« ZurückWeiter »
nated in Apostolic example, there is nothing in the New Testament to raise a reasonable presumption that the act of meeting on the first day of the week was prompted by some positive command, the record of which may have been lost. The probabilities are that the custom originated either in mere convenience or through fear of the local civic authorities or both; for during the first two centuries the Christians were a despised and persecuted sect, and had to meet in secret for religious exercises. Under such circumstances they would naturally select private houses or out-of-the-way places on certain days set apart for that purpose. They would very naturally select some day other than the Jewish Sabbath, the profanation of which was one of the offences alleged against the Master. And it was equally natural that they should select the first day of the week which, according to tradition, was the day on which the Resurrection occurred.
Be this as it may, the inference derived from what little is known of the origin of the custom is that, except during the time of actual meeting and worship, the early Christians deemed it right and proper to follow their ordinary avocations on Sunday. It was not until after the union of Church and State under Constantine, early in the fourth century, that an edict directed “all judges, all inhabitants of cities, and all artificers to “ rest on the venerable Sunday"; and even that did not prohibit rural peoples and husbandmen from laboring or attending to their ordinary affairs on Sunday. It was not until the middle of the sixth century that agricultural labor was prohibited; nor until near the close of the ninth, that Sunday was practically substituted for the old Jewish Sabbath, as a "holy day.” It was the old English Puritans of the seventeenth century who, miscalling Sunday “the Sabbath,” consigned men to everlasting torment in the next world for a rational enjoyment of the day.
But this is a digression. In Bogotá nearly every one smokes tobacco; all can afford this luxury where native cigars are sold at from one to eight cents apiece; but you never see any tobacco pipes or snuff-boxes, and there are no tobacco chewers. The paper cigarette habit is well-nigh universal; even the ladies in fashionable circles are more or less addicted to it. They will not smoke in public or on the streets, as the gentlemen do, but privately and in their homes. Still you do sometimes see ladies of good repute and high social position standing on the balcony of their parlor windows, daintily puffing away at a paper cigarette after dinner. It looks a little odd at first, but we soon become accustomed to it and think nothing of it. After all, when we come to think about it, it is not much worse than inhaling pulverized tobacco, and it is certainly less filthy than 'snuff-dipping."
Most of the educated classes have, or think they have, the “literary faculty.” They are particularly fond of writing what they call “poetry," and of making postprandial speeches. The average collegian will write poetry by the yard or speak impromptu by the hour. He never shows the least embarrassment before an audience, and is rarely at a loss for a word. The adjectives and adverbs flow in sluices of unbroken rhythm, and the supply of euphonious words and hyperbolic phrases seems inexhaustible. He always gesticulates vehemently, and somehow it seems to become him well; for, no matter how little there may be in what he says, somebody is sure to applaud and encourage him.
The masses are not readers, and the common people. never bother with theological creeds or political platforms. In matters of religion, they accept the doctrines of
the Church without question; in politics, they vote as they are directed by their party leaders or "bosses.” Such a thing as an independent newspaper, conducted on business principles, is quite unknown; and the partisan organs
"contain little beyond wordy and diffuse communications, two and three column editorials, and a few local advertisements. The literary and family journal is chiefly remarkable for its long “poems" and for the reproduction, in serial form, of some late French novel translated into the Spanish language.
There is probably no city on the continent where the external forms of religion are more rigidly observed. The Church festivals are frequent and gorgeous, and are generally participated in by all classes and conditions of society. It is seldom that a whole week passes without a public demonstration in honor of some mediæval saint, or in commemoration of some event in ecclesiastical history. On such occasions all business is practically suspended. Banks and stores and shops are all closed; private dwellings are gorgeously decorated with emblems and banners; triumphal arches, decorated with evergreens and flowers, span the highways; and many of the streets and plazas are strewn with rose leaves. Everybody is out in holiday attire prepared to get as much enjoyment out of the day as possible. During high mass, at nine in the morning, the streets and plaza about the cathedral are crowded with eager and expectant humanity. Presently the great bell is struck; then gentlemen remove their hats and stand in silence; the common people are all down on their knees. Now the Holy Host is being raised by the officiating priests inside the building; not a word is spoken, not a foot is moved by the immense throng outside, -the stillness is almost oppressive. Anon there is a single stroke of the great bell; the Host is being lowered; gentlemen may
now put on their hats and resume conversation; the populace rise from their kneeling posture; and the throng is again in a buzz of pleasurable excitement.
Very soon the Holy Procession begins to form preparatory to a march through the streets. First to emerge are a few subordinate officers of the Church, each gaudily attired and bearing a lighted taper. Then follow the holy images, borne on great platforms supported on the shoulders of lusty peones. The mitred priests, in sacerdotal robes, come next. Behind these are boys in white surplices, swinging smoking censers. Then follow others bearing banners and crosses.
Behind these last come a company of gentlemen in full evening dress, each bearing a lighted taper. Then the rabble fall into line. Once fairly out into the street, the procession is headed by a company of horsemen gaudily dressed in military costume. A band of music follows immediately in their rear. Slowly and solemnly the gorgeous pageant proceeds through the flower-strewn street to a great cathedral on the opposite side of the city. The sacred images are there carried inside. All the bells in the city now seem to be ringing at once, and the clatter and din are almost deafening. Suddenly the bells stop ringing; the silence is profound; the immense throng outside reverently uncover their heads. Another mass, another swelling chorus, the great bell sounds, the benediction is being said; and now streams of laughing, light-hearted people come pouring out at a dozen doors. The solemn functions are over, and every one is at liberty to spend the remainder of the day as he pleases.
THE RACE PROBLEM IN AMERICA
LAVERY, or property in man, has existed from time immemorial, and at some time or other,
and in some form or other, it has had the express or implied sanction of every government on earth. It was a recognized institution among the ancient Hebrews. It existed in Greece and Rome, and throughout the civilized world, prior to the Christian era. And it continued to exist in many of the Christian states till the middle of the present century; for Christianity did not do away with slavery, but tended merely to ameliorate the condition of the slave. It existed among the aboriginees of this continent at the time of its discovery by Europeans, and can hardly be said to be extinct today among certain savage tribes of the Southern hemisphere. In Africa, it is as old as the country itself; and it still exists there among the native tribes. There has never been a time when it was not a recognized institution in eastern Asia; and it still prevails, in a mild form, in each of the eighteen provinces of the Chinese Empire.
But negro slavery of modern times was reserved as a sequel to the discovery and settlement of the Americas by Christian Europe; and for more than three whole centuries the African slave-trade was participated in by nearly all the great commercial and maritime powers of the world. As early as the beginning of the sixteenth