« السابقةمتابعة »
fered us her house to meet in, on condition that we would not sing. We met on thic Sunday following. After a discourse which I delivered, I said, "My brethren and sisters, I take your opinion; judge, is it proper that we should sing a hymn to God, or not? I will not do it of myself, for I do not wish to expose you in any thing." Madame AUGUSTINE trembling said, with several others, “ It is right we should sing a hymn to the LORD : sing, Brother.” Then we sang, and we continued to do so. Almighty God is with us ; blessed be his name. Amen. Some have been turned aside, but I need not represent to you the conduct of those weak ones, who have been under the power of fear three years. What courage is necessary on such occasions! He who has not for his sole end the glory of God, cannot con. tinue without sin; he is exposed as AARON was, to make a golden calf to satisfy the inconstancy of tbe inconstant. I thank God that he has given me courage to go from house to house to converse with the people on God's word.
“We bave succeeded, by the grace of God, in re-establishing the classes. There are now six, consisting some of thirteen, and others of fourteen members. There is an assembly on Sunday morning. Two classes meet during the day, two on Monday, and two on Thursday: and I propose, according as I have begun, to visit each once a fortnight, to help them to continue in the LORD. We have assemblies also on Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday evenings. Stones are sometimes thrown; and some strangers attend now and then. On Saturday, our brethren and sisters come down from the mountains, to be present at the Sunday worship, and return on Monday very early; and it is in this poor people that we see JESUS CHRIST in the greatest fulness. We continue our assemblies in the house of MRS. AUGUSTINE.
“Lately the LORD has put a thought into my mind, and, after consulting two or three of my brethren, we have decided on collecting for building a house, which shall be dedicated to the LORD for bis people to meet in. All our brethren and sisters are glad at the undertaking. And we have already made three collections. The collection is made once a fortnight : all of good-will give what they can. I believe the LORD will finish this work for the glory of his name. We cannot, at present, teach the Catechism to children, because Mrs. Augustine's is a family. house; and we must, apparently, make the collection a long time before we have sufficient to purchase ground and materials, or a house already built. Our collection is very small, for we are all poor in this world; but the LORD will provide. No one would let a house to us: and rents are high, and our means small. O LORD, help us for thy glory! O God, grant us pastors to feed us. O good Shepherd, send thy servants to collect thy sheep, that they may be of one fold.
“ Salute for me all the saints, and especially the pastors. Let them take courage, and seek the dispersed of the house of Israel, and the poor among the Gentiles, and bring them to the good Shepberd, who is the door of the fold.”
Dominica.—The following extract of a Letter from Mr. Catrs, dated May 27, 1823, shews that religion is still prospering in that Island:
“ It affords me pleasure to state that our new chapel was opened on LORD's day, the 11th inst. To us it was an occasion of no small interest; and, I believe, our friends in general partook in our joy. The Right Hon. the EARL of HunTINGDON, with his usual zeal and condescension, did us the honour of attending the forenoon-service. His Lordship was accompanied by his daughter, LADY SELINA HASTings, and several most respectable Ladies and Gentlemen, amongst whom were the Chief Judge, the Hon. A. GLOSTER, and the Attorney-General the Hon. W. BLANE. The time was solemn as well as joyful, and, I trust, will be remembered with good effect. In the group of worshippers, I could not but observe the negroes, whose sable faces, washed with the tears of gratitude, formed a striking contrast, to those countenances whose sparkling eyes expressed unfeigned delight. The building seems to afford general satisfaction. The services of the day were conducted by Brother HARRISON and myself. I preacbed in the forenoon from 1 Kings viii. 27. Brother HARRISON preacbed in the evening an appropriate sermon from the latter part of Exod. xx. 24. The collection amounted to £60 currency, which makes the contributions towards the chapel, in all, nearly £1000 currency, about half of the whole cost of erection and purchase of land. The congregation, since the opening, has been good, and promises to continue so, especially on Sabbath evenings. The pews not being quite finished, are not yet rented, but I believe the applications will be very numerous.
"A few days ago, his Lordship the Governor informed me of his intention of making provision for supplying the whole Colony with the means of grace, according to the religious professions of the different quarters of the island, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant.
“ A Church Missionary Auxiliary Society has recently been formed here. Mr, Dawes, the agent of the Parent Society, has opened a day Day-School in this town; others are likely to be opened in the country for the benefit of slavechildren.
“Mr. Laing's estates continue to be visited regularly hy Brother HARRISON, and afford considerable encouragement. Several of the negroes have lately joined the Society; and many, who have been members for some time, walk worthy of their bigh vocation. The children are regularly catechised on the different es, tates, when the Missionary pays his preaching visits.
“Our Societies are generally in a good state. We are adding a few in every place, and some have lately found peace with God. If we could only give the country places service once a fortnight, and visit the estates in rotation as often as might be practicable, I have no doubt but the English part of Dominica would be a fruitful field, amply repaying those who give, those who pray, and those who preach. May the Lord be favourable to this people, and supply their spiritual wants."
Palestine. The Society is preparing to fit out a Mission for this place. A proposal is made for fifty friends to subscribe tep guineas each toward the outfit of a Mişsignary to Jerusalem, which is likely to succeed. A benevolent friend writes from the Lincoln District :.." Such a plan presents many claims worthy of notice; hut there is one not to þe overlooked. The contributors in this way will feel a sort of relationship with their Missionary, for him, and for his Mission, they will be peculiarly solicitous; so that with whatever zeal and frequency they may pray for other endeared objects of regard, they will never forget their Missionary, and his errand of mercy! To contemplate him scattering on the very spot where the Saviour of the world : died for sinners, will awaken emotions as new and delightful as those which the revivisence of a long departed and lamented friend would occasion. The inclosed £50 in furtherance of the plan, is the offering of a friend in this district." -Wesleyan Missionary Notices.
Devil Worship in Ceylon. Mr. Clough, who has lately relprned from Ceylon, for the benefit of his health, gives the following account of this horrid worship among the natives of this Island:
"In Ceylon, there exists, at least, five distinct systems of heathen idolatry; namely, Braminism, Buddhism, Capoism, Baliism, and Yakadurism : and a minute description of these different forms of idolatry, the nature and tendency of the ceremonies connected with them, and the demoralizing etfects which they seyerally have upon the native inhabitants, would excite the deepest sympathies in behalf of these benighted heathens.
“ The account here given is respecting that form of Singhalese idolatry which is called Yakadurism; the literal meaning of which is, The expulsion of devils : but when the yoholę round of its ceremonies is considered, it properly means, The worship of devils! Whether such a form of idolatry does really exist in any part of the heathen world, has, I am aware, been called in question. That people, at a distance from the spot where such scenes are practised, should entertain doubts, is not to be wondered at ; for, on the first annunciation of so deplorable a fact as that of the Devil being worshipped, the thing appears altogether so shocking, that very strong testimonies are required 10 make such a relation of human woe at all credible. But this paper will be filled up with a statement of a few facts, collected by one who has been many years resident in the country, and has availed himself of every means of information on the subject; and, for the purpose of satisfying his own mind, has often done violence to his feelings, by being present on occasions when these horrid ceremonies have been performed :--and it is hoped that a testimony of this kind will give additional weight to similar statements which have been of ten made in Missionary and other communications from that part of the world. VOL. VI.
Therefore I now state, and I wish it to be heard in every corner of the Christia# world, that the Deril is regularly, systematically, and ceremoniously worshipped by a large majority of the native inhabitants of the Island of Ceylon! The established heathenism of this island is Buddhism, which both condemns and prohibits the worship of devils : at the same time, the essential principles of Buddhism are such, as open the way for the introduction and establishment of the degrading notions which have established this species of Satanic adoration in this country. Buddha was an atheist, in the most absolute sense of the word : his writings, or, more properly, the writings of his learned followers, which are very voluminous, exhibit a most complete and sophistical system of atheism. In these writings, the eternity of matter is asserted; the existence of a Creator is unequivocally denied; every idea of the existence of one Eternal Almighty God, the maker and upholder of alt things, is banished from the minds of the reflecting Buddhists: they are truly left in the state described by the Apostle," without God in the world.” They have no “ Universal Father ;' no divine Superintending power; the world bas no moral and righteous Governor; and, consequently, no final Judge! So that, strange and affecting as the statement may appear, yet it is an awful fact, that, in every part of the world where Buddhism has established its atheistical influence, the inhabitants are left to the uncontrolled dominion of the devil! And in such regions, presenting so few obstacles to the usurpations of the grand adversary of mankind, Satan has established his throne,-usurped ugiversal empire,-legislated for his own dominions,-dictated the form of his own government, and prescribed the religious ceremonies (if such words can be used) that are most congenial to his own mind. Viewing a large proportion of the family of man under such circumstances, it is by no means difficult to conjecture what would be the nature and tendency of a system of devotion dictated by the Devil, and of which he himself was to be the object. And such is the idolatry in question, one of the ceremonies of which is given in this account.
" It is a humiliating fact, that wbile Buddhism has made so many successful efforts to erase from the minds of men all ideas of the existence of a God, their writings every where abound with accounts of the Devil. For during the 350 transmigrations of Buddha, in the different bodies he assumed, the existence of the Devil is acknowledged, and Buddha meets him at every turn as his grand and chief adversary. And a native painting, made in the Burman Empire, is now by me, representing Buddba's last grand confliet with the Prince of Devils, who is leading on an army of Devils to oppose his assumption of the character of Buddba. So that, in these writings, the existence of the Devil is acknowledged, and he is recognized also in bis own infernal character. In the form of Devil worship established in Ceylon, this Chief of Devils, in his own real character, is also recognized and acknowledged. Under him is a succession of subordinate devils, of different sizes, dispositions and colours! These all have to do with human affairs. In a word, the world, and all things in it, is under their controul and government. The demon worship of the Greeks and Romans acknowledged good as well as evil demons. But from all I have ever been able to collect, I have never yet heard of a benevolent being in the worsbip, as practised in Ceylon. They are all evil; exercising a most wicked and malicious influence over the affairs of men : and on this account the natives are in continual fear of them. Hence, a very sensible native young man, in my company one evening, refused to pass under a large tree which overhangs the road : and on my asking his reasons, he told me, with great gravity, that every branch and twig of that tree was full of devils. The ideas which the natives have formed of the nature and character of these objects of their devotion, may be inferred, both from the accounts given of them in their books, their attempts at representing them in pictures, and the manner in which they invariably speak of them : all of which, if we may add the services rendered them, go to show that these invisible beings, in the opinion of the Natives, are wicked, malignant, mischievous, cruel, -in a word, diabolical and such are the objects of devotion pointed out by the Yakadurism of Ceylon.
« This system of idolatry bas its prescribed forms, which are found in records, the antiquity of which it is not easy to trace. It bas its priests, and round of established ceremonies, which point out, in all their appalling display, the place from whence they sprang. The object to which all these lead, is the Devil. From the brief sketch just taken of the atheistical opinions of the people, it is plain be must be considered by them as the being into whose hands fail the government and sole management of human affairs. To conciliate the esteem and friendship
of the Devil, or, more properly, to avoid his malignant or mischievous interference in their concerns, the Natives propitiate him by various offerings and ceremonies, which it is impossible in this place to detail. The chief actors in these ceremonies are the Yakadurayas. These men are supposed to carry on continual intercourse with the Devil : they are also supposed not only to have a particular acquaintance with him, but also great influence over him. I here give no opinion on this subject: but on my questioning these men in private, whether or not they really did hold converse with the Devil, they have replied in the affirmative; and yet such has been their confusion or peculiar agitation of mind on these occasions, that I have had reason to believe they made the confession reluctantly, and with no design to impose on me.' However, this I leave; only remarking, that in the person and whole deineanour of these men, there is something exceedingly strange and unaccountable; and I never could prevail on one of them to look me in the face. They generally converse with much agitation; and I never met one in the country, on the road, but he would really hide his head in the jungle till I had passed. These men, having a particular knowedge of the devils, are resorted to in cases when persons dedicate themselves to one of these infernal beings; which is a practice of the natives to place themselves under the protection of the devil. I forbear to describe the ceremonies practised on these occasions of self-dedication to Satan. Like most of their works of darkness,' they are performed in the night. Children, at the hour of their birth, are generally dedicated to some one of these evil beings. And it is an awful fact, that in hundreds and thousands of instances, the poor deluded people are so anxious to place themselves and all connected with them under the care and protection of the devil, that their children are solemnly dedicated to bim before they are born! In such cases, the first thing put on the body of the infant, at the period of its birth, is the amulet or the charm, or, in other words, the writing which contains the name, the colour, the office, the influence, and general character of that devil to whom the child is dedicated
"So general does this superstition prevail, that in a sermon I once heard the worthy Petrus Panddetta Sekera preach out of doors to a large congregation, against the worship of devils, he made a solemn appeal to his congregation, and said, that he feared almost every individual who heard him that day was living in the practice of Devil Worship.' He stated, also, a fact which shows to what an extent the superstition prevails :-That when he was a priest of Buddha, he com. menced a journey to the city of Kandy, with a number of other priests, to attend a celebrated festival. They arrived at a certain place, one evening, said to be under the government of a very noted devil; and all his companions feared to pass through that part of his dominions, without making some offering to him. Petrus, heathen as he was at the time, remonstrated with his fellow travellers, but in vain: every one of them went to the place where the devil was worshipped, and, by an act of devotion, acknowledged their submission to his power.
" When the Portuguese had possession of the Island of Ceylon, they probībited Devil Worship by government regulations, and made it a capital offence for any one to profess himself a Devil Priest. The Dutch enacted laws against it, but less rigorous. How far such measures were successful, it is difficult to say ; but it is a fact, that the delusion has so complete a hold on the hearts of the people, and occupies their hopes and fears so strongly, that nothing but the Gospel of Christ can effectually succeed in eradicating its principles, and destroying its practice. Of late years, many important steps have been taken towards a complete overthrow of this system. The Missionaries, on the various Stations, they now occupy, have directed much of their attention to it, and exposed it by every prudent means; and in all our Schools among the Children, the horror of this wicked worship is deeply impressed on their minds. So successful bave we been in this respect, that the Christian Youths, taught in our Schools, not only refuse to have any thing to do with such ceremonies themselves, but, by the most public opposition, manifest their dislike. When they hear of preparations being made, in any house, for what is called a Devil dance, a small party of them will often go to the spot, remonstrate with the people, and, if their own arguments will not avail, threaten to inform, and bring the Missionary, which is generally successful. In the large and populous village of Colpetty, I have knowa many instances in which our elder boys have, by their own exertions, put down these vile ceremonies : hence, in that village, which a few years ago abounded with such practices, a ceremony of this kind is now scarcely ever performed. At another large and populous village, about two miles to the south of Colpetty, where the same practices were very
prevalent, a number of Yakadurayas and Cappoas united together, to have a grand ceremong, which was to continue a week, and at which thousands of people were expected to attend with offerings. In this village several pious Natives reside, who have been truly converted to God: they were shocked to witness the preparations going on : they united to protest against the ceremony, exerted all their influence to prevent it; and came to me, to beg I would assist them. I went to the spot, witnessed the shocking preparations, and shall never forget the zeal of the pious Natives, who were principally females. After contending the matter for two days, with a whole host of devil's priests, our friends succeeded in preventing this ceremony from being performed; and, pleasing to tell, these men have scarcely ever since been able to raise their heads in public.
“Our excellent friend, George Nadoris, a short time before I left the country, was takep very ill, and ordered, by the doctors, to go to bis native village for a change of air. That village (Amblom Goddy) is tbe most notorious in the island for Devil Worship, and is proverbially given up to it. When George arrived there, he was instantly surrounded by his family, his friends, and their numerous connections, entreating him to allow them to send for the devil's priest, to expel the devil, and cure bim of his disorder. But George was firm, and proof against all the attempts made upon him; and not only opposed these practices, as they related to his own case, but continued, while there, to reason with the people on their wickedness; and assured them, that Christianity had taught bim to look to God, and to cast all his concerns into the hands of a merciful Saviour, Jesus Christ.God graciously raised him up from the bed of death, restored him to his friends and his work again ; and, on bis return to Colombo, I bad from himself the particulars of this Christian triumph over the works of darkness.
“One of those agents of Satarr, with whom I had much conversation on the subject, lately begged a New Testament from me, which I gave him, on his solemnly promising me, he would take care of it, and read it with attention and prayer. A day or two before I went on board ship, be came from his village, about fifteen miles from Colombo, and brougbl a petition, signed by about fifty of the chief inen of the village, requesting a Christian School, with the names of about fifty Children as a commencement. He offered himself as the Master; and engaged, if we would help and stand by him, he would not only teach the School on Christian Principles, but would drive the Worship of the Devil both from bis own and the neighbouring villages.”
CREEK INDIAN MISSION. Extract of a Letter from Rev. William Capers, Superintendent of the Creek Indian
Mission, dated September 27th, 1823.
“I am now but just returned from Asbury. I would have liked you to witness my arrival there. As soon as I was seen, the hills resounded with “ Mr. Capers is come, Mr. Capers is come," and presently I was surrounded with a crowd of eager, affectionate, rejoicing children. They sing 'sweetly with us in our family devotions; and behave on all religious occasions with a decorum which I never saw equalled among children at home. Indeed, both for their easy subordination, and careful attention to our instructions--the quietness of their temper-ilieir respectful and affectionate behaviour towards us and the progress of many of them in learning, they would excel on comparison with any school I ever knew. One of our boys within three months. from his letters, bas learned to read in the Testament. It will not surprise you to hear that the hearts of these children gently open to the truths of religion. On Sabbath I baptized Mr. Martin (hired to manage our little farm) and administered the Lord's Supper. While in that moral desert we were thus solitarily employed, our children bathed in tearsbowed at their seats, and sobbing out their prayers, gave a heart-cheering earnest of what shall be. May God bless then with continued instruction and the salvation of his Son desus Christ."