All the inhabitants of Java are nominally Mohammedans, but, in the interior especially, a number of gross and idolatrous practices are mixed up with the performance of its ceremonies, while the upper orders especially are very lax in their principles. Most of them, in spite of the law of their prophet prohibiting the use of wine and spirits, drink them whenever they can be procured.
And he understood the prodigious vanity of these people, haunted by the glory of their ancestors, spellbound by the past of their city, declaring that she contains everything, that they themselves cannot know her thoroughly, that she is the sphinx who will some day explain the riddle of the universe, that she is so great and noble that all within her acquires increase of greatness and nobility, in such wise that they demand for her the idolatrous respect of the entire world, so vivacious in their minds is the illusive legend which clings to her, so incapable are they of realising that what was once great may be so no longer.
As for us, the priests placed us on board a ship without sails or rudder, and we were delivered over to the waters of the sea to the end that we should perish. But the God who loved us in His mortal life mercifully led us to the harbour of this town. Alas! the people of Marseilles are avaricious, idolatrous and cruel. They permit the disciples of Jesus to die of hunger and cold.
Chatham personally superintended the matter of offhand translation, and this practise was kept up daily from the time the boy was eight years old until he was nineteen, when his father died. Then there was the tutor Pretyman who must not be left out. He was a combination valet and teacher, and the most pedantic and idolatrous person that ever moused through dusty tomes.
Its chapels and shrines formerly adorned with rich sculptures and costly ornaments, but stripped of them at times when they were looked upon as idolatrous and profane, were now occupied by nurses, chirurgeons, and their attendants; while every niche and corner was filled with surgical implements, phials, drugs, poultices, foul rags, and linen.
On the other side, he judged, that if the injustice and cruelty of the tyrant remained unpunished, what an inducement it might be to other idolatrous kings, for them to persecute the new converts in their turn; that the only means for repairing the past, and obviating future mischiefs, was to dispossess the tyrant of the crown, which he so unjustly wore, and restore it to his brother, to whom it rightfully belonged; that, for these considerations, recourse ought to be had to the Portuguese to engage them, by a principle of religion, to take arms against the usurper of the kingdom, and the persecutor of the Christians.
"I perceive," said he, "two dangers, which are almost inevitable in this affair; on the one side, there is great cause of apprehension, lest the idolatrous merchant, having received the price of my passage, should throw me overboard, or leave me on some desart isle; on the other side, lest the governor of Canton should discharge his fury upon me, and make me an example to all strangers, by putting me to a cruel death, or condemning me to perpetual imprisonment.
For a century thereafter a village of huts built upon the ruins occupied the site of the city; then the idolatrous Emperor Hadrian rebuilt the city, laying out the streets to suit his pagan ideas, and for two centuries it was a pagan city whose people were devoted to the worship of strange gods and regarded not the sacred places.
The great mounds on the plain of Shinar, and the pyramids of Egypt are the eternal monuments of the religious devotion of these ancient people. Their religion was, however, filled with all sorts of idolatrous abuses and God called Abraham to be the leader of a purer religious life and to be the father of a people from whom would come the Great Revealer of all religious truth.
He thought he could still see his father the imposing, solemn don Ramón sauntering about the patio, his hands behind his back, answering in a few impressive words the questions flung at him by his party adherents, who followed him about with idolatrous eyes. If the old man could only have come back to life that morning to see how his son had been acclaimed by the entire city!...