Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]


[MAY again at ten minutes before 12. All the rest got up now, and we prepared our midnight meal, ate it, and having made all ready, I was not sorry to leave the Cock before cock crow.'

“At twenty minutes to 3 A.M. on Wednesday the 23rd we set off on our journey. This should be our longest day's journey, did we succeed in getting to Albany at its close, as we proposed to ourselves. Pressed on in solemn silence, through deep snow and darkness that might be felt for five long and dreary hours. Oh, how I wished for the day. The day came, and what a day! wind, snow, frost. One of my ears and my nose were frozen. Never made a fire all that day; one reason for which was, that we were too far out to sea, and could get no wood; but in addition to this, we wished to press on. We did press on, until I thought I could press no further. But just then the fort appeared, and the houses of the tiny little settlement, with their snow-capped roofs, which so encouraged me as to make me do something more. We could see the houses about ten miles off, and I think that was the worst ten miles, not only of that journey, but of any journey I had ever made : it was dreadful. There was no help for me; the dogs could scarcely haul their sleighs, not to speak of hauling me; and, indeed, if any one needed a ride it was poor Mr. Crowe, who sprained his foot the first day. At length we got into the Albany river, where the walking was much better; and shortly after arrived at the Fort, where we received a hearty welcome from Mr. Hardisty, the gentleman in charge, and from Mrs. Hardisty, who did all in their power to make us comfortable. It was half-past 3 P.M. when we arrived; we had been walking for twelve hours and three-quarters, and had made a journey of forty miles.”

LONGINGS FOR PEACE. “As I directed their attention to Jesus, their Saviour, whose word is, • Peace on earth, goodwill to men,' they called out, We are tired of fight! Give us rest and sleep.' It was no wonder that they eagerly seized the idea of peace. Their country has been visited by a series of scourges, during the last half century, and they are indeed a nation scattered and peeled.”

(Dr. Livingstone's Missionary Travel:, 553.
The sun was hiding in the west,
When to a village, ere the daylight's close,
Worn by long travel, came a pale-browed guest,

For shelter and repose.

With rude, yet kindly care,
These sons of Afric bring their choicest food,
Then list with wonder, when he bids them hear

A message from his God.

Old veteran warriors came,
And women, long subdued by toil and fear,
And children, early used to spear and flame,

The gracious news to hear.

Then first a Saviour's name
The echoes of their gloomy hills awoke;
Then first the glimmer of a heavenly flame

On those dim forests broke.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

“Oh, speak those words once more!
Is there a time when strife and blood shall cease?
Our souls are weary of the noise of war:

We long for rest and peace.

“When nature fain would rest,
Our very dreams are all of fire and blood;
And still, from morn to eve, our children haste,

Pursuing and pursued.

“ To many a hapless head
The walls of home no shelter can afford;
For them, full oft, that ordeal dark and dread,

The poison-draught is poured.

“We court the grave, for there
Seems to be rest from battle and from pain;
And yet, you tell us, rest is only where

Our souls may live again,

“Stay with us, we will hear
Your fuller message, and our wars shall cease,
And quiet take the place of gloomy fear,

Stilled by the word of peace.



(Concluded from p. 36.) The next company consisted of a middle-aged man, his wife, two sons, and a daughter. He bore in his hand some white flowers, while the wife bore on her head a large dish of rice, fish, and flowers. The daughter carried small wax tapers, and the little boys cups of water. As they emerged from the dark steps, they prostrated themselves and bowed with great reverence, repeating a prayer. Then they proceeded to the temple with a slow, solemn step, where the man held the flowers in his clasped hands, and prostrating himself before a large idol, offered them with a prayer that he might become a god. The wife bowed, and deposited her offerings in a jar, with a prayer that she might become a man in her next state. The daughter lit her tapers and placed them near the gods, with this prayer: “ May my wisdom be like the shining light of this taper !” The little boys then went and struck the big bell, the daughter poured water from the cups, while the father and mother offered up prayers before the golden pagoda.

We had watched the devotion of this family, and, after their prayers, we made our way to them, and asked them why they poured the water. They said, it was to announce their offerings to the nat who governed the earth, and that when the future god made his appearance, this nat would wring the water from his hair as a witness of their devotion.

We looked about for a place free from intrusion; and, seeing a large banian tree, we invited the family to go and sit with us, and we would 58

A HEATHEN SABBATH IN BURMAH. ; [MAY, teach them the true way of salvation. They followed us, and we told them of the God who made them, and from whom they received all their blessings, and that this God had said, “ Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth ; for I am God, and there is none else." They were from a distant village, and had never before heard these words of hope and comfort, and they listened with great attention. One of our Christians read Christ's Sermon on the Mount, and soon we had a goodly number of the people with us.

We were almost lost in our loved theme, when we were interrupted by the voice of prayer to the idols, and on looking to the right of our ring, we saw many of our hearers prostrated before the banian tree, heedless of our words. We tried to get their attention, but their ear was closed.

On the people came, and soon we were enclosed by a large company of old and young, making offerings to the tree. Our hearts sickened at the sight of that people, who paid adoration even to the trees. They told us that this tree was sacred on account of Gaudama receiving infinite wisdom under a banian tree; and that they could get merit enough to cancel many sins by illuminating this tree, which they sometimes did.

We read again to the man from the country, and he asked for a book. We gave him one, and he promised to read it; but soon he was called away by the priests, who were engaged in offering up prayers and reading from the sacred books. Soon he rejoined us, begging to return the book we had given him, as his friends told him he would be a heretic if he read it. The devices of Satan prevailed, and in a few moments we were alone.

We passed on from group to group, with a word here and there, and gave some books, after which we made our way to the steps. Here our attention was attracted to an old man, leading a small boy some four years old. The old man laid down his shoes and bowed his grandchild down to the ground, teaching him to repeat a short prayer. We watched him, and saw him point to the tall pagoda, and explain its object. Then they went before a large idol and presented their offerings. The sight of this old man and the child was deeply affecting, and their devotions made me ashamed of my poor acts of devotion to the living God. I thought, too, of those parents in my native land, who neglect to teach their little ones to lisp the name of Jesus. God forbid that those heathens should rise up in judgment to shame them.

We saw, also, a little boy of ten years old burning tapers before an idol. We went to the child and tried to tell him of his folly, but he tossed his head with an air of dignity, and told us he lived with the priests, and knew every thing. As he left, we extinguished the taper, and kept it to remind us of a heathen child's devotion to his god.

As we descended the dark steps, we came by the zayats, which were crowded with men, women, and children. We listened and heard the voice of mirth, and the smell of savoury dishes was borne to us on the breezes. We went into some of the zayats, and, on inquiry, found that they had brought their food, and were now having a repast. The brilliant colours of silk in which all were dressed, and the display of gold ornaments, made it truly an imposing scene. Here were groups of young men and gaily-dressed damsels, smoking their cigars and eating their betel-nut; yonder were groups at the chess-board ; and before some of


59 the zayats were companies of middle-aged men, playing at foot-ball. The whole scene had the aspect of a pleasure or picnic party, rather than of a Sabbath or day of worship.

Their prayers and offerings once over, they had forgotten their god. We talked with some of the people, and reasoned with them about the folly of making offerings to dumb images; but they only replied that it was the custom of their ancestors, and, right or wrong, they ought to adhere to those customs. We gave a few books, and left for home.

As we passed by a little street that led to the river, we saw the Burman family of the morning, who, as soon as they recognised us, stopped and asked for a tract. We reminded them that they had returned the one we gave them in the morning; but they said the people at the pagoda made them return it. They liked the way we told them about, and begged we would tell them more about it. We went by the river side, and talked with them and gave them books, which they promised to study, and the mother said her daughter should come to our school after she had gathered in the rice.

The following day was our Sabbath, and on the contrast to the heathen Sabbath! We had no golden temple in which to worship our God; but we met in our own plain dwelling. The Christians came not with bands of music or loads of flowers, but with the heart's true offering of love and praise to Him who had washed them in His own most precious blood.

INFATUATION AMONGST THE KAFFIRS. SELDOM, if ever, do we remember to have read of such astonishing infatuation as that which has recently prevailed in Kaffirland. An impostor has arisen amongst them who predicted that on a specific day there would be a resurrection of all previous generations, both of men and beasts. But as a preparation for it, and that they might share its benefits, they were commanded to slaughter their herds, the riches and staff of life to the Kaffir. With miserable credulity they obeyed the mandate, and the misery which has ensued, as described in the following letter from one of the Wesleyan Missionaries, is fearful.

“Four months have now passed since my arrival in South Africa ; and no change has taken place but in a downward direction, from bad to worse, so far as the poor Kaffirs are concerned, misery becoming more complete every day, the result of one of the most extraordinary movements which has ever taken place in South Africa.

" Yet of Kaffirland and the Kaffirs what can we say ? To say they have confounded the whole of the civilized community who knew any thing of their previous history, and have become acquainted with their late infatuation and present position, is saying but very little. Surely superstition and infatuation never sported more at ease with its victims, nor ignorance paid more profound submission to delusion, than in the case of this people and their prophet, so entirely changing the very nature of its votaries, and holding by some unseen spell tens of thousands.

“ Yet such has been the influence of this superstition, that the ties of past generations have been severed in a few months, and herds of cattle, which have come down from father to son, from generation to genera60

INFATUATION AMONGST THE KAFFIRS. [MAY, tion, have been swept off by the mandate of the prophet in a year. Kaffir herds never die out, they always descend to the oldest son, and are to all intents and purposes heir-loom property. Famine has set in, with all its awful attendant circumstances; for not only was the ban set upon the cattle, but every thing that could support life, vegetable as well as animal'; so that corn in their store, as well as every thing that could yield sustenance, was destroyed : so that on the promised resurrection-day all support was cut off from every believer. All was brought to an end, except perhaps some solitary cow which had been retained to sustain the life of some infant child. The eve of that day saw the life-blood of every victim flow; for nothing was to interrupt the new order of things on the coming day. Even the domestic fowl was not allowed to live to disturb the peace of that morn; when the sun was to rise divided into halves, and do battle in the heavens; and when the heavens were to descend to the earth and crush all the unbelievers; when the generations past should arise out of the earth, bringing the cattle before them; when young Kaffirland should spring into life and epicurean enjoyment, and only the faithful would be left to enjoy the new state of things. At early dawn the faithful were awake, if they had slept at all; and were moving. All was prepared for the reception of the Kaffir patriarchs; houses swept, not a straw lying loose was overlooked; and all, men, women, and children, posted off each to some height, and waited with the most intense anxiety, stretching their eyes to catch the first movements of the heaving earth, out of which cattle first, and past generations in the rear, were to proceed. And as they were to rise with the sun, so as it pushed forward its morning rays brighter and yet brighter still, so did these poor creatures stand, and become excited to the highest pitch of expectation. And the sun did rise as round and as full as ever, and seemed as much at peace with itself as it had ever been. And up it went. Nor did it divide, nor did the earth heave. And all was still ; it was never so still before, since the Kaffir first trod the soil. And why? all the cattle, small and great, were dead, no lowing, and the people were still; for they were confounded, and the Kaffir laid his hand upon his mouth in token of astonishment and dismay. It was more like universal death than an appearance of a universal resurrection : until at last one more sanguine than the rest intimated there might have been some mistake, and that in all probability it would take place when the sun became strong, and if so, it must be looked for at mid-day: so hope gleamed through the dark soul, and all were anxious to see the sun reach its meridian. And it did reach it, and it passed it, and it did not divide, and it did not battle, nor did the heavens come down to earth as was promised. But on it went; and again some, like the prophets of Baal, prophesied it must take place at eventide. And yet, after all, the sun went down, and left them all in disappointment. And now was sent up one universal yell of despair; by women and children, literally destitute in the world, and the maddening lamentations of the women seem to have driven some of the men to frenzy. One man, it is said, first put all his children to death, and then terminated his own existence; another is said to have upbraided his chief for destroying his people, and then, falling on his spear in the chief's presence, died at his feet.

(To be continued.)

« AnteriorContinuar »