Overland to Bahia


THE territory embraced in three journeys includes the State of Espirito Santo and parts of Minas Geraes and Bahia. The State of Espirito Santo lies on the sea-coast north of Rio de Janeiro. It is about 245 miles in length from north to south and about eighty-five in width from east to west. The land along the seacoast is for the most part low and sandy; the Rio Doce (Sweet River) divides the State into nearly two equal parts, and about its mouth along the coast and for some distance interior there are many lakes and the land is marshy. This section is covered with tropical growths peculiarly adapted to the soil, such as the Guriry Palm, a great variety of plants of the genus myrtus and of cactus. Through the interior both to the north and south of the valley of the Rio Doce the lands are much higher and become mountainous or hilly, and with this elevation the climate and vegetation change considerably; along the coast it is damp and hot, while in the highlands it becomes dry and milder. Fevers, dysentery and other diseases common in the tropics are frequent in this section. There are a number of small rivers which rise in the mountains and flow eastward into the ocean, very few of which furnish navigation except for canoes, barges or small boats of very light draft. The Leopoldina Company has a few miles of railroad in operation in the southern portion of the State, and there is a line from Victoria, the capital which extends about fifteen miles into the interior; both these lines are to be extended and others are projected. From this it will be seen that the transportation of our Bibles through this State must be carried on principally by means of pack-mules. Victoria, the capital, a city of about 8,000 inhabitants, is on the island from which the State takes its name. On the 23rd of May, 1535, Vasco Fernandes entered what he thought to be the mouth of a river, and the day being the Sunday of the Holy Spirit, he gave it the name of River of the Holy Spirit. As the land on which he first placed foot proved afterwards to be an island, it took the same name, which was later given to the province. The early settlers built a village and gave it the name of Nossa Senhora da Victoria (Our Lady of Victory) before they had even fought a battle with the wild tribes. There is no other town in the State of more than three or four thousand inhabitants.

We first reach the city of Victoria by steamer from Rio de Janeiro, a distance of about 265 miles. As our steamer winds along the narrow inlet the characteristic cone-shaped hills and bare rocks rise in irregular heights to the right and left. On the top of one of these great stones stands the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, or as most generally called, Nossa Senhora da Penha, founded by the Jesuits about 1565. The history of the transportation of images from European countries to Brazil and the combination of Roman Catholic traditions and inventions with the pagan worship of the Indians whom the priests have sought to Romanize rather than to Christianize, would be in a large measure the history of Brazil until within the last fifty years. The savages were awed by the ceremonies and by the mysteries which were preached to them, and one may readily imagine the condition of the people who have been for three centuries under the influence of such superstitions. Our efforts to circulate the Bible among them met with great difficulty. Only a very few out of each hundred of the population could read, and fewer still were sufficiently free from the influence and dominion of Romanism to even listen for a few minutes to what the colporteur might have to say about the Book of God. However, we have several times thoroughly canvassed the city of Victoria and extended the work in every direction throughout the province, and on the whole a considerable number of Scriptures have been put into the hands of the people. The reading of the Word has awakened in some a desire to know more of the way of salvation and at different times missionaries have been invited to establish work in Victoria and other places. A few visits have been made in response to these calls, but as yet no one has been able to establish any permanent work. The population being small and scattered, the climate for the most part hot and damp, the roads very rough and difficult, the means of travel and transportation meagre, and the people generally backward and indifferent, it may not be surprising that the missionaries have established themselves in more populous and inviting sections. Our colporteurs still continue to make their journeys among the people and leave with them every time copies of the Scriptures, hoping that some souls may find the light and that by and by the mission work of the churches may extend into this State also. On one occasion one who had spent several months labouring amidst the difficulties of that section, wrote me as follows: "I have been sick, but have not on that account ceased working. I have gone through sunshine and rain selling Bibles, Testaments, and Gospels. I was in the State of Espirito Santo where I sold a number of books. The people are ignorant but not fanatical. The priest of São Lourenço did all he could to persuade those who had bought Bibles to tear them up and burn them; and even tried this with a poor man to whom I had given a book, because he desired to read it and had no money to pay for it." This same man in one month's time had sold seventy-two Bibles, fifty-one New Testaments, and sixty Gospels.

Some thousands of German and other colonists have settled in the province of Espirito Santo. Some of them have prospered and are still doing well; the progress of others has been retarded by want of roads, the unfavorable nature of the soil and the climate. In the year 1890 a German colporteur spent three months visiting the colonists; he had large sales and was greatly encouraged in his work, and has since made another successful canvass of those communities. Many of these colonists are Protestant, and their presence has had a somewhat enlightening and liberalizing influence among the few Brazilians. Protestant worship has been greatly neglected, but the younger generation furnish a fruitful field for missionary effort, and through them access may be had to the Brazilian element of society round about.

Two of our colporteurs in the year 1898 visited the interior of Espirito Santo, and reported encouraging sales notwithstanding the bitter opposition of the priests. The style of argument found most effective in dealing with the opposition they described as follows:

1. Which is the most important, the Word of God or the word of the padre. Generally the answer was: "The Word of God."

2. If the Bible is incorrect and false why do not your priests produce and distribute a true and correct edition? No reply.

3. Why do not your priests take the trouble to explain wherein they are false, and prove by comparison and otherwise that they are so? Silence.

But more effective still was their testimony as to what the Word of God had accomplished for them individually.

As they left the railroad behind they met many people who did not know what the Bible was. One asked if they wrote it themselves. Another wanted to know if it was a religious book, or if it was against religion. One man said he believed it was "positivisto," while in another case a sale was effected only after assurance that the book was not "republicano." There were of course, exceptions. One man in Bicudos, had a Testament, and in the same place there was a poor old school-master, who recognized the book and desired to possess one, but had not the money. When presented with a Testament he expressed such gratitude as thoroughly to convince them of his desire for light.

One interesting fact connected with the work in Victoria is that the Bible presented to the public library (open every day free), is placed upon the reading table so as to attract the attention of all who visit the place. This same library takes two evangelical papers.

In 1891, I made a long mule-back journey northward through the centre of the State of Espirito Santo into the State of Bahia. My companions for the journey were the colporteurs Sr. Leopoldina da Costa and Sr. Antonio Marques, a young man just starting in the work; the former was a man of considerable experience. Starting from Ouro Preto we visited a gold mine at Passagem. The Englishmen in charge received us kindly and were very courteous. There were about five hundred men at work, crushing on an average of four thousand tons of stone per month, from which they extracted about one hundred and twenty pounds of gold. in all the region round about Ouro Preto and Passagem are to be seen the remains of once very extensive gold mining enterprises.

About the year 1699 an explorer through this region discovered gold in the Rio Vermelho (Red River) and the miners soon thereafter built a village, which by a royal letter from D. João V. dated April 23, 1745, was raised to the rank of a city, with the name Marianna, in honour of the Austrian princess who sat upon the throne of Portugal. As we entered this town of Marianna, every thing presented an old and dilapidated appearance, the streets being very rough and badly paved, with grass and weeds growing between the stones. Many of the houses and some of the churches were apparently in ruins. The dullness of the place was evidence that we were in a clerical and not a commercial city. This is the seat of one of the old and famous Bishoprics of Brazil. There are now nine churches, the seminary and Bishop's residence, in this small place of a few thousand inhabitants. A considerable number of students for the priesthood (big black ants, as they are here sometimes called), strolled through the streets and hung listlessly about the shops and little stores. The storekeepers leaning with their elbows over the counters, looked vacantly into the streets or sat on stools smoking cigarettes. A number of old negro women and other beggars wandered along the streets, picking up rags and asking alms; many children were seen about the doors while others were playing with the pigs and dogs. The priests were numerous, and occasionally we saw elegantly dressed men and women of refinement and education. In this town also is a girls' school, or convent, conducted by the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paulo. A traveller who had visited and investigated a number of these girls' schools, wrote in regard to this one at Marianna. "After a course of six or eight years' study, the girl 'comes out' in a peculiar state of ignorance, and supplied with certain remarkable superstitions and ascetic ideas, such as dislike to society, aspirations to the life of a 'religious,' which in a young country like Brazil, cannot be too strongly deprecated, and a predilection for penance and mortification which everywhere should be obsolete. Of this house it is said an orphan girl, one of the pupils, when called upon to sign her name, could not write. This latter assertion is said to have been published in an official paper, and led to investigations, the results of which astonished the Brazilian people."

As we went about the streets, offering the Word of God, we met two English families who had drifted into the town from among the miners. One woman, who longed to get back to old England, had one child in Africa, one in the United States, one in Australia, and two here in Brazil. The story of her life and her present circumstances away here in the mountainous mining region of Brazil among strangers, was a most pathetic one. We were glad to read to her comforting messages from the Word of God and pray with her.

In the afternoon of the second day, at the village of Morro Agua Quente (Hill of Hot Water), I met an old man who had had a Bible for ten years. He invited me into his humble little hut and we had a most precious time together talking of the wonderful things revealed in that book. He had heard of this wonderful book's being sold in the city of Rio de Janeiro, and when a merchant from his village was going to lay in his annual stock of goods, he asked him to buy a Bible for him. It was marvellous to find a man, who had lived all his life in the midst of such superstition and idolatry as abounded in that section, so well instructed in the Word. He had never heard the preaching of the Gospel, but had been taught of the Spirit the truth of which he had been reading.

Just at sunset I wandered outside the village and saw a number of women who had come to fill their waterpots from one of the small streams that dash down the mountain side. I noticed that they all carried small pebbles or pieces of stone in their jars, which they would carefully take out and put in again after washing the pots. To my inquiry, one of them replied that these stones were from Our Lady of the Grotto, and were kept in the pots to purify the water. They all seemed to believe firmly that no one would ever get sick from drinking the water so long as one of these little stones was kept in the vessel. I found upon further investigation that in the mountain side near by was a natural grotto dedicated to Our Lady, and that the stalactites broken therefrom were believed to possess miraculous virtues. When one of the women was asked if she would sell one of the stones, she seemed quite horrified at the idea, but said she would exchange it for any small amount. It is considered a great sin to sell any of the miracleworking objects, saints, images, etc., but they are very freely exchanged for money; a distinction without a difference. One great objection the priests make to our Bible work is, that if we do chance to have the Word of God, we are committing the great sin of making merchandise of it. I obtained the use of a little schoolhouse and preached that night to the man who had the Bible, his family and a number of friends.

At the next neighbouring village I called on the priest, with whom I had a long conversation. He very vigorously defended the worship of saints and the supposed miracle-working virtues of the stones and water from the grotto near by; but before we parted, he admitted that the doctrine of salvation alone by faith in Christ seemed most reasonable and likely to be true.

The town of Santa Barbara, including the outlying district, has a population of about two thousand, but the people seemed the most fearfully priest-ridden and superstitious that we had met with on the journey. In the immediate vicinity is a mountain rising some five thousand feet, but the grandeur and magnificence of the wonders of nature have been by the priest converted into great mysteries, and objects of superstitious adoration; the people have been taught to worship the creature rather than the Creator. We often quoted Ps. 121, 1, 2, and prayed that the people might learn this truth. We sold a few copies of the Scriptures in each town and village visited and occasionally one by the wayside. Judged in the light of our special work, we would say that fanaticism, ignorance and poverty characterize the people of that section of the country. When offered the Scriptures, the most general reply was: "I don't know how to read." The next was: "This is a false Bible and a bad book, and we can't read it unless our priest tells us we may," and a few would reply: "I have no money." The last was the objection offered by the fewest persons and was most easily met, for we never fail under such circumstances, to supply all who are desirous of reading the Bible. The second objection furnished ground for conversation and argument, and many times the fanatical and superstitious were persuaded to buy and read the words of light and salvation. But what could one, whose special business it is to offer to the people the printed book, say in the face of inability to read?

After we had crossed over a hill and entered a beautiful valley, leaving the mountains out of sight, we came to a small village; the priest had already heard of our coming and had warned the people against us. He told the people that a Protestant was one who protested against the Catholic Church. Many in consequence of this would not come near or hear what we had to say, having been taught that we did not believe in God, worshipped devils, etc.

We travelled for several days through a hilly section of country, visiting villages and country settlements, leaving here and there copies of the Word and talking with many of Jesus and his salvation. At one village a large number of women attended the preaching, a very unusual occurrence. The audience was so attentive and orderly, and seemed so delighted with the singing that I ventured to try to teach them two or three little choruses. The next morning early as we were saddling our mules for the day's journey, I heard two sweet voices from a little mud hut on a hillside above the village singing one of the choruses, the sense of which was: I am certain that Jesus died for me." The hills round about echoed the sweet strains and the villagers listened in amazement, wondering what it all meant. For the next two or three days our journey was through a rough section of country, where many of the hills were covered with white pebbles or small stones, which in the distance looked like snow. The next place of importance visited was Conceição (Conception); the population of the town and its immediate surroundings is about 6,000, while that of the municipal district is 45,000. I found the president of the town council to be a very liberal minded man, having been a member of the constituent assembly in the formation of the Republic. The recent separation of Church and State had made a deep impression in that section, and many were ready to hear the Gospel and buy Bibles. On Saturday the weekly mails arrived from the railroad, having been brought on horse-back several days journey. A large proportion of the men of the town were gathered around the post-office while the postmaster called in a loud Voice the name on each letter and paper. While this distribution of the mail was going on, one of the colporteurs got into the crowd and began to offer the Bible and talk about the Gospel to them. Presently the priest of the town appeared and began to condemn the book as a false Bible and warned the people not to buy. The colporteur challenged him to prove the falsity of his Bibles. The crowd grew much interested and excited. Finally the postmaster requested the priest and the colporteur to retire from the small room to give way for those coming for their mail. The priest admitted that the only way to verify his accusation was to compare our Bibles with a Bible approved by the Roman Catholic Church. The colporteur then proposed that they go to his house as he had such a Bible; some forty or fifty men followed them, curious to see what would happen. They began by comparing passage by passage in the two Bibles, and much to the confusion of the priest, they were found to be the same in substance, though there were slight differences now and then in the language. During the discussion several men exclaimed: "The young man (the colporteur), knows more about the priest's Bible than he does himself." It was a great victory for our cause. The colporteur in a few minutes sold all the Bibles he had on hand and returned for more. We were all kept busy during the remainder of the day talking with interested persons and supplying those who desired to buy. I applied to the mayor, or president of the town council, for the use of the town hall for preaching on Sunday. He gave me his card: "Costa Senna, Deputado ao Congresse Federal e Presidente da Intendencia," and wrote an order to "Place the town hall at the disposition of Mr. Tucker and the ministers of whatever worship." Many persons thought we would have been refused, since the president of the council was the son of the vicar of the town, the same with whom the young colporteur had had the discussion. Such instances are numbered by the hundreds in Brazil. This gentleman, Dr. Costa Senna, now vice-governor of the State of Minas Geraes, not only gave permission to use the town hall, but came himself and heard the preaching. At the hour marked for preaching on Sunday, the large town hall was filled with men curious to see and hear. I read them the story of Philip and the Eunuch, and, following Philip's example, preached unto them Jesus. Many of them had bought Bibles and were reading; the question I pressed upon each was; "Understandest thou what thou readest?" After the sermon about twenty men remained to talk with us and to inquire further concerning the truth of the wonderful book. As we came down from the hall, I noticed that the jail was in the basement of the building, and that a number of prisoners were gazing at us through iron bars. We turned aside and preached to them Jesus, the Great Deliverer, and sang a few hymns. About sunset as I was walking along in front of a row of small thatch-roofed, mud huts, I saw a young man in one of them reading the Gospel of Mark; he asked if I had the Gospel of St. John. As we continued talking, a number of persons gathered in the street and I preached to them for some minutes, Christ and his love. At night a number sought us that they might hear more of the wonderful things in the Book of God. When we had finished our work on Monday, and were taking up our journey for other sections, I felt an intense desire to remain and follow up the awakening.

Two days later we visited a small village of very poor people. The village postmaster had a Bible that he had secured a year or two before in another section of the country, and he gave evidence of having read and studied the Word to good profit. The villagers looked upon him as really a wonderful man. What made him great among them was his knowledge of the book and his consistent daily life.

In the town of Serro, which has only a few thousand inhabitants, though the entire county, divided into twelve districts, has a population of about 75,000, a liberal minded lawyer offered his parlour for preaching, and at night, notwithstanding the pouring rain, we had quite a respectable number to hear for the first time the Gospel. During the day I met a man who had been reading the Bible for some time. His name was Cornelius and he seemed to be a "devout man, and one that feared God with all his house." They received me gladly and I perceived that "God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him," so this humble man, living in this far interior town, never having heard the voice of one of God's messengers, but with the Bible for his guide, had found the way of salvation. He was glad to buy Bibles for each of his three married children and those yet at home who could not read. In the spirit of that other Cornelius, who "called together his kinsmen and near friends" that they might hear from Peter all things that were commanded him of God, he came the next morning early and bought five Bibles to send to friends who lived outside the town. He and his wife were most grateful for the visit and for the opportunity of learning something more of the way of truth. While they were so happy in the knowledge of the Scriptures and were rejoicing in the good work being done that day, the priest of the town was busy in his efforts to destroy every copy of the Word we had sold, and was most bitter in his denunciation of us and our books. A few of the weaker ones gave up to him their books to be destroyed, but many seemed determined to hold on to them and to read them.

From this town our journey lay through a hilly, rocky, barren section of what was once a famous and rich diamond district, about 3,500 feet above the level of the sea, to the city of Diamantina. The crown of Portugal laid claim to all such wealth, and there was marked out in this district an almost circular section about fourteen leagues in diameter that was long known as the "Forbidden District of the Diamond." This city is the seat of a Roman Catholic Bishopric, and has a small Catholic seminary. It is a great commercial centre for all that interior mountainous region, and was for many years a prosperous diamond and gold market. More recently smaller industries have sprung up in the region round about as the production of diamonds and gold has decreased. One government school of some importance and several smaller schools are maintained in the city.

As we approached the town on a Friday afternoon, weary and worn with the two weeks' journey on muleback, I was much impressed with the seeming poverty and ignorance on every hand. Every effort to get lodging in the city failed but we found shelter in a ranch outside the tower. I inquired of our host how it was that we were unable to obtain lodging in any of the little hotels, and could not even rent one of the small houses that stood vacant about the place. He informed me that the bishop and priests had heard of our coming and had warned the people against us, threatening to excommunicate any one who would give us shelter. We then began to realize that our efforts to circulate the Scriptures there would be attended with great difficulties and much opposition. We had a comfortable night's rest under the shed, and early the next morning, after prayer together, the two colporteurs and I started to our work. I went first to visit the civil authorities and explain to them the object of our mission, and to obtain permission to sell our books. I was received politely by the president of the town council, who bore the illustrious name of Nelson. He belonged to the new order of things and was desirous that the New Republic, not yet two years old, should be well represented in his town for liberty and freedom, hence he gave permission to canvass the town without a license, and assured me of protection should any trouble arise. He seemed to be fully aware of the opposition and possible persecution that we might encounter. Later in the conversation, I asked if it would be possible to obtain the use of the town hall for preaching on the following day, Sunday. He was somewhat disturbed by this request and seemed to think this was asking too much. Finally I referred to the senator in the Federal Government from that district, to whom reference has above been made, and showed him the card by which he placed the town hail in Conceição at my disposal. He was inclined to follow the example of this leader, but thought it wise to first consult the council; he promised me a reply in the afternoon. By and by I returned to the ranch to meet the colporteurs for breakfast. They came in much discouraged, said they had never met with such opposition anywhere. After breakfast we prayed together and determined on further effort. A few persons came near and looked upon us, sneering and calling us "devils." Now and then we found one with whom we could converse a little. As we went about the streets, the people called us anti-Christ, and made the sign of the cross to protect themselves from the evil spirits which they supposed were in us: many turned their backs on us, others rushed in and shut their doors as we passed along the street. When the afternoon came, the two colporteurs were so thoroughly discouraged and alarmed for fear of some violence that they begged that we gather up our animals and leave the place. I felt constrained to remain and see if God would not open some door for us. Late in the afternoon a message came from the president of the town council saying that the hall would be placed at my orders for a public conference. I received this news with mingled joy and fear. Presently about twenty young students for the priesthood, all dressed in the long black gowns, marched by sneering and making all manner of remarks about the Protestant devils. As the night came on, a few men led by curiosity came near and inquired what we really did teach.

Sunday we arose to find the morning quite gloomy, a heavy mist and cloud having settled down over us during the night. The colporteurs, and perhaps I too, felt about as gloomy within as the atmosphere was without. In all my ministerial life I have never realized a deeper sense of responsibility mingled with human fear than on that Sunday morning as I thought of meeting the people who might come to the town hall to hear what I had to say. We had inquired the hours for mass in the Catholic Churches, which were numerous in that small place, and finally found that one o'clock P. M. would be an hour when the people were free from all engagements. The two colporteurs started early through the streets to distribute invitations. Many people refused to accept from their hands the little slips of paper on which the invitation was printed, others took them and tore them up in great disgust, while others still rolled them up in little balls and threw them in great indignation at the colporteurs. During this time I was engaged in prayer and an effort to collect well in mind my thoughts on the text, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve." The reports the men brought back were not well calculated to relieve, inspire or encourage me. I felt assured, however, that the Spirit was inclining my heart to speak from that particular text, and this assurance comforted me. The Mariolatry, the image and cross worship of the place were appalling. Hundreds literally kissed and worshipped the numerous crosses that stood on the corners of the streets and in front of the churches. The noise of church bells and the explosion of fire-rockets filled the air constantly. As the hour for preaching drew near, the sense of responsibility increased, as did also the sweet assurance of the Spirit's presence within my heart. When we reached the town hall we found about four or five hundred men and women standing as thickly jammed as they could be in the two large rooms, with a double door opening between. I had never stood before so large an audience of really curious hearers: apparently there was not one serious inquirer in all the company: many were ready for fun and ridicule, while others might even show violence. For an hour and more, aided by the Holy Spirit, I tried to talk to them out of the sacred Scriptures of real spiritual worship and service to the true and living God through faith in Jesus Christ. Curiosity soon changed into serious attention. The Spirit gave me liberty, my fears subsided, my heart warmed, and I was conscious of a power given me from on high which I had seldom or never felt in my ministry. Before I was through speaking, the change on the faces of my hearers was so marked that at times I could scarcely refrain from remarking on it; all were seriously thinking and some were moved to tears. At the close many inquired how it was possible for me to preach such things when their bishop and priests had said that we Protestants worshipped devils, and distributed a book full of lies. I stated publicly that these truths which I had spoken were in the Bible, the book they had despised and rejected the day before; and that I was now questioning in my own mind if we should make further effort to let them have it: however, I said, they could go to our ranch if they desired copies. In most perfect order and in great seriousness, they all retired. On the way back to our room, some boys, sent by a priest to hide around a corner, gave us quite a stoning. I tried to catch one of the boys, who in the struggle to get away, fell into a ditch about six feet deep: his screams and fears were such, as I tried to help him out, that I was forced to call in another man to rescue him. Thus ended the stoning.

Quite a number of men came asking for Bibles. It did not seem right even under these circumstances to sell Bibles on Sunday, so I asked them to come back early on Monday morning. This gave us occasion to talk for a long time and read the Word to many. Early next morning a number of persons came to buy Bibles, and during the next few days we sold many copies through the streets and in private houses. The change that had come over many of the people was wonderful, but the priests and others were indignant and really desired to do violence to us. I stood at the door of a small house offering the man a Bible, and was astonished to hear his little ten year old girl, who was much excited, say to me, "Go to hell with your book." The same spirit was shown by others, and utterance was frequently given to similar sentiments. However we had a glorious work for those two days in reading and explaining the Word, talking with interested inquirers, and selling Bibles. I secured the town hall for a second preaching service at five p. m., Tuesday afternoon. About an hour before the time, the rain began to pour down and continued until after six o'clock: but notwithstanding the rain, about 150 persons assembled to hear. The audience was attentive and deeply interested. At the close a young man with whom we had talked much, and who had been partly educated in a Presbyterian school in the State of São Paulo, asked permission to say a word. The audience desired to hear him. He then and there declared publicly that he was a Protestant, and said that only Protestants were true Christians. A number agreed with him, causing a great commotion, and many of the more devout Catholics protested, saying that only Apostolic Roman Catholics were Christians. We had a most exciting time for nearly half an hour, but finally all quieted down.

These were four eventful days full of intense excitement. Only eternity will reveal the full results of this our first effort to place the precious treasure of God's Word in the hands of the dwellers in that region of diamonds.

I was much impressed with the style of architecture of a large new church standing on an elevation. In exterior form it was a model of the beautiful stone church built by the Methodist Mission in Rio de Janeiro. Upon inquiry I learned that the architect had modelled it after the Methodist church; and to me it was a striking coincidence that this Catholic building, modelled after a Protestant church, was the first one I had seen in Brazil with an inscription over the door honouring Christ, these inscriptions generally being to the Virgin Mary or some saint.