Page images
PDF
EPUB

ner.

remarks, and to be singularly illus- guinary divinity. “If, for example, trative of the spirit which animates a devotee should scorch some memHindooism, in common with all other ber of his body, by the application of false systems of religion. There are a burning lamp, the act would prove two great annual festivals celebrated most acceptable to the goddess. If in Eastern India, in honour of Durga he should draw some blood from and Kali, two of the thousand forms himself, and present it, the libation of the consort of Shiva, the destroyer, would be still more delectable. If which have risen to pre-eminence he should cut off a portion of his own above the rest." The festival of flesh, and present it as a burnt sacriDurga we pass over, as presenting fice, the offering would be most gratebut little appropriate to our present

ful of all.”* Of all victims offered in purpose; but in that of Kali, the true

sacrifice she is most pleased with character of the Hindoo worship human blood. By the blood of comes out in the most striking man- three men slain in sacrifice she is

We shall give, in an abridged pleased a hundred thousand years." form, Dr. Duff's account of this fes- Under the native dynasties it cantival. Properly, it is celebrated in not be doubted that human sacrifices honour of Shiva, one of the Hindoo weré largely offered.

Even now, triad, in his name of Maha Kala, when this practice is prohibited on or time the great destroyer of all pain of death in the British dothings. In this character his consort minions, cases occasionally occur.t assumes the character of Maha Kali, To complete our idea of this goddess, and the worship of the two seems to we must observe that she is the have been at all times blended in the ayowed patroness of theft and plunannual festival. In the lapse of time, der, and of that horrible association however, the female form, Kali, has of men, notorious under the name of become a much more important per- Thuys, whose“ irresistable fate and sonage than the male Kala, and en- hereditary profession” it is to subgrosses almost entirely the regards sist by inurder. We pass on to the of the worshippers. The disposition annual festival. “It derives its name of this goddess is, in the last degree, of Charak Pujah from Chakra, a ferocious. “ Of all the Hindoo divi- discus or wheel, in allusion to the nities, she is the most cruel and re- circle performed in the rite of swingvengeful. Such, according to some ing, which constitutes so very proof the sacred legends, is her thirst for minent a part of the anniversary obblood, that, being unable, in one of servances. An upright pole, twenty her forms, to procure any of the or thirty feet in height, is planted in giants for her prey, in order to quench the ground. Across the top of it, her savage appetite, she actually cut running freely on a pin or pivot, is her own throat, that the blood issuing placed horizontally another long pole. thence might spout into her mouth. From one end of this transverse beam. Of the goddess, represented in the hangs a rope, with two hooks affixed monstrous attitude of supporting her to it. To the other extremity is fasown half-severed head in the left

tened a rope which hangs loosely to hand, with streams of blood gushing the ground. The devotee comes forfrom the throat into the mouth, ward, and prostrates himself in the images may this day be seen in some dust. The hooks are then run districts of Bengal.”+ The supreme through the fleshy part of his back, delight of this divinity, therefore, near the shoulders, A party, holding consists in cruelty and torture; the rope at the other end, immediately her ambrosia is the flesh of living vo- begin to run round with considerable taries, and sacrificed victims; and her velocity. By this means the wretched sweetest nectar the copious effusion dupe of superstition is hoisted aloft of their blood."I There are various into the air, and whirled violently methods of propitiating this san- round and round. The torture he

may endure for a longer or a shorter * Duff, p. 243. + Duff, p. 265, # Duff, p. 265.

* Duff, p. 265. + Duff, 266.

period as he pleases; only, this being not like a Christian church, a place reckoned one of the holiest of acts, for men to engage in reasonable worthe longer he can endure it, the ship; no, it is designed merely as a greater the pleasure conveyed to the receptacle for the senseless block of deity whom he serves, and the greater an idol, and a few Brahmins, its his future reward. Sometimes the liga- guardian attendants! Hence, as there ments of the back give way, in which is not much occasion for light, there case the victim is tossed to a dis- are few or no windows, the light of tance, and dashed to pieces.”* Other day is admitted only by the front practices, almost as cruel, are in use door, when thrown wide open. The during the festival. Some throw multitudes all congregate without'; themselves down from a height of and all is one unchanging round of twenty or thirty feet upon mattresses sacrifice and ceremony; of cruelty, stuck" full of iron spikes or knives; sport, and lifeless form. Looking others, at the approach of night, within the temple amidst "the darkpierce the skin of their forehead, and ness visible," we beheld the horrid in it, as a socket, place a small rod of figure of the idol. The goddess is iron, to which is suspended a lamp, represented with four arms—having and thus they sit till the dawn of day in one an exterminating sword, and rehearsing the praises of their deity'; in another a human head held fast by a third party have their breasts, arms, the hair; a third points downwards, and other parts, stuck entirely full of indicating the destruction that surpins, about the thickness of a packing rounds her; and the fourth is raised needle. On the great day of the feast, upwards, in allusion to the future reall the population crowds to the generation of nature by a new createmples of Shiva, or Kali. One of tion. She is represented with wild the most celebrated of these temples dishevelled hair, and a most ferocious is close to Calcutta, and Dr. Duff was countenance. Her tongue protrudes an eye-witness of what passed; let us from a distorted mouth, and hangs listen to him. “To the south of Cal- over the chin. She has three eyes, cutta is a spacious level plain, between red and fiery, one of which glares in two or three miles in length, and a her forehead. Her lips and eyemile, or a mile and a half in breadth. brows are streaked with blood, and a At a short distance from the south- a crimson torrent is streaming down east corner of the plain, lies the cele- her breast. She has ear-rings in her brated temple of Kali-Ghat. Thither ears—the carcasses of some hapless early before sunrise, on the morning victims of her fury. She has a girdle of the great day of the Charak festi- round her waist-composed of bloody val; we once hastened to witness the hands, cut off the bodies of her prosextraordinary spectacle. From all trate foes. She has a necklace round the lanes and alleys leading from the her neck of ghastly skulls. Such is native city, multitudes were pouring the monster divinity who, that into the road which leads to the day, calls forth the shouts and offertemple. With these are mingled ings of myriads of worshippers ! various processions, bearing flags, Passing now to the eastern side banners, models of temples, images of of the court, we soon saw what the gods, and other mythological figures groups of devotees were to be enwith portable stages on which men gaged in. Towards the wall were and women are engaged in ridiculous, stationed several blacksmiths, with and often worse than ridiculous, sharp instruments in their hands. pantomimic performances. On ap

The devotees now

came forward. proaching the precincts of the sacred One would stretch' out his side, and shrine, it is found surrounded by a getting it instantly pierced through, court and high wall. After entering in would pass a rod or cane. Anothe principal gate, the temple itself ther would hold out his arm, and starts up full in view. It may here getting it perforated, in would pass an be noticed, that a temple in India is iron spit or tube. A third would

protrude his tongue, and getting it * Duff, p. 268. *? *

bored through, in would pass a cord,

or serpent. When all that desired it timent of mankind expressed in the had had themselves thus variously rite of sacrifice. The analogy of transpierced, preparation was made nature is directly opposed to their for the final and most solemn act of theory. For we see, as a matter of worship. But who can attempt to fact, that, in temporal affairs, repentdescribe it? On a sudden, at a sig- ance and reformation will not always, nal given, commenced the bleating or indeed often, undo the miseries and lowing and struggling of animals which men bring upon themselves by slaughtered in sacrifice; and speedily negligence or vice. The man who, was the ground made to swim with by a course of profligate living, has blood. At the same moment, vessel injured his constitution, is frequently carriers threw upon the burning coals unable to repair it by subsequent in their vessels handfuls of Indian reformation of life. To the end of his pitch; instantly ascended the smoke, days he is often made to feel the and flame, and sulphurous smell. effects of his youthful follies. In the Those who had the musical instru- same way, it by no means follows that ments sent forth their loud, and when, by idleness or carelessness, jarring, and discordant sounds. And men have involved their affairs in ruin, those who were transpierced began future diligence will repair the loss. dancing in the most frantic manner, There is nothing, then, in the course pulling backwards and forwards of nature to lead to the conclusion through their wounded members the that repentance, however deep and rods and the canes, the spits and the sincere, will of itself do away with tubes, the cords and the writhing the consequences of sin. Equally serpents, till their bodies seemed does the universal feeling of mankind streaming with their own blood. contradict the Socinian's theory. For And again and again would the loud what was it which gave rise to the shouts ascend,

Victory to Kali ! custom of sacrifice, so widely spread Victory to the great Kali!""* Such as we have seen it is, but a conviction, is Dr. Duff's account of the festival deeply implanted in the human breast, of Kali, one of the most celebrated that, besides repentance, a satisfaction, and most universal in India.

or atonement, for sin is necessary to Some observations, suggested by wipe away its guilt? Whether the the preceding narrative, may here sacrifices of ancient and modern heaproperly be made.

thenism were understood to be vicaI. And, firstly, we gather from the rious sacrifices-sacrifices that is, in universality of the practice of sacrifice which a transfer was supposed to take how deeply seated in man's heart is place of the guilt of the offender to the feeling of his own guilt, and of the victim, such as the Mosaic sacrithe inefficacy of mere repentance to fices were--may, perhaps, admit of take it away. No heathen nation has doubt; but that they expressed a feelyet been discovered, in ancient or ing of the inadequacy of mere remodern times, in which bloody sacri- pentance to atone for sin, and arose fices, generally animal, but often also from a natural craving of the human human, have not formed a large part heart for reparation and satisfaction, of the national religion.f We have is perfectly clear. The fact is, man seen that this is remarkably the case cannot be at peace without an assurin Hindooism. Thus the Deist and ance that his sin is atoned for, as well the Socinian, who argue against the as forgiven. It is vain to urge the vicarious sacrifice of Christ, on the placability and mercifulness of God ground that when men have trans- as a ground of confidence; the ofgressed the divine law, repentance fender may be convinced of this, but and amendment will put them in the his guilt remains; it is not wiped same position as if they had never away, it is not obliterated, and this is sinned, are refuted both by the ana- what he longs to see done. The logy of nature, and the universal sen- Gospel satisfies this natural feeling * Duff, pp. 274–280.

of the heart. It announces, as its † See Magee on the Atonement, Note 5,

leading doctrine, that an atonement “On the prevalence of Human Sacrifices.” has been made by the Son of God him.”*

for the sins of the world. It tells us inflicted tortures which, in her doc. that God “ made him to be sin for us, trine of penance, the Romish Church who knew no sin; that we might be encourages, and of the persecutions made the righteousness of God in which, if not confined to her com

Not that we are to conceive munion, have, at least, found there a any change to have been effected in congenial soil. They all arise from God's purpose, or that he was ap- the notion that the God of the peased, by the sacrifice of Christ. Scriptures is a vindictive Deity whose The incautious language of some wrath has only been so far appeased pious writers, who have affirmed that by the death of Christ as to accept God's wrath was appeased, and he self-inflicted pain as an expiation for rendered propitious to man, by the sin. The sinner condemns himself ; death of Christ, is not agreeable to

and where the doctrine of the atone. the Scriptural view of the atonement, ment is not received in its Scriptural and has given occasion to the So- fulness, he will endeavour to quiet cinian to urge objections which, when the pangs of conscience by the only the matter is placed in its true light, satisfaction left in his power, selfare found to have no force. God is imposed bodily torture. This leads nowhere in Scripture said to have him also to have recourse, without reentertained feelings of wrath towards morse, to persecution. He who is man, until by the blood of Christ he merciless to himself for his own sins, was appeased, but, on the contrary, will not spare others in like case. He to have 65

so loved the world, that he who is the minister of an avenging gave his only begotten Son, that who- Deity to himself, and who, with a view soever believeth on him should not of making satisfaction for his guilt, perish, but have everlasting life." + can remorselessly scourge and maIt was God himself, who, in his cerate his own body, is the very being eternal love to man, appointed this to act similarly towards others, and sacrifice as the means of bestowing for- to send supposed heretics to the stake giveness on the penitent sinner; and for the good of their souls. That God one chief reason of the atonement's who is pleased with the inquisitor's being revealed was that we might own sufferings, must surely, by parity learn the mind of God towards us, and of reasoning, look upon the suffersee how he can be “just, and yet the ings of the inquisitor's victims as an justifier of him that believeth." acceptable service. This considera

II. Our second remark is, that, tion may, perhaps, lead us to think apart from revelation, man invariably less unfavourably of the actors in paints the character of the Deity in those scenes of ecclesiastical cruelty the gloomiest colours.

Misled by

which history records, while it makes the suspicions of his own guilty con- us only the more loathe the system science, he frames to himself a God, under which such characters were cruel, revengeful, and delighting in formed. The Reformation, by bring; the sufferings of his votaries. There ing to light the doctrine of free and never yet has been found a heathen complete forgiveness of sins through nation in which the popular religion

the blood of Christ, has given a deathwas not one of fear, instead of being blow to the theory of persecution. one of love. Man, as we have ob- Protestants, to their shame be it said, served, is inexorable to himself; he have been persecutors; but Protesta cannot forgive his own transgressions; antism never can sanction a theory of he condemns himself unrelentingly; persecution. Those instances of Proand this feeling he transfers to the testant misdemeanours which Roman Deity of his own imagining. Though Catholics are fond of quoting by way in so doing we anticipate, in some of counterpoise to the persecutions of measure, what properly belongs to their own Church, such as the burning another part of this paper, we cannot

of Servetus, and some which occurred help remarking that this is the feeling in our own country, arose from the which lies at the root of the self- false notion that differing from the

established religion of the State, is a * 2 Cor. 1. 21. of John ii. 16. crime to be punished by the secular

arm, a notion inherited from the Ro- in point of moral qualities, is superior mish Church itself, but which is quite to the Deity whom he worships? foreign to the spirit of Protestantism, These observations will serve to lay and, likean unnatural excrescence, has open what may be called the theory gradually fallen off from the system of those cruel and bloody expiations with which it had no vital organic for sin which, with a few variations, connexion. The great truth re- we find in use among all heathen nacovered at the Reformation, that the tions. It will be seen that the notion guilt of sin is completely obliterated which forins the groundwork of by faith in Christ, indisposes him who such expiations, and which essentireceives it, to visit with temporal ally distinguishes heathenism from penalties the sins of others; being Christianity, is such a view of the himself freely pardoned, he freely for- divine character as makes the Deity gives; and is content to leave all men both a fearful and a hateful being, to His judgment who alone is infal- fearful from his cruelty, and hateful lible in his decisions.

from his moral impurity. And what III. A third thing suggested by gives rise to such a view of the these practices of Hindooism is that divine character is ignorance of the man, without the light of Scripture, great atonement effected by Christ, is apparently unable to form the con- whereby the attributes of God are ception of a holy God. This is seen completely harmonized, and he is in the character of the Hindoo divi- seen to be at once of infinite love, and nities, and, we may add, of all hea- of infinite holiness. Through ignorthen nations. The gods of the Hin- ance of this great truth, the heart of doos are characterized not only by man is thrown back upon itself, and ferocious cruelty, but by the last de- from what he finds within him, guilt, gree of impurity and licentiousness. and misery, and sin, he elaborates his The profligacy of the priests, which idea of God; and such as the mateis said to be unparalleled, can hardly rials are, such is the structure. equal that attributed to the gods in We proceed now to a brief exposithe popular legends. So it was in tion of the Romish doctrine of Justithe mythology even of the most fication. polished nations of antiquity. The It is well known that the public truth is, the guilty conscience of man, sale of indulgences throughout Gerin his natural state, recoils from the many was what moved Luther, first idea of a perfectly holy God. He to protest against such a flagrant feels himself to be a slave of sin, and abuse, and ultimately, when he found he cannot bear the thought of a God the Church of Rome unwilling or who is of purer eyes than to behold unable to reform herself, to renounce iniquity, and to whom judgment be- her communion. But long before longeth. “Depart from me,” said his separation from Rome, he had bePeter, unconsciously expressing this come possessed of the great doctrine feeling of the human heart, "for I am of justification by faith, or the gratuia sinful man, O Lord." Hence he tous remission of sins to every one debases the moral character of the who from the heart believes in Christ, Supreme Being, so as to rob it of its and even preached it at Wittenberg. perfect holiness. He reduces it to When the confession of Augsburg the level of his own moral state, or was framed, A.D. 1530, as an exposieven below his own state; for, in tion of the Protestant doctrine, this truth, the gods of the heathen are article of course occupied a prominent not men, but devils ; they sink far be- place in it, and the declarations of low human nature in its most de- the confession, allowed to be the graded condition. By thus robbing basis of our own articles, were, with the Deity of that peculiar attribute a few unimportant variations, adopted which makes him terrible to the trans- by all the Reformed churches. It gressor, man contrives to relieve his runs thus-“Since men are born in conscience from its burden, and to sin, and cannot keep the law of God, gain a false peace; for what reason nor love God from the heart, we teach has he to fear the divine wrath, who, that we do not by our works or satis

« PreviousContinue »