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AGO, IN THE YORUBA COUNTRY.

nov. several other compounds. During the year's cutting days, his servants and principal men keep awake with the king, and the nights are spent, in rejoicing with him that he has been spared another year, in feasting and playing. On the last day, when the grass has been brought in, the bashorun, who is the head of the business, takes a bunch of lighter grass into the grass field, which is a sign that the time is come when every one may burn the field ready to make farms, there being at the same time a strong harmatan wind blowing. This general burning all round the town, the heat and dust were intolerable, and it was in vain to attempt going out for any thing. On ths day the king comes out, never being seen out any other day in the whole year. He begged me to be present; and as there was no heathen rite going on, I gladly complied with his request, and well worth seeing it was, for a thing of the kind. The king was seated in one of the before-mentioned towers, concealed by a rich scarlet velvet curtain. In the front one was a window of white silk net work, which looked very elegant at a distance. I was called at half-past ten A.m. The court yard was already crowded with spectators, but every thing arranged in such beautiful order, by the sort of police force, that no one or any thing seemed out of place. On the sides of the court yard were gathered the immense crowd, but leaving a path or road of eight yards wide from the entrance gate, to the tower. All round the tower were his chief attendants, and many of his wives sitting, sixteen of whom, called queens, were distinguished by rich silk coverings, and with white caps, which reminded one of nuns; and at each side between them and the crowd were four immense state umbrellas constantly twirling in readiness for the king. I had my camp-stool not far from the tower, in the place appointed me. After a short time the front curtain was drawn up, and there sat the king on his throne, which was much decorated with rich coloured velvet, and over his head a red canopy. His majesty was dressed in scarlet and black silk velvet, with a crown of scarlet net work, round which strings of beads were suspended, which concealed his face. And now the salutations commenced. First came the representatives of Are, of Ijaye, who is the king's general; then twelve warriors of his own, called Igbouka; then the representatives of the Mahommedans, among whom was the most venerable-looking old man I have ever seen in Africa; and last some heathen priests. The first sentence of the salutation was a sort of “God save the king !" and then congratulating him on arriving at a period when peace commences; “but,” added his own warriors and those of Are, is if war arises in one corner of the country here we are !” To me there was something of solemnity in it, though it was all carried on with a pleasant cheerfulness. After this, about twenty huge pots of cooked beef were brought, and placed in the centre of the wide pathway; about the same number of baskets of eko, a country food prepared of Indian corn; and so many pots of country beer; and then followed rather a ludicrous scene, in the dividing of the spoil. The head war drummer came first, and in a sort of stealthy manner examined the good things, and then he chose the meal pot : he took out a piece of the beef and gave it a bite, which was a sign that that was for him and his party; and by his followers it was put on one side for the purpose, and so with a basket of eko, and some of the beer

1856.]
IDOL PROCESSION AT NINGPO.

125 pots. The next was one of the twelve warriors, who are considered the greatest and cleverest robbers in the war, and really acted a robbery, coming just like a fox stealing through the crowd, with a little boy under his cloth to help him to take away what he should choose. It was so cleverly done one could not help laughing. After that came others for their share, and then the fragments were scrambled for by boys, &c. Soon after this the king walked down his court yard under the huge umbrella till he disappeared in some private apartment, and so all ended, and the crowd dispersed.

The king, through his beads, kept looking at me, and seemed mightily gratified that I was there.

As the result of this visit, the king gave to Mr. Hinderer an extensive piece of ground, within the wall, on which a station might be commenced; and as Mr. Hinderer promised to write for an European Missionary for Ago, he added a convenient native compound, near the palace, for the use of ihe white man when he should come. Meanwhile a native Christian visitor has been left there. How many the opportunities of doing good-how few the labourers to take advantage of them!

“I WILL SAVE THY CHILDREN.” At a Meeting of the Committee of the Church Missionary Society on the 10th of October, the Rev. T. Green, incumbent of Friezland, near Manchester, related a very interesting anecdote.

Some months ago, at the request of the Committee, Mr. Green took charge of a baptized Burmese youth, William Shwey Too, who had found his way to London in the hope of obtaining such full instruction as might qualify him for teaching his countrymen in Burmah. A short time since, two of Mr. Green's children' fell into the water, just.where the deep gorge of a large reservoir led the stream under a mill wheel. William, from early habits. an expert swimmer, plunged in and rescued the two little girls from their perilous position. In relating the circumstances Mr. Green happily said—“Obededom, the Gittite, welcomed the ark of God into his house; and the Lord blessed Obededom and all Lis household. I welcomed the Missionary cause into my heart and house; and the Lord has blessed me and my house. But for this, two out of the three dear children the Lord has given me would have been in their graves."

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

IDOL PROCESSION AT NINGPO. Our account of this scene is taken from the letter of May 19, 1856, from the wife of one of our Missionaries, referred to in our last Number

A great idol procession has occupied the attention of the inhabitants of Ningpo alınost exclusively for several days past, as well as attracted many strangers from various parts. It takes place annually, and this “ Way,” as it is called, is designed to propi: tiate the “ god of the plague.” As the Chinese have a greater dread of

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IDOL PROCESSION AT NING PO.

[noy. this Busah than any other, the decorations and arrangements for his festival are on an unusually gorgeous scale. It would be useless to attempt to describe, even had we seen them, all the flowery devices and gay spectacles which this procession affords, in the shape of flags, lanterns, palankins, dressed-up figures, &c.; but the principal and sad part of the whole is the carrying under canopies of the five gods representing the five Chinese elements-metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. The first is painted white, the second dark green, the third black, the fourth red, and the fifth yellow. All these are supposed to have the control of this most dreaded of all diseases, the plague. This festival is continued for four days, and, starting from different points, the procession traverses various quarters of the city. Heavy rain providentially prevented its continuation on Sunday, but on Monday last our immediate neighbourhood was one constant scene of excitement and confusion, as the Chinese military exercising ground, on the borders of which our house stands, was the place of meeting. The sound of gongs and Chinese music, from morning till night, was almost deafening. Close to our back wall stages were erected for the display of theatrical performances ; and as we were sitting quietly in the evening we heard such a sudden and confused noise, that our old teacher remarked, with characteristic Chinese coolness,“ probably a stage had come down, and precipitated the people into the canal.” This, however, happily proved not to be the case. The disturbance was created by some pickpockets getting into the crowd, and secretly cutting the cords which fastened some elevated seats on which one or more women were seated, causing their occupants to fall, and thus affording an opportunity to the thieves to rob them of their armlets, the gold pins in their hair, and other valuables. This put an end, however, to the evening's amusement. We have since learned that the sufferers were members of a very rich family, upon whom I called some time ago, with my female teacher, as neighbours; that they were the chief promoters of the theatrical entertainment; and that it was the heads of this family, two brothers, who called upon my husband last week to request him to subscribe towards the affair! My husband's challenge to them to prove to him the benefit likely to result from such an expenditure of money, saved him the trouble of any further refusal. They confessed that it was all a vain and empty thing; and afterwards listened quietly whilst he endeavoured to bring the truth before them. I ought to have added, when speaking of the carrying of the five idols in procession, that the women and children were howing, with clasped hands, on all sides, as they passed, as an act of worship. We are rejoiced, on all accounts, that the “way" is over for this year. My children, many of whom were kept away from school while it lasted, are now assembling again as usual, in satisfactory numbers.

The old teacher, to whom I alluded above, was with my husband during nearly the whole of his former residence in China, and has lived in our house since we came. He is a truly trustworthy old man, and one to whom we feel really attached, and long greatly for his conversion. He is thoroughly conscientious, and seems to have a real liking for the truth. We know that he reads his Bible; but the one thing he cannot give up is ancestral worship, one of the great hindrances in China, and specially so in such cases as that of Loh Seen-sang (the teacher's name),

1856.]
HEART-STIRRINGS AT ABBEOKUTA.

127 a descendant of a highly respectable family, some of whom have held public offices in the country. We feel, however, that we can pray much for him; and with our God all things are possible.

SPEAK GENTLY.
Speak gently : it is better far

To rule by love than fear.
Speak gently : let no barsh words mar

The good we might do here.
Speak gently: love doth whisper low

The vows that true hearts bind;
And gently friendship's accents flow-

Affection's voice is kind.
Speak gently to the little child,

It's love be sure to gain;
Teach it in accents soft and mild-

It may not long remain.
Speak gently to the young, for they

Will have enough to bear;
Pass through this life as best they may,

'Tis full of anxious care.
Speak gently to the aged one,

Grieve not the careworn heart :
The sands of life are nearly run-

Let such in peace depart.
Speak gently, kindly, to the poor-

Let no harsh tone be heard :
They have enough they must endure,

Without an unkind word.

Speak gently to the erring: know

They must have toiled in vain :
Perchance unkindness made them so.

Oh, win them back again.
Speak gently: He who gave His life

To bend man's stubborn will,
When elements were fierce with strife

Said to them, “ Peace, be still."
Speak gently : 'tis a little thing

Dropped in the heart's deep well :
The good, the joy, which it may bring

Eternity shall tell.

HEART-STIRRINGS AT ABBEOKUTA. We have been perusing some journals, which have recently reached us from Abbeokuta, and we should like to convey to our readers, in a few words, the nature of the intelligence which they convey to us. There are no large accessions of numbers, no sudden movements among the people: but the word of God is telling powerfully on individuals; and one here, and another there, are led to cast away their idols, and join themselves to the Christian flock. Persecution is not wanting, of a

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HEART-STIRRINGS AT ABBEOKUTA.

[nov. domestic character, or sometimes from the ogboni of the district in which the inquirer lives - very harassing, yet checked and kept in bounds by the superior authority of the king, who only interferes to prevent extremes. It is thus overruled for good, and becomes a wholesome test of our converts' sincerity. In the earlier part of the year the small-pox was very prevalent in Abbeokuta. The natives have been accustomed to regard this contagious disease as a deity, and reverence it, accordingly, with an adoration profound as the dread which they entertain of it. Two young men, notwithstanding the opposition of their friends, had placed themselves under Christian instruction, and became candidates for baptism. They were attacked with the disease, but declined, in their affliction, the attendance of their mothers, unless they solemnly promised to abstain from all idolatrous practices. Maternal affection proved stronger than superstitious fears, and the mothers consented, and were soon found at the side of the sufferers. Finding, after a few days, that, by the use of simple medicines, without any sacrifices to idols, their sons were recovered, they opened their ears to the advice and persuasions of their children and other converts, as to the great folly of worshipping and adoring a disease. Soon after, they became regular attendants on the means of grace, and candidates for baptism.

There was another woman, well known to the Christians as a great opposer of the Ifa truth. Though not a priestess, she was a generally acknowledged leader of all the thunder-worshippers, and, by her stimulating songs, excited to their shortlived madness those whom the demon was supposed to have entered into. Numerous were the sheep and other animals offered by her in order to obtain such good things in this world as she coveted; and such was her supposed influence with the idols, that in the market-places the people readily gave her many cowries, in order that she might obtain like blessings for them. Her husband, who some months previously had placed himself under Christian instruction, suffered, as might be expected, no little persecution at her hands. Just about this time another woman in the city, who had given herself out as some great one, and had deceived many, thus enriching herself at their expense, was taken up as an impostor, and brought before the magistrates. This brought reflection to the mind of Shango's devotee, until, convinced that idol-worship is useless and unprofitable, her mind completely changed, and, regarding her former practices with disgust and contempt, as monstrous things, as an evidence of her determination to renounce them she brought her orishas to one of the Missionary stations, there to give them up for ever. They were five in number, namely, Shango, Yemaja, Yewa, Oge, and Elegbara. The first of these is the god of thunder. Tornadoes are frequent in the Yoruba country at the end of the rainy season. The storm-cloud comes with crashing thunder, forked and sheet lightning, and torrents of rain, breaking down and overturning in its course forests, cultivated fields, houses. Then rush forth the worshippers of Shango, with shouting and drumming, to propitiate the god. Whatever is touched by the thunderbolt is sacred to the god; or, indeed, if fire from any cause break out, the house becomes sacred, in the sense that it is lost to the owner, and becomes the plunder of the Shango worshippers. In June last, our native Missionary, the Rev. T. King, heard that a man had been hurt by thunder in a neigh

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