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of lay brethren to labour for the monke. It is the centre of Lamaism, a religion spreading from the Volga to Japan. Its tenets are a compound of Christianity-probably learned from the Nestorian missionaries of the early ages-and of the original superstitions of Asia. The Tibetians hold the unity and trinity of a Supreme Being; the existence and perpetual opposition of an evil principle; and an incarnation which they aver to be a thousand years before that of the founder of our faith; but later corruptions, probably introduced by the Jesuits in 1624, diversify this mixture of creeds. They be lieve in purgatory, in the efficacy of prayer for the dead; they have holy water, a rosary, and extreme unction. They have priestly robes, a dress for the nuns, three orders of initiation into the priesthood, superior priests, equivalent to cardinals, six grand lamas or patriarchs, presiding over the three divisions of Tibet Proper, and the three of the southern provinces, or Bootan, and at the head of all a great Supreme, the declared "vicegerent of omnipotence," the Teshoo Lama, who "never dies ;" an infant born on the day of his apparent decease being appointed to his throne, and receiving his spirit thus transmitted into a new form. Hence this Pope of the Himmalaya is named “Lama Kaku,” the eternal father. The convents are as numerous and as fully peopled as might be presumed, under this holy oligarchy. The high convent of Te shoo Lumba contains 3700 priests.
The Capucins in 1707 sent out missions, which, like those of their more vigorous predecessors, the sons of Loyola, failed of making converts. Yet they were enabled to found two houses of their order, which lasted during a century. A Protestant missionary, Schroter, unfortunately died when, in 1820, he was preparing himself, at Calcutta, for translating and propagating the scriptures among this extraordinary people.
At the extremity of the east, Japan exhibits the most determined resistance to every attempt at conversion. The country has reached that precise rank of civilization which makes a nation jealous of foreign knowledge, without the power of adding to its own. The spiritual and temporal authorities are distinct and defined, and both repulsive of European inter
course in the strongest degree. The lower orders are idolators, but some of the leading sects reject every species of image worship, and probably many among the higher orders, and philoso phers, for they have an affectation of metaphysics,-are scoffers at every idea of the acknowledgement of a divine being. But the superstitious are deeply superstitious; they make pilgrimages, they have convents, and their rules would do honour to a Trappist or a Carthusian.
In the early part of the 17th century, Rome established some missions in Japan. But the popular indignation was armed against them, and the missionaries were expelled, after a residence of almost a century, during which they perpetually sent pompous accounts of conversions to Europe, but seem to have done little more than trade, offend the national prejudices by their ill-directed efforts, and degrade Christianity by the example of their lives and doctrines. In 1715, the Abbe Juidott attempted to renew the Roman mission. His fate is not known. Jesuits and monks of other orders followed and failed, and since 1748 Japan has been rendered nearly inaccessible, by a severe strictness that has had no parallel in the world.
China, with its two hundred mil lions of people, and variety of tribes, is at present, perhaps, in the state which must precede the reception of Christianity in an Asiatic empire. Its religion is broken up by furious sects, which alternately assume the character of spiritual disputants and rebels in arms. The "Pelinkin," or "enemies of foreign religions," agitate the north. The Kedufis," or "Heaven and earth one," a race of levellers, proclaim equality of men and community of property in the west and south; and the "society of the three powers, heaven, earth, and man," makes war against all authority whatever. The Jesuits planted their missions in China in the middle of the sixteenth century. Multitudes of nominal Christians were made; but the suspicious spirit of the government appears to have nearly extinguished their advance. So late as 1815, an imperial ordinance commanded that the introducers of Christianity should be put to death. The Protestant missionaries are prohibited from going beyond Canton.
But this prohibition may have been fortunate, in its compelling the missionaries to attend to perhaps the only way of impressing the mind of China. It has led them to prepare tracts and versions of the Scriptures in the lan guage of the country. Doctors Morrison and Milne made a translation of the Old and New Testaments; and Morrison's great Chinese Dictionary and Grammar have laid open the language to the European student for all time to come. An Anglo-Chinese col lege has been established at Malacca, with some Chinese schools. But the circulation of the Scriptures in China is at present rendered extremely difficult by the Government, which, disturbed by fear of insurrection, and unable to distinguish between political and religious change, has prohibited at once all religious meetings, and all books of Christianity.
Hindostan, the finest portion of Asia, called by its people, "The Garden of God," a territory of a million of square miles, and with a population of a hundred and twenty millions, is kept in awe by twenty thousand British troops, and governed by three thousand British functionaries, at a distance of eight thousand miles from home, the most singular instance of possession in the history of empire.
The renewal of the Company's charter, in 1813, gave some hope of making a solid religious impression on India. An English bishop was sent to Cal eutta, where a college was erected in 1821. Schools are supported through the provinces; many English, Protestant, and Lutheran Missions are located, and a striking spirit of improve ment is displaying itself, in the efforts of some of the Rajahs and men of high caste, to acquire European literature; in the gradual inclination for European intercourse, and the extinction of some cruelties and many prejudices. But actual Christianity has hitherto made but a slight impression. The habits of the people, their natural reluctance to the religion of strangers, their ignorance of our language, and the fatal distinction of castes, raise formidable obstacles against the effective progress of religion.
In Persia, the Jesuits had attempt ed but little, which forms a ground for the Protestant missionaries to hope for much. The popular belief of the VOL. XXIV.
people, one of the most tasteful and ingenious of the East, is a loose Islamism. But among the higher ranks are thousands who disdain the religion of the vulgar, or all religion, and are called Suffees, or Freethinkers.
The Russian invasion has laid open the northern frontier, and from the facility with which the people of the conquered districts have adopted the tenets of the Greek Church, it may be augured that Islamism would still more readily give way to the intelligent zeal, and pure doctrines, of the missionaries of England, an ally bearing the Scripture.
The immense Archipelago of the Indian isles is almost wholly untouched by missionary labours. The final conquest of Ceylon, in 1815, put into our hands the "Sacred Island" of India, the original seat of Buddhism, with a population of 300,000. Schools have been established, and the forms of British government and laws introduced. In this spot the conversion of the Archipelago may be prepared.
Africa is still a blot upon civilization and religion. The characteristics of its nations are deep ignorance, savage superstition, furious passions of every kind, and a reckless love of blood. Everything is done for plunder, and done in slaughter. From Abyssinia, down the immense eastern coast, almost the whole territory is Pagan, brutish, and hostile alike to European life and knowledge.
The conquest of the Cape by the British, in 1805, opened a field for the missions. The subsequent emigrations from England have afforded a still higher opportunity, by acquainting the natives with the peaceable and intelligent character of the English people. They are no longer insulted, robbed, and shot, as in the time of the Dutch; a fair trade is carried on with them; their children are frequently educated in the Cape schools, and a series of humane and equitable regulations are adopted for the commerce of the colony with the Hottentots and Caffres. On the faith of this mutual good understanding, the missionaries are penetrating the country, and some of them have advanced even seven hundred miles among tribes, who, a few years ago, could not have been approached but with the certainty of death.
From the boundary of the Cape northwards, the west coast, a space of 1500 miles, is barren, or inhabited by utter savages.
On the coast of Upper Guinea, the colony of Sierra Leone was establish ed in 1787, as a place of refuge for the negroes taken on board the slave-ships, and as a means of introducing civilization into Africa. But with some advantages, this settlement wanted some important features of success. It had no large river, without which the interior must be inaccessible; it had but little means of supporting itself, from its position in a corner of the coast; and last, and most obnoxious of all, the climate, always hazardous, has seemed to grow constantly more fatal to Europeans. Under these circumstances, another experiment is about to be tried at Fernando Po, a large island in the Bight of Benin, and commanding the mouths of the great rivers of West Africa. Commerce in the hands of England is among the most vigorous instruments of civilization; and if commerce can make its way up the central rivers, religion will follow.
America presents an almost unlimited region for the efforts of the missionary. The space lying between the north of Canada, the Asiatic ocean, and the United States and Mexico, a region of more than two millions and a half of square miles, had long been either altogether abandoned to the savage superstitions of the Indians, or to the blind perversions of the Gospel brought by the Romish priesthood. Within these few years, some attempts have been made by the Protestant missions from Upper Canada, but with only partial effect.
The United States have made considerable efforts to reclaim their bor dering savages. The Society, established in 1787, for the "Propagation of the Gospel among the Heathen," has laboured diligently. The circulation of the Scriptures is vigorously pursued. In 1827 there were in the States no less than 578 Bible Societies. The Aborigines have been reduced to about 470,000 souls, of which a portion are quietly adopting civilization, and settling in villages. There are forty-one missionary esta blishments for Indian education.
The West Indies have been, since the commencement of the 18th cen
tury, the seat of missions. The Jesuits founded a mission in St Domingo in 1704, and the island, now containing a million of souls, is divided into four bishopricks, with an archbishop residing at Port-au-Prince. In Jamaica, the chief British settlement, the Moravians appeared in 1754. These were followed by the Wesleyans in 1781, and the Baptists, who founded numerous congregations, consisting of about a sixth part of the negro population, or 50,000. In all the Protestant islands, the Gospel has been spread with great diligence. But the original crime and calamity of the West Indies, slavery, still acts powerfully against Christianity. To abolish slavery at once, or even to abolish it at all, until the negroes are fit for freedom, would be to expose the whole white population to massacre, and throw the negroes themselves into a state of wretchedness, bloodshed, and incurable ignorance, that no rational man, let his homage for liberty and religion be what it may, can contemplate without abhorrence. But the new expedient of establishing English bishops in Barbadoes and Jamaica, may lead to some advantageous change. The planters may look with less suspicion upon the labours of an authentic and responsible clergy, than upon the notorious giddiness, and comparative ignorance, of the sectaries. The doctrines of the English Church, proverbial for gentleness and good sense, may lead the negroes more securely into Scriptural knowledge; and if the distributors of office at home shall conscientiously send out no prelates inferior to their duties, men not merely of intelligence and scholarship, but of holy zeal, and filled with the consciousness of the good that may be done by Christian activity, and the evil that must follow indolence, we may before long see a great and salutary reform in the West Indian habits, the character of the planters purified, and the negroes made fit for a safe and productive freedom.
The new states of South America are still in the embarrassments of insurrection, revolution, and mutual war. But to augur from what they have done under those formidable pressures, they have a noble future before their industry. They have prohibited the slave trade, and decreed that every human being born in their
territories shall be born free. Buenos Ayres has established a university, which has 400 students. Thirty free schools are supported by the govern ment on the British system.
In Columbia, Bolivar has established the same system, with a public stipend, and sends annually several young men to England to acquire its details. In Mexico, a convent has been turned into an Academy for 1360 pupils, with a model department for training masters for provincial schools. In Peru, a central school has been established in Lima. The British Bible Society, and the American, have many agents in those new republics, and the Bible is received willingly. The Roman Catholic faith is still paramount, and must for a while form a powerful antagonist; but prudence, perseve rance, and the great and glorious cause which stimulates the Protestant missionary, will finally overcome.
New Holland, the fifth continent, with its islands covering an immense space of the great Southern Ocean, and growing up before the eye in islands innumerable, had been, since the first English settlement in 1788, the object of religious labour. But, in 1825, an "Auxiliary Church Missionary Society" was formed in New South Wales, with a grant of 10,000 acres. A grant to the same extent was made to the "London Missionary Society," and of twice the quantity to the "Wesleyan Mission," in consequence of its wider establishment in the colony. But the natives, perhaps among the most brutish of mankind, have been hitherto but little influenced. Nothing can be more contrary to the received ideas, that human nature derives its evil habits from natural privations, inclemency of climate, or long oppression, than the tempera ment of the dwellers in the South Seas. The fine climate, abundant provisions, and lazy equality of condition, are all made for the overthrow of the theory. The people are almost universally ferocious, treacherous, licentious, and thieving. Cannibalism is not uncommon, and the massacre of prisoners is customary. In New Holland, man is a beast; in the two New Zealand islands, he is a savage; and, in the generality of the others, he is a monster of perfidy and blood. Yet it is in this Archipelago that the most striking evidence of the civilizing
power of Christianity is to be found. The Sandwich islands, once proverbial for crime, are rapidly receiving the habits of religion. Occasional excesses still disfigure the picture, and the present generation must be worn out before the recollections of its old license can be without partizans. But the change is proceeding, and must be finally productive of the highest advantages to the national character, the prosperity of the people, and to the general influence of the missionaries over the tribes of the South Sea.
In giving this sketch, we have to acknowledge ourselves much indebted to a work which has but just appeared, entitled, "The Present State of Christianity, and of the Missionary Establishments for its Propagation through all parts of the world,' "-a single volume, very intelligently drawn up, and giving a number of details and opinions important to the subject, but on which we, of course, have no opportunity to enter. But the value of such publications must be not merely in the information which they give, though the present work seems to have been collected with great care by its original author, a German, and by its English reviser, and in part author, from the reports of our various societies-but in their impulse to similar publications, to the activity of missionary establishments, and the general desire of Christian men for the communication of Christian knowledge through the darkened regions of the globe-the noblest effort that can be achieved by the wisdom, the wealth, and the enterprize of man.
One immense region alone remains, the finest of the earth, and the most impervious to the step of Christianity
Turkey in Asia, an extent of more than 360,000 square miles, with a population of twelve millions. The few Christians scattered through this magnificent territory are scarcely more than nominal; and every attempt to restore them to the knowledge of their faith has been hitherto almost hopeless. To convert their masters is beyond even the highest daring of the missionary. The Turk answers all argument by the dagger. But the change which no reasoning of man can effect may be destined to severer means, and the sword may liberate the Christian slave from a hideous tyranny, which not even the light of the Gospel has
been suffered to enlighten. Whether the present Russian war be the commence ment of that great revolution, by which the chains of Greece and Asia Minor are to be broken, must be beyond all but conjecture. Yet that those chains shall finally be dissolved, that Mahometanism shall be extinguished, that the chosen land of the early church, Ionia, shall be free, and that the ori
ginal seat of religion, Palestine, shall be made the throne of a dominion supreme and holy, are truths written with a fulness and splendour which force conviction, and at once sustain us in the solemn labours of bringing our fellow-creatures to the knowledge of God; and cheer us with the certainty of a consummation illustrious beyond the thought of man.
MARTIN'S S FALL OF NINEVEH.
THIS fine picture, which has occupied the artist at intervals for some years, has excited great and merited admiration. It is on a large scale, perhaps thrice the size of his Belshaz zar, and exhibits an extraordinary union of diligent labour, with original and vivid fancy. Lord Byron's tragedy has brought Sardanapalus into favour, and the traditional voluptuary has been transformed into the hero.
Yet this denial of the verdict of history is too adventurous to be safe. We have no right, at our remote period, and in the absence of all proof, to doubt the universal opinion of antiquity, formed as it was upon a better basis knowledge of the facts that have reached us, and upon a knowledge of facts which have either alto gether passed away, or have left us but their shadows. Thus, attempts have been hazarded to shew that Nero was not a monster, or that Heliogabalus was not a miserable slave of appetite and vice. But in a year or two after the triumph of the sophist, his triumph is forgotten. Opinion rights itself, the subtlety of the argument is extinguished by truth, and we revert to the early character established by time; and Sardanapalus is a slave of intemperance, Nero a monster of cruelty, and Richard a hunchback, a usur per, and a murderer of children, not withstanding all the Walpoles, past, present, and to come.
The painter has chosen his subject from the darkness of history. Of Nineveh, the great city of the first empire, we know little more than that it existed, was denounced by successive prophets for its blood-thirstiness, love of plunder, drunkenness, and oppression; and that it was destroyed by an insurrection of the subject kingdoms, after a duration of 1400 years,
probably reckoning from the origin of the empire, or 520 from the perfect building of the city. The outline of its fall is this: The Assyrian monarchs had gradually degenerated from the rude virtues and barbarian valour of the founders of the dynasty. Sar danapalus exceeded them all in effe minate luxury; shut himself up from the people, and was known only by his excesses. An insult to Arbaces, the general of the Median auxiliaries, excited him to vengeance; he leagued with Belesis, a Babylonian priest, interpreter of the stars, and general, a combination of character formidable in any period of antiquity. Medes and Persians, Babylonians and Arabs, rose in arms. Three desperate battles were fought, in which the conspirators were repulsed. But the arrival of the Bactrian army turned the scale; and Sardanapalus, after having fought with a spirit worthy of the last descendant of Semiramis, was driven within the walls of his colossal city. He sustained a two years' siege, which there was no Eastern Homer to make immortal. The oracle declared that the city would never be taken until the river became its enemy. In the third year, the Tigris suddenly swelled, and twenty furlongs of the great rampart were thrown down. The fate of the captives was proverbially terrible; and Sardanapalus resolved to perish in his own way. The incomplete narrative of his death has some features of the magnificence, eccen tricity, and solemn sensualism, that mark the Oriental character to this day. "He built," says Ctesias, "a pyramid of all precious furniture; and within it a chamber a hundred feet long. He filled it with beds for himself and his multitude of wives; and, in the midst of feasting and in