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ture, or from the deductions of reason, but resting solely upon the positive institution of God, affords the most triumphant evidence, that they sprang from the common parent of mankind, and that their religion, like that of all other heathen nations, is derived by a gradual deterioration from that of Noah. At the same time, it will be seen, that they are far from having sunk to the lowest round on the scale of corruption. With the exception of the Mexicans, their religious rites have a character of mildness which we should elsewhere seek in vain.” (P. 44–48.)
IV. With sacrifices, the idea of a priesthood is naturally connected. On this subject the testimony of travellers is somewhat discordant; but Dr. Jarvis well remarks, that if a priest be one whose exclusive duty it is to celebrate the rites of religion, then it must be admitted that a priesthood exists among the Indians; for those, who deny that they have priests, allow that in their public sacrifices, the chiefs are the only persons who are permitted to officiate, while in private the head of every family discharges the sacerdotal functions. The only difference then lies in this, whether the priesthood be or be not connected with the office of a magistrate.
Among Christians, as among the Jews, the priesthood is distinct from the civil authority; but previous to the separation of the family of Aaron, these two offices were generally united. Melchizedeck was both king of Salem and priest of the most High God. Jethro was, at the same time, priest and prince of Midian; and Abraham himself, who is called a prince, performed the sacerdotal functions. We find this union of the regal and sacerdotal characters existing among heathen nations. Homer describes the aged Pylian King as performing religious rites ; and Virgil tells of the Monarch of Delos, who was both priest and king:
* Rex Anius, rex idem hominum Phæbique sacerdos.' “ Among the Creeks, and other Southern Iudians, a monarchical form of government seems to prevail; among the Northern Indians, a republican. In both, the sacerdotal office may be united with civil authority, and therefore partake of its peculiar character. Among the one, it may be hereditary; among the other, elective. And if this be so, it will be seen that the Religion of the Indians approaches much nearer to the patriarchal, than to that of the Jews. Their public sacerdotal offices are performed by their chiefs, and in their private, the head of every family is its priest.” (P. 50, 51.)
V. But there is another office which exists among all the Indian tribes, though it has been confounded by many travellers with the priesthood, but concerning which there is no diversity in their statements. To this class of men the French missionaries give the name of Jongleurs, whence the English have derived that of jugglers or conjurors. Our author has collected several curious particulars relative to the frauds committed by these impostors, and their powerful influence on the superstitious minds of the untutored Indians; but for these we have not room. They are supposed to possess the power of curing diseases miraculously, of procuring rain and other temporal blessings in the same supernatural manner, of foretelling future events, and of miraculously inflicting punishment on the objects of their displeasure. The coincidence between the powers claimed by these impostors, and the external characteristics of the prophetic office, particularly in the patriarchal age, is noticed by Dr. Jarvis; and he considers it as strengthening the analogy, which subsists between the religion of the American Indians and that of the patriarchal times. The result of all his facts and reasonings is, that they are a primitive people, wbo, like the Chinese, must have been among the earlier emigrants of the descendants of Noah; that, like that singular nation, they advanced so far beyond the circle of human society as to become entirely separated from all other men; and that in this way they preserved a more distinct and homogeneous character than is to be found in any other portion of the globe. Whether they came immediately to the western continent, or arrived there by gradual progression, is a point that can never be ascertained at this distance of tiine, and is in fact an inquiry of little moment. It is, however, probable that, like the northern hordes, who descended upon Europe, and who constituted the basis of its present population, their numbers were great; and that from one vast reservoir, they flowed onward in successive surges, wave impelling wave, until they had covered the whole of the vast North American continent. At least this hypothesis may account for the singular fact which has lately been illustrated by Mr. Duponceau,* (in his Report on the characters and terms of the Indian languages, addressed to the Historical and Literary Committee of the American Philosophical Society,) that these languages form a separate class in human speech, and that in their plans of thought, the same system extends from the coast of Labrador to the extremity of Cape Horn. This fact opens a wide field for interesting speculation; upon which, however agreeable to the philologist, the length of the present article admonishes us not to enter. We shall add only one extract more.
" Like all other nations unblessed with the light of Christianity, the Indians are idolaters; but their idolatry is of the mildest character, and has departed less than among any other people from the form of pri
* In the Transactions of the Historical and Literary Committee of the Ameri, can Philosophical Society, Vol. I. Philadelphia, 1819,
meval truth.—Their belief in a future state is clear and distinct, debased only by those corporeal associations which proceed from the constitutional operations of our nature, and from which even Christians;therefore, are not totally exempt.- They retain among them the great principle of expiation for sin, without which all religion would be unavailing.-- And they acknowledge, in all the common occurrences of life, and even in their very superstitions, the overruling power of Divine Providence, to which they are accustomed to look up with an implicit confidence, which might often put to shame the disciples of a purer faith.
“ Provided, then, that their suspicions respecting every gift bestowed by the hands of white men, can be overcome, the comparative purity of their religion renders it so much the easier to propagate among them the Gospel of Salvation. In this view, is it possible for the benevolent heart to restrain the rising wish, that the scanty remnant of this unfortunate race may be brought within the verge of civilized life, and made to feel the influence, the cheering and benign influence, of Christianity? Is it not to be wished, that the God whom they ignorantly worship, may be declared to them, and that, together with the practices they have so long preserved, may be united that doctrine which alone can illumine what is obscure, and unravel what is intricate? If this be desirable, it must be done quickly, or the opportunity will be for ever lost. Should our prejudices prevent it, we must remember that their faults will be obscured, and their virtues brightened, by the tints of time. Posterity will think of them, more in pity than in anger, and will blame us for the little regard which has been paid to their
welfare. “Hapless nations !-Like the mists which are exhaled by the scorching radiance of your summer's sun, ye are fast disappearing from the earth. But there is a Great Spirit above, who, though for wise purposes he causes you to disappear from the earth, still extends his protecting care to you, as well as to the rest of his creatures. There is a country of Souls, a happier, and better country, which will be opened, we may charitably hope, to you, as well as to the other children of Adam. There is the atoning blood of the Redeemer, which was shed for you, as well as the rest of mankind; the efficacy of which you have unwittingly continued to plead; and which may be extended, in its salutary influence, even to those who have never called on, because they have never heard, THE NAME OF The Son of God." (P. 62–64.)
In the justice and propriety of these concluding remarks of the author, our readers we are sure will readily concur, and with these we recommend the work to the candour and attention of the inquisitive and reflecting reader.
ART. IV.-THE CHRISTIAN AND CIVIC ECONOMY OF
The Christian and Civic Economy of large Towns. By Tho
mas Chalmers, D.D. Minister of St. John's Church, Glasgow. No. I. The Advantage and Possibility of assimilating a Town
to a Country Parish. No. II. On the Influence of Locality in Towns. No. III. Application of the Principle of Locality in Towns to
the Work of a Christian Minister. To be continued Quar
terly. Glasgow. Chalmers and Collins. 1820. WE can easily imagine what were the circumstances which led to the present work. Dr. Chalmers finds himself placed in a large provincial capital, and seeing himself surrounded by the vice and misery with which such places generally abound, beholds in them a call for exertion, and an opening for doing good. But coming to the attempt, he soon finds that all that he, and all that his coadjutors can effect, is inadequate to the evil. Vice is seen to be increasing under all their efforts to repress it. The tree of evil grows under their pruning. Accordingly, his mind goes to work. He begins to ruminate; and the result is, “ The Christian and Civic Economy of large Towns."
We have seen it observed, that a parish minister may judge of his own spiritual state, by the degree of interest which he feels for the poor of his flock. There is much truth in this observation. He may ask himself, for instance, and ask with benefit, What anxiety do I feel for the rude and uneducated, that is, for the mass of my parishioners? What portion of my thoughts do they occupy? What pleasure do I take in those homely details of Christian duty which employ, or ought to employ me, among them? What readiness do I feel to postpone other pursuits and employments to this? What is the character of those occupations to which I am glad to turn aside, from this great object? And, above all, what portion of my time is actually and daily spent in going forth among their dwellings? The inquiry, too, may be extended. Religious men who have wealth or leisure, though not ministers, may ask themselves similar questions. It is worth their while, also, to ascertain to what extent they employ themselves among their poorer neighbours. Nay, it may be carried farther. Such places and parishes as are accounted, and as account themselves, to have religious advantages, will do well to inquire what is the state of their poor, especially of their religious poor; and how far they are an object of the care and attentions of their superiors, especially of their religious superiors. The wants, trials, affictions, and defects, whatever they may be, of every poor neighbourhood, ought to be a constant thorn in the side of
every wealthy neighbourhood. And so they will be, wherever there is religious sensibility. None of the body's members can suffer, without the whole body's feeling uneasy, unless, indeed, the vital principle which pervades the whole be at a very low ebb. Therefore the great question is, whether there is in a particular place that pervading christianity which, wherever it exists, is the comprehending
and assimilating bond of the church of Christ in that place. The Popish church, which is the primitive church corrupted, has this vestige of its original beauty yet perceptible, and there often is found to exist a bond of union not entirely destroyed between its wealthy and its poorer members. We have observed in Catholic countries tokens of kindly attention and ministration on the part of the rich towards the poor, and of kindly regard and deference on the part of the poor towards the rich, which we should be glad to see more general at home. The symptoms of beneficence and benevolence which we have noticed, have extended indeed less to things spiritual than to things temporal; and this has been their essential defect. But, we are not afraid to say it, that a regard to the future concerns of a needy population, which neglects their present concerns, that zeal for the salvation of the soul, which entirely postpones or lays out of the account the comforts of the body, wants an essential feature in the character of “ true religion and undefiled.” It may busy itself, and persevere, and labour; but such labour is not the labour of love.
Philanthropists are apt to be apprehensive of the mischiefs that are likely to arise from giving away money among the poor, and experience has proved that the apprehension is well grounded; but when you come to the religious poor, the rule ceases to hold good. With regard to them the case is altered. Here, the usual danger of spoiling and enervating exists no longer. In seeking to be of service to a poor man, there is no need to be so delicate about attempting to gain your end by pecuniary means, if that poor man be a Christian. The distributor of eleemosynary bounties will not seldom find, in his walks among the Christian poor, a self-denial, a feeling of what is just and right, a humble independence, and an uprightness of character, fitted to adorn a higher station. The old fathers speak of the poor of their communities as their primates, their magnates. They do well. There is no fear of debasing by kindness the generous