Imágenes de páginas

of the neighbourhood in general, may have the opportunity of gaining, upon manageable terms, the elements of a useful, and especially a religious, education."

4. Lastly, it is the object of the Wesleyan Committee of Education,-as it was, generally, that of the church in former days,-to make the means of a proper education, as to the liability of the parents of the children to pecuniary charges, accessible to the very poorest classes of the population.

There still remains a wide and important field for observation, as to the present position of the Wesleyan Methodists in regard to the entire question of general education in this country, and the circumstances which suggest the necessity of a more vigorous and general action on their part, as well as on the part of others, for the establishment of schools upon the principles illustrated in the foregoing observations. But this paper has already been sufficiently extended. The farther consideration of the subject is therefore suspended at this point, and will, with the permission of the Editor, be resumed in the next Number. Didsbury.

J. C.


(MR. WESLEY TO MR. FLETCHER.) Dear SIR,—I was told yesterday, that you are sick of the conversation even of those who profess religion; that you find it quite unprofitable, if not hurtful, to converse with them three or four hours together, and are sometimes almost determined to shut yourself up, as the less evil of the two.

I do not wonder at it at all, considering with whom you have chiefly conversed for some time past. The conversing with them I have rarely found to be profitable to my soul. Rather it has damped my desires, and has cooled my resolutions; and I have commonly left them with a dry, dissipated spirit. And how can you expect it to be otherwise ? For do we not naturally catch their spirit with whom we converse? I will go a step further. I seidom find it profitable to converse with any who are not athirst for full salvation, and who are not big with earnest expectation of receiving it every moment.

You have, for some time, conversed a good deal with the genteel Methodists. Now it matters not a straw what doctrine they hear, if they are as salt which has lost its savour; if they are conformed to the maxims, the spirit, the fashions, and customs of the world. Certainly, then, if you converse much with such persons, you will return less a man than you were before.

But were they of ever so excellent a spirit, you conversed with them too long. One bad need to be an angel, not a man, to converse three or four hours at once, to any good purpose. In the latter part of such a conversation, we shall be in great danger of losing all the profit we had gained before.

But have you not a remedy for all this in your hands? In order to converse profitably, may you not select a few persons who stand in awe of Him they love ; persons who are vigorously working out their salvation ; who are athirst for full redemption, and every moment expecting it, if not already enjoying it?

* Ninth Report of the Wesleyan Committee of Education, 1847, p. 25.

Though it is true, these will generally be poor and mean, seldom possessed of either riches or learning, unless there be now and then one of higher rank; if you converse with such as these, humbly and simply, an hour at a time, with earnest prayer for a blessing, you will not complain of the unprofitableness of conversation, or find any need of turning hermit. I am your ever affectionate brother,


DR. JOHNSON AND THE BARD OF GLAMORGAN. In his pursuit of a grammatical acquaintance with our own language, the bard stumbled on a singular interview with the most redoubtable literary giant of that period. He was in the habit of calling on a bookseller, who had been kindly attentive to him in giving him a sight of many new books, and supplying him with any information he desired. He was occupying a leisure hour and quiet corner in this mental banqueting-room, when a large ungraceful man entered the shop, and, seating himself abruptly by the counter, began to inspect some books and pamphlets lying there. This austere-looking personage held the books almost close to his face, as he turned over the leaves rapidly, and, the bard thought, petulantly; then replaced them on the counter, and finally gave the whole a stern kind of shove out of his way, muttering, as he rose, “ The trash of the day, I see ! ” then, without another word or sign of recognition to the bookseller, rolled himself out of the shop. When he was gone, the bard inquired of his friend who that bluff gentleman might be. The reply was, “ That bluff gentleman is the celebrated Dr. Johnson.” “What !” exclaimed the little Welshman, « Samuel Johnson ! the author of The Rambler, of Rasselas, of the Great Dictionary, of those fine poems, London, and The Vanity of Human Wishes ? How I wish I had known it whilst he was sitting on that chair! I would have looked at him more attentively, and perhaps have mustered enough impudence to speak to him.” The bookseller said he might assure himself of meeting the learned Doctor there again, on the first day of the following month, when he would make his periodical visit to the new publications. The propitious hour was not forgotten, and the great lexicographer and the humble stonechipper were again on the same floor, though destined to find no fellowship in each other. The bard, who had an eager wish to hear Johnson converse, had provided himself with an apology for addressing so awful a potentate, by asking the bookseller for a good English Grammar; and several by different authors were placed before him. Selecting three of these grammars, he walked boldly up to Johnson, introducing himself, as he said, “ with his best bow," but also with habitual frankness, as a poor Welsh mechanic, smitten with the love of learning, and particularly anxious to become a proficient in the English language. He then presented his three grammars, soliciting the favour of Dr. Johnson's advice which of them to choose; observing that the judgment of such a masterly writer must be the most valuable he could possibly obtain. Johnson either disregarded this really graceful compliment to him as a model author, or he was in an ungracious temper—no uncommon condition with him : for, taking the volumes into his hand, he cast an equivocal look, between a glance and a scowl, at the humble stranger before him, hastily turned over the several title-pages, then surveyed him from head to foot, with an expression rather contemptuous than inquisitive; and, thrusting back the grammars in his huge fist, rather at the inquirer than towards him, delivered this oracular reply,~" Either of them will do for you, young man.” The emphatic you was a spark upon tinder. “I felt,” said the bard, “my Welsh blood mount to my forehead, thinking he meant to insult my humble station and my poverty ; so I retorted with some asperity, as I took back the grammars, Then, Sir, to make sure of having the best, I will buy them all; and, turning to my good friend the bookseller, I demanded the price, paid the money, though at the time I could ill spare it, and quitted the shop, far less pleased with Dr. Johnson than with his writings.” The three grammars remained in the bard's possession till he died ; and, when consulting any of them, he would often say, “Ay! this is one of the Dr. Johnson grammars.”Recollections and Anecdotes of Edward Williams, the Bard of Glamorgan. By Elijah Waring.



In the Mysore country there are many Mussulmans, who believe in the Korän. But the people now to be described are Hindoos, who maintain the divine authority of the four Vedas, and numerous other Shasters, or Scriptures. All their sacred books were originally written in the Sanscrit ; but portions of them have been translated into all the languages of India, and a few into English. The great mass of the people in the kingdom of Mysore have very little acquaintance with their sacred books. They know something of the Rāmāyana and Mahā Bhārata, by hearing portions sung, and by seeing theatrical representations of the abominable actions of Rāma and Krishnoo, on festival occasions. This, with some legendary tales respecting their tutelar deity, constitutes the “sacred” learning of the multitude. Many persons in the middle and higher classes of society have books in their houses, and are fond of reading or of hearing them read. These parties are generally well acquainted with the historical accounts of their gods, and many of them are expert in the logical and metaphysical subtilties of the Hindoos, and in quoting slokes, that is, proverbs and pithy sayings, extracted from the sacred books which have become current among the people. Those best acquainted with the Hindoo hagiographa are the Brahmins; but they by no means agree in their theological opinons, or even in their objects of worship. One sect in a particular locality is addicted to the worship of Vishnoo, and another sect, in the same town or neighbourhood, to that of Siva. The reading of each Brahmin is confined to the books of his respective party; and so it has been for ages. As any one or other of the venerated records has been in former ages made prominent by a Brahmin, or other learned man, who may have had influence enough to collect a number of disciples, the people in his locality have had their attention directed to that particular author, or to some particulars of his teaching, to the exclusion or neglect of all others. In a different part of the country another author, or some part of his writings, has been inade equally proininent : and in this way sion of Priests, who have been living for ages by their craft, have produced an endless diversity of opinion amongst themselves, and the utmost confusion in the minds of a people who have no printed books, and no plain standard or system of instruction. They are, however, prepared to believe that two doctrines which directly contradict each other may both be true, and that practices the very reverse of each other may both lead to future happiness. From writings and expositions such as these, it is impossible to give a complete and consistent view of Hindoo theology. An Englishman may read as much as will give him an outline of the Hindoo creed, and this he may set before the public; but he cannot ascertain the opinion of all the various sects and parties, or the secret mysteries of iniquity practised by certain Brahmins and their initiated disciples. Even in the perusal of books professing to contain histories of the gods, the reader meets with statements which it would be a shame to translate into English. In any statement respecting the religious belief and practice of the Hindoos, a Missionary cannot give more than a partial account; for he does not know the whole, and much of what he does know he is obliged to conceal. Christians in England hear or read of the gross idolatry of the Hindoos, the absurdity of their creed, their ignorance of God, their slavery to Satan, the immorality of their temple Brahmins, the obscenity connected with their worship, and the demoralising tendency of the whole system : but let them remember that the half has not been told them. And let them seriously reflect, that, though the whole of India is open to Missionary effort, the number now employed in preaching the Gospel in the native languages does not average one to a million of people !



From the conflicting and contradictory affirmations respecting the existence and nature of the Divine Being, the following general outline has been gathered :

There is one God. He is called Brahm, or Param Brahm. He is a selfexistent, omnipresent, omnipotent, and eternal Spirit. He has two modes of existence : one is called nirgun,* and the other sagun. In his state of nirgun, which is his primary and proper state, he is without attributes of any kind ; he exists in a state of happy insensibility—in a stupor so profound that he is unconscious of his own existence. Many millions of years ago he suddenly roused himself into a state of sagun, in which he possessed the properties for the production of all things : for a few seconds he exerted his energy, and then instantly sunk back

into his former mode of existence. In that state he has remained ever since, and will so continue for many millions of millions of years.


There are three gods, called Brahma, Vishnoo, and Siva, who are not self-existent and eternal spirits. They have material forms: they derived their existence from Param Brahm, and will cease to exist after a term of 311,040,000,000,000 years; but they are called immortal, because they are exempt from the transmigrations to which many of the inferior gods, as well as all human beings, are believed to be subject. Brahma is called the “creator,” because they think he formed the universe out of the materials with which he was furnished by Param Brahm. Vishnoo is called the “preserver,” because he is supposed to pervade, superintend, and conserve the whole creation. And Siva is called the “destroyer" and “renovator,” because he is understood to effect all the changes which take

* Nirgun, “void of properties, destitute of qualities, useless." + Sagun, “possessed of attributes or qualities."

place. There are, also, according to the Hindoo creed, three principal goddesses, the wives of Brahma, Vish noo, and Siva ; who, as well as the gods, have often appeared on earth in various shapes, and under different names.

There are also, according to the Shasters, three hundred and thirty millions of inferior deities. The Hindoos, of course, have not names for such & multitude. Yet it is tenaciously believed that they exist, and are employed in the subordinate offices of government in the three worlds.

PRODUCTION OF MATTER AND SPIRIT. Respecting the formation of the material universe, the Hindoo accounts are exceedingly conflicting ; but take the following as an example. When Param Brahm awoke from his stupor, he wished to diversify himself by creating worlds. In that instant his energy separated itself from his essence, assumed a form, and became capable of exerting an independent agency. It drew forth from Param Brahm innumerable portions of his essence ; some of which were intended to become souls of gods and men and devils; and others, after passing through various and unaccountable evolutions, so as to become matter, formed the atoms of which the material universe was about to be formed. This formation occupied Brahma a “ year of the creation ; " that is, 3,110,400,000,000 solar years! The universe thus formed is sometimes called “the three worlds,” and sometimes “ the fourteen worlds ;" namely, the earth, six worlds above it for the use of the gods, and seven worlds below it for the abode of devils, monsters, and various evil beings.

The souls of demi-gods, men, and other beings, which emanated from Param Brahm before the formation of the material universe, having existed so long without bodies, and therefore in a state of inactivity, were next to be provided for; and, in doing this, Brahma is represented by some of the Hindoo theologues as experiencing considerable difficulty. He tried and failed, and tried again : he produced monsters, instead of divine, angelic, and human forms. He became angry, and wept at his own failures ; and it was not until he had performed a long course of austere devotion that he succeeded. According to other writers, the creator caused his own substance to divide, or to become nature active and passive ; and so not only produced human beings, but diversified himself into the forms of all living creatures, from the largest animal to the smallest insect.

The general belief is, that the creator produced from his own body four classes, genera, or castes, of human beings. From his mouth proceeded the Brahmin class ; from his arms, the Chatriya, or military class ; from his breast, the Vaisya, or class of mercantile men; and from his feet, the Soodra, or class of labourers, such as cultivators, artisans, &c., &c. This statement of the origin of man is the foundation on which the system of Hindoo caste has been built.

OBSERVATIONS ON CASTE. The reader will perceive that caste is not a civil distinction, but that it is held to be a difference of nature ; the Brahmin being an earth-born deity, and the others being men. The man of the second caste is not of the same species as the third, nor the third of the same as the fourth. In the “Laws of Menu” it is stated, that “the Brahmin, from his high birth, is an object of veneration even to deities.” “A Brahmin, whether learned or ignorant, is a powerful divinity.”—The second or military caste are not

« AnteriorContinuar »