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Had that excellent man lived to witness the labours of Carey and of Martyn, we can easily imagine with what enthusiasm as an Orientalist, and with what purer joy as a Christian, he would have hailed the realization of the plan he here in part suggests. We cannot but believe that he would have been among the foremost to promote every such attempt to change 'the religion' of the Hindoos, strongly as he was inclined to view in the most favourable light their institutions, and sanguine and credulous as, in some instances, he shewed himself in receiving the representations of the artful Brahmins. Thus much is at all events indubitable, that the sentence cited by Mr. Surgeon Johnson from a paper written above thirty years ago, could not have been written by Sir Wm. Jones, nor by any man of competent information and integrity, had he been living in the present day.
We should not,' Mr. Johnson says, hastily condemn the customs of the Hindoos because they are not agreeable to our way of thinking. It would ill become a man who is fond of hunting and shooting, to condemn as a foolish prejudice ⚫ their not liking to take away the life of any animal.' And he proceeds to compare their customs, with our wearing wigs, false teeth, stays, or hair-powder. Does Mr. Johnson imagine that it is the object of the Missionaries and Priests, to change the national customs of the Hindoos,-to induce them to adopt the English costume and to love field-sports? Or does he mean to include among the Hindoo customs which we ought not hastily to condemn, the practices of suttee, infanticide, prostitution, and the rites of Kalee, Veeshnoo, and Juggernaut?
But how comes it that there are 'field sports followed by the natives of India,'-in a country where there exists this dislike to taking away the life of any animal? The answer would be, that the Mahommedans are the sportsmen. But how came the Hindoos to turn Mahommedans? It would seem that two false religions may agree very well together, and that the conversion of a Hindoo into a Moslem is no very difficult process. Why then should it be deemed a thing impossible, that a Hindoo may become a Christian? All the field-sports of India, however, are not confined to Christian and Mussulman hunters. For instance :
'Shecarries are generally Hindoos of a low cast, who gain their livelihood entirely by catching birds, hares, and all sorts of animals; some of them confine themselves to catching birds and hares, whilst others practise the art of catching birds and various animals; another description of them live by destroying tigers.
Those who catch birds, equip themselves with a frame-work of split bamboos, resembling the frame of a paper kite, the shape of the
top of a coffin, and the height of a man, to which green bushes are fastened, leaving two loop holes to see through, and one lower down for their rod to be inserted through. This frame work which is very light, they fasten before them when they are in the act of catching birds, by which means they have both hands at liberty, and are completely concealed from the view of the birds. The rol which they use is about twenty four feet long, resembling a fishing rod, the parts of which are inserted within one another, and the whole contained in a walking stick.
They also carry with them horse-hair nooses of different sizes and strength, which they fasten to the rod; likewise bird-lime, and a variety of calls for the different kinds of birds, with which they imitate them to the greatest nicety. They take with them likewise two lines to which horse-hair nooses are attached for catching larger birds, and a bag or net to carry their game.
Thus equipped, they sally forth, and as they proceed through the different covers, they use calls, for such birds as generally resort there, which from constant practice is well known to them, and if any birds answer their call, they prepare accordingly for catching them; supposing it to be a bevy of quail, they continue calling them, until they get quite close, they then arm the top of their rod with a feather smeared with bird-lime, and pass it through the loop-hole in their frame of ambush, and to which they continue adding other parts, until they have five or six out, which they use with great dexterity, and touch one of the quail with the feather, which adheres to them; they then withdraw the rod, arm it again, and touch three or four more in the same manner before they attempt to secure any of them.
In this way they catch all sorts of small birds not much larger than quail, on the ground and in trees. If a brown or black partridge answers their call, instead of bird lime, they fasten a horse thair noose to the top of their rod, and when they are close to the birds, they keep dipping the top of their rod with considerable skill until they fasten the noose on one of their necks, they then draw him in and go on catching others in the same way. It is surprising to see with what cool perseverance they proceed, In a similar manner they catch all kinds of birds nearly the size of partridges.'
pp. 25-28. Another caste or tribe is elsewhere mentioned, a class of Pariahs, resembling the Africans in their physiognomy.
The inhabitants of the hills near Monghier and Baughlepore called Pahariahs, are of short stature, with large flat noses, and their hair is like wool; altogether they resemble the Africans on the coast of Guinea. In small Nagpore, the people are much of the same stature, with the same kind of hair, and are called Coles and Daungers. In the intermediate part of the same range of hills forming the district of Ramghur, the inhabitants appear to be a mixture between the before mentioned people, and the inhabitants of the lower part of Bengal; their hair being long, and their noses
not remarkably flat or sharp. The greater part of them are known by the appellation of Buoyeahs and Bouctas, who according to their tradition were the aborigines of that country, but from appearances, I should judge that they descended from an intercourse between the hill people with woolly hair, and flat noses [who I imagine, were the aborigines of that country] and the Bengalees., too vidalam
These are Hindoos, and probably their casts go by other names in the Shaster or Barren Sunker. They have a great veneration for Brahmins, but eat of almost every kind of animal food, and few of them object to drink spirituous liquors.' pp. 139–141- vodl
The following explanations of some of the Oriental customs may be new to most of our readers.
I shall begin with observing the custom which females have of colouring the palms of their hands, soles of their feet, and nails, red; which they do by pounding the leaves of mindy or hinnah (a species of myrtle), mixing it with lime, and applying it to those parts, where it remains some hours. This is considered an ornament, but I imagine it was first used to check the inordinate perspiration în the hands and feet, which prevails to a great degree with the natives of India, giving their hands a very disagreeable cold, clammy feel, like the sensation produced by handling a frog, and which the application alluded to, entirely removes.
The next I shall remark is, their blacking their eye lids with powdered antimony: this custom must be of great antiquity, as it is mentioned in the bible. It produces a strange contrast to the whites of their eyes, which are exceedingly clear. This, also, I conceive not to have been first used for ornament, but to cure or prevent the opthalmia tarsi, and it is one of the best remedies I know for it.
Again, females, after they attain a certain age, or get married, use an application to stain their teeth black. This, I also believe, was, and is used to destroy the tartar, and preserve the teeth and gums, which it certainly does. The time of life at which they first begin to use it, is when tartar collects most, and were it used solely for ornament, the young would all have their teeth black, which none of them ever have. This application is called "Micee," and what it is composed of, I cannot say ;-whatever it is, it destroys the tartar, hardens the gums, and makes the teeth of a jet black, without destroying the enamel,' PP: 244-6.
The rest of the multifarious contents of this volume, tigers, snakes, hydrophobia, witchcraft, manufactures, &c. &c. we must pass over. The volume is sufficiently amusing, though a somewhat dear eight-shillings worth. For all its defects, however, literal or literary, we are offered an ingenuous apology, which disarms severity.
In this book, there are many faults. All such as are in the printing, I hope will be overlooked, under the consideration that the greatest part of the book was composed by a child not more than
eight years and half old, Caroline Fowler, a daughter of the printer. EGO may be thought too conspicuous throughout. To describe what I have seen and felt,-what I have heard,-what I knew,—and what I thought; it was necessary to have frequent recourse to the monosyllable I; but I hope it will not be thought that I have used it in any instance from vanity. I have borrowed occasionally from other books, but I have done it entirely with the view of corroborating, or elucidating my own observations. My sole motive for writing the book, has been to wile away a few of the many tedious hours during a long sickness, with an anxious desire to amuse the public, and to fulfil the duties of a professional man, by exerting the little ability I possess, for the good of my fellow creatures.'
Art. IX. The Eternity of Divine Mercy established, and unconditional Reprobation discarded: in Remarks upon Dr. Adam Clarke's Sermon published in the Methodist Magazine, for Sept. 1824. By William Catton, Pastor of the Baptist Church, Uley, Glouces tershire. 8vo. pp. 32. London. 1824.
NOT having seen the sermon of Dr. Clarke which is alluded
to, we do not feel competent to pronounce upon its merits or demerits; but we should not have deemed the position animadverted upon by Mr. Catton, liable to serious objection, had what we presume to be the Dr.'s meaning been couched in other words. The position is, that there are attributes which now belong to God, which are not essential to his nature: he is merciful, but, before the fall of man, this could not have been 'one of his attributes.' Dr. Clarke must mean, that there are manifestations of the Divine benevolence which could not have taken place before the entrance of sin. For what is mercy, but benevolence exerted towards the miserable? A man, on becoming a parent, has a new direction given to his affections; but it would be strange to represent him as acquiring a new attribute. Should his child prove disobedient, and, as the consequence of his own folly and crime, draw down on himself misfortune and suffering, this individual is subjected to a distinct and peculiar exercise of his parental affection: does this invest him with a new attribute? If it does not, it must be incorrect to speak of Mercy in the Divine Mind, as a new attribute of the Perfect, Unchangeable Godhead. But, instead of treating Dr. Clarke's position as a theological error, candour requires us to consider it as a mere verbal inaccuracy, which we are nevertheless surprised that he should have fallen into.
It is not for the sake of the refutation which this sermon supplies of the position supposed to be maintained by Dr. Clarke, that we are induced to notice it, but for the sensible
remarks which it contains on the second subject noticed in the title-page.
Who is it,' asks Mr. Catton, that holds the doctrine of unconditional reprobation? Dr. C. does not say. I believe that he would not wilfully misrepresent the sentiments of any Christian, or of any body of Christians. At the same time, would not many of his hearers understand what he said, as being applicable to the Calvinists? Would they not think, that he was exposing an article of their creed? However, let Dr. C. mean what he would, and his hearers conclude as they would; be it known that the Calvinists have long discarded the doctrine of unconditional reprobation. And I do not believe that this tenet is held by any denomination in the present age, the Antinomians alone excepted. And I hope that the difference between a Calvinist and an Antinomian is understood by Dr. C. and by every Christian in Britain.
Some ministers, who call themselves Calvinists, sometimes denounce Arminianism as being a most damnable heresy. And if we hear many who call themselves Arminians, they vociferate loudly and long against Calvinism, as being most horrid and monstrous. I know that I am but of yesterday; yet I would say, brethren, you are engaged in a work,
"Which might fill an angel's heart,
And fill'd a Saviour's hands."
You are called to be fellow-helpers; to be the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ; to turn many unto righteousness, that you may shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever! And can you thus prostitute your office? Is it right to spend your strength in exciting bad dispositions in your hearers, instead of edifying them with the truths of the "common salvation?" Alas! is it in this manner that the ministers of Christ discharge their duty? One would suppose that a minister had enough to do in the pulpit; seeing that he has to oppose the common enemy, to teach the truths of the law and the gospel of God, and to prepare his hearers for an everlasting heaven. If he attended to these things as he ought, he would find no opportunity for caricaturing the sentiments of his fellow Christians. Think, while the Calvinist is declaiming against the Arminian, and the Arminian against the Calvinist, a fellow creature sinks into destruction, and exclaims, "No man cared for my soul !"' pp. 20-22.
Mr. Catton states as his reasons for discarding the doctrine referred to, 1. That those passages of Scripture which have been cited in proof of it, have no reference to it whatever; 2. That it is inconsistent with the goodness of God; 3. That it is inconsistent with the equity of the Divine government; 4. That it is inconsistent with Scripture; 5. That it is inconsistent with future rewards.
Excepting an expression or two at p. 14, about risible powers, the sermon is written in a very becoming and catholic spirit.