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the most superstitious of Hebrew mothers, He failed not to embrace them, to take them up in His arms, and bless them. When the paralytic man was cast at His feet, even though that man in his infirmity could not articulate a prayer, and perhaps thought not of such a thing as prayer, Jesus had respect unto the faith of those who brought him, and said, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. When the widow of Nain trod in the funeral path, lost in grief, and her deceased son, utterly unconscious, lay dead upon the bier, the most gracious Saviour, passing that way, took that young man by the hand, raised him up, and restored him to his mother. But why seek to persuade any that the Lord Jesus is present in His own appointed ordinance, that His heart is, as ever, full of love, and that His promises are graven as in eternal brass ? All this is indisputable. He meets the infant at the font. He notes its helplessness, and yearns over its necessity ten thousand thousand times more tenderly than did the daughter of Pharaoh over the abandoned child of Amram. He blesses it. How great the blessing, how manifold, how deep, how abiding, or when to be sinped away, or with what stubbornness to be resisted, these are questions which it is not in man to answer. But Christ blesses the infant He receives and welcomes. This is enough for us to know, and to affirm, in answer to the question, “ What is the use of Baptism?”
THE EASTERN FESTIVAL, AND ITS LESSONS. The first glimmering of an eastern sunrise had scarcely tinged the Great Pagoda, when the rapid passing to and fro of saffron-robed priests, with other indications of unwonted activity, denoted an approaching festival.
It was the time of full moon, when the inhabitants of Rangoon and the neighbouring villages assemble in great numbers, to pay their devotions and present their offerings at this celebrated shrine. Like many other Burmese structures, the Pagoda is dome-shaped, having no interior chambers, but consisting of a solid mass of masonry. The belief that it has imbedded within it a few sacred hairs from the head of Godama, renders it a special object of pride and veneration throughout the country; and, being situate on an artificial mouvd, or hill, swelling from the midst of an extensive plain,-its lofty form resplendent with gilding, and brighter still with the rays of a tropical sun,-it is seen, an imposing spectacle, from every side, and for many miles.
From the elevated platform on which the building rests, you see in the distance the blue mountains of Pegu ; while the intervening plain, interspersed with tracts of jungle, and dorted with native villages, exhibits a rare scene of verdure and fertility. For some weeks prior to our visit, the periodical rains had been falling copiously ; and now every blade of grass, and every tiny flower and graceful shrub, lifted itself erect, as if exulting in renovated loveliness. In front flowed the broad and deep Irawaddy, bearing on its bosom ships of various nations, as well as
immense rafts of teak timber, (brought down from the forests of the interist,) which a number of tame elephants were employed to drag up the Steep bank. It was marvellous to see with what ease the huge creatures tarbed about the ponderous logs, and with what docility they obeyed the Fightest word of their driver.
Along the eastern bank of the river, stretched the town of Rangoon, with its multitudinous dwellings of primitive mud; a picture that would be truly repulsive by its dismal monotony, were it not relieved by a sprinkling of pagodas, by a stately array of government offices, and by the more attractive habitations of English and American residents,-distinguished, as these last were, not merely by their superior architecture, but by the clustering of shrubs, and flowers, and all bright things. At the foot of the declivity, the white buildings of the British cantonments gleamed out from a mass of dark green foliage ; while every road and avenue leading to the temple was thronged with eager crowds, whose graceful Costume, chiefly of snowy white, but enlivened with most brilliant and varied colours, imparted animation to the scene. At the entrance to the partico, supported by massive gilded pillars, the human mass resembled a Fast and gorgeous bed of tulips, gradually diminishing in size as group after group made their way to the extensive area in which the sacred building stands. Around the Pagoda, at regular distances, stood a number of stone altars, groaning under the promiscuous offerings of the people, which consisted of prepared rice, vermicelli, and almost every description of vegetable produce ; beneath and around which were innumerable lighted tapers. Forming a more extended circle, stood a number of smaller temples, tenanted by a rabble of stone idols, bearing marks of great antiquity. And there were crowds of devotees, some standing, others kneeling, and many prostrate on their faces,-all amid the smoke of incense, sending up a wild, mournful, impassioned cry to gods that could not save.
If it is true that the human heart is a clinging, dependent thing, always requiring an object stronger, nobler, and more powerful than itself, on which to lean for support; what a melancholy perversion of its instincts is here! To listen to that wail of suffering humanity, and to behold those prostrate forms, (each with its heart's burden of sin and sorrow, its deep affections, restless yearnings, and lofty aspirations,) was calculated to move a Christian soul to its very depths. It is said to have been in one of these temples, that Havelock testified his loyalty to Christ by summoning his men for Divine worship, when each rude granite idol, having probably for more than a thousand years received the homage of bending myriads, was compelled to do the office of torchbearer, while the Christian hero descanted on the words of that Book which declares, “ The idols He shall atterly abolish.” Many and varied were the objects exhibited for the entertainment and veneration of the devotees. One was the figure of a dragon-beaded serpent, some sixty feet in length, formed of a light transparent material, the extremity of which was fastened to a lofty tree. When, agitated by a gentle breeze, it coiled, or extended itself to full length over the heads of the spectators, it was impossible not to regard it as the symbol of an awful reality ; namely, of the dragon, that old serpent, the deceiver of the nations, exulting over his abject slaves.
The prevalence of evil both in Pagan and Christian countries attests that Satan is not yet bound; nor has he relinquished his impious claim to be designated "the god of this world.” But it is cheering to find that even where his sway was long undisputed, his power is on the wane. The clouds are dispersing. "The dayspring from on high" has arisen, “ to give light to them that sit in darkness, and the shadow of death; ta guide their feet in the way of peace.”
About three miles to the north of Rangoon, and near the banks of the Irawaddy, stands the beautiful suburban village of Kemendine. Here, sheltered by lofty trees, may be seen a group of detached buildings, the largest of which is a temple dedicated to the worship of Jehovan, Within the walls of an unpretending edifice in its vicinity, quickly after the celebration of the above-mentioned festival, gathered a number of youths, of both sexes, whose quiet order and happy faces strongly contrasted with the frantic scene we had just witnessed. They were the offspring of a down-trodden race, which through ages of oppression had gradually sunk into abject misery : for the proud Burmese not merely regarded the Karens as nationally inferior to themselves, but had their bitterest hatred inflamed by a contempt of idolatry on the part of the suffering people, and a steady refusal to adopt the religion of their oppressors. The Karens continued, though not free from many superstitious practices, to worship the one true God; wishing for clearer light, “feeling after Him, if haply they might find Him," and confidently expecting the arrival of some who would teach them the way of truth more perfectly. It is said that Judson lived seven years in Rangoon, preaching the eternal God, before any one would admit His existence. Day after day, as he sat lonely, crying, in effect, to the passing crowd, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters," while some cursed, and others regarded with pity or contempt the pale misguided stranger, there was doubtless many a poor Karen who would have joyfully responded to the invitation ; but he knew it not. It is not till the year 1827 that any allusion is made to this people in his journal; and then the reference is to an individual whom he rescued from slavery, and who expressed a desire for Christian baptism. But so rude, ignorant, and altogether unpromising did this man appear, that the Missionaries thought proper to wait a year. But he soon gave evidence of a genuine work of grace, by his ardent desire for the conversion of his countrymen ; end from that time, to the day of his death, he laboured for this object with a zeal unquenchable. Penetrating the deep recesses of the jungle, where only the tiger might be supposed to find a home, and climbing the topmost crag of the mountain whither his race had been driven for refuge, he preached, warned, and exhorted, till hundreds were brought to the faith of
· Sincand have quickline Burmese mlied to the
Christ, before a single white Missionary had been appointed to instruct them. Since then, many have gone into those wild retreats, bearing precious seed, and have quickly come again rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them. For, when the Burmese mission yielded a comparatively scanty harvest, and the proud Hindoo replied to the Missionary by subtle questions and heartless cavils, the poor Karen, having no ancient system of superstition to renounce, and no caste privileges to forfeit, resembled the man described by St. Mark, who, when in his blindness and misery he heard the voice of Jesus calling him, hesitated not a moment, but threw aside his garment, and flew with joyful alacrity to receive the blessing Christ was waiting to bestow.
Among the youths, above mentioned, were several who were going through a course of preparatory training for the ministry. A veteran Missionary, who thirty years ago left his pleasant New-England home to preach among these Gentiles, (if indeed they are Gentiles,) was instructing them in Seripture-history. He had spent his manhood's prime in their service, and now, when old and grey-headed, he was resolved not to leave them. Where they died, he would die, and there would he be buried. After exhibiting their proficiency in a number of exercises, secular and religious, he called upon them to unite in singing,
“ All hail the power of Jesu's name,” &c., &c. The hymn, and the tune, with its reiterated “Crown Him,” were perfeetly familiar, and had often been heard without any special emotion ; but the blending of the sweet voices of these youthful converts, in a grand ascription of praise to the Second Person of the ever-blessed Trinity, was inexpressibly affecting and impressive. It was like a song of triumph over the vanquished forces of paganism. And thus it will be : for “ He must reiga.” “ All kings shall fall down before Him : all nations shall serve Him. For He shall deliver the needy when he crieth ; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.” Before His presence, in ages past, the gods of the nations crumbled into dust ; and other gods are hastening to a like fate.
“ Peor and Baalim
With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine ;
Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shrine ;
No more the Syrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn." * Remarkable scriptural traditions, and national oracles, seem to have rendered the Karens, above all other Eastern tribes, a people prepared for the reception of the Gospel. A few extracts from an address to the Governor-General of India, written and presented by a native Assistant
• Slightly adapted, from Milton's Hymn for the Nativity.
Missionary, will portray their former wretchedness, and their appreciation of the blessings resulting from British influence :
“Through the goodness of God, my nation, sons of the forest, and children of poverty, ought to praise thy nation, the white foreigners, exceedingly ; and we ought to obey your orders. For the Karens, the sons of the Eastern forest, have neither head nor ear. They are poor, and scattered everywhere; are divided in every direction, at the sources of the waters, and in the glens above them. When they fall among the Burmans, the Burmans make them slaves ; when they fall among the Siamese, the Siamese make them slaves. So they live on one stream beyond another, and cannot see each other. The Burmans make them drag boats, cut ratans, collect pitch, seek bees'-wax, clear away cities, and weave large mats. Besides this, they demanded of them presents of capsicum, elephants' tusks, rhinoceros' horns, and all the various kinds of vegetables that are eaten by the Burmans. The men being employed thus, the women had to labour at home: sometimes the men were not at home four or five days in two or three months. In the midst of these sufferings, they remembered the ancient sayings of the elders, and prayed beneath the bushes, though the rains poured upon them. The elders said, “Children and grandchildren, as to the Karen nation, God will yet save them. Hence, in their deep affiction, they prayed, 'If God will save us, let Him save speedily. We can endure these sufferings no longer. Alas, where is God?' Moreover, the Karens durst not dwell in the cities : for the Burmans took away all their rice, and paddy, and everything they had ; and carried away their women by force. Hence they went far off, and dwelt on the streamlets, and in the gorges of the mountains. And, in a state of starvation, they would eat at random the roots and leaves of the jungle ; and thus great numbers died. Hence, when the Karens were in the midst of their intense sufferings, they longed for those to come that were to come by water. Again the elders said, 'When the Karens have cleared the Hornbill city * three tiines, happiness will arrive.' So, when the Burman rulers made them clear it the last time, they said among themselves, .Now we may suppose happiness is coming : for this is the third time of clearing the Hornbill city.' And true enough : for, before they had finished, we heard that the white foreigners had taken Rangoon.
“ And so we saw them. They came with black soldiers and white soldiers ; and the rulers were dressed just as the prophet had said. We had never seen the white foreigners before ; but we had heard the elders say they were righteous. So God blessed them, and they sailed in ships and cutters, and could cross oceans and reach lands.
“ After the foreign rulers had been here a short time, the white foreign
* The site of an old city near Tavoy, which the Karens were occasionally called in to clear, when the trees grew up over it.