Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

“ of life and devour his remains in a solemn
“banquet.”*
These cannibals inhabit the interior of the
island of Sumatra, on the shore of which is
the English settlement, Bencoolen, or Fort-
Malborough. We have been settled there for
a long period, and trade with the inhabitants for
their spices. In return for the pepper which the
natives give us, it would well become our charac-
ter as a Christian nation, were we now at length,
to offer them the New Testament.
Another description of barbarians in the
Eastern Isles, are the Haraforas, called by the
Dutch, the Alföers. They are to be found in
almost all the larger islands. “In their man.
“ners,” says Dr. Leyden, “the most singular
“feature is the necessity imposed on every per-
“son of, sometime in his life, imbruing
“his hands in human blood : and in general,
“among all their tribes, no person is per-
“mitted to marry, 'till he can shew the
“skull of a man whom he has slaughtered.
“They eat the flesh of their enemies like
“the Battas, and drink out of their skulls; and
the ornaments of their houses are human skulls
“and teeth.”f When the Author was at Pulo

--

* Asiatic Researches, Vol. X, p. 203. # Ibid. p. 217.

[ocr errors]

Penang, he himself saw a Chief of the Malay tribe who had a staff, on the head of which was a bushy lock of human hair; which he said he had cut from the head of his enemy, whom he had killed. The Author has mentioned the foregoing circumstances to shew what Paganism is in its natural state, and to awaken some desire of civilizing a people, who are now so accessible to us. Some Philosophers of the school of Voltaire and Gibbon, have been extravagant in their eulogium of man in a state of nature, or in some other state DEvoid of Christianity; and it is to be lamented that some Christian writers have tried of late to draw the same picture. But Paganism in its best estate, is well described by one line of the Poet :

Monstrum, horrendum, informe, ingens cui LUMEN ad emptum. VIRG.

No quarter of the globe promises to be more auspicious to Christian Missions than the Malayan Archipelago. In regard to the probable success of our endeavours, the Dutch have already shewn what is practicable. The natives are of different casts, and are a divided people. The communication is easy from island to island; our own ships are continually plying on their shores. The China fleet pass through twice or oftener every year; and with most of the islands we have intercourse by what is called in India, the country trade. And now there will be, of course, an English Government established in each of the conquered islands in lieu of the Dutch. The Mahomedans found it easy to translate the Koran into the languages of Java, and of the Celebes; but the Sacred Scriptures are not yet translated into either of these languages. The proper language of Java is different from the Malay of the city of Batavia. The language of the Celebes is called the Bugis, or Bouguese." The natives of Celebes are distinguished for their vigour of mind and strength of body; and are acknowledged to be the first of the Orang Timor, or Eastern men. Literature was formerly cultivated among them. Dr. Leyden enumerates fifty-three different volumes. “Their songs,” says he, “and “romances, are famous among all the islands of “the East.” Their language extends to other islands, for they formerly carried their conquests beyond the Moluccas. The man who shall first

[ocr errors]

* Lord Minto notices in his Speech to the College of Fort William, that Thos. Raffles, Esq. Secretary to the Government in Prince of Wales's Island, is employed in compiling a code of Malay laws, in the Malay and Bougeuse Languages.

[ocr errors]

translate the Bible into the language of the Celebes,
will probably be read by as many islanders as have
read the translation of Wickliffe. Let us consi-
der how long these nations have waited for
Christian instruction, and contemplate the words
of the prophecy, “The isles shall wait for HIS
“Law.” Is. xliii. 4.
The facilities for civilizing the Malayan isles
are certainly very great; and these facilities are
our strongestencouragement tomake theattempt.
Both in our translation of the Scriptures and in
missions to the heathen, we should avoid as much
as possible what may be called enterprise. Let
us follow the path that is easy and secure, and
make use of those means which are already af.
forded to us by Providence. Thus the most va-
luable and important translation of the Scrip-
tures in the present circumstances, will be that
for which a people are already prepared, such as
the Malayalim, the Cingalese, and Malay. And
the most judiciously planned Missions will be
those where there is a prospect of personal secu-
rity to the teachers; and where there are, judging
from human probabilities, the greatest facilities
for the conversion of the people.

THE SYRIAN CHRISTIANS IN INDIA.

[ocr errors]

The Syrian Christians inhabit the interior of Travancore and Malabar, in the South of India; and have been settled there from the early ages of Christianity. The first notices of this an ' cient people in recent times are to be found in the Portuguese histories. When Vasco de Gama arrived at Cochin on the coast of Malabar, in the year 1503, he saw the sceptre of the Christian King; for the Syrian Christians had formerly regal power in Malay-Ala.* The name or title of their last King was Beliarte; and he dying without issue, the dominion devolved on the King of Cochin and Diamper.

When the Portuguese arrived, they were agreeably surprised to find upwards of a hundred Christian Churches on the coast of Malabar. But when they became acquainted with the purity and simplicity of their worship, they were offended,

* Malay-ala is the proper name for the whole country of Travancore and Malabar, comprehending the territory between the mountains and the sea, from Cape Cormorin to Cape Illi or Dilly. The language of these extensive regions is called Malayalim, and sometimes Malabar. We shall use the word Malabar as being of easier pronunciation.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »