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FROM our earliest years we have heard many strange things said concerning that singular class of wandering people, the Gypsies. By some writers they are called "Egyptians," from a belief that they originally emigrated from among that people, and from which appellation they are called Gypsies.
This people are said to swarm as banditti in several European nations, in Asia, and in Africa. Europe is believed to contain 700,000 of them. Spain is said to afford shelter for 40,000 or 60,000: some say for twice that number. They abound in Italy, and are scattered through France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Russia. In Spain they are called Gitanos, in France Bohemians. Writers of the greatest authority say that they have wandered through the earth ever since the year 1517, having at that period refused to submit to the Turkish yoke under Sultan Selim, the conqueror of Egypt. They revolted under Zinganeus their leader, from whom the Turks call them Zinganees. Being surrounded in their revolt, they were banished from Egypt. They agreed to unite in small parties, and to disperse all over the earth, professing an acquaintance with some secret and mysterious science, by which they possessed a knowledge of the future destinies of men.
In that age of superstition and credulity, they acquired a surprising measure of influence over the minds of the ignorant; and in a few years they gained such a number of proselytes, who assumed their language, and by art imitated their complexion, that through their mal-practices they became troublesome and even formidable to most of the states of Europe.
By an act of parliament so early as 1530, they are described, by stat. 22 Henry VIII, chap. 10, as landish people, calling themselves Egyptians, using no craft nor feat of merchandise, who have come into this realm, and gone from shire to shire, and place to place, in great companies, and used great, subtile, and crafty means to deceive the people; bearing them in hand that they by palmistry could tell men's and women's fortunes; and so many times by craft and subtilty have deceived the people of their money, and also have committed many heinous felonies and robberies." On this account they are directed to avoid the realm, and not to return under pain of imprisonment, and forfeiture of their goods and chattels; and upon their trials for any felony which they may have committed, they shall not be entitled to a jury de me dictate linguæ.
Thus for about three hundred years the Gypsies have wandered through the world, assuming disguises and strange habits, speaking a cant language, and pretending to tell the fortunes of the ignorant and vain. As knowledge has advanced and civilization has increased in England, the Gypsies have decreased, settling in large towns, learning inechanic trades, and so becoming lost in the mass of the people. Still there are many scattered throughout our country, retaining many of the peculiar habits, but far less remarkable than fifty years ago. Many of them have gained considerable knowledge of letters, and some are believed to live in the fear of God.
The Home Missionary Society has instructed its agents to direct their attention to these wanderers, and much good has already resulted from their benevolent labours to serve them. Many of their children have been received into Sunday Schools, while they have continued in particular neighbourhoods. Tracts and the blessed word of God have been delivered to them, and many of them, we have no doubt, have been reclaimed from their vagrant habits, and brought to a knowledge of salvation by Jesus Christ. "I lately met," says one of their agents, "with three camps of Gypsies, containing twenty persons, and not one of them could read. I spent nearly an hour with them in reading tracts, conversation, exhortation, and prayer. The behaviour of these pitiable outcasts of society was very becoming, interesting, and praiseworthy. They seemed in no small measure sensible of the attention manifested to them, and returned many thanks for what they heard, and promised to do and observe the important things which I had unfolded and recommended to them. As I was leaving this group, expressing their deeply felt gratitude, one of the company solicited one of the tracts which I read, which was Poor Joseph. I asked why he desired a tract, when neither he nor any one belonging to the three camps were able to read. He replied, If you will be so kind as to give me one, I will in my travels easily get some one to read it to me:' so I supplied him with a few tracts."
ting off, a boy running along the side of the canal desired to be taken in; which the master of the boat refused, because the lad had not quite money enough to pay the usual fare. An eminent merchant being pleased with the looks of the boy, and secretly touched with compassion towards him, paid the money for him, and ordered him to be taken on board. Upon talking with him afterwards, he found that he could speak readily in three or four languages, and learned upon further examination, that he had been stolen away when a child by a gypsy, and had rambled ever since with a gang of these strollers up and down several parts of Europe. It happened that the merchant, whose heart seems to have inclined towards the boy by a secret kind of instinct, had himself lost a child some years before. The parents, after a long search for him, gave him up for drowned in one of the canals with which the country abounds; and the mother was so afflicted at the loss of a fine boy, who was her eldest son, that she died for grief of him. Upon laying together all particulars, and examining the several moles and marks by which the mother used to describe the child when he was first missing, the boy proved to be the son of the merchant, whose heart had so unaccountably melted at the sight of him. The lad was very well pleased to find a father who was so rich, and likely to leave him a good estate; the father, on the other hand, was not a little delighted to see a son return to him, whom he had given up for lost, with such a sharpness of understanding and skill in language. He was afterwards trained as a gentleman; and it is even said, that he was afterwards employed in foreign courts upon national business, with great reputation and honour to those who sent him, and that he visited several countries as a public minister, in which he formerly wandered as a gypsy."
ILLUSTRATION OF GEN. XXIX, 25.
It appears almost impossible to Europeans, that a deception like that of Laban's could be practised. But the following extract, from a Journal which I kept at Smyrna, presents a parallel case.
The Armenian brides are veiled during the marriage ceremony; and hence deceptions have occurred, in regard to the person chosen for wife. I am informed, that, on one occasion, a young Armenian at Smyrna solicited in marriage a younger daughter, whom he admired. The parents of the girl consented to the request, and every previous arrangement was made. When the time for solemnizing the marriage arrived, the elder daughter, who was not so beautiful, was conducted by the parents to the altar, and the young man was unconsciously married to her. And it came to pass, that, in the morning, behold, it was' the elder daughter. The deceit was not discovered till it could not be rectified; and the manner in which the parents justified themselves was precisely that of Laban: It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the first-born.' It is really the rule amongst the Armenians, that neither a younger son nor daughter be married, till their elder brother or sister have preceded them."
It was in conversation with an Armenian of Smyrna that this fact was related to me. I naturally exclaimed, Why, that is just the deception which was practised upon Jacob!"' "What deception?" he asked.—As the Old Testament is not yet translated into any language with which the Armenians are familiar, he was ignorant of the story. Upon giving him a narration of Jacob's marriage, as it is related Gen. xxix, he assented to it at once, as a circumstance in no respect improbable.
I was once present at the solemnization of matrimony amongst the Armeniaus; and some recollections of it may tend to throw light on this and other passages of Scripture. The various festivities attendant on these occasions continue for three days, and during the last night the marriage is celebrated. I was conducted to the house of the bride, where I found a very large as. semblage of persons. The company was dispersed through various rooms; reminding me of the directions of our Saviour, in regard to the choice of the lowermost rooms at feasts. On the ground floor, I actually observed that the persons convened were of an inferior order of the community, whilst in the upper rooms were assembled those of higher rank.
The large number of young females who were present, naturally reminded me of the wise and foolish virgins in our Saviour's parable. These being friends of the bride," the virgins, her companions" (Ps. xlv, 14), had come "to meet the bridegroom."
It is usual for the bridegroom to come at midnight; so that, literally, "at midnight the cry is made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh! go ye out to meet him" (Matt. xxv, 6). But, on this occasion, the bridegroom tarried:" it was two o'clock before he arrived. The whole party then proceeded to the Armenian church, where the bishop was waiting to receive them, and there the ceremony was completed.—Hartley's Researches.
THE TALIPOT LEAF.
ALL the books of importance in Pali and Cingalese, relative to the religion of Buddhoo, in Ceylon, are written in laminæ of the leaves of the talipot, or corypha umbraculifera. The Pali and Cingalese character is engraved upon them with either a brass or an iron style. There are some of these books in Sir Alexander Johnstone's collection, which are supposed to be between five and six hundred years old, and which are still perfect. This leaf is used in the maritime provinces of Ceylon as a mark of distinction, each person being allowed to have a certain number of them folded up as fans, carried with him by his servants; and also, in the Kandian country, in the shape of a round flat umbrella on a long stick. It is used likewise in making tents. Sir Alexander Johnstone gave to the late Sir Joseph Banks, in 1818, a very fine specimen of a tent made of these leaves, large enough to hold a party of ten persons at table. The leaves are also used by the common people to shelter themselves from the rain, one leaf affording sufficient shelter for seven or eight persons.
ON THE INDIAN JASMINE FLOWER.
A rich perfume, that time can't sever,
And decks the Jasmine's grave for ever.
Unheeded live, sequester'd die.
As saints that watch some infant's sleep.
SIR MATTHEW HALE,
ON THE MOSAIC ACCOUNT OF THE CREATION.
No apology is necessary for laying before our Readers the sentiments of this great man on the " Origination of Mankind,”—we are sure they will agree with his Biographer in the opinion, that it contains " a rare and very agreeable mixture, both of fine wit, and solid learning and judgment."
"That which may illustrate my meaning, in this preference of the revealed light of the Holy Scriptures touching this matter, above the essays of a philosophical imagination, may be this. Suppose that Greece, being unacquainted with the curiosity of mechanical engines, though known in some remote region of the world; and that an excellent artist had secretly brought and deposited in some field or forest some excellent watch or clock, which had been so formed, that the original of its motion were hidden, and involved in some close contrived piece of mechanism; that this watch was so framed, that the motion thereof might have lasted year, or some such time as might give a reasonable period for their philosophical descanting concerning it; and that in the plain table there had been not only the description and indication of hours, but the configurations and indications of the various phases of the moon, the motion and place of the sun in the ecliptic, and divers other curious indications of celestial motions; and that the scholars of the several schools of Epicurus, of Aristotle, of Plato, and the rest of those philosophical sects, had casually in their walk found this admirable automaton; what kind of work would there have been made by every sect, in giving an account of this phenomenon? We should have the Epicurean sect have told the by-standers, according to their preconceived hypothesis, That this was nothing else but an accidental concretion of atoms, that, happily fallen together, had made up the index, the wheels, and the balance; and that being happily fallen into this posture, they were put into motion.' Then the Cartesian falls in with him, as to the main of their supposition; but tells him, That he does not sufficiently explicate how the engine is put into motion; and therefore, to furnish this motion, there is a certain materia subtilis that pervades this engine and the moveable parts, consisting of certain globular atoms apt for motion: they are thereby and by the mobility of the globular atoms put into motion.' A third finds fault with the two former, because those motions are so regular, and do express the various phenomena of the distribution of time, and the heavenly motions; therefore it seems to him, that this engine and motion also, so analogical to the motion of the heavens, was wrought by some admirable conjunction of the heavenly bodies, which formed this instrument and its motions, in such an admirable correspondency to its own existence.' A fourth, disliking the suppositions of the three former, tells the rest, That he hath a more plain and evident solution of the phenomenon, namely, the Universal Soul of the World, or Spirit of Nature, that formed so many sorts of insects with so many organs, faculties, and such congruity of their whole composition, and such curious and various motions, as we may observe in them, hath formed and set into motion this admirable automaton, and regulated and ordered it, with all these congruities we see in it.' Then steps in an Aristotelian, and being dissatisfied with all the former solutions, tells them, Gentlemen, you are all mistaken; your solutions are inexplicable and unsatisfactory; you have taken up certain preca rious hypotheses, and being prepossessed with these creatures of your own fancies, and in love with them, right or wrong you form all your conceptions of things according to those fancied and preconceived imagina
tions. The short of the business is, this machine is eternal, and so are all the motions; and inasmuch as a circular motion hath no beginning or end, this motion that you see both in the wheels and index, and the successive indications of the celestial motions, is eternal, and without beginning. And this is a ready and expedite way of solving the phenomena, without so much ado as you have made about it.'
"And whilst all the masters were thus contriving the solution of the phenomenon, in the hearing of the artist that made it, and when they had all spent their philosophizing upon it, the artist that made this engine, and all this while listened to their admirable fancies, tells them, Gentlemen, you have discovered very much excellency of invention, touching this piece of work that is before you; but you are all miserably mistaken; for it was I that made this watch, and brought it hither; and I will show you how I made it. First I wrought the spring, and the fusee, and the wheels, and the balance, and the case and table; I fitted them one to another, and placed these several axes that are to direct the motions, of the index to discover the hour of the day, of the figure that discovers the phases of the moon, and the other various motions that you see; and then I put it together, and wound up the spring, which hath given all these motions that you see in this curious piece of work; and that you may be sure I tell you true, I will tell you the whole order and progress of my making, disposing, and ordering of this piece of work, the several materials of it, the manner of the forming of every individual part of it, and how long I was about it.'
"This plain and evident discovery renders all these excogitated hypotheses of those philosophical enthusiasts vain and ridiculous, without any great help of rhetorical flourishes, or logical confutations. And much of the same nature is that disparity of the hypotheses of the learned philosophers, in relation to the origination of the world and man, after a great deal of dust raised, and fancied explications, and unintelligible hypotheses. The plain, but divine narrative by the hand of Moses, full of sense and congruity, and clearness and reasonableness in itself, does at the same moment give us a true and clear discovery of this great mystery, and renders all the essays of the generality of the heathen philosophers to be vain, inevident, and indeed inexplicable theories, the creatures of fantasy and imagination, and nothing else."
INFLUENCE OF PRAYER ON THE CHARACTER. (Extracted from Advice to a Young Christian, by the Religious Tract Society, which we earnestly recommend to our Young Friends.)
THERE is nothing which so elevates a character, and especially a female character, as deep and intimate communion with God. She seems then to be allied to angelic natures. A sort of mellow radiance is poured into her character, as if some particles of heaven's glory had been let fall upon her. She moves in a higher sphere than the generality of her sex. She is another being than those idle, sickly daughters of pleasure, who waste their lives in dreaming fanciful visions of happiness, sporting awhile amid life's tumultuous joys, and then sinking unblessed into a wretched eternity. She converses with God. At a throne of grace she acquires a benevolence, a dignity, a humility, which throw around her an attractive lustre, put sweetness into every action and expression, make her contented in every condition of life, patient under every affliction, faithful in the discharge of every duty, and which even grace her dying hours, and make her death-bed privileged beyond the common walks of life.' A. S. S. Teacher.
LINES ON THE VIOLET.
Fairest of all earth's gay parterre,
Thy form beneath the sheltering shade.
'Tis sweet thy loveliness to trace Within thy leaflet's fold conceal'd, 'Tis sweet to mark thy modest grace In richest radiancy reveal'd.
What though the proud carnation's hue
Thou boastest not the rose-bud's bloom,
Thou courtest not th' intrusive gaze,
Retirest from the sun-beam's blaze. Thine is the flower I fondly prize,
Symbol of love and constancy; For brightest gleams in light-blue eyes, Affection's noblest fervency.
DR. FRANKLIN'S LESSON FROM DR. MATHER. THE celebrated Dr. Franklin once received a very useful lesson from the excellent Dr. Cotton Mather, which he thus relates in a letter to his son, Dr. Samuel Mather, dated Passy, May 12, 1781: "The last time I saw your father, was in 1724. On taking my leave, he showed me a shorter way out of the house, through a narrow passage, which was crossed by a beam over head. We were still talking as I withdrew, he accompanying me behind, and I turning towards him; when he said hastily, Stoop! stoop!' I did not understand him till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man who never missed an occasion of giving instruction; and upon this he said to me, You are young, and have the world before you. STOOP as you go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps.' This advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently been of use to me and I often think of it, when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people by carrying their heads too high."
THE REFORMED AMERICAN PLANTER. A WEALTHY planter in Virginia, who had a great number of slaves, found one of them reading a Bible, and reproved him for neglect of his work, saying there was time enough on Sundays for reading the Bible, and that on other days he ought to be in the tobaccohouse. The slave repeated the offence, and he ordered him to be whipped. Going near the place of punishment soon after its infliction, curiosity led him to listen to a voice engaged in prayer; and he heard the poor black implore the Almighty to forgive the injustice of his master, to touch his heart with a sense of his sin, and to make him a good Christian. Struck with remorse, he made an immediate change in his life, which had been careless and dissipated; burnt his profane books and cards, liberated all his slaves, and appeared now to study how to render his wealth and talents useful to others.
I ask'd the heav'ns, "What foe to God hath done
I ask'd the sea. The sea in fury boil'd,
And answer'd with his voice of storms, ""Twas man;
PETER THE GREAT AND THE GOVERNOR OF OLOUEZ.
PETER the Great of Russia frequently surprised the magistrates by his unexpected presence in the cities of the empire. Having arrived without previous notice at Olouez, he went first to the regency, and inquired of the governor how many suits there were depending in the court of chancery. "None, Sire," replied the go"How happens that?" "I endeavour to prevent law suits, and conciliate the parties; I act in such a manner, that no traces of difference remain on the archives if I am wrong, your indulgence will excuse me." "I wish," replied the Czar, that all governors would act upon your principles. Go on: God and your Sovereign are equally satisfied."
DONATIONS OF SIXTEEN HUNDRED POUNDS. WE are delighted to record the liberality of some anonymous Christian friend; who, in addition to the four hundred pounds given to the Home Missionary Society on June 25, gave on the same day the same sum to each of the following: the British and Foreign Bible Society; the Religious Tract Society; and the London Missionary Society.
AT the Monthly Lecture, delivered by Dr. Smith, at Dr. Collyer's chapel, Peckham, on Thursday, July 4, our humble work was noticed in terms of high approbation. The subject of the admirable Lecture was, "Moral Reform essential to National Prosperity; and, as a means of promoting that great object, the CHRISTIAN'S PENNY MAGAZINE was recommended. To have the commendation of such a man as the Theological tutor of Homerton College, and author of the Scripture Testimony to the Messiah," we consider no mean praise.
The CHRISTIAN'S PENNY MAGAZINE may be delivered weekly in the Towns of the United Kingdom, by those Booksellers and Newsmen to whom Subscribers address their orders. Being unstamped, it cannot be transmitted by post as a newspaper. But for the convenience of our country friends and others, who cannot obtain the publication weekly, it will be published every four weeks in parts, each including four numbers; excepting in June and December, in each of which a part will be published containing six numbers. No extra charge will be made for the wrapper: so that the whole annual expense of the twelve parts will be 4s. 4d.
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CHRISTIAN INSTRUCTION SOCIETY. THE metropolis of Great Britain is the "Fountain of Intelligence to the World." No one who is possessed of information which renders him capable of passing a judgment, will dispute the accuracy of this position; and men of literature the most erudite, of science the most profound, and of art the most improved, are to be found among its accomplished sons. Knowledge, however, is not limited in its possession to London: Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Sheffield, and other populous towns of Great Britain, if not possessed of the most learned bodies, have been distinguished by their elegant artists, their ingenious mechanics, and their skilful engineers.
Knowledge, and science, and art, are considered by many the glory of London, and of our great provincial cities; and we may reasonably make our boast of them, as they contribute to the greatness of our country: they bring prosperity and security to the empire. But Christian patriots contemplate our vast metropolis and our populous towns with deep commiseration, beholding the prodigious increase of their inhabitants, and the inadequate provision for their religious instruction. London, it is computed, contained about 500,000 inhabitants two centuries ago, while it numbered almost 200 places of worship belonging to the established church, and no dissenters were allowed. Eighty-nine churches were destroyed in the conflagration of 1666: many of them were rebuilt, and 50 new churches were erected in the reign of Queen Anne. While the population has been so rapidly increasing, a correspondent attention has not been paid to the religious necessities of the inhabitants, including the generous efforts of the dissenters. From the "Picture of London" in 1803, we learn there were at the beginning of the century, VOL. I.
344 places of worship in the metropolis, of which 116 were episcopal churches, and 62 chapels of ease. Since that period the places of worship belonging to the established church have been increased to about 200, and those of other denominations, including Roman Catholics and Jews, to rather more. But the population has arisen to 1,500,000! What an affecting disproportion between the multitudes of immortal beings, and the accommodation for religious instruction! Believers in the doctrines of the Holy Scriptures cannot but be deeply affected with the consideration, that more than a MILLION of the inhabitants of our metropolis, are destitute of the public means of Christian instruction!
Under this affecting conviction of the danger of the community from infidelity and immorality, in 1825, "THE CHRISTIAN INSTRUCTION SOCIETY" was formed. It originated with some benevolent dissenting ministers in London, who deeply felt the degradation of thousands of its inhabitants. This society, therefore, was formed by the principal dissenters, to carry forward an organized system of visiting the lanes, and courts, and wretched districts of the metropolis, to establish prayer meetings, Sunday schools, and preaching places, and especially to distribute religious tracts by weekly loans. Many of the congregations in London have adopted the plans of this society, and the most signal tokens of the Divine blessing have attended these labours of love and visits of mercy. The report for the year ending May 1831, states, that "at the present time there are sixtyfive associations, which engage the benevolent attention of 1,173 gratuitous visitors, who have during the past year visited 31,591 families. So that by your voluntary agency alone, religious tracts and books are now placed within the reach of at least 150,000 individuals " "Immediately connected with the numerous associations are to be found 93 stations for reading the Scrip