Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Rernarks on the apparent apostacy of Captain Cook.

173 at the sport, or as a piece of humour, such conduct is highly censurable. Unfortu

nale man! so long as he sailed round the globe, afraid to offend, and putting his trust in the Lord, he:exalted himself in Israel, and was honorable in his

profession ; but the moment that he offended in Baal, and worshipped the idols Curit of Owlyhee, he died! The priests of the Morai, when they sacriticed, kissed

their idols, and ordered Capi. Cook to do the same ;-he kissed them, and in a few days he wus as the morning cloud, and as the early dezu thut pussetie away ; as the chatt' that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney!

The scene of this apparent, apostacy is called a Morai ; what the correct meaning of that word is, perhaps we shall never know ; but if we grant that the Hebrew word mahari not only sounds a good deal like it, but may be the same word a little differently pronounced, we shall not be much mistaken in

our interpretation of the word morai. The Hebrew word mahar or mahuri in their signifies endowment-and probably the word morai refers to the sacrifices or

religious endownients made to their idols. But this ioiier rather as conjecture, than grammatical assertion. In vain shall we attempt to decypher the religious import of the several apartments on the raised buse, or as it may be considered general altar, or the foftiest scafolding of the whole : that they had their appropriate uses is evident from the circumstance of our navigator's receiving certain parts of his initiatory honours in one, and certain parts in others of them.

As this initiatory ceremony seems to have been conducted with great regularity and system, let us attentively examine each particular--and,

1. Koah, a priest, being led into the cabin, approached Capt. Cook with

great veneration, and thiew over his shoulders a piece of red cloth, which be had brought with him. Then stepping a few paces back, he made an

otiering of a small pig, which Capt. Cook held in his land, whilst he prog " nounced a discourse that lasted a considerable tme.”

Mavor's I rarels, vol. 7. page 253. This must have been the introduction to what follows, and at this time he received the name of Orano, and henceforward was an object of adoration among those heathens.

2. Koal (sometime intervening, perhaps a day or two, for we are not informed how long) conducted Capt. Cook to the top of the morai, by an easy ascent,

Among the Jews, the ascent to the altar was not by steps, but an easy ascent or slope of thirty-two cubits in length, which, allowing seventeen and an bait inches (according to Josephus) to each cubit, is forty-six feet, cight inches. Indeed all idolatrous nations always ascended to their altars by a gentle stope. Mr. Bruce informs us, that this was the manner of' ascent to the altar of the God of the Nile in the province of Geesh; and tlie Spanish historians say the same of the altars of South America. This sloping uscent to the altars of the true God, as well as to those of false deities, must have been derived from some original tradition handed down froin the sons of Noah before the dispers sion at Babel, and at leasự denote ihus much, that our approaches to the Divine Majesty must be progressive and uniform, not by fits and starts of devotion and good works. The Jewish priest ascended the slope of the altar barefooted; denoting that there is no access to God on the footing of our own righteousness; and that we must always approach him, in the character of penitents, supplie cating mercy and favours through the merits of the alone Mediator between God and men.

3. At the entrance, we sary two large wooden images, with fcatures violently distorted,

There is something frightfully horrible in all the images of the idol nations ; even their very appearance indicates them to be the representatives of what St. Paui calls their gods, devils, rather than objects of veneration.

4. And a long piece of carved wood, of a conical form, interted, rising from the top of their heads :

No doubt the carving on these inverted cones or circular pyramids was a hieroglyphical description of the powers, virtues and operations of the Deity thereby represented. We find paintings and sculpture of this kind in the teni. ple at Jerusalem, and in idol temples of ali nations, Doubtless the two images

ON THE

135.

[ocr errors]

Mor, a

1, 3, 1 raord

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Oth

mark

nd a cam m the to zods'

on bris

[ocr errors]

174 Remarks on the apparent spostacy of Captain Cook. were representatives of the sun and moon, and the inverted cones on their heads were emblems of the solar and lunar flures of light. Pyramids and cones are said to be the most antient forms under which these luminaries were worshipped. Doubtless the pyramids were originally intended to be emblematical representations of the lights or fires of heaven, issuing from the several heavenly bodies, but especially from the sun and moon. This sort of idolatry spread all over the world immediately upon the dispersion at Babel. We find it at this day in the East Indies--in South America--and evident traces of it even in the most northern nations of Europe. The revolting tribes of Israel were so infatuated with this sort of idolatry, chat not only (Jer. vii. 18.) did their children gather wood, and the fathers kindled the fire, and the women knead dough, to inake cakes to the queen of heaven ;--but even parents made their children pelss through the fire to gods of their own making, emblematical of the powers of the heavens, under the various conditions of light and darkness, &c.

5. The rest was without form, and wrapped round with red cloth.

The Grecks and Romans had their Hermes or Mercury placed at their doors, as the above mentioned idols were at the entrance of the temple, the upper parts carved, but the lower parts mere blocks of woods-images without hands or feet. From this circumstance I am somewhat inclined to think, that these images were intended to represent the agency of the sun and moon as concerned in watching over the religious and temporal concerns of their votaries ;-and that the red cloth, was emblematical of fire, with which they were surrounded ;--and from the so frequent use of red cloth, I am inclined to think that the opinion that all things are full of ALL"—was a prevailing sentiment among the Owhyheeans ;-fire, air and light being but degrees or different states of one and the same thing:

6. We were here met by a tall young man, with a long beard, who presented Capt. Cook to the images,

The Jews presented their children, and the proselytes to their religion, with sacrifices and a variety of ceremonies ;-—and heathen nations have always done and still do the same thing. The presenting of a stranger, a supplicant stranger to a superior, seems to argue that the former was in some measure destitute of and needed the protection and aid of the latter : is there then any harm in supposing that the ceremony of presenting Capt. Cook to those images at Owhyhee, referred to the original apostacy and alienation of mankind in the person of our first parents, and that some person was necessary to introduce them to an acquaintance with the Diety :- In a word, that men are strangers to God, until introduced to him by the promised Mediator.

7. And afier chanting a kind of hymn, in which he (the young man) was joined 6; Koch, they led us to that end of the Morui, where the fire poles were fred.

I wish the historiographer had been more particular concerning this hymn and told us whether it was in prose or versé ; -as to the number of fixed poles, we can know nothing certain. But this we know, that among many nations of the East, the number fre is reckoned an unlucky number, and among the Moors of Barbary live in your eye is a form of swearing or imprecation at this day

8. At the foot of them were twelre images, ranged in a semicircular form,

No doubt these twelve images represented the twelve months of a lunar year; and as the moon is continually either on the increase or decrease—that is, forming a semieircle of inerease, or one of decrease, therefore, these images were placed in a semicircle. And from this it is further presumable, that these idolaters knew the progressive and retrograde motions of the heavenly bodies.

9. And before the middle figure stood a high stand or table, This must have been an altar to the moon in her quadratures. On which laj a putrid kog:

It is strange that there was no salt with the hog, that being among all heathen nations the emblem of reconciliation with the offended Deity and also the ineans of preserving the sacrifice from putrefaction that its intercession might Jast so much the longer. The hog is the only animal used on this occasion, and it is probable that it is the only one admitted to the sacrificial honours of the Owhy heean worship. To the true God, the hog must not be offered in tacrifice :--the Jews were forbidden to touch or taste it--but heathen nations

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Remarks on the apparent apostacy of Captain Cook. 175 have generally consecrated that animal to their worship. It would lead me further than my present design to enter upon the reasons why God has prohibited this animal from his altars, but the enquirer into this matter will find ampie satisfaction in the writings of the Rev. Mr. Jones, of Nayland, England.

10. And under it pieces of sugar-cane, cocoa-nuts, bread-fruit, plaintains, and sweet potatoe. The first sacrifices offered by men, were those of Cain and Abel.

" Cain brought of the fruits of the ground”-and " Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof." The former of these was in its own nature eucharistic or a thank-offering, the latter a penitential or sin-offering. From this early practice we may believe that all nations derived the use of sacrificing to their gods both animal and vegetable substances. As to libations whether of milk, wine, or honey, &c. they have never obtained universally ;-and here we find no libation mentioned.

u. Koah haring placed the Captain under this stand,

If Koah had placed the Captain on the stand, along side of the putrid hog ; or had he substituted him in its room, there had been scope for commenting on this part of the ceremony; but the putting him under the stand, is of dira ficult interpretation, unless we understand by it, how much he considered the Captain under the dominion of his deity, and that he was as much at bis devotion as the sugar-cane, cocoa-nuts, bread-fruit, plaintains and sweet potatoe were.

12. Took down the hing, and held it touards himn ;-and afier haring a second time addressed himn in a long speech, pronounced with much vehemence, and rapidity, he let it fall on the ground;

It is probable, that the purport of this speech was to acquaint Capt. Cook that he was now in a new state-translated from a worship which they held to be impure-into one of superior excellency, typified by the animal, in whose stead he was now made an oblation to the celestial powers.

13. Capt. Cook being now in a condition to receive his second investiture, is next conducted by Koah to the scaffolding which they ascended together. Asthis seems to have been their supreme altar, or sanctum sanctorum, as being elevated above the former ; so we may conjecture, that upon it our circumnavigator was to receive his highest degree of oblatory honours, previous to his enrollment among the idol gods below.

On this high place, Koah wrapped a piece of red cloth round the Captain, and afterwards offered him a hog:

Whilst Capt. Cook was aloft in this awkward situation, swathed around with red cloth, &c. Koah and Karreekeea (the young man before mentioned) began their office, chanting sometimes in concert, and sometimes alternately.

As we have supposed that the altar at Owhyhee, the services performed thereon were in honour of the Solar and Lunar infuences, it may not be improper to furnish our readers with a specimen of the antient Greek hymns to Apollo.

This is a part of the celebrated hymn of Callimachus, which during many ages was performed and heard by the most polished nations on the globe, with the utmost religious zeal, at the festivals instituted to this deity.

HYMN TO APOLLO.
Hah! how the laurel, great Apollo's tree,
And all the cavern shakes ! far oft, far off,
The man that is unballowed :--for the God
Approaches. Hark! he knocks : the gates
Feel the glad impulse: and the sever'd bars
Submissive clink against their brazen portals.
Why do the Delian palms incline their boughs,
Self-inov'd : and hov'ring swans, their throats releas'd
From native silence, carol sounds harmonious ?

Begin young men the hymn : let all your harps
Break their inglorious silence ; and the dance,
In mystic numbers trod, explain the music.
But tirst by ardent pray'r, and clear lustration
Purge the contagious spots of human weakness :
Impure no mortal can behold Apollo.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

176

Remarks on the apparent apostacy of Captain Cook.
So may you fiourish favor'd by the God,
In youth witir happy nuptials, and in age
With silver hairs, and fair descent of children ;
So lay foundations for aspiring cities,
And bless your spreading colonies' increase.
Recite Apollo's praise 'till night draw on,
The ditty still unfinish'd; and the day
Unequal to the God-head's attributes
Various, and matter copious of your songs.

Sublime at Jove's right hand Apollo sits,
And thence distributes honour, gracious king,
And theme of verse perpetual. From his robe
Flows light ineffable : his harp, his quiver,
And Lyctian bow, are gold : with golden sandals
His feet are shod. How rich ! how beautiful!
Bentath his steps the yellow min'ral rises ;
And earth reveals her treasures. Youth and beauty
Eternal deck his cheek: from his fair head
Perfumes distil their sweets; and chearful health,
His duteous handmaid, through the air improv'd,
With lavish hand diffuses scents ambrosial.
Taught by thy art divine, the sage physician
Eludes the urn, and chains, or exiles death.

Perpetual fires shine hallow'd on thine altars, &c. &c. Perhaps I have been too minute on this part of my subject, but surely the hymn cannot be deemed foreign as it tends to shew with what dignity of expression, and extacy of sentiment, the ancient idolaters worshiped the host of Heaven. From their example, the Christian ought to learn, to what sublime height of love and veneration for the true God, his devotion ought to lead him, when he beholds how zealous idolaters always have been in honouring false gods.

What must be the feelings of the pretending lukewarm Christian, in the day of judgment, when he beholds coming from the four corners of the earth, numbers of devout idolaters, the times of whose ignorance God winked at:devout idolaters I say, (because men may be devout in a false or erroneous worship) who, under the influence of bad example going before, and the misleading principles of an idolatrous education attending every period of their existence on earth have had no opportunity of seeing the truth as it is in Jesus, for of being conducted to him by the Law and the Prophets. To such, that prayer of the Redeemer surely extends and will extend, ---Father forgive them for they know not what they do !--But to such, as amidst the full blaze of evangelical light choose to walk in infidel darkness, under the pretence that the evidence for Christianity is not sufficiently satisfactory, the very reverse of this prayer must take place, because they not only sit of malicious wickedness" --but as far as they can make the God of truth a liar, by disbelieving the testimony that God hath exhibited concerning his Son.-[To be continued.] S.

TO THE PUBLIC. pressed a wish, that it were printed on a larger type; next number will, , it is hoped, meet their approbation, as it is designed to be a specimen of the type of the Magazine for the ensuing year. It will contain an Index and Title

page for the first volume, beginning with January and ending with Deceniber.

This is the only publication of the kind, in the United States of America, and from the daily increasing encouragement it meets with, the Editors bave grounds to hope, that their labours are not “ bestowed in vain,"-but that a de- , gree of utility accompanies the reading of this cheap ruiscellany commarsurate to their well-meant endeavours.

[blocks in formation]

The rea

Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him ; and all the kindreds of the carth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. IT T is the peculiar supputation of the Christian Church, as a pious

writer well observes, to begin the year, and to commence the annual course of her services, at this time of Advent, herein differing from all other accounts of time whatsoever. son of which seems plainly to be this, because in the numbering of her days, and measuring her seasons, she does not so much regard the sun in the firmament, as the great Sun of righteousness, her Lord and Saviour, who is in heaven. She considers herself as “ redeemed from the earth ;” and therefore no longer confined to the calculations of the world, or obliged to direct herself by the courses of the material luminaries. It is her employment to make known to her children the time of salvation, called in scripture, “the year of the redeemed ;" and this year was introduced by the everlasting day-spring from on high visiting her; whereby she became, what the Spirit styles her, in the revelation, " a City that has no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it, for the Lord God and the Lamb are the light and the glory thereof.”

The lessons and services, therefore, for the four first Sundays in her liturgical year, propose to our meditations the two-fold Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, teaching us that it is he who was to come, and did come, to redeem the world ; and that it is he also, who shall come again, to be our judge. These two Advents involve in them, and comprehend between them the whole counsel of God for the redemption of mankind, by the coming of Christ in the flesh, with the final issue of that counsel in respect of each individual, to be manifested at his coming to judgment.

The end proposed by the Church, in setting these two appearances of Christ together before us, at this time, is, to beget in our minds proper dispositions to celebrate the one, and expect the other ; that so, with joy and thankfulness, we may now "ga

Х

« PoprzedniaDalej »