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EXPLANATION OF THE VIGNETTE IN THE TITLE page.
THE four figures in the Vignette are intended to represent the chief PROTESTANT REFORMERS: Luther in the centre, Cranmer on his right hand, Knox on his left, and Calvin on his extreme right: each holding in his hand a manuscript or printed copy of the Word of God. The Rock on which they are standing, is intended to denote the TRUTH of the doctrine of the Divine Oracles; on which, as on an immutable Rock, the Reformers rested all their claims, in labouring to restore pure Christianity. Around the Rock OF TRUTH, the waves of Error and Superstition are seen dashing.
LUTHER, CALVIN, CRANMER, and KNOX, have laid Europe and the whole world under the greatest obligations to them, by their courageous, indefatigable, and successful labours; overthrowing the Priestcraft of Popery, that blasphemous "MAN OF SIN," and "MYSTERY OF INIQUITY," 2 Thess. ii.; and restoring to the people the Holy Scriptures, as their only infallible directory in matters of Religion.
Although we have adorned our Periodical with the effigies of those illustrious men, we are not prepared to call either of them "Master.' We esteem ONE infinitely more worthy, to whom alone we are directed by their imperishable writings: "One is our Master, even CHRIST, and all these are brethren." Our principles are those for which the Martyrs, especially the British Martyrs, shed their blood; and their united testimony declares, in the language of Chillingworth, “THE BIBLE—the Bible Only is the RELIGION OF PROTESTANTS;" or, in the words of the Protestant clergy in Ireland, recently adopted as their noble maxim-" THE BIBLE-THE WHOLE BIBLE-AND NOTHIng but the Bible."
RELIGION-ITS ORIGIN AND CORRUPTION
RELIGION has ever been acknowledged, by sages, legislators, and patriots of all nations and ages, as the true and only basis of national, social, and individual happiness. Man has, therefore, been called "a religious animal," to whom some forms of belief and worship are indispensably necessary.
Religion, however, as prescribed by the only wise God originally, to our great ancestors, Adam, the father of our race, and Noah its restorer, and since revealed "at sundry times and divers manners," has been grossly corrupted by ambitious and designing priests in every age, deluding the mass of mankind. Christianity appeals to the understanding and the heart of every man, and claims to be divine and exclusive. Protestantism, whose grand principle is the sole and exclusive authority of the Divine Revela
tion, requires that every man should search the holy Scriptures for his own instruction and salvation.
Among the various forms of corrupt religion, probably the greatest extravagancies are found to exist, and most debasing customs are practised, among the deluded people of India and China. British India, and the prodigiously increasing intercourse with that vast colony, render the regions of the east still more a subject of inquiry by all classes of the community. Missionary operations, more especially, by their diffusion of the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, call the attention of Christians in Britain, to that populous region of the globe; and some illustra tion of their sacred superstitions, therefore, will be peculiarly seasonable, especially as by this means, a variety of infidel objections will be met and silenced by the majesty, simplicity, and holiness, of Divine truth as contained in the holy Scriptures.
The Rev. Thomas Maurice, in his splendid work
on "Indian Antiquities," has contributed largely to confirm and illustrate the sacred writings, especially the venerable details in the first ten chapters of the book of Genesis. In prosecuting his learned inquiries, Mr. Maurice was led, like other most profound antiquarians, to this conclusion, "That all the languages of the earth are derived from one grand primeval alphabet, which was once general, like its religion, till, like that religion, in its progress to remote countries, and to distant generations, its original simplicity and purity were debased and corrupted by mankind."
India possesses in the Vedas, or sacred books, written in the venerable Sanscrit language, some of the most extraordinary traditions relative to the creation of the world and the formation of man, that ever have been offered to human belief; and in this place it cannot fail to be gratifying if we present some of them to our readers, as they will lead them to prize more dearly the divine instructions on these great subjects contained in the holy Scriptures.
Mr. Maurice is a great admirer of the Hindoo mythology; yet he states, "That mysterious and frequently impenetrable gloom, in which fable and superstition have united to veil the periods of the history of all nations, in a peculiar manner clouds the annals of ANCIENT INDIA. In fact, the primeval histories of all the ancient empires of the earth, amount to little more than the romantic dreams of astronomical mythology. This is particularly evi dent in Hindostan, from the two great and most ancient rajah families being denominated SURYABANS, and CHAUDRA-BANS, or children of the sun and
"The personages who are said to have flourished so many thousand years in the earliest ages, were of celestial, not terrestrial origin; their empire was the empire of imagination in the skies, not of real power on this globe of earth: the day and year of Brahma, and the day and year of mortals, are of a nature widely different; that the whole jargon of the YUGS, or grand periods, and consequently all those presumptuous assertions of the Brahmins, relative to the earth's antiquity, have no foundation but in the great solar and lunar cycles, or planetary revolutions; and CHALDEA, and not INDIA, was the parent country of mankind. In proof of this last assertion, a few remarkable instances are produced, upon the authority of Sir William Jones, which evince the primitive languages of Chaldea and India not to be greatly dissimilar; that the name ADAM may be traced to the Sanscrit root, ADIM, or the first; that in the prophetic and regal title of MENU of India, may be recognized the patriarch Nuh, or Noah; that their great hero BALI, an appellative synonymous with the Bel, or Baal of their neighbours, is no other than Belus; and that all the prodigies of valour and wisdom fabled of the renowned DIONYSIUS of India, if true, are only true of Rama, the son of Cush, a deified hero, adored at this day by that very name through the whole extent of that country."
Creation is described with the most monstrous fictions, by the Hindoo writers. Mr. Maurice gives the following as the substance of a passage descriptive of that grand event, literally translated by Sir William Jones, from the beginning of the Manava Sastra, in which MENU, the son of Brahma, addresses the sages who consulted him upon the subject of the formation of the universe. Menu informs his inquirers, "that this world was all darkness, undiscernible, undistinguishable, altogether as in a profound sleep till the self-existent invisible God, making it with five elements, and other glorious forms, perfectly dispelled the gloom. Desiring to
raise up creatures by an emanation from his own essence, he first created the waters, and impressed them with the power of motion; by that power was produced a GOLDEN EGG, blazing like a thousand stars, in which was born BRAHMA, the great parent of all rational beings, THAT WHICH is, the invisible cause, self-existing, but unperceived! That divinity having dwelt in the egg through revolving years, HIMSELF meditating upon HIMSELF, divided it into two equal parts: and from those halves he formed the heavens and the earth, placing in the midst the subtil ether, the eight points of the world, and the permanent receptacle of waters."
THE MUNDANE EGG is a common symbol among the ancient Egyptians. Of the elder Taut or Hermes, prime minister and counsellor of Osiris, the renowned invader of India, a fabulous divinity, held, as an established maxim, that the world was oviform; and hence the oval figure of many of the oldest temples of Egypt.
"Of the various systems of the cosmogony," Mr. Maurice remarks, "according to the Hindoo writers, scarcely any one has been hitherto exhibited to the public in all the various accounts from India, which does not mention the importance of the egg in the production of creation. În the Ayeen Akbeny, the conjunction of Brahma and Terll is said to have produced an egg, which Mahadeo divided into two parts: of one half the Dewtahs, or all celestial beings, were formed; of the remaining half, all terrestrial beings. The idea of the golden sphere above-mentioned, probably took its rise from the same source; and even the great triple divinity Brahma, Veeshnu, and Seeva, are, in other Hindoo treatises of the cosmogony, said to have been formed from three eggs, dropped from the womb of Bhavin, the first created woman, and consort of Seeva, the last person in the divine triad. It is Eusebius, in the third chapter of his Evangelical Preparation,' who acquaints us that the Egyptians considered an egg as the apt symbol of the world, and from them this doctrine, together with many eastern superstitions, was by Orpheus, in succeeding ages, introduced into Greece. Hence the Orphic egg became a subject of great celebrity among both poets and philosophers.
"This doctrine of the primeval egg, however, was neither peculiar to the Egyptians, nor to the Indians, for the Phenicians believed their Zophasemin, or the heavenly intelligences, which were the objects of their adoration, to be oriform, and according to Plutarch, worshipped an egg in the orgies of Bacchus, as an image of the world. Many other nations also supported the propriety of the allegory; comparing the pure white shell to the fair expanse of heaven; the fluid transparent white to the circumambient air; and the more solid yolk to the central earth.
"As Brahma, the first person in the Hindoo triad of deity, was produced from an egg, so it is not a little remarkable that the very same kind of origin, in the hymns attributed to Orpheus, is allotted to the firstborn deity, denominated Phanes by the Greeks; and it should not be forgotten, that, in the Orphic mysteries, the egg was considered as the organ of generation and fecundity; whence it probably arose that the egg was also of principal importance in the sacrifices of Cybele, the fruitful mother of the gods.
"In the manuscript translation of a curious PURANA, or the Indian cosmogony, by Mr. Halhed, now deposited in the British Museum, the order, by which the Deity proceeded in the production of all created beings, is somewhat varied. In this authentic Sanscrit treatise, the independent Spirit, whose essence is eternal, sole, and self existent, is represented as, in the first place, giving birth to a certain pure ethereal
light, a light, not perceptible to the elementary | sense, but extracted from the all-comprehensive essence of his own perfection! The Deity then assuming a form apparently, but not really, masculine, for the Deity is properly of no sex, caused to emanate from himself an immeasurable torrent of water, and he preserved it suspended by his almighty power. By the same prolific energy, eggs without number, bearing the shape of the primordial matter, were generated, and floated upon that mighty abyss. From these eggs, denominated in Sancreet BRAHMANDEL, that is, coverings and integuments of the various objects of which the universe is composed, Brahma, Veeshnu, and Seeva, and all the train of celestial beings, sprang first into existence. Brahma is described to be of a black, Veeshnu of a red, and Seeva of a white complexion. The eight spheres, the residence of created beings, are then successively formed by Brahma, invested with the almighty power; creation is complete."
MODERN HINDOO NOTIONS OF THE CREATION OF MAN.
CASTE, in India, presents the most formidable difficulty in the way of human improvement, and operates in various ways to impede the progress of the gospel. Nevertheless, this abominable imposition of priestcraft is, in many parts, giving way under the renovating influence of divine truth diffused by the circulation of the Holy Scriptures.
Mr. Maurice refers to a "concise, though whimsi. cal, account of the original formation of man by the Pundeets, in the preface to the Code of the Gentoo Laws. These venerable sages, when assembled at Calcutta in 1775, at the express desire of the Governor General, to compose, from authentic Sanscreet documents, a system of laws for the future government of Bengal, in which is included a considerable share of that theological policy, which, springing throughout from the same source, is inseparably blended with their jurisprudence, have thus accounted for the first origin of man. They assert that the principle of Truth, after having formed the earth, the heavens, the water, the fire, and the air, produced a being called BRAHMA, the Dewtab, for the creation of all beings: afterwards he created the BRAHMIN from his mouth, the KHETREE from his arms, the BICE from his thighs, and the SOODER from his feet.
"The BRAHMIN, eldest born, and most favoured of Brahma, was created from his mouth, which implies the superior WISDOM and eminence by which this caste was distinguished. The duty prescribed the Brahmin is to read, to pray, and to instruct. From his arms Brahma created the Khetree, or Katteri, endowing the latter with STRENGTH, as the former with wisdom; the office of the Katteri is therefore to draw the bow, to fight, and to govern. From his belly and thighs he produced the tribe of Bice, whose function in society is to procure NOURISHMENT, and to provide the necessaries of life, by the honourable occupation of agriculture, and by the lucrative pursuits of commerce. From his feet sprang the tribe of Sooder, whose duty is SUBJECTION, to labour, to serve, to travel. A fifth adventitious tribe called BURRUN SUNKES, was afterwards produced, and of this tribe the race of mechanics and petty dealers, who are esteemed of less account, as administering rather to the luxuries than to the necessities of life, are composed; forming as many separate castes as there are trades or occupations to be exercised by its members."
Ignorance, and its natural fruit, superstition, bind the nations of Asia in CASTE, the ingenious contrivance of priestcraft; and hence the obstructions to the progress of Christianity, by the labours of our devoted missionaries. Mav the Spirit soon be poured
forth from on high, and all the delusions of men and Satan be destroyed, and all flesh see the salvation of God!
EXPLANATION OF THE ENGRAVINGS.
THE BULL OF JAPAN BUTTING AGAINST THE MUNDANE EGG. (See page 1.)
Sculptures and medals abound in the East, containing hieroglyphic symbols of the creation. "The most remarkable, however," as Mr. Maurice remarks, "of these symbolic devices is that erected, and at this day to be seen, in one of the temples of Japan. The temple itself, in which this fine monument of Oriental genius is elevated, is called DAIBOD, and stands in Meaco, a great and flourishing city of Japan. The principal image in this design displays itself in the form of a vast bull, the emblem of prolific heat and the generative energy by which creation was formed, butting with its horns against the EGG, which floated on the waters of the abyss. The statue of the bull itself is formed of massy gold, with a great knob on its back, and a golden collar about its neck, embossed with precious stones. The fore feet of the animal are represented as resting upon that egg, and his hinder feet are immersed amidst stone and earth mixed together, the symbol of a chaotic mass, under which and the egg appears a considerable quantity of water kept in a hollow stone. The basis of the whole is a square altar, the foot of which is engraved with many ancient Japanese characters; and round that foot, in M. D'Hancarville's engraving, are two natives of that country prostrate, and adoring it. I thought the whole so exceedingly curious, especially as M. D'Hancarville's book is too scarce and costly to be in every body's hands, that I have had it engraved."
THE MUNDANE EGG AT HELIOPOLIS. The Deus lunarus ovatus Heliopolitanus, or the divine egg with the lunar crescent, adored at Heliopolis, in Syria, is another relick of this ancient superstition too curious to be passed unnoticed. Christian readers, in surveying these emblems of human weakness, folly, and sin, and reflecting upon the rational, sublime, and truly instructive description of creation, as given in the Holy Scriptures, cannot refrain from cherishing gratitude for so precious a boon from heaven, and pouring forth a prayer that all the pagan nations may be brought to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus.
ON THE NEW YEAR.
MANKIND are so constituted as to be very much affected by the circumstances and scenes which surround them. It frequently happens that an impression may be made by an event of no real importance, when the exhortations of friendship, and of the most exalted reason, are unavailing. This is particularly the case with reference to the commencement of a new year. We all find ourselves in the habit of resolving to make improvements and alterations when a new year is about to open on us; and if ever we are brought to think of the lapse of time at all, it is on such an occasion as this, and all others in which the solemn fact is forced upon our mind, that another year of existence has passed away for ever. It becomes the Christian moralist to make use of such opportunities, and endeavour to fix the attention of those who are under the influence of his instructions, upon such views of the solemn subject, as are calculated to awaken serious and profitable reflections.
It is under these feelings that I now proceed to set before our readers, a few remarks calculated to
illustrate and enforce the sentiments that should fill their minds at the opening of a new year.
1. Gratitude. It would be an endless task were I to attempt to enumerate the infinite variety of those blessings and favours, the bestowal of which renders such a return absolutely necessary. I might, with the utmost consistency, call upon you to be thankful for every law of nature, every return of the seasons, every vicissitude of day and night, and might bid you to bear in mind with what undeviating regularity our heavenly Father has conducted all these operations, the importauce of which to our individual happiness is immeasurably great. But I shall most probably secure my object with greater certainty, if I descend from the lofty theme of universal love, to those particular instances of its manifestation of which you have been the object. Let me, therefore, beg you to bear in mind that every breath you draw, every motion you make, every meal you eat, every comfort you enjoy, every blessing you possess, are the gifts of God, and ought to be regarded as such. Look back then on the year that is past, think of the dangers you have surmounted and the many happy hours you have spent, and learn to be grateful to your friend in heaven. Nor do I for one moment intend the sick or the suffering to suppose that they are exempted from the debt of gratitude. Equally with the apparently most prosperous and healthy they are bound to express their thankfulness. In the eye of God, the moral welfare of his creatures is the object of supreme value and importance, and so ought it to be in the eye of those creatures themselves. Most assuredly every moment of suffering that any of the creatures of God are called on to endure, is intended for their eternal welfare. Therefore contemplate your position as members of a kingdom that is eternal-contemplate the moral efficacy of every event in life to exalt and elevate you in that kingdom, and then I am sure you will feel that boundless gratitude is due to that wise and gracious Being who, with sleepless watchfulness has followed your step, and laboured with the sincerity and the power of real and eternal friendship to secure your virtue and your final peace.
2. Humility. In return for all these favours what have you done? Oh discard self-love and self-complacency-pray to God to fix upon your mind the image of Jesus Christ, your divine and spotless example, and endeavour now to reflect with honesty and faithfulness upon the real value of your services in the sight of God. Many are the occasions upon which you have committed absolutely bad actions, such as you would desire to have concealed from your fellow men, and most heartily wish you had never been so unwise as to do. More numerous still are the instances in which you have fallen-far, very far-short even of an attempt to acquire resemblance to your Saviour. Your conversation, your temper, your pettishness, your pride, your slander, your injustice, your hastiness, your unkindness, all these and a thousand more of the same description are failings that stand charged to a more or less degree upon every day, every hour of your existence. You have neglected many a duty the importance of which you felt, and confessed you have derived less advantage from those ordinances of religion upon which you have attended, than you might have done by a proper degree of diligence. You have sought the honours of this world more eagerly than that honour which cometh from God only, and you have violated every law by some means or other. Think of these things. I do not mention them by way of reproach, but rather as subjects calculated to excite