« ZurückWeiter »
times of greatest distress, and seasons of peculiar exigency, supposing them too exalted to be troubled with matters of less nro. ment than the illness of a chief, storms, devastations, war, or any great calamity. Indeed, fear and suffering seem to be more motives to worship than gratitude. The house of these fwhanow po is at Oparre; where the chief earie rahie resides.
For general worship they have an inferior race, a kind of dii penates. Each family has its tee, or guardian spirit; he is supposed to be one of their departed relatives, who, for his superior excellencies, has been exalted to an eatooa. They suppose this spirit can inflict sickness or remove it, and preserve them from a malignant deity, who also bears the name of tee, and is always employed in mischief.
They have a tradition, that once in their anger the great gods broke the whole world in pieces; and that all the islands around them are but little parts of what was once venood noe,
great land, of which their own island is the eminent part. A curious conversation held with Manne Manne, the high priest, and Taata Orero, the orator and oracle of the country for tradition,
as follows, interpreted by the Swede Andrew :
In the beginning, Tane took Taroa, and begat Avye, fresh water; Atye, or Te Myde, the sea ; also Awa, the water-spout; Matai, the wind; Arye the sky; and Po, the night; then Mahanna, the sun, in the shape of a man called Oeroa Tabooa
; when he was born, all his brethren and sisters turned to earth; only a daughter was left, by name Townoo; she became the wife of Geroa Tabooa, by whom she conceived thirteen children, who are the thirteen months : 1. Papecree; 2. Ownoonon ; 3. Paroromooa; 4. Paroromoree; 5. Mooreeha; 6. Heaiha; 7. Taoa ; 8. Hoorororera ; 9. Hoorecama ; 10. Teayre; 11. Tetai ; 12. Waeho; 13. Weaha.
Townoo now returned to earth, and Oeroa Tabooa embraced a rock called Poppoharra Harreha, which conceived a son named Tetooboo amata hatoo; after which the rock returned to its original state, and the father of the months himself died, and went to dust. The son he left embraced the sand of the sea, which conceived a son of the name of Tee, and a daughter called Opeera ; then he also died, and returned to the earth. Tee took his sister Opeera to wife, who produced a daughter Oheera, Reene, Monooa ; the mother died, and the father survived ; in her illness she entreated her husband to cure her, and she would do the same for him if he fell sick, and thus they might live for ever ; but the husband refused, and preferred her daugh, ter, whom, on her decease, he took for his wife. The daughter bore him three sons and three daughters : the sons, Ora, Wanoo, Tytory; the daughters, Hennatoomorrooroo, Henaroa,
Noowya. The father and mother dying, the brothers said, Let us take our sisters to wife, and become many. So men began to multiply upon the earth.
Respecting a future state, they suppose no person perishes or becomes extinct. They allow no punishment after death, but degrees of eminence and felicity, as men have been here most pleasing to the deity. They regard the spirits of their ancesiors, male and female, as exalted into eatooas, their favour to be secured by prayers and offerings. When the spirit departs from the body, they have a notion it is swallowed by the eatooa bird, who frequents the burying-places and morais ; and passes through him in order to be purified, and be united to the deity. And such are afterwards employed by him to attend other human beings, and to inflict punishment, or remove sickness, as shall be judged requisite.
They believe the stars were the children of the sun and moon, attributing every substance to procreative powers; and when the sun and moon are eclipsed, they suppose them in the act of copulation; and pretend to foretel, from their appearance at such times, the future events of wår, sickness, or the like.
With regard to their worship, Captain Cook does the Otaheiteans but justice in saying, they reproach many who bear the name of Christian, You see no instances of an Otaheitean drawing near the Eatooa with carelessness and inattention; he is all devotion ; he approaches the place of worship with reyerential awe; uncovers when he treads on sacred ground : and
feryour that would do honour to a better profession. He firrnly credits the traditions of his ancestors. None dares dispute the existence of deity. They put great confidence in dreams, and suppose in sleep the soul leaves the body under the care of the guardian angel, and moves at large through the regions of spirits.
Priesthood and Sacrifices. The priests at the Society Islands are a pretty numerous body; they are in every district, and have plenty of employment, being called in on all occa. sions, births or deaths, feast or sickness ; and are the physicians as well as clergy of the country. They affect to possess extraordinary powers, to promote conception or abortion, to inflict diseases or remove them at their pleasure, and are greatly feared on that account. They are supposed to be able to pray the evil spirit into the food, by rubbing a human skull with a part of the provisions they eat ; and sometimes to kill men outright.
Their sacrifices and oblations are various and liberal. They offer to their gods all the products of their island, hogs, dogs, fowls, fish, and vegetables; and at every feast a portion is pre
sented to the Eatooa before they presume to take their own repast. When a priest denounces the necessity of a human sacrifice, or, as on the inauguration of the king, custom requires such offerings, the manner of selecting them is by a council of the chief with the ratirras. The occasion is stated, and the victim pitched upon ; he is usually a marked character, who has been guilty of blasphemy, or some enormous crime, or a stranger who has fled to the district for shelter from some other part on account of his ill conduct. The decision of this council is kept a profound secret, and perhaps the only one which is so. They watch the opportunity of the night, when the culprit is asleep, and dispatch him, if possible with one blow of a stone on the nape of the neck, to prevent any disfigurement of the body ; a bone of him must not be broken, nor the corpse mangled or mutilated. If a man has been bit and disfigured by a woman, he becomes noa, unclean for ever, and can never be offered in sacrifice. The victim is placed in a basket of cocoa-nut leaves fastened to a long pole, and carried in a sacred canoe to the morai, when the eye is offered to the king with great form and ceremony.
Such were, and alas ! in some of these islands, such, in general still are, the gods and superstitions of this part of the world. Christianity, however, has of late years made rapid progress in the South Seas; and at this time nearly the whole of Otaheite is converted to the worship of the true God, and to a knowledge of and belief in his Son Jesus Christ! The Mission from this country to the Sandwich Islands has been established with good judgment, and conducted with much energy and prudence.The smiles of Heaven have hitherto rested upon it, and the prospect is encouraging that these ignorant and degraded Pagans may now be brought to accept the blessings of the divine salvation. Judicious efforts for the spread of the gospel never have been without the divine blessing, and, we trust they always will realize the promises of grace.
The ancient Religion of the South American Indians, in the neighbourhood of Peru, &c. is now nearly extinct ; but then the Peruvians, like the Mexicans, formerly had very splendid temples dedicated to the Sun, in which they offered various costly sacrifices, and presented oblations of wine, fruits, and other products of their country. But there was nothing cruel in the religious rites of the Peruvians, if we except the sacrifices of small animals ; and even they are now almost laid aside.
The Religion of the Siberians, and of some other remote parts of the world, is now greatly changed from what it formerly was; and is for the most part mixed up with so much of the Catholic rites and notions, as not to merit a distinct notice:
COMPRISING A CONCISE VIEW OF THE
IN OPERATION AT THE PRESENT DAY,
FOR THE GENERAL DIFFUSION OF KNOWLEDGE.
The following view of some of the most important moral in
stitutions in operation at the present day, whose professed object is the promotion of the best interests of mankind, consists entirely of statements of facts without commentThose who may not conceive all these institutions advisable, will certainly not be unwilling to examine their operations.
British Naval and Military Bible Society, formed in 1780.
Object. To distribute the Scriptures among the sailors of the navy, and soldiers of the army.
In the progress of this institution, a vast number of Bibles and Testaments have been distributed agreeably to the original design ; and their good effects have been seen and acknowledged by many Some of the captains in the navy state that corporal punishments have almost entirely ceased to be necessary on board their ships, since the introduction of the Bible, and that they have found by esperience, that those men who read the Bible most, are the most courageous in battle.
From the last Report of this Society, the Committee state, that the call for Bibles during the year, by the soldiers and sailors had been greater than their funds could supply ; but that they bad distributed 13,142 Bibles and Testaments.
Note.--The compiler being much occupied, this Appendix is prepared by another hand.
British and Foreign Bible Society. This magnificent institution was formed at London, March 1, 1804.
Object.---To promote the circulation of the Scriptures in some of the principel living languages.
The sphere of ils activity.--1st. The United Kingdom of GreatBritain and Ireland, and the European Continent, and afterwards in remute regions.
Each subscriber of one guinea annually shall be a member. Twenty pounds subscribed at one time makes a member for life.
The amazing rapidity with which the influence of this society extended, from the first year of its institution ; the greatness of its exertions, and the vast number of Bibles and Testaments it has distributed among different nations, and in different languages, has given it a name and rank nearly unrivalled among the religious institutions of the age. All we can do here is to give the principal results of its operations.
The following are the foreign countries or parts, where the British and Foreigo Bible Society have enoouraged Bible Societies, either by pecuniary aid, or by example: Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Wirtemberg, Prussia, Poland, Saxony, Hanover, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Russia, Livonia, and Holland.
In most of the countries or circles above pamed, several distinct Bible Societies have been formed ; So that the whole number of parent Bible Societies in Europe amount to about ninety. In Asia the British and Foreign Bible Society have five auxiliary societies; in Africa, two; in America, one, viz. that of Nova Scotia, which has at least fifteen branch societies. In the West Indies two. This Institution bas within the British dominions 729 Auxiliary and Branch Societies independently of Bible Associations.
The British and Foreign Bible Society has printed, or aided in the printing, or circulation, of the Scriptures, in part, or in whole, in one hundred and twenty seven different languages, or dialects.
In the 18th Report of the Society (1822) it is stated, that the foreiga societies, aided by the British and Foreigo Bible Society, bave increased their issues from 739,045 bibles, to 830,955, and from 721,736 testaments to 361,377 ; these make a total of 1,742,332, and show an increase in the course of the year, of 141,910 bibles and 140,000 testaments. The total number issued on acoount of the Society, at home and abroad, has increased from 1,307,044 bibles to 1,433,823 ; and from 1,963,118 testaments to 2,130,151 ; nraking an increase during the year, of 126,779 bibles, and 166,033 testaments, and a total of 3,563,974 copies.
The total issue of books from the beginning of the society, have amounted to no less than six million fifty-six thousand three hundred and six copies of bibles and testaments.
The expenditure for the eighteenth year (1822) was 401,977 dollars. The total expenditure of the society during the eighteen years since it was framed, is four million four hundred and thirtyeight thousand seven hundred and thirty-six dollars.
Swiss Bible Societies. The German Bible Society at Basle was instituted in 1804. From the presses of the society at that place there had issued during the