« PreviousContinue »
FUNERAL RITES IN CHINA.
clusion, that because they have served nevolence to man is the soul of thanksothers, they must of necessity have been giving to God, especially when exeractuated by the desire to serve them- cised towards God's people, and that the selves.
Lord of life and glory condescends to acIs there one who shall read these poor cept such offerings, is, I think, borne remarks, whom God has blessed with out by the words, “Whosoever shall the means, and who is fostering the give to drink unto one of these little intention in his heart at some future ones a cup of cold water only in the day to erect a row of almshouses? If name of a disciple, verily I say unto with a single eye to God's glory and you, he shall in no wise lose his rethe good of his fellow beings, such is ward,” Matt. x. 42. And “inasmuch his design, highly do I honour him; as ye have done it unto one of the least but let not such an one think that old of these my brethren, ye have done it Humphrey will for a moment spare the unto me,” Matt. xxv. 40. selfish ambition, the poor pitiful vanity of doing a deed of apparent benevolence, that his name may be trumpeted about As I was passing by a knot of houses, in the world, and handed down to pos- or rather low huts, near the southern terity as a miracle of philanthropy. I gate of Macao, that opens into the will not say with the poet,
Campo, I witnessed the dues of mourn
ing, that were paid to a poor old woman, “ Who builds a house to God and not to fame,
who, from the pliancy of her limbs, Will never mark the marble with his name;"
seemed not long since to have breathed because, in many cases, it is an ad- her last. vantage, if not absolutely necessary, She was laid upon the ground clad in that the name of the founder of a cha- | a blue frock, a new shirt, and a pair of rity should be made public; but I do gay and freshly made shoes. At her say, that a man should remember, even feet were two wax candles, dyed with red when he scatters his bounty with the and painted with figures externally. Wax most liberal hand, that he is only be- candles dyed with red are often made of stowing a part of what God has already a large size, and are ornamented with a bestowed pon him ; and
therefore variety of curious devices of the pencil. thankfulness and not pride, should be They are used in temples and at different the mainspring of his actions.
religious festivities by those who can afSome of the sculptured resemblances ford the cost of them. The manufacture of the founders of almshouses are of these emblems of worship yields emludicrously uncouth. No longer ago ployment to many hands in a country than yesterday, I was standing opposite wholly given to idolatry. Between the one of them. There stood the benevolent candles a stick of sweet incense was man in his flowing robe, long curls, fuming, and hard by were scattered waistcoat half down his thighs, and bundles of gilded paper in square pieces, shoes nearly up to his ancles, with a and a roll of larger sheets, which were gold collar and gold chain hanging from afterwards burnt at a certain point of the his neck. His left foot was advanced ceremony; for it is supposed that whatso much before the other, that he ever is committed to the flames in honour seemed to be holding out his leg to of the dead, as a representative, is transcall forth the admiration of the spec- formed into some reality corresponding tator ; and this, for odd thoughts some to it in another world, for the service of times come into my mind, set me musing the spirit in its sojourn there. What a on the words of holy writ. The Lord strange and futile method of attempting
delighteth not in the strength of the to lay up treasure in heaven! horse: he taketh_not pleasure in the A man of a respectable appearance put legs of a man. The Lord taketh plea- on a cap and a grey vesture, took a cup sure in them that fear him, in those that of wine in one hand and a small bell in hope in his mercy,” Psa. cxlvii. 10, 11. the other. He commenced his part by
For the last time, I say then, that sipping a little of the liquor and blowing I like almshouses heartily, and that it towards the deceased as he stood at her I like those heartily that found them, feet. He then chanted several strains by and those who inhabit them. More way of spell or prayer, and sounded the than once have I said that active be- little bell as an accompaniment to his
voice. At intervals, he stopped to repeat | imagine that the disembodied spirit inthe first ceremony with the wine, or to hales the purer draughts of happiness dip his finger into the cup and throw a among the genii that haunt the hills and drop or two towards the corpse. One of mountains, they say and do many things, the bystanders inquired if I understood at the same time, which intimate that what the man was saying ; I replied no, they belong to the class of them who sorand asked him the same question, to row as those that have no hope, which he replied in the affirmative. This I once felt this very powerfully as I chanting being ended, one of the attend- entered the room which had been conseants, who were all males, spread a piece crated to the dead son of a great mera of cloth, of a grey colour, at the bottom chant. A tablet was erected to his of a neatly made coffin, another covered memory, and what we may call an altar the face with a piece of red cloth and laid and a shrine. Upon the altar stood a hold of the head, a third gathered the bason of rice, and a cup of tea. The border of the shirt between the legs, youth was dearly beloved, and had, while while a fourth laid his hands upon the living, been nursed amidst a profusion of body. In this way it was taken up luxuries ; but now his poor spirit was and laid into the coffin with much appa. supposed to be glad of a morsel of the rent neatness and decency.
cheapest fare and a sip of the least costly After this, one took å bundle of gilt beverage. How comfortless is idolatry paper and placed it as a pillow for her even in imagination ! Christianity, apart head. This gilt paper is the representa- from its high sanctions and its present tive of money, and so was put into the joys and consolations, has an infinitely coffin to aid her in the world of spirits! greater claim to our attention in the reHow pertinent are some things, how em- wards which it sets before us in reference blematic of the truth! these folks pillow to another world. their hopes upon money, and all is given The superstition and false religion of in exchange for it; honour, virtue, truth, the Chinese deserve our notice from their and every thing else, are bartered for it antiquity, but much more for the imin China. It were well if that country portant admissions which they contain, alone was liable to this censure; for what In the little ceremony we have just have we to boast of who learn from ex- spoken of, two or three
hings perience as well as from Divine precept, which may be dignified with the name that we cannot serve God and mammon? of principles, however darkly conceived,
The female friends or intimates of the or grossly misapplied. In the priest, deceased stood at a distance, but mani, who, as I was afterwards told, performed fested some concern in their looks, which these rites to dispel evil spirits, that the was far from being the case with the soul might gain its way towards the reroguish boys who acted the part of minis- gions of the happy, we have the idea of ters or waiters; their looks were blithe, a mediator. Mediation seems to be esand their communications as foolish as sential to the character of a priest whereusual. Soon after the body had been put ever we find it. An individual is more into its last bed, a decent-looking female holy than I am, and, therefore, more fit came to pay her respects to the dead. to speak with God for me than I am to Ere she had reached the spot, she began speak for myself; or he has a power to cry in an agonizing manner, and, over evil spirits, so that he can protect drawing near, fell down upon the ground, me from my unseen foes, and is, thereand continued her lamentations for some fore, a person under whose wing I may time. These sorrows and wailings no hope to find shelter. Upon this notion one attempted to assuage, as by them one may found in China, as in many proper marks of esteem and regret are other places, as upon a general premise, shown for the dead.
an argument for the truth. Tradition, I forgot to mention that another old or some instinctive feeling, has taught lady, while the chant was singing, came man that he has potent enemies, theugh near the deceased, and, bowing low, with he cannot see them, and a consciousness a demure countenance, uttered some ex- of guilt and depravity leads him to think pressions of kindness and commiseration, that he is not a proper person to treat For while they bow to, or worship the with God. The gospel meets him at departed, as if they thought them raised this very point, and tells him of Christ, to a higher condition, and are fain to who hath trampled Satan under his feet,
and hath an infinite worthiness to in caverns at the point of day. They lay tercede with God in behalf of all that their eggs in March and April, and at love him.
each period produce from two to three eggs, Beside a glimpse at what resembles the size of those of a pigeon, white, and the mediatorial office in the ceremonies spotted with yellow. The nest, in shape, performed for the dead, we have the resembles the great Boletus, from which acknowledgment that the soul outlives tinder is made, and is so little hollow in the body, and that it is susceptible of the middle, that it is probably surrounded happiness or misery in some unknown at the edge by a pad of down, when region. No arguments, therefore, of a required to hold the eggs or young birds. theoretical kind are necessary to convince It is fixed to the rock like a cornice, and a Chinese that it is his duty to reflect lasts several years; it is formed by masupon what may be the future state of his ticated and digested materials, placed by soul, and instruction should be directed the beak, and kneaded with the feet; and, to the setting forth of those means by when broken, looks like a cake of sawdust, which, under the Spirit's guidance, he or tan, and burns like peat, without any may be enabled to discharge that duty decided animal odour. --Athenæum. aright. In proportion to the love I bear to this people, my heart is touched with IDLENESS CHARACTERIZED. pity when I see them groping in the It was a great vanity in Dionysius dark, mistaking shadows for realities, that he would needs be the best poet; and, amidst the comforts and refinements and in Caligula that he would needs be of this life, making their way towards a the best orator; and in Nero, that he land of everlasting banishment from God. would needs be the best fiddler; and so “As many as have sinned without law they became the three worst princes, mindshall also perish without law,” Rom. ii. ing other men's business more than their 12. God has loved these strangers in giv- own callings. So is it very great vanity ing them food and raiment, Deut. x. 18; in many professors to mind more other may He who is the Governor among the men's business than their own: from the nations ere long break down the wall of society of such saints we must withdraw. exclusion, and let in the rays of the glo- No man is too noble to have a calling. rious gospel upon this great and ancient If iron had reason, it would choose rather nation !
G. T. L. to be used in labour, than to grow rusty
in a corner. By the law of Mahomet,
the Grand Turk himself was to be of A new habitat has been found for the some trade. The hour of idleness is curious bird called the Guacharo (Stea- the hour of temptation. An idle person tornis Caripensis,) and Dr. L'Herminier is the devil's tennis-ball, tossed by him and M. Hautessier have completed its at his pleasure. God ordained that the history. The latter has met with it in neck of the consecrated ass should be Spanish Trinidad, where it is sold under broken, Exod. xiii. 13, instead of sathe name of Diablotin, and even the crificing it: peradventure, because that church allows it be eaten on meagre animal hath ever been the hieroglyphic days. The mountains which border the of sloth and laziness. Among the Egypnorth of this island are a continuation of tians idleness was a capital crime. Among the chain of Cumana, interrupted by the Locrians, he that Ient money to an idle what are called the Dragon's Mouths, - person was to lose it. Among the Corinlittle islands torn asunder by the violence thians, idle persons were delivered to the of the currents, and which are all hol- carnifex. By the laws of Solon idle perlowed into deep caverns. The north side sons were to suffer death. The ancients of the chain is, on the contrary, cut ver- call idleness the burial of a living man, tically like a wall, and is unceasingly and Seneca had rather be sick than idle. worn and beaten by an agitated sea. In Now, shall nature do more than grace ? the sides of these are caverns inhabited shall poor blind heathens be so severe by the Guacharo, all open just at the against idle persons, and shall Christians place to which the waves rise, and in the embrace them ? Should they not rather most exposed and dangerous to the fowler turn their backs upon them and have no these birds chiefly abound. They eat intercourse with them who think themthe seeds of palm and other trees, fly selves too great, or too good to hold the abroad at night, and return to their plough ? - Brooks's Beauty of Holiness,
IDOLATRY OF ROMANISTS. priests receive the eucharist merely as The offices of an English monastery, communicants, distinguished from the during three days in the “holy week,' laity by wearing a stole. After high are generally chaunted, and are com mass, the consecrated host is taken into monly called tenebræ, from the Latin the sepulchre. This is done in a proword for darkness, when thirteen candles cession, which includes all the brethren are burned ; one of each is extinguished of the house, each one bearing a lighted at a given portion of the office, till the torch, and singing a hymn in a deep whole are put out, and the chapel is and melancholy tone. left in comparative gloom. At the end The sepulchre is a room darkened of these offices, a signal is given by for the purpose, but, at the same time, the prior, and immediately knocking highly ornamented with gold and silver with the hands and stamping with the vessels
. A painting or figure of Christ, feet are commenced, to imitate, it is said, as taken from the cross, is seen from the rending of the rocks and the throes a distance lying there, surrounded with of the earthquake, at the time of the cru moss; and on it the light of two candles cifixion of Christ.
is thrown, while they are completely On Holy Thursday, the morning hidden from view. salutation at the cell of each of the On the return of the procession from brethren is changed. It is then, “ Chris- the sepulchre, the priest, deacon, and tus factus est pro nobis obediens sub-deacon strip the altar of all its “Christ is made obedient for us :" ornaments, every light is extinguished, the answer is, “ Usque ad mortem” the doors of the tabernacle are thrown “Even unto death." No private masses open, and the chapel rendered in apcan be celebrated on this day; but high pearance as desolate as possible. The mass is performed, at which all the remainder of the day, which is one of
fasting, and prayer, and the whole of
ANIMALCULES.-No. III. the following night, are employed in We shall now attempt a sketch of anwatching the sepulchre.
other class of these minute beings, termed On Good Friday morning, the salut- Rotifera, or wheel-bearers. They are to ation is, “ Usque ad mortem”—“Even be distinguished from the polygastrica by unto death ;" and the response, “ Mortem many important differences of organizaautem crucis" - “ The death of the tion. Formerly, both these classes were
Now the altar is clothed in confounded together, under the indiscriblack, and of the same hue are the minate name of infusoria, or infusory vestments of the priest, deacon, and animalcules; and it is one of the triumphs sub-deacon, prayers of an unusual length of modern science, that by means of powerand number, far exceeding those of ful microscopes, naturalists have been ordinary times, are said ; and the cross able to explore the structure of these mitaken from the top of the tabernacle nute beings, and to arrive at a satisis laid on the ground for adoration. factory conclusion as to the rank they This act of worship is performed as hold in the scale of animated nature; follows :—Three cushions are placed at and consequently as to the place to be a considerable distance from each other; assigned to them in a system of zoolothe worshippers, approaching one by gical classification. Not, indeed, that one, kneel on the first cushion, and every thing respecting them is clearly make a profound obeisance, till the made out; on the contrary, much head nearly touches the ground; the yet remains for future microscopic ob
act is repeated at the second servers. Many points will, it is procushion, and also at the third; each one bable, be by degrees cleared up; but then approaches the cross, makes an from the extreme minuteness of these other profound obeisance, and kisses the creatures, and from the impossibility, feet and hands of the crucifix. Such even with the most perfect instruments, of are the practices even in England. investigating the minuter organs of be
In this act, there is another case of ings, themselves the minims of creation, gross idolatry, justified by the highest much will ever remain inexplicable. authorities of the Romish church. St. The Rotifera belong to that division Thomas Aquinas has fully decided, that of the animal kingdom, termed, by " the same reverence
given to Professor Owen, Nematoneura, from the image of Christ, as to Christ him- two Greek words, meaning a thread self ; and that since Christ ought to and a nerve, from the circumstance that be worshipped with the worship of latria, it is here that the first traces of distinct (that is, the highest or Divine degree nerves, in the form of fine threads, of worship,) his image should receive begin to make their appearance, and, the same homage.” There are other in some instances, ganglia or rudimendeclarations to the same effect.
tary nervous centres. In addition to In the “Manual of Godly Prayers,” this character, distinct muscular fibres is the petition, “O God, which, under are perceptible, arranged in fasciculi, the admirable sacrament, hast left unto or bundles; and, though there is no us the memory of thy passion, grant, heart or great receptacle for the circuwe beseech thee, that we may so wor: lating fluid, there is a system of vessels ship the sacred mysteries of thy body for its due distribution through the and blood, that continually we may feel frame. The digestive apparatus also in us the fruit of thy redemption.” assumes a more perfect state, and inAnd in the “ Office of the Venerable stead of consisting of mere cavities in Sacrament,” printed at Colen, 1591, the substance of the body itself, it preare the following words :-"O God, sents a true stomach and intestinal who wouldest have the glorious mystery canal, with various appendages. The of thy body and blood to remain with mode of reproduction is no longer by us; grant, we pray thee, that we may the division of the parent or adult so worship thy corporeal presence on into new beings, but by eggs or ova, earth, that we may be worthy to enjoy containing the vitalized germ of the the vision of it in heaven.” Here, again, future animals. is the doctrine of merit blending with We have said that in this class the gross idolatry. Marvellous is that for first traces of distinct nerves are manibearance which delays to take ven- fest; still it is to be observed, that these geance - Spirit of Popery.
nerves are not always capable of being