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of THE
AMERICAN BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS FOR FOREIGN MISSIONS.

No. I. April, 1832.

The engraving above represents a method of self-torture which is very com-
mon among the Hindoos. It is called Churuku, or hook-swinging; and is per-
formed in honor of the god Siva, or the Destroyer, the second of the three
principal gods of the Hindoos. An abominable festival is celebrated in honor
of this god, when ridiculous and indecent ceremonies,” performed, and many
Hindoos, assuming the name of sunyasees, inflict on themselves the most awful
cruelties; such as casting themselves from stagings fifteen or twenty feet high
upon sharp spikes or knives set in bags of stra"; walking barefoot over heaps
of fire; running spits, canes, or rods through their tongues and sides, and
swinging on hooks thrust into the fleshy Parts of the back, as exhibited in the
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engraving. The following account of the manner of performing this torture is taken principally from Ward's account of the manners and customs of the

Hindoos. and had seen what he describes.

When this shocking scene is to be exhibited, a high post is erected in some open lace, as you see in the engraving. A strong ver, of bamboo, is made to play or turn round on the top of this post, with cords at both ends. The man who is to swing falls down on his face. A person makes a mark on his back with dust. Another immediately gives him a smart slap on the place, or o, the flesh very roughly to deaden the feeling a little, and pinches up the skin hard with his thumb and fingers; and a third thrusts an iron hook through the place marked, so as to take hold of about an inch of the flesh. This is on one side of the back; and then the same is done on the other, and the man gets up on his feet. He then mounts on a man's back, or is raised up from the ground in some other way; and the cords which are fastened to the hooks in his back are tied to one end of the bamboo. A rope at the other end is then pulled down by several men, until that end on which the man swings is raised up from the ound; and then one or more men running round with the rope, the poor victim is swung in the air. Some swing only for a few minutes: others, for i.i. an hour, or more. Some have been known to swing for hours. One man swung, it is said, three times in one day, on different posts; and once, four men swung on one post, which was carried round the field, while they were swinging, by the admiring crowd. Some of these persons smoke while swinging, as thou h insensible of the least ain. thers will take up fruit in their hois, and either eat it, or throw it among the crowd. One man caused a monkey's collar to be run into his own flesh, in which state the man and the monkey whirled round together! On some occasions, these devotees have hooks run through their thighs as well as backs. Five women swung in this manner, not many years since; near Calcutta. In some parts of india, the man who swings has a sabre and shield; and makes motions, while swinging, like a man fight

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# is not uncommon for the flesh to tear, and the person to fall. Instances are related of such persons perishing on the spot. A few years ago a man fell from the post at Kidurpooru, while, whirling round with great rapidity, and falling on a poor woman who was selling rice, killed her on the spot; and the man died the next day. At a village near Bujbuj, some years since, the swing fell so a man's leg. The man who was upon it, as soon as he was loosed ran to another tree, was drawn up, an

The writer, was for many years a missionary among that people

whirled round again as though nothing had happened. ow all this time, suffer whatever he may, he must not shew it. If a tear escape him, he will be utterly disgraced. This, however, very seldom happens. The man is generally made to drink some intoxical. in: liquor, to help him to bear the pain. The thousands of spectators who attend these scenes seem to care little for the poor wretch who is swinging, Nay, they makes kind of fair on the occasion; sounding their tom-toms or drums, and pitching tentsfor the sale of sweetmeats; and, as the drawing from which the plate was engraved was taken from a real scene of this kind, it is very likely that those better sort of people at the front of the picture are bargaining about the pay of the wretch who is swing: ing over their heads; for these tortures to sometimes suffered for richer persons, who pay the man for it, and think to get all the good by hiring another to swing for them.

Mr. Stone, missionary of the Board at Bom" bay, a little more than two years ago, saw " woman suffer this self-torture at that place." which he has given an account.

For the first time witnessed the swinging of natives on hooks thrust through their backs. This practice is not common " Bombay, and is confined to the Kumay

•ople, who live in the suburbs of the city.

o-day three have propitiated the favor of their bloody gods, as }. imagine, by pe. forming this cruei rite. I saw only the las' a female. She was about eighteen years age, and strong and masculine in her * pearance. Two hooks were thrust through the flesh in the back, these hooks were fio ed to a rope fastened to the end of a bea. which when elevated raised her about * feet into the air, and this beam was fixed" a car which was drawn with great velocity by forty or fifty natives in the circumses, ence of a hundred rods. She with one hand held by a rope that was fastened to * beam is far forward as she could och which prevented her head from hang"; down, but afforded her no other suppo and with the other she brandished to and a large knife over the heads of the

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foreheads with, was tied about This she occasionally scattered round upo the people beneath her, which the ignor” natives received as a boon from their g” Having been drawn round in the co". five times, the car stopped; but she made signs to have them go round again,”

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sixth time is regarded as meritorious as all
the preceding five. Her countenance ex-
hibited great agony: her face became pale
as death; and on being taken down she was
unable to support herself. The whole
scene was attended by their horrid music,
and infernal shouts of joy. I expostulated
with hundreds of people on the absurdity
and wickedness of such sacrifices. I told
them that instead of propitiating the favor
of God they greatly excited his anger,
They seemed to regard me as one who had
no fear of the gods. I preached to them
the true God, and the only way in which
they could secure his favor. Several ap-
ro satisfied that what I said was true.
distributed about fifty books, and returned
home at dark, realising more sensibly than
ever, that the dark places of the earth are
filled with the habitations of cruelty.
These horrid spectacles of self-torture are
attended by musicians with their tom-toms
and other rude instruments, on which they
make a deafening noise, while immense
crowds look on with perfect indifference,
talking, laughing, buying and selling arti-
cles, as if nothing of importance was going
0n.
While the heart of the reader bleeds to
think of the sufferings of these poor deluded
creatures, he will naturally ask what they
endure all this for.
Some endure it in performance of a vow
which they made in sickness, that, if they

should be restored to health, they would
swing in honor of the god; or of some cther
vow which they made on condition of ob-
taining some favor or escaping some evil:
some swing merely to honor the god, and
to obtain power with him to secure bles-
sings for themselves or their friends: some
do it to be admired by the gazing crowd,
and get a name for uncommon holiness
The reader should not think that the suf-
ferings of the Hindoos, demanded by their
religious books, and endured in one form or
another, is limited to only a few. All their
principal gods have festivals annually cele-
brated in their honor, some of which last
several days, and at nearly all of which
self-torture of some kind or other is inflict-
ed; so that the sufferings occasioned by
these inflictions, with what is endured by
various classes of devotee beggars, and by
worshippers who go long pilgrimages to
celebrate temples, extend to a considerable
portion of the whole population. These
festivals, or seasons of Hindoo worship,
include more than one third of the whole
year.
It should be remembered that these festi-
vals, attended with all this uproar, confu-
sion, indecency, self-torture, and often self.
immolation, are the Hindoos' religious wor-
ship! How unlike the worship of the
Christian Sabbath! This is not a state of
things that existed formerly and has long
since passed away. It exists now.

PRESENT MORAL CONDITION OF THE WORLD.

IN the commission given by our Lord to his disciples, what an immense field

did he open for the exercise of Christian philanthropy and heroic enterprise!

“Go ye into all the world; preach the gospel to every creature.”
But what is now the spiritual condition of our race?—Five hundred millions,

it is notorious, remain to this hour pagan idolaters, and one hundred millions more are the followers of the imposter Mohammed. Two hundred millions only are left wearing the Christian name; and in order to make the calculation respecting the real state of this remnant as favorable as possible, we will suppose the place of your residence to be a fair epitome of the whole Christian world. Is there one person in four there who appears to be brought decidedly under the influence of Christian principles? I fear not. We have then less than 90,000,000 of real Christians on earth at any given time, and all the rest (750,000,000) are living and dying without God in the world! And this is not the picture of the worst, but of the best period of time, next to the days of the apostles. Perhaps there never existed more good men on earth at one time than there are at present; and yet this leaves more than fifteen out of sixteen of the human race unacquainted with the salvation which is in Christ Jesus;–and this havoc made by sin and death has continued without interruption, day by day, and hour by hour, through all the ages since the fall. There is something so fearful, so tremendous, in this retrospect, that I do not wonder that men who have never known “the terrors of the Lord,” and “the exceeding sinfulness of sin,” should reject the theory altogether. While looking down into this abyss, I am seized with a shivering horror. I tremble exceedingly. And yet the truth which is here so deeply impressed on my mind is the same as that which I learn from the history of the fallen angels, left without a Savior; from the flood; as that which I receive in Gethsemane and

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at Calvary; and which is irresistibly confirmed while I look at the civil, and
mental, and moral condition of these seven hundred and fifty millions of pagans
&c. All proclaims the fearful truth, that there is a criminality, a turpitude, a
desert in sin, which we cannot comprehend. And if it were the will of God,
that the law should take its course, without mercy, to the end of time, what
could we say?--‘‘Is God unjust that taketh vengeance? God forbid.”
But if in this fearful condition the world is not to remain—if a brighter des.
tiny, a most glorious transformation awaits it—and if the command “to teach
all nations,” has never been repealed nor suspended, then there must have been
a most shocking neglect of duty somewhere.
Seeing so many prophets had painted this brighter period in the most glow-
ing colors, and had raised their loftiest, their sweetest strains to usher in the
reign and universal conquests of the Messiah; and seeing our Lord himself
repeatedly referred to these halcyon days, and directed his disciples to a uni-
versal dissemination of his gospel, and to the work of universal teaching,
how, these records being read by the Christian church every Sabbath-day—
how shall we account for Christians having left, for seventeen hundred years,
in a state of perfect brutality and crime, seven hundred and fifty millions of
deathless minds committed to their especial care by the Great Head of the
church?
What makes this neglect the more strange and unaccountable is, that the
command comes from the highest possible authority—that this command is
most express, and its meaning most palpable—that the Being who issued it
said, at the very time it proceeded from his lips, “Mark! I am with you,
even unto the end of the world,”—that this Being has “all power in heaven
and upon earth,”—that this command is closely connected with the eternal
condition of all these successive swarms of men, eight hundred millions com:
posing each generation—and that every one of those to whom the execution of
this commission is confided, is supposed to possess the mind that was in Christ
Jesus, who came “to seek and to save that which was lost,” and to have, as
the distinguishing feature of his character, an overwhelming sense of the value
of the human soul. -
How, with a provision perfectly commensurate with the extent of the com:
mission—with a command, from the Being who was himself the atonement, that
every creature should hear the gospel—with such proofs before us that this
gospel is the power of God to salvation—how, with all these facts staring";
in the face—how is it, that we have never attempted to carry these glad
tidings beyond the walls of our own churches?
The cause of this total abandonment of effort, under such a leader, under
such an inspiration, and with such prospects, is one of the most singular, and
yet one of the most important inquiries, which Christians at this day can post
sibly institute.
It will be said, that for many centuries those who felt the genuine force of
Christian principles, were in too depressed a state to make efforts for the
spread of the gospel: their whole strength was required to preserve any portion
of united existence. They were in the situation of men in a besieged fortres;
attacks upon the territories of the enemy were out of the question. This de-
fence, to a certain extent, must be admitted. But will He “whose eyes aro
as a flame of fire, and his voice as the sound of many waters,” accept this as
an apology for the indifference and inactivity of the last two hundred years-
for the apathy of the present hour? Ward's Letters.

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