« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
of them are learned in the Pali or ; merit and demerit; he has underMagudha, but the great majority gone incarnations as beast, as man, exhibit evident marks of mental and as a celestial, being. He has gloth and inanity.
been punished repeatedly millions The sacred writings of the Bur- of years in hell, has enjoyed ages mese are reported to have been of sensual happiness in the Nat transcribed in the most miraculous country, and is now in Niekbaan, inanner, in one day, from the orig-or annihilation. inal copies first put into a legible The Burmese, considering the form by yahans, or priests, on the moral features of their religious Island of Thee-ho, (Ceylon) nearly system, and their being surroundfour hundred years after the supled with objects of misery both posed annihilation of Gautama, and among beasts and their own species, about a century previous to the which they are taught to contemChristian æra.
These writings, | plate as the effects of retributive embracing every science natural justice, awarded by irresistible and and religious, within the scope of unmerciful Fate, ought to be a pitheir author's reputed universal Sous and orderly race of men. In and infallible knowledge, amount this respect, however, little can be to some thousands. · Few of them said in their favour. Of their religare read by the priests, and fewer | ious character it may be observed, still by the reading part of the that while it exhibits little of perpublic. The middling and lower sonal concern and anxiety, and classes of society are content with pears to be unmixed with enthusiknowing little niore of the princi- | asm, it exhibits on all occasions a ples of their religion than what is sufficiently conspicuous faith in the ascertained from the public form of religion of their country. The reworship. This announces the three ligion being national, is therefore grand objects of religious homage, popular, and every appearance of God, (or his substitute, a pagoda or dissent presents just cause for image,) Fate, or the immutable law criminal prosecution. The Buror course of things, and the Priest- mese, therefore, do not appear to hood. The fundamental moral pre- be so deeply impressed with cordicepts are five, and are merely pro- | al regard for their religion, as with hibitory; they forbid the destruc- the duty of conformity. While this tion of animal life, theft, lying, is the case, although they apparentadultery, and drinking ardent ly attach credit to the doctrines of spirits.
their Atheology, as it may with It would require a volume to propriety be termed, such is the give a sketch of all the particulars genius of their minds, and so little which the Burman religion embrac- is theirs a religion of the affections, es; it may be enough to remark in that a careful observer will see reaaddition to the above, that the doc son to believe, that arguments in trine of transmigration is most firm- | favour of truth could not be forcily believed, and also the final anni- bly applied without producing some hilation of animal life, and the de- degree of conviction. They exstruction of material substances. hibit in matters of religion, just Every thing is mutable but Fatem that state of mind and that exterior which is eternal ; and while that deportment, which might be exordains the final destruction of pected from a people among whom present things, it has provided that secular authority claims dominion another material universe shall of over the free exercise of consciitself necessarily arise, and thus ence. The despot of the realm, by successively, ad infinitum. Even one word, could annihilate Boodtheir God or Deity is a subject of hism with all its monumental me
morials and imagery ; and with the sout consulting astrologers. The same ease, could ordain the ob- particular day and hour, with the servance of a new religion. We position of the planets, are carefulmay judge then with what affection ly observed on the birth of a child. the Burmese now adhere to the A man's fortune may be read on one, and with what sincerity they the lines of the palm of his hand. would be attached to the other, if | They believe in the existence of upheld by the same authority. evil spirits, ghosts, and witches,
The days of public worship are in demoniacal possessions, and the pointed out by the change, the first use of charms. The effect of bul. quarter, the full, and the last quar-| lets, swords, and spears, may be ter of the moon. Those of the full || restrained by the
of fascinaand new moon, are observed with tion, and the attacks of epidemical more general attention. The grand or other prevalent diseases, preannual festival happens at the be- / vented by making terrific noises, ginning of the year, (about March.) | placing a hideous representation of It is a time both of hilarity and a face near the door of a dwellinghomage. On this day, or rather house, or wearing charms. Accordduring three days, religious pros- ing to their ideas, the cholera has tration, music and dancing, mas- been several times expelled from querades, pugilism, throwing water Rangoon by the noise arising from upon one another, puppet shows, the simultaneous discharge of canand comic scenes, make up the non, muskets, and beating the houfestive jumble.
ses with bamboos! In the year Religious duties consist in build - 1823, when the cholera was extening pagodas and ornamenting them | sively fatal in its effects, the suwith gold leaf, in forming large and preme court at Ava issued an orsmall images of Gautama, in erect- der that the inhabitants should ing monasteries, zayats, and bridg- wear the title of the heir apparent, es, in digging tanks, in supporting written on a small slip of
in the priesthood by donations of food, the hole of the lobe of their ears, cloth, &c. in prostrations before as an infallible specific against the pagodas and images, in presenting effects of that destructive demon. before them lighted candles, clus- If a vulture perch upon a house, ters of flowers, umbrellas of various some awful calamity threatens its descriptions, rice, and fruits ; in inhabitants, and they immediately erecting high poles and suspending | abandon it. The doctrine of translong flags on their tops ; in casting migration, it may be supposed, bells and hanging them near their leads them into the absurdity of pagodas, or contributing to any of propitiating their future destiny by these objects ; in attention to the offerings of food to animals ; a derecitations of the priests, and when ceased friend may
thus be nourishever an offering is made, expressing || ed in the form of a four-footed or a wish that the merits of it may be feathered animal, and in some fuenjoyed. The use of the bells isture period of existence, the good to proclaim to the celestial regions deed 'repaid with ample interest. the fact of presenting an offering ; Carved images of the most ridicuand the person who thus announces lous shapes are to be seen in many the fact, is both worshipper and bell places, the superstitious represen
tatives of different Nats or demons. Nearly allied to the religion of|| Astrologers are numerous, and obthe Burmese are their superstitious tain the means of subsistence by ideas. They have their fortunate the practice of their profession. A and unfortunate days, and no affair great proportion of them are Brahof importance is undertaken with - ! muns, or professors of Hindooism,
BUSINESS BEFORE THE BAPTIST GENERAL
CONVENTION IN THE UNITED STATES.
here called Ponnas, who have been || Gate, and no corpse must be carborn in the country, or have emi ried towards a city or town where grated from Assam or Hindoost'han. the Governors usually reside. The Burmans also embrace the profess- | banks of the Aiyawotte, are not seion. The order is highly respect. lected for the performance of funeed, but not esteemed so sacred as ral obsequies, like the banks of the that of the priesthood.
Ganges, neither are its waters reThe medical department is pe- garded as possessing any sacred culiarly subject to the control of qualities, nor are they in the least superstition. Its influence is often degree the object of superstitious seen in the collection of medicinal reverence. The business of the roots, the method of compounding priests at funerals, is, to recite medicines, and the time and man some portion of their sacred books, ner of administering them. of and to receive presents; but it is books which treat of the nature of not customary for them to take any diseases, the virtues of medicinal | other part in funeral ceremonies, roots and plants, the art of com- unless at the incineration of their pounding them, and their specific own order, in which they render qualities, they have a considerable personal assistance. number. Shops of drugs and med
(To be continued.) icine are in full proportion to the wants of the public. With surgery, however, they are wholly un
To the Editors of the Am. Bap. Magazine. acquainted.
Their funeral solemnities are conducted with decency. The manner of disposing of the dead is ei Messrs. Editors, ther by incineration or burial. The I was exceedingly interested in former is esteemed the most honour-| the communication in your last able. The corpse is inclosed in a Number, signed, “A Layman.” coffin, ornamented with gold leaf It breathes a truly missionary spir. or otherwise, according to the it, and exhibits an ardour for the means of the friends of the deceas- || advancement of the cause of Christ, ed, and, followed by the mourners which it would be most desirable dressed in white, is borne to the || to behold every where diffused public place of interment, (which is throughout our churches. without the city or town) the pro It has also led me to reflect some. cession being usually preceded by what upon the concerns which will the music of wind instruments and of course come before the Conven. drums, and the presents intended tion at its approaching Triennial for the priests who may be iuvited meeting. I have endeavoured to on the occasion.
The presents arrange them so far as possible in usually consist of pieces of cotton
for my own instruction, cloth, sugar cane, and fruits of va and I send my thoughts to you, rious kinds. On their arrival at with permission to insert them, if the place of incineration, fuel is your pages should not be occupied placed under the coffin, the move with matter which you may considable ornaments being first taken er more important. away, and the corpse is consumed, The.business of the Convention after which the bones are interred. is of two kinds, Missionary and Infants and criminals are buried, | Educational. Our Missions are of as well as the poorest part of the two descriptions. 1st. Foreign, and community All funeral proces
2d. Western or Domestic ; that is, sions must pass out of a city by a those which are employed among particular gate, called the Funeral lour Indian tribes.
Our Foreign Missions are in Bur not very
well mah and in Africa. From both of what they have done I know not, these it is expected that interesting as I believe their doings have never intelligence will be presented, their been made public. Îo the Comcondition and prospects fully devel- mittee in and about Boston, I have oped, and the exertions necessary perceived some additional powers for their further prosecution clearly have since been granted ; and in stated. The Western Mission at this part of the country, I am hapCarey has been frequently present-py to observe, some improvement is ed to our notice through the medi- apparent. I have heard of Churchum of your pages. Of the Station es and Societies, in Maine and at Valley Towns, I know almost Massachusetts, who are doing well. nothing. The religious publica- | But I do not see any thing like such tions of the day, and
a general movement on the subject Editors, among the number, have as the cause imperatively demands. scarcely told us enough to keep in Sometimes I have attributed this recollection the fact, that such a diminution of exertion to a want of Mission existed. From the letter interest in the cause of Missions. of " a Layman,” and I presume he But having seen how promptly Somust be acquainted with the facts, cieties have been formed wherever I fear that the Missionary Treasu - | proper solicitations have been made, ry is, to say the best of it, exhaust-|| I am convinced that this supposied. To awaken the public to exer
tion must be erroneous. I do betion, I can conceive no measure | lieve that funds, to any reasonable more promising of success than a amount, might be raised from our full exhibition of the wants and the denomination in this country, if present condition of the Stations. missions were prosecuted vigorous
But I think it must be evident to ly, and the proper means used to every one of your readers, that bring our churches into action. some new arrangement of the Mis This can only be done by a reg. sionary concerns of the Convention ular course of systematic exertion. is imperiously demanded. For sev- It is a work of labour; and without eral years we have been rather labour, persevering, pains-taking worse than at a stand.
labour, it cannot be accomplished. Missions have been originated, and the business evidently demands, some of those once flourishing seem that one or two men should devote to have faltered. At the first meet. their time exclusively to it, assisting of the Convention, our pros ed by as many agents as may be pects were very nearly as flattering | deemed necessary. The Corres. as it regards Missionary effort asponding Secretary at least should at present, and much more so as to have nothing else to do, and a compecuniary resources. The Ameri. petent support should be at once can Board was established but a provided for him. He should be few years before the General Con- the general and the active Superinvention; and whilst every year tendent of our whole Missionary since has added to their means and Concerns, and his whole physical to their exertions, ours on the con and moral energies should be contrary, we regret to state it, seem to secrated to the work.
With one have moved retrograde.
hand he should direct our MissionThis was perceived, I believe, at | aries abroad, and with the other he the last Triennial meeting, and an should sustain and elevate the spireffort was made to effect some new it of Christian benevolence at home. arrangements. Several committees Here is surely enough to call for in different parts of the United one whole man, and a man of no States were appointed, with some common foresight and no ordinary
efficiency. This subject will, 1 plan should be adopted whereby the trust, call for the deliberate atten. | whole Missionary concern should tion of the Convention.
be consolidated, and placed in the But besides this, it has appeared | hands of men who can devote to it to me that the present organization the labour which it requires, and of our Missionary System is sus who reside in some place where the ceptible of some improvement. It channel of communication is open is now vested, if I mistake not, in and free, both to the Eastern and a Board of Managers, consisting of Western world. I have, however, 38 persons from different parts of been delayed longer on this branch the United States. This Board of the subject than I at all intendholds, or is expected to hold, a full | ed, and I have said what I at first meeting annually; but a very small | did not intend. I will now turn quorum, I believe of five persons, | to the Educational concerns of the transacts all the business in the in- || Convention. terim. This making so few persons
The Educational concerns of the a Board, always seemed to me a bad | Convention are now all concentraarrangement. They are the Board ted in the Columbian College in the as truly as the whole 38, and are District of Columbia. This Instias independent as the full meeting; tution originated in the design to and yet
the whole Board is consid- establish a Theological Institution ered responsible for their acts; for the Baptist Denomination. An acts over which it is evident the Institution was established in Philmajority could have no manner of adelphia, with the express direction control; for they are never inform of the Convention, «that no expened of the meetings, and are so far ses should be incurred faster than off, that to attend them would be funds were provided to meet them.” impossible. It has occurred to me || This Institution was subsequently that a Committee, appointed by the removed to Washington, and beBoard from themselves, with limit came merged in the College, for ed and accurately defined powers, which, in 1821, a charter was obresponsible to the Board, and re- tained. By this charter, the Conporting to them in full all their vention surrendered the College in. doings, liable to be removed at its to the hands of a Board of Trustees, pleasure would be a much more ef- reserving to itself the right of nomficient and suitable arrangement. inating the persons from whom the
There is one other consideration choice should be made. This is which is worthy of regard. It seems the connecting link between the evident that the Missionary opera-Coilege and the Convention, and in tions should all be conducted by virtue of it, the Trustees have made one Board. At present, the West- | reports of their proceedings to the ern Missions are under the super- Convention, and made exhibits of intendence of the Board at Wash - || the state of their pecuniary arrangeington, while the Foreign are con-ments. ducted by a Committee in Boston. The College has prospered as a When the same Treasury is to be literary Institution even beyond the drawn upon, and drafts to be made | hopes of its friends. Its number out by bodies 500 miles apart, there of students has been large and inis a constant liability of interfer- creasing. Its officers have been ence. Besides, the present arrange-evidently laborious and successful ment, as must be evident, is doub- || instructers; and the testimony to ling the labour, and rendering it the progress of their pupils, by impossible that the work should be some of the ablest men in the nadone as well as by one Board. It tion, is such, as to entitle them to seems then, important, that some the confidence of the Convention