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of its parents. The only alternative is, to leave it in a narrow path, over which a herd of cattle is furiously driven, while the parents stand looking on from a distance; and if it chance to escape unhurt, they run to embrace it, convinced that the malignant influence is removed. Sometimes the child is drowned in a vessel of water prepared for the purpose, or thrown into a pit, with its face downward, or suffocated by stuffing a cloth into its mouth; but the parents themselves are commonly the executioners, under the impression that there is no other way of saving the child from the misfortunes that await its future years. From time immemorial, Hindu mothers have thrown their infant children into the Ganges, to be devoured by alligators; not because they were destitute of maternal affection, but because a mother's love was overpowered by her fears of the wrath of some offended deity. The Hindu widow burns on the funeral pile of her husband. Thus she escapes the obloquy of widowhood, and becomes entitled, as she believes, to a residence with her husband and their relatives in heaven. Thanks to the gospel of Christ, this horrid superstition has relaxed its grasp on Indian niind; but, till within a few years, thousands of widows became annually its victims; and at the death of princes and other men of elevated rank, possessed of many wives, the dreadful sacrifice has been all that Abaddon himself could desire. Twelve widows in one instance, eighteen in another, thirty-seven in another, and on the death of Ajie, prince of Malwar, fifty-eight threw themselves on the funeral piles of their husbands and perished. As late as 1844 twenty-four women were burnt in Punjab. There can be no doubt that this dreadful sacrifice is sometimes voluntary on the part of the victim, but it is by no means universally so. Not only is all the earthly glory of the deed, and the happiness of a Pagan heaven promised on the one hand, and all the terrors of contempt and persecution through life, with everlasting infamy, arrayed on the other, but force is applied, with fiend-like perseverance, to compel the unhappy wife to mount the blazing altar of Moloch.
Follow me to the immolation of a Brahmin's widow in Northern Hindustan. The unfortunate woman, of her own accord, has. ascended the burning pile. The torture of the fire is more than she can endure, and by a violent struggle she throws herself beyond the reach of the flames, and tottering to a river near by, is kindly plunged into it by some English gentlemen present, to assuage her torments. She retains her senses perfectly, shrinks with dread from inother encounter with the flames, and refuses so to die. Her
inhuman relatives then take her by the head and feet, and throw her upon the pile, and hold her there till driven away by the heat. They endeavor too, to stun her with blows--but again she escapes and makes to the river. Her relatives then try to drown her, but one of the English gentlemen mentioned interferes, and she throws herself into his arms, begging him to save her. not describe to you," says one present at the scene, “the horror I felt at seeing her mangled condition; almost every inch of skin on her body had been burnt off,—her legs and thighs, her arms and back, were completely raw,-her breasts dreadfully torn, and the skin dangling from them in threads,--the skin and nails of her fingers had peeled wholly off, and were hanging to the back of her hands. In fact, I never saw and never read of so entire a picture of misery as this poor woman displayed. She still dreaded being again committed to the fire, and called to us to save her. Her friends at length desisted from their efforts. We sent her to che hospital. Every medical assistance was given, but, after lingering twenty hours, in excruciating pain, her spirit departed.”
Such is the superstition of heathen lands. Its forms are various, but its spirit is every where the same. It leads its votaries to defile themselves with the mud of the streets, to measure the distance from their homes to their temples, by the length of their bodies prostrated every six feet of the way,--to swing in the air, suspended by hooks thrust through the muscles of the back, and to submit to a thousand other tortures, in honor of some cruel but imaginary deity. It teaches the brother to betray the sister,—the mother to imbrue her hands in the blood of her own offspring,--and the son to light the pile which consumes the mother that gave him life. It glories in deeds like these, as more pleasing to the gods than any alleviation of human woe that kindness can effect, and more intrinsically meritorious than all the moral virtues commended by the philosophy of Seneca, or the precepts of Christ.
But it is time to close. We have now cursorily glanced at the character of woman, as unaffected by the refining and elevating influences of Christianity. We have seen her trodden down as the mire of the streets by him whom Heaven created to be her protector and comforter. We have seen unevangelized inan everywhere, like the fabled generation of warriors springing from the serpent's teeth armed for the work of destruction, directing his chief malignities against woman,-his best friend, his safest counsellor,-his most unfailing solace,-because her native timidity and weakness invite the violence and insult of a coward
A HINDU MOTHER LAMENTING THE DEATH OF HER CHILD. " From time immemorial, mothers have thrown their children into the Ganyes, to mo detoured by alligators, not because they were destitute of maternal affection, but because e ewther's love was overpowered by her fears of the wrath of some offended deity.”—P. 161.
arm! We have seen her lost to self-respect, dead to instinctive
-" his ambition is to sink,
of folly, plunging in pursuit of death ;"