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GUADAMA, AN INDIAN IDOL. GUADAMA, the celebrated Burmese divinity, is represented in our engraving. Temples to his honour, and images, like that which we here give, were found in every part of the country visited by the troops of the British army in the late war. Guadaina is said to have been, many ages ago, a teacher among that people: but he was deified on account of his merits.
The Baptists have a prosperous mission in Burmah; and the labours of Mr. Judson, from America, were carried on under difficulties and sufferings of the most painful kind the "Memoirs of Mrs. Judson," the wife of that devoted missionary, are well worthy of the perusal of all our readers. Several of the idols above represented, may be seen, we understand, at the Mission House, No. 6, Fen Court, Fenchurch Street, London.
While writing this, we have lying on the table before us an alabaster image of Guadama, as given above. It was brought to England only a few months ago, by a medical friend: the height of it about 14 inches; but it is rudely carved. How shockingly debased must VOL. I.
be that people, who can bow down and worship stones, and contemptible figures 1.ke these!
THE EYE OF AN INDIAN IDOL.
Dining a few days ago with a gentleman engaged in the service of the East India Company, after the cloth was removed, we were gratified by a sight of some silver idols. Two especially interested us in a high degree: they were representations of Guadama, as in our cut. The sight of them led to conversation on the degrading genius of idolatry, the horrid customs attending it, and the immense treasures which were lavished upon the images and temples. A medical gentleman referred to "Brand's Manual of Chemistry," as containing a remarkable illustration of the extravagance of idolatry, in the "Eye of an Indian Idol." We give it for the edification of our readers."Among the crown jewels of Russia is a magnificent diamond, weighing 195 carats. It is the size of a small pigeon's egg, and was formerly the eye of a Brahminical idol, whence it was purloined by a French soldier; it passed through several hands, and was ultimately purchased by the Empress Catharine for the sum of 90,000l. in ready money, and an annuity of 4,0007. !"
IDOLATRY. NATURE OF IDOLATRY.-Idolatry is the worship which a rational being pays to a senseless image, instead of God his Almighty Creator! However lightly we may regard this practice, on account of its known prevalence, surely nothing can present man in a condition more truly degrading to his nature; nothing can be more insulting to the glorious Majesty of Heaven, or in itself more highly criminal! The intelligent Christian philosopher and philanthropist may well weep for fallen, debased human nature, while he beholds his fellow-man-endued with reason, acute and penetrating in ordinary transactions, a skilful mechanic, and versed in various sciences-yet bowing down in religious veneration to a bit of metal, a block of wood, or a senseless stone !
Nations the most populous on earth, and celebrated for ingenuity, civilization, and refinement, are still sunk in this most shocking delusion, and practise idolatry as their dearest custom-expending in it their richest treasures, and sacrificing in it even their lives! Monstrous indeed is the impious practice: yet men take of "the trees of the forest," the cedar, the cypress, the oak, the ash, for domestic, culinary, and sacred purposes at the same time! The inspired portraiture of idolatry in Isaiah xliv, was drawn from the life, and its counterpart still exists!" He burneth part thereof in the fire with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied; yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire: and the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god."
Idolatry prevails in every part of the world, and among all people who have not the precious treasures of God's holy word. All mankind are thus debased, in a greater or less degree, who are destitute of "the glorious Gospel of the blessed God:" and to extirpate this greatest of evils, "the Scriptures of truth" are the only means, by reading and preaching, diffusing "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
Mankind are still worshipping all the creatures of God, as were the ancient Pagans. They worshipped universal nature, the soul of the world, angels, demons, and the spirits of men departed, either separate or in union with some star or other body. They adored the luminaries of heaven, the sun, moon, planets, and stars, the atmosphere and the passing meteors, the earth, the mountains and rivers, the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, the fishes of the sea, and the reptiles of the ground. They worshipped men both living and dead, and in them the faculties of the human soul. In short, they worshipped the images of animals, even the most terrible and hateful, as serpents, dragons, crocodiles, and flies; they even adored inanimate things of the most humble kind, herbs and plants, every variety of vegetable !
ORIGIN OF IDOLATRY. - Archbishop Tennison, the learned Jacob Bryant, and many others, have written profoundly on this subject. But none of them have treated the matter so simply, forcibly, and accurately as the Apostle Paul in the first chapter of Romans. He traces the origin of idolatry to the blind depravity of the human heart. Endued with reason, man could not be an Atheist the works of God in creation demonstrate his existence and divinity, as surely as the prints upon the sand would show the tread of the human foot, but infinitely more strongly. Guilty, fearful, and apprehensive of judgment, man must
have a being to worship: but corrupt in heart, and blinded in mind, he could not worship an Almighty, a holy God; disquieted with terrors, and a prey to su perstition-man sunk into idolatry!
Hear the origin of idolatry, as declared by the apostle. Man could not be an Atheist while possessing the faculty of rationality. "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them (men), for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse," in not acknowledging him. Rom. i, 19, 20. "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient, being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness," &c., ver. 28, 29. "When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing," &c., ver. 22, 23. "Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen." Ver. 25.
From Gen. vi, 5, compared with Rom. i, 23, there is reason to believe that idolatry was practised before the Deluge; and this conjecture seems confirmed by the apostle Jude (ver. 4), who describes certain men in his days as denying the only Lord God," and adds in ver. 11, "Woe unto them, for they have gone in the way of Cain:" from which it seems natural to infer, that Cain and his descendants were the first who threw off the sense of a God, and worshipped the creature instead of the Creator.
Paganism includes myriads of mediators and intercessors: from which it is manifest that its most ancient forms originated in primitive tradition, the purity of which soon became lost, and superstitions were added, according to the caprice or dread of the worshippers.
Dr. Prideaux, in his "Letter to Deists," gives the following account of the origin of the various idolatries. "When mankind began to increase after the flood, and they were taught from their forefather Noah, thus to worship God through hope in a Mediator; as the knowledge of those Divine truths began to decay, and superstition to increase among them, they began to determine themselves to such mediators as their own imagination led them to fancy; and some chose angels, and others men deceased, for this office; and, in process of time, erected temples and images to them, and honoured them with Divine worship, in order to render them more helpful and beneficial unto them."
"Why sit'st thou by that ruined hall, Thou aged carl, so stern and gray? Dost thou its former pride recal,
Or ponder how it passed away?" "Know'st thou not me?" the Deep Voice cried, "So long enjoyed, so oft misused Alternate, in thy fickle pride, Desired, neglected, and abused? "Before my breath, like blazing flax
Man and his marvels pass away;
When Time and Thou shall part for ever."
STATISTICS OF LONDON. LONDON, the metropolis of the British Empire, is reasonably believed to be the largest and most populous city in the world. London has been called the MODERN BABYLON, on account of its great extent and populousness. It is generally reckoned about seven miles long, from Poplar to Hyde Park Corner; and about five miles wide, from Islington to Camberwell: but these boundaries are too narrow, so greatly has the population increased.
The British metropolis includes within its gigantic bounds the two ancient cities of London and Westminster, the borough town of Southwark, and many adjacent villages. There are comprised in the "Bills of Mortality" (the lists of those dying) 147 parishes; of which 97 are within the city walls, 17 in the liberties without the walls, 23 out parishes in Middlesex and Surrey, and 10 in the city and liberties of Westminster. Such an aggregate, with the British court and palaces of the sovereign,-the houses of the senate,-the seat of government, the chief courts of law and equity,the residences of the nobility,-the grand emporium of commerce for all nations,-the source and centre of science and art to the empire and the whole world,must necessarily present an immense variety of subjects, which might be rendered exceedingly interesting, even to the Christian reader. Our limits, and the plan of our work will allow us to embrace but a few of them, and upon those our remarks must be brief.
public institutions, formed by the voluntary benevolence of professed believers in Jesus Christ, to nourish the fatherless orphan-to support the friendless widow -to educate the wretched deaf and dumb-and to relieve human misery in every visible form; as well as to lead the ignorant and careless, both at home and abroad, to seek the blessings of salvation and eternal glory through the mediation of Jesus Christ.
On the other hand, we see offices of the magistracy, and the courts of justice, besides TEN PUBLIC PRISONS in London, humiliating indications of human depravity. These receptacles are occupied by practical infidels, whom conscience, honour, or regard to the future tribunal of God, cannot influence to abstain from injuring their neighbours, and to walk in the paths o virtue.
We have been informed, that public officers, most capable of forming a correct opinion, calculate, that in London there are 30,000 persons, who are supported by various kinds of depredations on the public! There are computed to be 15,000 boys in the metropolis, children of the poor, who are trained to every variety of vice! We forbear to enumerate further the several depraved classes of society in London, except the report of Mr. Wontner, the excellent governor of Newgate, for the year 1826, by which it appears, there were committed to that one gaol→
MORAL AND RELIGIOUS CHARACTER OF LONDON.
LONDON and its immediate vicinity, we thus find, contains a population of nearly Two MILLIONS of immortal souls!! Their character, and their eternal destiny, must force itself upon the consideration of every believer in the immortality of the soul, and the doctrine of future rewards and punishments-especially upon the mind of every intelligent Christian.
We have abundant reason to believe, that London contains men of every shade of character-many of the most eminent saints-persons of the most exalted sanctity; and many who are like incarnate fiends-wretches of the most malignant disposition-beings, sunk as low as human nature is capable of being degraded on earth. We know that London contains many, the very element of whose holy life is love to God and active benevolence to man;-while it is evident, that there are many, whose minds cherish a deeply-rooted enmity against every thing which bears the lovely impress of the ever-blessed God our Creator, and whose whole mental powers are exercised in devising evil against their fellow men!
On the one hand, we behold in London the monuments of Christian mercy, MORE THAN THREE HUNDRED
"If we calculate that the average attendance at each place is 500 persons, which is certainly the greatest extent we can allow, and add 250 more for the fluctuating hearers at the several services of each Sabbath, it will give a result of 300,000 persons. Now the population of this wide-spread metropolis is estimated, by the last census (1821) at 1,274,800 souls; from which subtract the feeble minority above, and we find NINE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FOUR THOUSAND persons neglecting the public worship of God. And though considerable deductions are to be made for young children, sick persons, and the aged and infirm, yet, after all, the multitude, without even the forms of religion around us, is most appalling." The following statement will illustrate the occupations of the Sabbath:-" It appears, that of the papers at present published in London on the Sunday, there are circulated, on the lowest estimate, 45,000 copies; and that, upon the most moderate computation, between 2 and 300,000 readers of these papers are to be found in the metropolis alone; while the great num. ber of pressmen, distributors, master-venders, hawkers,
and subordinate agents of both sexes, and of all ages, who are necessarily employed on the Sabbath, all tend to the most flagrant breach of the day of rest."
We are by no means disposed to make the worst representation of the moral condition of London. We are aware of the commendable activity of the Christian Instruction Society, in its various and beneficial operations, and of the zealous excrtions of several kindred institutions. But if virtue and vice are realities - if the Christian Scriptures are true-if the soul of man is immortal-if death, and judgment, and our individual appearance at the tribunal of God are certain - the state of the inhabitants of our metropolis is indeed most truly appalling! The energetic language of a clergyman of the established church, as quoted by Mr. Blackburn, is highly appropriate :
Such a mine of heathenism, and consequent profligacy and danger, under the very meridian, as it is supposed, of Christian illumination, and accumulated around the very centre and heart of British prosperity, liberty, and civilization, cannot be contemplated without terror by any real and rational friend of our established government; and is surely sufficient to awaken the anxious attention of every true patriot, every enlightened statesman, every sincere advocate of suffering humanity, every intelligent and faithful Christian!”
CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE RATIONAL.
INFIDELS have ridiculed spiritual religion, as professed by Christians. Why should this excite our astonishment? They do not understand its nature: they boast of reason, but in the neglect of worshipping their Creator, they sacrifice their just claim to rationality. "What can be so truly becoming a dependent state,” says an elegant writer, as to pay our adoring homage to the Author of all perfection, and profess our devoted allegiance to the Supreme, Almighty Governor of the universe? Can there be a more sublime pleasure, than to dwell in fixed contemplation on the beauties of the Eternal Mind? Can there be a more advantageous employ, than to present our requests to the Father of Mercies?"
But infidels are alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts." With all their presumed loftiness of understanding, such are merely natural, atheistical men-and we know well that "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. ii, 14.
"What, we ask" (says the Rev. Daniel Wilson, now Bishop of Calcutta, in his View of the Evidences of Christianity), is there in these internal perceptions of life and consolation and strength, derived from the doctrines of Christianity, which should excite our astonishment? Would not the wonder be, if there were no such feelings, no such inward witness to the soul? What are there excellencies in human knowledge; and shall there be none in divine? What is an intelligent, well-educated man allowed to have powers of expression, and means of exciting our surprise and pleasure, beyond those of a child; and shall not the language of apostles and prophets, and the discoveries concerning God, and the soul, and eternity, be admitted to awaken emotions beyond the mere trifles of human knowledge and instruction? What! are men of uncommon endowments, as Bacon, Pascal, Newton, allowed to rise above those of ordinary talents; and are they expected to take wider views, and make more important communications, and excite warmer feelings
of wonder, admiration, gratitude; and shall not the great and infinite God be allowed to surpass all the petty communications of man, in the mysteries of his will, in the importance of his commands, in the depths of his mercy, and in the correspondent emotions of fear, love, faith, hope, grateful joy, affiance, awakened in the heart? What do we allow, that in the displays of glory and beauty in the works of creation, the natural perfections of God may be contemplated and known, and become to the pious and duly prepared mind, the sources of internal peace, thanksgiving, prayer, admiration, obedience, resignation; and shall we not admit, that men may see the moral perfections of God in the gospel? Shall all his mercy, and wisdom, and infinite contrivance in redemption have no effect upon the soul? Shall the stupendous fact of the incarnation be received with a tame indifference? What do men allow, that tidings of joy and deliverance in human things, should call up proportionate affections; and that he would be thought a monster of ingratitude, who should receive with apathy the news of an immense act of royal clemency extended to him when condemned to death; and shall we not allow, that the glorious and unexpected tidings of redemption from eternal death, should awaken all the gratitude of the soul? Shall not pardon, and life, and adoption, and the hope of heaven, overwhelm the heart with correspondent perceptions and emotions?
"Yet, it is most reasonable, that if there be such a thing as a Revelation from the great God, comprising such amazing discoveries as the Gospel, affecting such all-important interests, promising such mighty aids of the Holy Spirit, laying down such grounds of faith, and love, and hope in Christ Jesus, delivering man from such complicated misery, and exalting him to such heights of holy peace and joy; it is most reasonable, that there should be such a thing as perceiving the excellency and glory of it, as feeling its efficacy, as having an inward witness of its fulfilment and operation in our own breasts. There is nothing to astonish us in such effects: the matter of astonishment would be, if Christianity did not assert, and Christians not experience them."
WHAT IS LIFE?
I ask'd a man of sorrow and of tears,
Was faintly struggling with the tyrant Death;
I ask'd a youth, whose cheerfulness of mien
I ask'd myself-a voice appear'd to say,
REV. JOS. MARSDEN.
HOUSES IN SUMATRA.
SUMATRA is an island of Asia, the most western of the Sunda islands, and constituting on that side the boundary of the Eastern Archipelago. It is about 1000 miles in length, and alınost 200 in breadth. Sumatra is inhabited by various tribes, which by Mr. Marsden, who published a history of the country, are divided into Malays, Achenese, Battas, Lampons, and Rejangs: each of whom has peculiar manners and customs.
Prisoners that are taken in war, the Battas greedily devour, and hang up their skulls in their houses, as trophies of their valour. Marsden says, that the idea of eating human flesh is so natural, that the natives wonder it is not the custom of the Europeans. He affirms that they prefer this kind of food to all others, and that the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands are accounted peculiarly delicious.
Christian missionaries, by a gracious Providence, have been labouring in this large island, and the above cut is given by one of them to represent the native houses. They are erected, as is here seen, on posts driven into the ground. For this there are two reasons-earthquakes are very frequent, and wild beasts, bears, tigers, and elephants, are numerous, so that the people would not feel secure, unless their slight wooden houses were thus built. One of our missionaries who travelled through a part of the country, relates, that, at night, they were obliged to keep a strict watch, and discharge their muskets to frighten away the elephants, lest they should overturn the house altogether. It is said, that on one occasion, an elephant of uncommon size, when passing under one of these houses, not having room sufficient for his huge body, actually lifted up the whole building, and bore it away by main force!
WATERS OF THE RIVER NILE.
"THE water of Egypt," says the Abbe Mascrier, "is so delicious, that one would not wish the heat to be less, or to be delivered from the sensation of thirst. The Turks find it so exquisite, that they excite themselves to drink of it by eating salt. It is a common saying among them, that if Mahommed had drank of it, he would have besought God that he might never die, in order to have had this continual gratification. When the Egyptians undertake the pilgrimage of Mecca, or go out of their country on any other account, they speak of nothing but the pleasure they shall have, at their return, in drinking the waters of the Nile. There is no gratification to be compared to this: it surpasses, in their esteem, that of seeing their relations and families. All those who have tasted of this water, allow that they never met with the like in any other place. When a person drinks of it for the first time, he can scarcely be persuaded that it is not a water prepared by art; for it has something in it inexpressibly agreeable and pleasing to the taste; and it should have the same rank among waters, that champagne has among wines. But its most valuable quality is, that it is exceedingly salutary. It never incommodes, let it be drank in what quantity it may: this is so true, that it is no uncommon thing to see some persons drink three buckets of it in a day, without the least inconvenience. When I pass such encomiums on the water of Egypt, it is right to observe, that I speak only of that of the Nile, which indeed is the only water drinkable, for their well-water is detestable and unwholesome. Fountains are so rare, that they are a kind of prodigy in that country; and as to rain water, that is out of the question, as scarcely any falls in Egypt."