law in this point is not precise ; and I do not doubt but myself shall be able to obtain for you such farther time as may be convenient. Ye shall also understand, that the strangers house is at this time rich, and much beforehand; for it hath laid up revenue these thirty-seven years; for so long it is șince any stranger arrived in this part: and therefore take ye no care; the state will defray you all the time you stay; neither shall you stay one day the less for that. As for any merchandize you have brought, ye shall be well used, and have your return either in merchandize, or in gold and silver : for to us it is all one. And if have
any other request to make, hide it not. For
shall find, we will not make your countenance to fall by the answer ye shall receive. Only this I must tell you, that none of you
above a karan, (that is with them a mile and an half) from the walls of the city without special leave. We answered, after we had looked a while upon one another, admiring this gracious and parent-like usage; that we could not tell what to say: for we wanted words to express our thanks; and his noble free offers left us nothing to ask. It seemed to us, that we had before us a picture of our salvation in heaven: for
we that were a while since in the jaws of death, were now brought into a place, where we found nothing but consolations. For the commandment laid upon us, we would not fail to obey it, though it was impossible but our hearts should be inflamed to tread farther upon this happy and holy ground. We added; that our tongues should first cleave to the roofs of our mouths, ere we should forget, either his reverend person, or this whole nation in our prayers. We also most humbly besought him to accept of us as his true servants, by as just a right as ever men on earth were bounden, laying and presenting, both our persons, and all we had at his feet. He said ; he was a priest, and looked for a priest's reward ; which was our brotherly love, and the good of our souls and bodies. So he went from us, not without tears of tenderness in his eyes; and left us also confused with joy and kindness, saying amongst ourselves, that we were come into a land of angels, which did appear to us daily, and prevent us with comforts which we thought not of, much less expected.
The next day about ten of the clock, the governor came to us again, and after salutations said familiarly; that he was come to visit us; and called for a chair, and sat him down; and we being some ten of us (the rest were of the meaner sort, or else gone abroad) sat down with him. And
when we were set, he begun thus: We of this island of Bensalem (for so they call it in their language) have this; that by means of our solitary situation, and the laws of secrecy which we have for our travellers, and our rare admission of strane gers; we know well most part of the habitable world, and are ourselves unknown. Therefore because he that knoweth least is fittest to ask questions, it is more reason for the entertainment of the time, that ye ask me questions, than that I ask you. We answered; that we humbly thanked him, that he would give us leave so to do: and that we conceived by the taste we had already, that there was no worldly thing on earth more worthy to be known, than the state of that happy land. But above all (we said) since that we were met from the several ends of the world, and hoped assuredly that we should meet one day in the kingdom of heaven (for that we were both parts Christians :) we desired to know (in respect that land was so remote, and so divided by vast and unknown seas, from the land where our Saviour walked on earth) who was the Apostle of that na. tion, and how it was converted to the faith? It appeared in his face that he took great contentment in this our question : he said, ye knit my heart to you, by asking this question in the first place; for it sheweth that you first seek the kingdom of
heaven ; and I shall gladly and briefly satisfy your demand.
About twenty years after the ascension of our Saviour, it came to pass, that there was seen by the people of Renfusa, (a city upon the eastern coast of our island) within night, (the night was cloudy and calm) as it might be some miles in the sea, a great pillar of light; not sharp, but in form of a column, or cylinder, rising from the sea, a great way up towards heaven; and on the top of it was seen a large cross of light, more bright and resplendent than the body of the pillar. Upon which so strange a spectacle, the people of the city gathered apace together upon the sands to wonder ; and so after put themselves into a num; ber of small boats, to go nearer to this marvellous sight. But when the boats were come within (a. bout) sixty yards of the pillar, they found themselves all bound, and could go no farther, yet so as they might move to go about, but might not approach nearer; so as the boats stood all as in a theatre, beholding this light as an heavenly sign. It so fell out, that there was in one of the boats, one of the wise men of the society of Solomon's house; which house or college, (my good brethren) is the very eye of this kingdom; who having a while attentively and devoutly viewed and contemplated this pillar and cross, fell down upon his