A briefe relation of the persecution lately made against the Catholike Christians, in the Kingdome of Iaponia, deuided into two bookes/The epistle dedicatory
THis enſuing Relation being ſent out of the VVeſt Indies where it was firſt printed to a friend of mine in Spaine, & from thence by him to me, after I had read & peruſed the ſame, it ſeemed vnto me, & others alſo whoſe iudgmentes I farre preferre before mine owne, to be worthy the publike view. Whereupon I reſolued (though my neceſſary occaſions would ſcarce affoard me leaſure) to ſteale ſo much time from them as was neceſſary for the tranſlating it out of Spanish into our English tongue. More paynes and labour it coſt me then at the firſt I thought it would haue done: and I found therein that true by experience which I had often heard of others, to wit, that it is not ſo eaſy to tranſlate out of one language into another, as is commonly imagined.
Hauing at length finished the ſame, I knew not to whome I might better direct it, then to You the poore afflicted Catholikes of this our Countrey, for whoſe comfort and encouragement I did indeed principally from the beginning intend it. For although I do preſume it wilbe gratefull to all Chriſtians of what nation or nature ſoeuer they be, to vnderſtand of the propagation, increaſe, and augmentation of Chriſtian Religion in thoſe Countries where before there was neuer any notice therof, and of the conſtant perſeuerance of thoſe therein that haue ſo lately receiued and imbraced it: yet am I certainly perſwaded, that it wilbe to you much more welcome, then to any other; not only becauſe theſe moſt worthy Chriſtiãs of Iaponia wherof this relatiõ doth entreate be of the ſame Chriſtian and Catholike Fayth and Religon that you be, and not of any other priuate or particular ſect or faction, of which God knoweth there is to great a multitude in the Chriſtian world in theſe miſerable dayes of ours: but alſo by reaſon of the great likeneſſe and ſimilitude betwixt their caſe and yours.
If it be an axiome in Philoſophy, that Omne ſimile gaudet ſibi ſimili, Euery thinge doth take a particuler delight in ſuch thinges as be like vnto it ſelfe; well may it be ſuppoſed that it wilbe at leaſt ſome kind of contentment vnto you (amongſt ſo many occaſions of diſcomfort as are dayly offered) to vnderſtand of the eſtate of thoſe that in many thinges do more ſymbolize with you, then any other perſons in the world. For (omitting that they be Inhabitants of an Iland as we be, and of the greateſt Iland in thoſe partes of the world as we in theſe, of the like Climate alſo that we be, all thinges conſidered, they in a manner Antipodes to vs, and we to them) firſt of all they be but lately conuerted to the true fayth of Chriſt from Infidelity, and ſo be moſt of you from Schiſme or Hereſy, which is a kind of infidelity: to them it is graũted according to the ſaying of S. Paul, to ſuffer for theyr faith, and ſo it is to you: they be falſly ſlaundered and calumniated in many thinges by the Diuels miniſters, and ſo be you: they be perſecuted for theyr Religion, many of them to death & more to loſſe of goods by the enemies of Chriſt and his holy Church, and ſo be you, very many amongſt you hauing loſt theyr liues, and more theyr goods & liuinges for no other cauſe but only the conſtant confeſſion of the Catholike Religion. Finally they for theyr valour and conſtancy in Gods cauſe be famous in all thoſe partes of the world, yea, and in Europe alſo; and you for yours be no leſſe glorious, both in all Europe, and in the reſt of the Chriſtian world: ſo that I may well ſay both of you and them, that which the Apoſtle ſayd to the Romanes (whoſe religion both they and you imbrace) fides veſtra annuntiatur in vniuerſo mundo, your conſtancy in fayth is published and famous throughout the whole world.
Theſe then be the reaſons for which I thought it moſt expedient to dedicate this short Relation vnto You; although there wanteth not alſo another, which truly I muſt needes confeſſe was of great force to moue me thereunto: the which is that I hoped thereby you would both be more carefull to commend in your prayers to Almighty God the neceſſities of thoſe poor afflicted Chriſtians, your Brethren, as alſo more willing to imitate theyr admirable examples of valour and courage in the cause of Chriſt, and of patience and conſtancy in enduring croſſes and perſecutions, troubles and tribulations for the ſame. Many of you I know haue oftentimes occaſions miniſtred of ſuffering wronges and iniuries, loſſes and diſgraces for the ſame cauſe, the ſame Fayth and Religion for which they do endure all theſe cruell perſecutions. If then you do imitate theyr patience, theyr courage and conſtancy, theyr ioyfulnes and alacrity therein, you shall obteyne thereby the like honour & renowne in earth that they haue done, and afterwardes in their company euerlaſting crownes of glory in heauen: for as the holy Apoſtle teſtifyeth, Si ſocij paſſionum eſtis, eritis & conſolationis; if you be partakers of theyr ſufferinges, yee shall alſo be companions of theyr comfortes, ioyes, and conſolations.
And becauſe there be ſome things in the diſcourſe of this relation which proceding from an extraordinary feruour, are rather to be admired of all, then imitated of any that is not after an eſpeciall manner moued by Almighty God, as we may prudẽtly iudge thoſe perſons were that did them; I doubt not but that you guided by diſcretion (reuerencing ſuch like actions as iſſuing from the particuler motion and inſpiration of the holy Ghoſt) will apply your endeauours, only or principally, to imitate thoſe other thinges that are more conformable to the common courſe or vertuous and pious perſons aſſiſted with the grace of Chriſt; knowing that thereby you shall both auoyd the domage that is incident to thoſe that rashly thruſt themſelues into eminent dangers; & alſo gaine withall no ſmall merit to you ſoules.
It shall not be needfull for me to aduertiſe you how this perſecution of the poor Chriſtians of Iapone was partly, if not principally, occaſioned by perſons of the ſame profeſſion in religion, as thove be that perſecute you: nor yet to note how like the Diuell is vnto himſelfe in all places, cauſing the Gentiles there to hate and exerminate the pictures and images of our Bleſſed Sauiour and his Saintes, togeather with all other thinges appertayning to the promotion of Chriſtian piety, as he hath moued your Perſecutors here vtterly to abandon and abolish them: It shall not I ſay be needfull for me, to ſignify theſe thinges vnto you, for that I do aſſure my ſelfe that your ſelues in the reading thereof will eaſily obſerue theſe and many other thinges greatly worth the marking; as the great feare and care of the gentiles leaſt any reliques of the holy Martyrs should remaine to be reuerenced by the deuouter ſort of Chriſtians: theyr extraordinary diligence to make thoſe that were conſtant in theyr fayth, to diſſemble at leaſt a little while in the exterior profeſſion thereof: theyr falſe and ſlaunderous calumniations of the Catholike religion: theyr feares, suſspitions, and iealoſies of preiſts and religious perſons concerning matters of State, all of them thinges common to them, and to the Gentils of former times that perſecuted Gods Church, as alſo to the Heretikes of all ages, and in eſpeciall to theſe of ours.
That which I would wish you to reflect vpon, is only the bad ſuccesse euen in temporall affayres which in the end befell to ſuch perſons that for worldly reſpectes, eyther forſooke theyr religion, or without care of theyr conſcience behaued themſelues to the diſcredit therof: and how on the contrary thoſe that were conſtant therein, and carefull to frame theyr liues according thereunto, beſides theyr happines in heauen, & honour vpon earth, through the Paternall prouidence of Almighty God, were euer in the end after ſome ſuffering ſufficiently prouided for.
And now becauſe I do imagin that many of you hitherto haue not had much notice of the Kingdome of Iapone, and leſſe of the affayres therof, it being a country ſo farre diſtant & remote from ours, as perhaps few or none in the world more (at leaſt, as it is acceſſible) and by reaſon thereof you will not ſo eaſily vnderſtand ſome thinges that will occurre in the reading of this relation: I haue therefore thought it not amiſſe breifly by way of a Preface or Introduction to ſet downe ſome few things concerning the ſame that may help to giue you ſome litle light therein. If therewith or by the reading the relation it ſelfe you shall receiue but ſo much contentment as I tooke paynes in the tranſlating thereof, yea or but any confort or other good at all, I shall thinke any labours very well beſtowed, deſiring no other thinge in requitall thereof but only to be remembred in your beſt deuotions, and made partaker of thoſe afflictions that it shall pleaſe our Bleſſed Sauiour to giue you grace to ſuffer for his ſake: and ſo humbly beſeeching Almighty God to ſend you eyther a ſpeedy end of them, or elſe much patience to endure them as long as it shall be his holy wil and pleaſure to permit them, with all dutifull reſpect I take my leaue, euer remayning