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A LETTER TO THE HINDÚS.
[JAN. such a custom ever prevailed. Formerly it was thought a very shocking thing to touch the flesh or the hide of a dead cow; but now how many Bráhmans, even wear shoes made of cows' hides, instead of their old wooden sandals ? Only a few years ago, no Hindú would have ventured to recommend the marriage of widows; but how many thousands of Hindús, from all parts of India, have lately petitioned Government to make such marriages legal? Do not say, then, that Hindús cannot abandon their old customs which are connected with religion, If you will read your own ancient books, such as the Ramayan and the Mahábhárat, you will find mention made in them of many religious customs, such as the Ashwamedha, that have long ceased to be observed ; and you will find that other customs, such as the worship of Kálí and Durga, were not in use then, which are now almost universal among Hindús.
We would, then, again say, Examine the old customs of your country. Distinguish the good from the bad, the advantageous from the injurious : keep the good, and forsake the bad. In giving you this advice, we are asking you to seek your own welfare, both temporal and spiritual. You have a right to seek your own welfare. If, from a desire to please others, you ruin yourself, will you not, in the end, regret it, and acknow. ledge that you were very foolish?
It is said, that in a certain country it was a long-established custom that no one should touch the king except his courtiers. Now it happened, one cold morning, that the king, as he sat before the fire to warm himself, approached so near the flame that the extremity of his garment caught fire. At that time none of his courtiers were present: only some ordinary servants were near. These, from fear of violating the custom of the court, not daring to touch the royal person, kept aloof; and the king, from the same fear, did not call them to his assistance. The consequence was, that he was so severely burnt that he died two or three days afterwards. Now, was it not foolish of this king to lose his life rather than forsake the old custom of his court? And would it not be equally foolish in you, rather to ruin yourself than forsake the customs of your forefathers ?
You will perhaps ask, How can we know that we shall ruin ourselves, by adhering to the customs of our forefathers? or that we shall be saved by believing in Jesus Christ? To this we would answer, Consider this matter carefully. See whether, by Hinduism, you obtain a well-founded hope of happiness after death; and whether, even in this life, it makes your mind happy, and your character and conduct pure ? And if you find that Hinduism does not give you peace of mind, purity of heart and life, and a well-founded hope of happiness hereafter, then be ready to forsake Hinduism. Inquire, also, carefully, whether by believing in Jesus Christ, who made an atonement for sin by His own death, you will not obtain peace and purity here, and happiness after death. If you find that Jesus Christ can bestow these blessings, then hesitate not to believe in Him, and to become His disciple.*
*“ The Calcutta Christian Observer," Aug. 1856, pp. 358—361.
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THE KAREN PASTOR, THAGHE.
In the beginning of 1852 a war broke out between the Burmese
It appears that two men, apparently inferior Burmese officers, deliberately plotted the death of the Karen pastor. In the first instance they seized his two sons and a nephew, which, as anticipated, brought him into their presence, to seek the release of his children. They bound him, and led the whole away to the governor of the town to which his village belonged; but on the way they beat him with thirty stripes, and the young men with twenty-five each. When they reached the presence of the governor, Thaghe's persecutor said to him privately, “ If you kill him now, you will not get much money. Let him go free for a little while.” So he was dismissed on the payment of thirty rupees.
Subsequently, the governor went to another part of his district, where he was attacked by a party of Karens, and compelled to retreat. At this juncture, Thaghe's old enemy reported that all the Christians were about to rise in rebellion, so the governor ordered their immediate apprehension. Forty, with their pastor, were taken and put in chains. The next day, a few of the chiefs among them were set at liberty, with the promise that if 130 rupees were brought all the prisoners should be dismissed. The money was paid, but the Christians were still retained in confinement. The day following, Thaghe was brought out, and, after beating and torturing him in various ways, they told him that on the payment of 170 rupees he should be set at liberty. He answered that he had no money. They said, “ Your Christians give you 100 rupees a year, and you must give it up.” He replied, he never received so much. His persecutors then turned to the chiefs again, and said, “ If you compassionate your teacher, pay the 170 rupees for him.”
* December, p. 139.
THE KAREN PASTOR, THAGHE.
[JAN. This they readily promised to do, and were allowed to go free till they obtained it; but so soon as the money was procured, all the prisoners were removed to another town, and delivered over to a superior officer, denominated, in the narrative, a judge. When Thaghe was brought in, he reviled him, and said, “If thy God be possessed of divine power, let Him deliver thee from thy chain.” Thaghe replied, “Should the eternal God not save me in this world, He will in the next.” The judge asked, “How dost thou know?” He answered, “ The Holy Scriptures say so, and I know of a truth that He will save me.” The judge continued, “ Through thy skill the white foreigners have made war on our country;" and he then struck him five times with the point of his elbow, after which he increased his irons fourfold. Three or four days more were allowed to elapse, when he was brought again into the presence of the judge, who said to him, “Read now before me from the book of the eternal God, who, thou sayest, will save thee." Thaghe replied, “ Were I to read, thou wouldst not listen, but do me evil continually.” The judge remarked, “Let the eternal God, and thy Lord Jesus Christ, save thee out of my hands.” He then took a stick, as thick as a man's wrist, and struck him thirty blows.
After a confinement of two days more, his original persecutor appeared again, and Thaghe asked him what he intended to do with him and the other Christians. “I will kill you all,” was the savage reply, and at the same time he kicked him with his heel, as a horse kicks. The man then went to the governor, and said, “My lord, if you will kill all these people I will give you a hundred rupees.” The governor took the money, and said, “I cannot endure the future punishment entailed on killing so many persons." After three days the persecutor brought fifty rupees more to the governor, and again requested him to kill all the Christians. The governor replied, “ If thou wilt give thy daughter in marriage to my brother here, I will kill them.” The condition was complied with ; and when he had delivered over his daughter, the governor said, “Now I believe in this man. If any
children of the white book '-a common epithet for Christians-come up from below, tell me, and I will kill them.”
During this time, the judge brought up pastor Thaghe and beat him every two or three days, who said to the judge, “Do not torture me thus. If thou wilt kill me for worshipping God, do it quickly.” At this juncture the persecutor, who was absent, sent a report that the English and “the children of the white book” were approaching, and said, “They will rescue the teacher and his disciples. Go, tell the governor to kill the teacher quickly.” His messenger went to the governor, and added, “ If thou dost not kill the teacher, they will certainly come and rescue him.” When the governor received the information, he went to the judge, who had Thaghe brought out immediately from confinement, beaten with sixty blows, and then crucified; reviling him while on the cross, and saying, “Let thy God come and take care of thee.” He finally disembowelled him on the cross, shot him with two musket-balls, had him cut in three pieces, and thrown into a hole that was dug for him. When the original instigator of the deed heard of it, he said to the people around, “Say not that he was killed, but that he fell into the water and was drowned.”
THE TWO SWORDS. Peace to thy dust, pastor Thaghe. No dear friend wiped the drops of agony from thy dying brow. They all lay bound in the felon's prison, because they were thine, and thou wast Christ's. No Christian brother stood by to receive thy last wishes, and record thy last testimony for that Master for whom thou wast “faithful unto death.” A heathen Burman, an unconcerned spectator of thy sufferings, was the sole biographer of thy last days. No funeral bell tolled thy requiem. No silver-mounted coffin received thy remains. No marble monument marks the place of thy sepulchre. No eulogy has been pronounced on thy ennobling example. As Stephen was the first martyr in Judea, so wast thou the first martyr in Burmah. Like Stephen, thou didst die in the midst of thine enemies; so, it is believed, like Stephen, thou didst see “the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” Unnoted as thou hast been, yet shall thy name be inscribed on the banner of Missions, when “the Lord mustereth the host unto the battle :" and when the scoffer asks for the fruit of Missions, we will point him to thy cross, and pronounce thy name, Tha-ghe—“good fruit."*
THE TWO SWORDS.
A red-skinned warrior stood :
And his knit brow wore a cloud.
And the red drops, one by one,
A terrible deed had done.
To the trackless forest wild ?
Of the red-skinned warrior child ?
And fiercer his deed than word;
Nor yield to his glittering sword !”.
The self-same warrior stood :
Nor his brow an angry cloud;
As a form met bis anxious sight;
Though the skin of that man was white.
In the glance of the white man's eye:
In the land above the sky.
When this sinful earth He trod !”
[From the Christian Treasury.
*“The Missionary Magazine" (Boston, U. 8.) Oct. 1856, pp. 388—390.
resting are inity of the evandtiplyings of the Ae Euphra
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(JAN. THE KUZZEL-BASH. Not far from the Kara-Su, or west branch of the Euphrates, is a town called Arabkir, one of the stations of the American Missionaries, which are so happily multiplying over the provinces of Asia Minor, with a view to the evangelization of the Armenian people; and in the vicinity of this town, within a circuit of a few miles diameter, are scores of villages, inhabited by a little-known yet interesting people, called the Kuzzel-bash.
Kuzzel-bash, in Turkish, and in Armenian, Garmir-klookh, signifies “ Red-head," and is a term which the Turks also apply to the Persians; for which latter nation the Kuzzel-bash profess great attachment. These facts, perhaps, indicate that this people came originally from Persia, a circumstance not altogether improbable when we consider the proximity of that country to this, and call to mind the frequent invasions from that quarter during past centuries. It is quite certain that the Kuzzel-bash are not Koords, since they do not use the Koordish language, and are very much hated by them. If ever they had a language peculiar to themselves they have entirely lost it, since they now use no language but Turkish. That they are altogether a different people from the Osmanlís is proved by the bitter hatred which the two races entertain for each other. It is true, the Kuzzel-bash are nominal Mussulmans; but they despise the religion of their oppressors, and practise but few of its rites, and those but occasionally. If a pasha or a beg is the guest of a village, the muezzin calls the hours of prayer; otherwise his voice is not heard. The oppressions which they suffer from the dominant race are more severe than those endured by any class of the Christian subjects. In this respect they are the most abused people in Turkey. They are industrious and frugal, and, with protection, would become rich and prosperous; but as it is now, they are eaten up by greedy pashas and other exorbitant officials.
As a race, they are large and fine-looking, some of them presenting the noblest examples of physical development. They never shave, or in any way cut their beards, which gives a dignified air to their middleaged and aged men. They are entirely free from the vice of drunkenness, not manufacturing or using any kind of spirits. They are not married young, as are the Armenians. Divorce is unknown among them, as are bigamy and polygamy. They do not eat fish, assigning, as a reason, that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, and thus the whole race became impure. Again, they neither eat garlic nor smoke tobacco, two articles of universal use in these countries. For this the reason given is, that every man has an angel on either shoulder, who flies away if these articles are used. They consider unclean, and spit upon, those who violate this custom, as being abhorred of God, who only regards those who are presented before Him by their guardian angels.*
These people have applied to the American Missionaries for some evangelists to come amongst them and instruct them in the faith of Christ, as they were prepared in a body to renounce the superstitions of their fathers. To this step they have probably
*" The Missionary Herald" (Boston, U. S.) Oct. 1856, p. 298.