Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/436

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422
THE OLDEST CHURCH ON THE CONTINENT.

loupe in sanctity and attraction for the Indians of Tlaxcala and its vicinity. I think it is but right that it should do so under all the circumstances.

We went with the Governor to the ancient church of Tlaxcala, which was commenced in 1529, and is, unquestionably, the oldest structure devoted to the worship of God on the North American continent. It is in excellent preservation, but was never very rich in ornamentation, falling far behind many others we had seen in obscure parts of the country. The paintings too are poor and if it were not for its history there would be little to attract a visitor. But there we saw the pulpit which bears an inscription showing that it was the first erected in "New Spain," and from whence the gospel of the Cross was first preached to the natives of the New World.

Then we saw the great baptismal font, hollowed from a single block of lava, in which were baptised the four Chiefs of the Republic of Tlaxcala, and the General in command of the armies before the advance upon the City of Mexico. There are many old paintings of no artistic merit, representing martyrdoms and persecutions of the saints in all forms. Those old saints must have had a very rough time of it from all accounts and after seeing what they had to suffer, I am thankful enough that an all-wise Providence never designed me for one. I don't think I could fill the position with any degree of credit to all parties concerned. One picture represents the Pope in a triumphal car drawn by four fat and healthy horses, each led by a fat and healthy angel, riding over the bodies of the "Reformers," and dragging behind him in chains and disgrace, Luther and Calvin. Rather rough, this on the