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Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Chilám Balám

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CHILÁM BALÁM (che-lam'-bah-lam'), Indian philosopher, great priest of Tixcacayón Cavich at Mani, Yucatan, d. about 1430. He left several works, of which a few fragments only have reached us, and composed narratives in verse that are still sung by the Yucatec Indians. He predicted that foreigners from the east would conquer them and teach them the true religion under the symbol of the cross. Herrera, Ramesal, Diaz del Castillo, Torquemada, and other authorities refer to Chilám Balám, whose prophecy reads thus: “At the end of the thirteenth age, when Itza is at the height of its power, as also the city of Tancán, . . . the signal of God will appear on the heights, and the cross, with which the world was enlightened, will be manifested. There will be variance of men's will in future times, when this signal shall be shown. Ye priests, before coming even a quarter of a league, ye shall see the cross, which will appear and lighten up the sky from north to south. The worship of vain gods shall cease. Your father cometh, O Itzalans! Your father cometh, O Iantumites! Receive your bearded guests from the east, who bring the signal of the God who cometh to us in mercy and pity. The time of our life is coming. Ye have nothing to fear from the world. Thou art the living God, who created us in mercy. The words of God are good. Let us lift up His signal, to see it and adore it. We must raise the cross in opposition to the falsehood we now see. Before the first tree of the world now is a manifestation made to the world; this is the signal of a God on high. Adore this, ye people of Itza. Let us adore it with uprightness of heart. Let us adore Him who is our God, the true God. Receive the word of the true God, for He who speaketh to ye cometh from heaven. Ponder this well, and be the men of Itza. They who believe shall have light in the age that is to come. I your teacher and master, Balám, warn and charge you to look at the importance of my words. Thus have I finished what the true God commanded me to say, that the world might hear it.”