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Resolved, That the General Assembly recommend, and they do hereby recommend to the Pastors and Sessions of the different churches under their care, to assemble as often as they may deem necessary during the year their baptised children, with their parents, to recommend said children to God in prayer, explain to them the nature of their Baptism ; the relation which they sustain to the Church ; and the obligations which their Baptism has imposed on them.
FASHIONABLE AMUSEMENTS. The following resolution of the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Virginia, lately assembled at Winchester, is furnished for publication by the secretary of the convention, for the purpose of giving the earliest information upon the subject, which is considered interesting and important.
In Convention, May 22, 1818. Whereas differences of opinion prevail as to certain fashionable amusements; and it appears desirable to many, that the sense of the Convention should be expressed concerning them; the Convention does hereby declare its opinion that Gaming, attending on Theatres, Public Balls, and Horseracing, should be relinquished by all communicants of this church, as having the bad effects of staining the purity, of the Christian character--of giving offence to their pious brethren and of endangering their own salvation by their rushing, voluntarily, into those temptations against which they implore the protection of their heavenly Father: and tbis convention cherishes the hope that this expression of its opinion will be sufficient to produce conformity of conduct and unanimity of opinion among all the members of our communion. The above is a true extract from the proceedings.
Secretary to the Convention. Alexandria, May 26, 1818.
STRICT OBSERVANCE OF THE LORD'S DAY. The natives of Otaheite have paid their debt of gratitude to the
Christian world, by teaching them how to keep the Sabbath. Mr. RowLAND HASSAL, of Paramatta, New South Wales, expressing, in a letter to the Rev. Mr. B-in London, his delight in the success of the Missionaries, and his conviction that the work is of God, mentions, as one proof of it, the remarkable attention which the inhabitants of Otaheite, as a body, pay to the Christian Sabbath.
“When my friend Mr. Crook, with his family, arrived on the coast of Otaheite, in the brig Active, they were much surprised that not a single native could be seen all along the shore as the vessel sailed; nor could they perceive any smoke arising from their dwellings. This excited in the mind of Mr. Crook and others a painful suspicion that the island had been subdued, and all the inhabitants cut off in the wars.
“ In the midst of this agitation of mind, one of the sailors, an Otaheitan, who left port Jackson in the Active, observed that the natives were keeping the Sabbath day-that of late they did no kind of work-nor cooked any victuals-nor went out of their houses, except to worship God-and that the whole of the day was employed either in religious worship, or in teaching one another to read.
“ At length the vessel came to anchor in Matavai Bay; but not a native made his appearance until Monday morning; when great numbers repaired to the brig, bringing with them their usual testimonies of hospitality, of food and fruit of all kinds, with other presents of cloth, &c. &c., being highly pleased and thankful to God, that he had sent ancther teacher among them; and thus fully satisfying all on board that they had been observing the Sabbath, as before expressed.
Thus you see, that it is not a few individuals who are turned to the Lord, but, comparatively speaking, the whole nation. When you reflect on this anecdote, and compare the conduct of these Otaheitans with that of numbers even in the churches and congregations in and about London, you will be ready to say, that the poor heathen are taken into fellowship with Christ, whilst the children of the kingdom are cast out.”
DEATH OF SABAT.
In our Magazine for September last we inserted a letter from the Rev. Mr. Milne, giving a large account of Sabat, who then professed to repent of his apostacy from the truth ; and Mr. Milne relates that soon after he had fallen into the hands of an enemy, and was made a prisoner: we have now to communicate an account of the death of this unhappy man, which we copy from the Asiatic Register for February, 1818, said in that publication to have been derived from a respectable merchant.
A short time ago, the son of Synd Hossyn, a mercbant, proceeded from Penang to Acheen, and succeeded in wresting from a Rajah the possession of his provinces; and the dethroned Rajah was obliged to seek shelter at Penang; but no person feeling interested in his fate, he continued on board the vessel which had conveyed him from his native country. Sabat and Hamanibni-Salem, another Arab, having opened a communication with the exiled Rajah, engaged to return with him to Acheen, but the followers of the Rajah for some unspecified reason turned the two Arabs on shore on a neighbouring island. When the son of Synd Hossyn heard that the Rajah was returning, and had landed two Arabs, he despatched his people to apprehend them, and, probably conceiving them to be associated with his enemy to expel him from the throne, placed them in close confinement. This is the substance of the news that had reached Penang when the merchant who communicates these particulars was there; but on his voyage back to this port, he was informed that the usurper above noticed, after having kept the wretched sufferers in prison six months, had ordered them to be tied up in a sack filled with heavy stones, and thrown into the sea!'
Other accounts, which concur generally with the foregoing, state that Sabat joined the usurper, and having been discovered in carrying on a scheme to overthrow the new authority in favour of himself, he was punished with the horrible death already described. The story of the revolution in Acheen may be erroneously stated, but all the reports agree respecting the fate of the unhappy apostate.
Account of a remarkable Assembly of Hindoos, near Delhi, who met to Read the
Scriptures. Extract of a Letter from the Rev. Mr. F., dated May 6, 1817, to Rev. Mr. T., Calcutta.
I am more and more convinced that the inhabitants of India are nearly inaccessible to us in their present state, (I mean, with a view to their conversion,) from the gross ignorance and want of common rudimental instruction which prevails among them; and the great means which India appears to be in want of at present, is a systematic plan of education, universally, patiently, and industriously to be acted upon throughout the whole of our territories. Only let the population have the power to read our Scriptures, and we have done them a kindness, the benefit of which nothing can deprive them of. The Bible may do its own work: that it can do so, has been repeatedly proved, in spite of the melancholy forebodings and sensitive jealousies of the adversaries to its distribution.
Take an instance, my dear brother, which I think so well calculated to cheer our spirits. You know that Anund Messee is now baptized. I shall send you his history in the next packet. We have every reason to believe in the sincerity of his Christian profession, and we hope for many beneficial results from his real ability and consistent life. The other day he asked my permission to leave his little school at M- , to go over, for a few days, to Delhi; which was the more readily granted as he still entertains hopes of bringing his wife over to the acceptance of the salvation of the Gospel, as well as his brother and sisters.
During his stay at Delhi a report was in circulation, that a number of strangers had assembled together (and nobody knew why) in a grove near the Imperial city, and were busily employed, apparently in friendly conversation, and in reading some book in their possession, which induced them to renounce their caste, to bind themselves to love and associate with one another, to intermarry only, among their own sect, and to lead a strict and holy life.
This account filled Arund with great anxiety to ascertain who and what they were ; and he instantly set off for the grove which had been pointed out as the place of rendezvous. He found about 500 people, men, women, and children, seated under the shade of the trees, and employed, as had been related to him, in reading and conversation. He went up to an elderly-looking man, and accosted him; and the following conversation passed :
Friend, pray who are all those people, and whence come they ??— We are poor and lowly, and we read and love this book. Anund. What is that book?' - The book of God.'— Anund. Let me look at it, if you please.'—Anund on opening it perceived it to be the Gospel of our Lord, translated into the Hindoostanee tongue, many copies of which seemed to be in the possession of the party; some printed, others written by themselves from the printed ones. · Anund pointed to the name of Jesus, and asked • Who is that?'_That is God; he gave us this book. Anund. “ Where did you obtain it??-An angel from heaven gave it me at Hurdwar-Fair.'-Anund. An angel !— Yes: to us he was God's angel; but he was a man--a learned Pundit.' (Doubtless, these translated Gospels must have been the books'distributed five or six years ago at Hurdwar by the missionary.) The written copies we wrote ourselves, having no other means of obtaining the Blessed Word.'-— These books,' said Anund, teach the religion of the European Sabibs. It is their book; and they printed it in our language for our use. —Ah, no ;' replied the stranger, that cannot be, for they eat flesh.'—Jesus Christ,' said Anund, teaches that it does not signify what a man eats or drinks. Eating is nothing before God; and not that which entereth into a man's mouth defileth him; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man: for vile things come forth from the heart; and out of the heart proceedeth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, &c.: these are the things that defile.'-_That is true; but how can it be the European book, when we believe that it was God's gift to us at Hurdwar-Fair??--Anund. “God gave it long ago to the Sabibs, and they sent it to us.' I find, from Anund, that these Testaments were circulated at Hurdwar (I believe, by Mr. Chamberlain,) and falling into the hands of different people, resident in different but neighbouring villages, they were found to be interesting records, and well worth the attention of the people.
A public reader appears to have been selected by themselves in each of the villages, for the express purpose of reading the miraculous book; and their evenings have been habitually spent in this blessed employment; crowds gathering together to hear God's book. The ignorance and simplicity of many was very striking. Never having heard of a printed book before, its very appearance was to them miraculous.
A great stir was created by the gradually increasing information hourly obtained; and all united to acknowledge the superiority of the doctrine of the Holy Book to every thing they had hitherto heard or known. An indifference to the distinction of caste soon manifested itself; and the interference and tyrannical authority of their Brahmins became more offensive and contemptible. At last, it was determined to separate themselves from the rest of their Hindoo brethren, and establish a party of their own, choosing out four or five who could read the best, to be public teachers from this newly acquired book. The numbers daily and rapidly increased, especially amongst the poor ; which at last suggested the idea of convoking a public meeting of all their congenial associates, to ascertain how many accepted their new doctrine. The large grove near Delhi seemed a convenient spot, and this interesting group had now all met for this very purpose when Anund's visit took place.
They seemed to have no particular form of congregational worship; but each individual made daily and diligent use of the Lord's Prayer. Anund asked them why they were all dressed in white. The people of God should wear white garments,' was the reply, ' as a sign that they are clean, and rid of their sins.
Anund observed, “ You ought to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Come to M. ; there is a Christian padree there, and he will show you what you ought to do. They answered, "Now we must go home to the harvest; but as we mean to ineet once a year, perhaps the next year we may come to M.'
In consequence of this, I have deemed it advisable to send Anund to make all possible inquiry respecting these promising blossoms of hope, and trust to be enabled ere,long to give you still more gratifying information.
A few days after writing the above Mr. Fisher received the following letter, from Anund Messee, dated Delhi, May 12, 1817.
“Oh! Father of my religion! reverend Sahib! may Anund Messee's respectful salutation reach your presence! The account of my proceedings is as follows :
“ With the blessing of God, I arrived among those people to whom your commands sent me; but did not meet with the whole of them, as they were principally scattered about in different directions, having returned to their respective occupations of trade, &c. But I succeeded in finding about twenty or thirty; and, in several of the villages in which these few resided, I preached to them the word of the blessed Christ : and they, on hearing this word of Jesus, were filled with joy, as having* found God. They all shewed me great love, and exclaimed, “You must always stay with us, and dwell in our villages; teaching us the worship of Jesus; and we will learn. I shewed them Mr. Corrie's Translation of the Church Liturgy, which some of them copied ; and they told me that after the rain, in the cold weather, they intended again to assemble at Delhi. I explained to them the nature of Sacrament and of Baptism : in answer to which they replied, “We are willing to be baptized, but we will never take the Sacrament. To all the other customs of Christians we are willing to conform, but not to the Sacrament, because the Europeans eat cows' flesh, and this will never do for us.' To this I answered, This WORD is of God, and not of men; and when he makes your hearts to understand, then you will PROPERLY comprehend it.' They replied, "If all our country will receive this Sacrament, then will we.' I then observed, • The time is at hand when all the countries will receive this WORD! They replied, "True!'
“ I am rejoiced to learn that Mr. Henry and Mr. John are coming to Delhi. May my respectful salutations reach your presence ! If you come to Delhi you will see these people.”
A letter to the Secretary of the Society is just arrived from Mr. Thomason, dated Calcutta, July 19, 1817, inclosing an extract of a letter from Lieutenant Macdonald, dated Delhi, June 20, written in answer to Mr. Thomason's inquiries respecting these people.
This extract follows:
“I have conversed with Anund Messee on the subject of the interesting meeting in the Tope, near Delhi. At this season of the year you must be aware that it must be next to an impracticability for me to travel to the respective villages of these people for the purpose of making such investigation as would enable me to speak decisively on the subject. Without such a personal inquiry you will be further aware how utterly incompetent I must be to judge what progress they have made in the knowledge and understanding of the Word of God.
“ Several of these people came to Delhi in the course of last month, for the purpose of laying a complaint before the Resident, respecting some acts of oppression under which they had been suffering. Anund Messee brought them to us. Lieutenant Tompkins and I conversed with them; but their minds were so full of grievances, that at first they could speak of nothing else. We discovered however, after some more conversation, that they were eagerly desirous of instruction, and had already heard some tidings of good. This was the impression left on my mind by their visit. I regret that I omitted to make any memoranda of the exact particulars of our conversation, but such as above said was the impression left on my mind, viz. that they had seen and had heard the Gospel, and are willing to receive further instruction.
“Every inquiry shall be made. Mr. Fisher will accompany us on a tour which we purpose to make to the different villages, about the termination of the rains: meanwhile I will endeavour to prevail on some of the people to visit Delhi, and will acquaint you with the result.”