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CONVERSIONS AT RANGOON.

[nov. and Mr. Ingolls also, on account of his skill in that language, devoted himself to that people, though loving the Karens exceedingly. The Burmans are so cultivated and intellectual, that they take books and tracts with great eagerness. The Christian Burmans persuade every stranger to come to the Missionary's house to be talked to, and receive books.

“One day they brought a Burmese gentleman of such striking and noble appearance, that Mrs. Ingolls felt most anxious that he should meet with her husband, who unfortunately was not at home. She therefore offered to lend him a book instead of giving him one, as she was afraid that if she asked him to come again his suspicions would be awakened that they wanted to make him a convert, but she thought when he came to return the book Mr. Ingolls might be at home. But on his second visit, Mr. Ingolls was out again; so she offered the loan of a second book, and when he returned that, her husband was at home. He was delighted with the book, and expressed a great wish to bring his wife to hear all they told him. He went away, carrying a store of books with him, and telling them that he should come again in a month, and bring his wife with him.

“Mrs. Ingolls was much disappointed that he did not come at the end of the month. At last he appeared, and three of his fellow-townsmen with him. After welcoming him, she remarked that he had not brought his wife. She saw he seemed as if he could not answer. At last, in great distress, he said, “ She is dead." “ Alas !” Mrs. Ingolls exclaimed, “then she has died without being able to hear the truth.” “Oh, no,” he said, very earnestly; " she is in heaven." He then told Mr. and Mrs. Ingolls, that, on his return to his home, he said to her, “I am not going to worship our false gods any more:” and then he began to explain to her all that the Missionary had told him ; but his poor wife was alarmed, and said, “ Oh, you are going to be a heretic, and I will not sit with you.” She then fled away into her own apartment. He tried in vain to persuade her to come back, till at last, to comfort himself, he sat down and began reading his books. He 'read aloud by himself, and very soon he found his wife was listening behind the curtain--for the women's apartments are separated only by curtains. She listened some time, and then she came out, and sat down by her husband, and said, “That seems a good religion: I should like to hear some more about it.” He told her all he could, and the next day she was taken ill, and, at the end of a month, she died; but all that time she was hearing the Missionaries' books read to her the whole day long. She had heard them over and over, and over again, and she begged all her friends who came to see her to read to her, and the three who now accompanied him had become Christians through reading to this dying woman: Her husband is now a shining light.

“ The poor Karens and Burmese come hungering and thirsting, and they crowd the Missionaries' houses all day long. Sometimes Mr. Ingolls and his wife could get no breakfast till three o'clock in the afternoon, in consequence of people flocking in all the morning. She found that one of her native servants frequently sat up with a party of heathen, reading till three in the morning. There are now a hundred thousand baptized Christians among the Karens alone, and they support all their own native preachers.”

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HELSINGFORS, FINLAND. CONTRAST BETWEEN GREEK AND PROTESTANT WORSHIP. THERE are two Protestant churches here (Helsingfors), in one of which there is divine service in the Finnish language every Sabbath, attended by many people. The other, a beautiful and large new church, is for the use of those who speak the Swedish tongue. It being too early for the latter service, we went to the only Russian, or Greco-Russian church in this place, which is not large, but is very gorgeously fitted up, in true Muscovite style; the skreen, which separates the main body of the church from the most holy place or vestry, being covered over with great pictures of the Saviour, the “ Virgin Mother," and some of the apostles, most lavishly ornamented with silver and gold. The floor of the church is of boards, and destitute of either carpet or seats of any kind.

When we entered we found a priest, with his long beard, and flowing hair that descended to his shoulders—a man of some thirty years of age, and possessing a pleasant Slavonic face—just commencing the Baptismal Service. Three soldiers and their wives stood before him, but a little way from the door of the church, each woman holding in her arms a very young infant. A bronze vessel, in the shape of a kettle, holding twenty gallons, stood near a little table, and was about two-thirds full of water. The priest went on with the service, assisted by a large good-looking man, of some fifty vears of age, in citizen's clothes, who acted a variety of parts, responding from time to time by uttering the words, “ Gospodee pome lui !” (Lord have mercy upon us !) and the next moment directing certain men, who seemed to be servants of all work, to get ready the articles needed ; anon, he was lighting the waxen tapers, and placing one in the right hand of each parent. I shall never forget the noble tones of his melodious voice, for it was one of the finest I have ever heard.

After having gone through the first part of the service, the priest proceeded to consecrate the water in the baptismal font, by first making the sign of the cross over it, then in it, by drawing his finger through it. This was done three times. He then proceeded to dip his fingers in the sacred water, and make the sign of the cross on the forehead, the nose, the eyes, the ears, the breast, and the feet of each child. After a little, he repeated this operation, dipping his finger often in a small glass of oil. Next he proceeded to take each child, in a perfectly naked condition, from the hands of its mother, and dip it three times in the font, not immersing it exactly either time, but so performing the operation, that, from first to last, the entire body of the little creature was at least under the water, the face coming slightly and very quickly under the water in the third dipping. Each child was quickly received by its mother, and wrapt up in dry clothing, the little chemise of each being first adroitly put over its head.

Towards the close of the service, the priest took a small sponge, and, dipping it in the water, he applied it to the forehead, nose, eyes, ears, breast, and feet of each child, to wipe away whatever of the oil might remain on these members of the body. After this he took a pair of scissors and cut a lock of hair from the head of each child,

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HELSINGFORS, FINLAND. which the father received on a bit of paper, which he rolled up, and then carefully threw it into the baptismal font. When the service was over the sacred vessel was removed, and the mothers retired to a corner of the church, and at their leisure, dressed their infants. And thus ended this service, which was one of no little interest to me and to those who were with me.

By this time the congregation began to assemble, and the celebration of high mass took place. Before it was over the church was crowded, all the people standing up, for there was not a pew nor bench in it. More than half of the congregation consisted of officers and soldiers, all, or nearly all, of Slavonie origin, as was manifest from their countenances. There was a considerable number of well-dressed ladies, probably the wives of the Russian officers of the army and functionaries of the Civil Government. Many persons, as they entered the church, immediately turned to the corner at the right hand, and there deposited each a small sum of money, chiefly in copper coin, receiving back the change from the proper person stationed there, in case the coin laid on the table was greater than what they purposed to give; and the chinking of money went on until the service was nearly over. Towards the close, collectors went through the congregation, with bag and plate, to receive the gifts of the faithful. As to the service of the mass, it was fully an hour in length, and abounded in ceremonies intended to strike the imagination of the common people. The two priests who officiated were at times splendidly dressed. At times, too, the folding doors of the skreen were opened, revealing the great altar within. A splendidly-bound book was brought forth twice, and passages read from it. Prayers were intoned by the priests, and the responses chanted finely by the choir, but without an organ, for all instrumental music is forbidden in the Greek church.

Towards the close, the Lord's Supper was administered to the children that had been baptized, and to some others, but to no grown person, so far as I could see. The bread and the wine were mingled together, and the mixture, in form like gruel, was given to the children in a spoon, by the priest, the only way in which it could be administered to creatures so young.

Coming out of the Russian church, we entered, at the distance of a few rods, a splendid Protestant church. It is really one of the handsomest churches I have ever seen. It is built of brick, with a foundation of bewn granite, and is stuccoed both outside and in, and has almost the colour of white marble when seen from afar. In the form of a Greek cross, each end has a portico and six fine Corinthian columns. The roof contains a large central dome, and four smaller ones that serve to admit light. All five are of a sky-blue colour, with large gilded spangles here and there over them. The interior walls, columns, and pilasters of the church are perfectly plain. The only ornament is a very large new painting, representing the descent from the cross, that hangs over the altar at the upper end of one of the four ends. A handsome pulpit stands at one of the angles beneath the great dome. The entire floor, excepting the necessary aisles, is occupied by plain but very convenient pews, of a yellow colour.

When we arrived, the introductory services were nearly over : the congregation was large, completely filling the house. They were

1857.]
A SENSITIVE VITAL ORGAN

131 singing the third hymn. A grand organ, with a choir of two men and three boys, served as an accompaniment to the congregation, who seemed to sing with much heart. The music was plain but excellent.

This being over, the preacher of the day, the Rev. Mr. Isselman, arose and preached a sermon, which a friend who was with me, and well capable of judging, pronounced to be excellent. It was forty minutes in length, and well delivered, or read rather. The preacher wore a plain black gown and bands. After a short address, he called on the people to pray, and the whole congregation, whether sitting in the pews, or standing in the aisles—as was the case with many— instantly bowed the head, and apparently repeated to themselves a prayer : it was the Lord's Prayer, I believe. Then the preacher read his text, which all the congregation heard standing. It was a beautiful sight. The subject of the sermon was the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee. At the close of the sermon followed the singing of a hymn, the offering up of several prayers, one of which related to the Emperor of Russia and the imperial family, the reading of several official documents of the State, and, last of all, the administration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, in which another pastor, rather too gorgeously dressed as one sees in all the Scandinavian churches, and too much even in Germany- took a leading part. He commenced by intoning-certainly in an admirable manner, aided in the gentlest manner by a note or two, at briefest intervals, of the organthe account of the institution of this sacred ordinance, as given in the Gospel. Then followed the administration, which was precisely as it is seen in the episcopal churches with us. As many as eight different companies, of twenty-five or thirty persons each, went successively forward to the semicircular place in front of the altar, and kneeled to receive the consecrated elements from the hands of the two officiating ministers.

The whole scene was beautiful, solemn, and most touching. It was really refreshing to attend a service so simple and majestic, and which contrasted so strikingly with the service of the Greek church, which we had just witnessed. I assure you, that whilst I felt deeply for the poor Russians, and was interested in their serious and devout manner, and offered up my heartfelt prayers for them, I could not but bless God, as I stood in the midst of that Swedish church, and contemplated its noble service, so rational and instructive, that I was born and educated in a Protestant land-in our happy America.

It is by such contrasts that we are made to understand the difference between a pure and scriptural worship, and that which the Roman and Greek churches-adding one superstitious ceremony to another-have, in the course of ages, contrived to build up, dazzling to the imagination, but impoverishing to the immortal spirit.

New York Journal of Commerce,

A SENSITIVE VITAL ORGAN. A MISSIONARY at the Sandwich Islands writes

My observation is ever forcing upon my mind, with new strength, the conviction, unwelcome as it is, that the pocket, even of the great 132 DAKOTA GODS.- AN IMPORTANT CHANGE. [nov. 1857. multitude of Christ's disciples, is a most sensitive vital organ, guarded with a jealous vigilance, and defended, with an earnestness of action that cannot be surpassed, against all external attacks. And when, from time to time, the blessed Spirit moves, silently but powerfully, upon some selfish, niggardly heart of our number, and, unexpectedly to me, sends him with his dollar or two as an offering to the Missionary cause, I feel like going upon my knees and thanking God that, at last, there is a tangible ground of hope as to the reality of that man's faith. As a general rule, I cannot but feel, that when the cries of perishing men reach the pockets of any one of our people, they have unmistakeably touched his heart just in the right spot, and furnished him and others with cheering evidence that the love of Christ is in him. Now, as he has opportunity and ability, he feeds his Master's sheep, gathered and to be gathered.

Journal of Missions. DAKOTA GODS.-AN IMPORTANT CHANGE. The Missionaries among the Dakotas say — “Twenty years ago, while we were employed in learning the Dakota language, if we asked any of the people what they prayed to, the reply was, . Every thing;' and if we asked again to what they prayed most, the common answer was, “Stones.' When any of them could be prevailed on to assign a reason for this preference for stones, it was, “They are plenty, many boulders being found scattered over the prairie. Even their principal men, at that time, freely acknowledged that they worshipped not only stones, herbs, and trees, but wolves, foxes, snakes, and, indeed, almost every natural object and many artificial ones, besides the spirits of their deceased relatives, and a host of imagined invisible beings. Then, if we endeavoured to persuade the men to cultivate the earth, they replied that it was well for white men to do so, but that they were made differently; for if they should work as white men did, they would die: the beings they worshipped would destroy them. And this idea, whether it originated with themselves, or was communicated to them by white men, had a powerful influence upon the minds of many.

“Now, when we inquire of them what they pray to, they almost universally reply, Wakantanka,' the Great Spirit, or Great God; and most of them feel insulted if charged with worshipping such things as wolves, foxes, or snakes. We suppose the change in phraseology is far greater than in fact, and that most of the people render nearly the same kind of worship as formerly, and to similar beings, though under a different name; yet the change is an important one. It affords important aid in preaching the gospel among them, as it is an acknowledgment, on their part, of a Supreme Being who claims their worship and service, and whom of course it is important to please. So, when we address them in the name of this being, to escape the force of our appeal they must either deny or doubt the truth of our message. Under the former phraseology, Wakantanka was only one of a multitude of gods, perhaps no more powerful than many others; or if, as the god of war, or of white men, more powerful, still not their god, and consequently having no particular claim to their love, fear, or service.”

Journal of Missions.

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