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out almost every portion of the visible church, and might be multiplied to an indefinite extent.
There is not a more common case of covetousness that occurs in Christian society, than that of taking advantage of the civil law, in opposition to natural justice, in order to gratify an avaricious affection. A father dies suddenly without a will; certain relations, perhaps the son of the first marriage, seize upon the father's property, while the widow and her infant children are turned adrift from their accustomed dwelling, either with nothing, or with a pittance so small as to be insufficient to procure the coarsest necessaries of life. Or, perhaps a will has been drawn up, specifying the inten: tion of the father in regard to the inheritance of his property, but he dies before he has had an opportunity of subscribing the document. Though the will of the father was clearly made known to all
concerned, yet a person called the heir at law, will immediately step in and claim the whole property which the parent intended to bequeath, without any regard to the natural rights of others. The death of parents and relatives frequently produces a scene of rapacity and avarice which is truly lamentable to a pious mind, and which no one could previously have expected. The death of friends which should naturally lead us to reflections on the vanity of worldly treasures, and the reality of a future state, not unfrequently steels the heart against every generous feeling, and opens all the avenues of ambition and avarice. As a certain writer has observed, 6 The voice from the tomb leads us back to the world, and from the very ashes of the dead there comes a fire which enkindles our earthly desires.” The instances of this kind are so numerous, that volumes might be filled with the details. In opposition to every Christian principle, and to the dictates of natural justice, professed religionists will grasp at wealth wrung from the widow and the orphan, because the civil law does not interpose to prevent such bare-faced robberies; and yet they will dare to hold up their faces, without a blush, in Christian society-while one who had committed a fearless extensive robbery, in another form,
would be held up to execration, and doomed to the gibbet. I know no practical use of Christian principle, unless it leads a man, in such cases to perform an act of natural justice, altogether independent of the compulsions or regulations of civil codes. “The law," says Paul, “ was not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, the ungodly and the profane ;" and he who, in cases which natural justice should determine, takes shelter under the protection of law, in committing an act of oppression, ought to be excluded from the society of the faithful, and regarded as a “ heathen man and a publican." That such characters are so frequently found in the visible church, is a plain evidence that the laws of Christ's kingdom are not yet strictly and impartially administered.
The forms of our civil laws are a striking proof of the extensive range of the operations of the covetous principle, and a kind of libel on the character of mankind, however much refined by civilization and Christianity.. “ It is impossible,” says a periodical writer, “ to see the long scrolls in which every contract is included, with all the appendages of seals and attestation, without wondering at the depravity of those beings who must be restrained from violation of promises by such formal and public evidences, and precluded from equivocation and subterfuge by such punctilious minuteness. Among all the satires to which folly and wickedness have given occasion, none is equally severe with a bond or a settlement.” And is it not a satire upon
Christianity, that its professed votaries require such legal obligation, and punctilious forms and specifications, to prevent the inroads of avarice? and that no one can safely trust money or property to any one on the faith of a Christian, or depending purely on his sense of equity and justice ?
Before proceeding to the next department of our subject, it may not be improper to advert to our covetousness and idolatry, considered as a nation.
Great Britain has long been designated by the title of a Christian nation. But, if proud ambition and an inordinate love of riches and power be inconsistent
with the religion of Jesus, we have, in many instances, forfeited our right to that appellation. Without adverting to the immense load of taxation which has long been levied from the mass of the people, and the extravagance with which many portions of it have been expended—the heavy imposts on foreign produce, and the harassing regulations of the excise, which prevents a free intercourse with foreign nations—the keenness of our merchants and manufacturers in accumulating wealth and amassing immense fortunes for the purposes of luxury-the eagerness with which our Landholders endeavor to keep up the price of grain, although the poor should thus be deprived of many of their comforts—the poverty of one class of our clergy and the extravagant incomes enjoyed by others—passing the .consideration of these and similar characteristics, I shall only mention one circumstance which appears altogether inconsistent with our character as a Christian nation, and that is, the revenues derived from the support of IDOLATRY in India, and the encouragement thus given to the cruelties and abominations of Pagan worship.
In another age, it will perhaps scarcely be believed, that Britain, distinguished for her zeal in propagating the Gospel throughout the heathen world,
as, for many years past, derived a revenue from the worshippers of the idol Juggernaut, and other idols of a similar description at Gya, Allahabad, Tripetty, and other places in Hindostan. From the year 1813 to 1825, there was collected, by order of the British government, from the pilgrims of Juggernaut alone, about 1,360,000 Rupees, or £170,000; a great part of which was devoted to the support of the idol, and the priests who officiated in conducting the ceremonies of this abominable worship. Dr. Buchanan, in his “ Christian Researches," states, from official accounts, that the an
nual expense of the idol Juggernaut presented to the English government as follows;
Rupees. £. Expenses of the Table of the Idol, 36,115 or 4,514 Do.
of his dress, or wearing apparel,
2,712 339 Do. wages of his servants,
10,057 1,259 Do. contingent expenses at the
different seasons of pilgrimage, 10,989 1,373 Do. of his elephants and horses, 3,030
378 Do. of his annual state carriage,
or the car and tower of the
Rupees, 69,616 £8,702 In the item “wages of servants,” are included the wages of the courtezans, or strumpets who are kept for the service of the temple. Mr. Hunter, the collector of the pilgrim tax for the year 1806, told Mr. Buchanan that three state carriages were decorated that year, with upwards of £200 sterling of English broadcloth and baize.
The following items show the gain of this unnatural association with idolatry at soine of the principal stations appropriated for idol worship.
Rupees. Net receipts of pilgrim tax at Juggernaut for 1815,
135,667 Do. at Gya for 1816, .
182,876 Do. at Allahabad, for 1816,
73,053 Do. at Kashee-poor, Surkuree, Sumbal and Kawa for 1816,
5,683 Do. at Tripetty, near Madras for 1811, 152,000
* A Rupee though generally considered to be only the value of half a crown, yet is reckoned in the case of the pilgrims of India, to be equivalent to the value of one pound sterling to an inhabitant of Britain, so that, in this point of view, Rupees may be considered as equivalent to pounds.
Mr. Hamilton in his “Description of Hindostan," quoted by Mr. Peggs, in his “Pilgrim tax in India," states with respect to the district of Tanjore that " in almost every village, there is a temple with a lofty gateway of massive architecture, where a great many Brahmins are maintained, partly by an allowance from government. The brahmins are here extremely loyal, on account of the protection they receive and also for an allowance granted them by the British government of 45,000 Pagodas or £18,000 annually, which is distributed for the support of the poorer temples,”—a sum which would purchase one hundred and eighty thousand Bibles at two shillings each! Can any thing be more inconsistent than the conduct of a professed Christian nation in thus supporting a system of idolatry, the most revolting, cruel, lascivious and profane? Yet a member of the parliament, C. Buller, Esq. in his letter to the Court of Directors, relative to Juggernaut, in 1813, says, “ I cannot see what possible objection there is to the continuance of an established tax, particularly when it is taken into consideration what large possessions in land and money are allowed by our government, in all parts of the country, for keeping up the religious institutions of the Hindoos and the Mus. sulmans.",
The scenes of Juggernaut and other Idol-temples are so well known to the British public, that I need not dwell on the abominations and the spectacles of misery presented in these habitations of cruelty. I shall only remark that, from all parts of India, numerous bodies of idol-worshippers or pilgrims travel many hundreds of miles to pay homage to the different idols to which I have alluded. A tax is imposed by the British government on these pilgrims, graduated according to the rank or circumstances of the pilgrim, and amounting from one to twenty or thirty rupees—which according to the estimate stated in the preceding note, (p. 76,) will be equivalent to one pound sterling to the poorest class of pilgrims. Those journeying to Allahabad, for example, are taxed at the following rates. On every pil