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reproach and servitude.
She may never marry again, however young she may be. She must cast off all her ornaments, shave her head, and either become a servant in the house of her hus band's friends, or adopt a niode of life which will bring disgrace not only upon herself, but upon the whole family. Hence it is, that death upon the funeral pile is so often preferred to surviving widowhood. This cruel custom was, in 1827, prohibited by the East India Company in their own dominions ; but in some of the independent provinces the practice is still continued.
A large proportion of the persons who undertake long and hazardous pilgrimages, and who subject themselves to painful modes of self-torture, are females. “At a certain time," says a missionary of my acquaintance, " as I was walking in a retired village, my attention was arrested by seeing two objects, at some distance before me, rolling in the mud.
lling in the mud. As I approached the spot, I found two females, almost exhausted by fatigue. I learnt that they had vowed to their goddess to roll, in this manner, from one temple to another. They had spent nearly the whole day, and had not accomplished one half their journey. But no arguments, no remonstrances, on my part, could induce them to relinquish their undertaking; for they feared that, unless they performed their vow, the goddess would be angry with them. On learing these deluded votaries of superstition,” continued he, “with my feelings aroused almost to indignation, I expostulated with a learned Brahmin who stood not far distant, and pointed to the miserable objects I had just left. 'O,' said he, this is worship exactly suited to the capacity of females. Let them alone They are sincere: of course their worship will be accepted.'"
I might relate many other facts to show the wretched condition of women in pagan lands, but these must suffice. The respected ladies of this audience will permit me to say, in conclusion, every thing in life, in death, and eternity, that can inspire you with the love of existence, you derive from the gospel. To you, then, in a special manner, is the gospel "glad tidings of great joy."
No. 56. Saugor Island. This island is inhabited only by wild beasts. Here thousands of Hindu mothers hate thrown their children into the Gangas to be devoured by alligators.
CONDITION OF WOMEN IN INDIA,
PAGAN AND MOHAMMEDAN COUNTRIES.
Woman, in her original state, (to use the language of another,) " was all that is lovely in form, all that is graceful in manner, all that is exalted in mind, all that is pure in thought, all that is delicate in sentiment, all that is enchanting in conversation." She was God's most finished workmanship. Has she lost her original purity and loveliness? But man has fallen too; and relatively they are to each other still what they were before they took and ate of the forbidden fruit. It is now, as ever, Heaven's will that woman receive all “due benevolence" from man,—that he regard her as his equal, and entitled to his warmest love: that he throw his arm around her for protection, and combine with the gentlest care the most respectful deference to her honor and her happiness. "A man shall leave his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” “Husbands, love your wives," is God's command and nature's law, for they are bone of each other's bone and flesh of each other's flesh. Such is the GENIUS OF CHRISTIANITY. And the result of obedience to this eternal law of God and nature, is the lofty elevation of the female character, the thorough cultivation of her mind, the rich endowment of her heart, and the augmented strength of all her capabilities of usefulness and enjoyment; while the result of disobedience is fraught with all that is degrading to intellect, vitiating to social principle, corrupting to moral habits, and hostile to every upward movement of the immortal powers.
And what is the spirit of heathenism, and of false religion in its varied forms, let the impartial pen of history tell. Times,
a.ncient and modern,-witnesses, Pagan, Mahometan, and Christian, may be indiscriminately cited on this point. Their testimony is one,-truthful, melancholy, and decisive.
A daughter is born. 'Tis a grievous calamity. The Hindu father becomes dejected, and his neighbors gather around him to mingle their grief with his. The Chinese parent thus afflicted denominates the little innocent a woo, a hated thing. Even the Moorish mother repines, and though she had rejoiced greatly at the birth of her son, and blackened her face forty days in token of her joy, yet when a daughter comes into the world, she ill conceals her mortification, by blackening half her face, for half the period only.
It was not long since, that the lady of a missionary in the East, having become the mother of a lovely daughter, a native friend of the husband called on him the following day with a countenance unusually sad. The missionary kindly inquired the cause of his sadness. His friend, with most lugubrious face, replied, "I have heard that your new-born infant is a daughter, and I have come to condole with you, on your hard fate.” So little valued is the life of female infants, within the domains of Paganism, that great numbers are put to death, solely to avoid the trouble and expense of feeding and clothing them.
The singular custom formerly prevailed in the northern part of Hindustan, whenever a female child was born, of carrying her to the market-place, and there, holding up the child in one hand, and a knife in the other, proclaiming, that if any person wanted to rear her for a wife, they might then take her; if none appeared to accept of her, she was immediately destroyed. The consequence of this course, was, that the men of the tribe became much more numerous than the women; and hence arose the custom of appropriating several husbands to one wife,-a custom that still prevails in some of the southern as well as the northern tribes of Hindustan. Among the Rajpoot tribes in the north-west part of that country nearly all the female children are put to death immediately after birth; consequently the men are obliged to procure their wives from other tribes. And among some, at least, of the Indian tribes of our own land, the case is no better. Said a Chippewa Indian, (in a recent address before a missionary society in London,)—“When a boy is born in the tribe it is a day of rejoicing, because it is considered that he will make a fine warrior; but when a female is born, it is a time of sorrow, and it is said, “a good-for-nothing girl is born. The poor mother, knowing that the news is not good, kisses the poor child, and