Page images
PDF
EPUB

But even in the darkness of Africa, some bright spots were seen ; and the angel of peace-as if indignant at the neglect with which he had been treated by white men and Christians-seems to have taken up his abode with black men and Mahometans, and to have established a colony under the banner of the crescent, amid pagans and barbarians, although he has never done it among enlightened and civilized Christians.

Major Gray says : “ At a small distance to the south, lay a large Bushreen town, called Barra Cunda, which might contain from one thousand to one thousand five hundred inhabitants, and was surrounded by a slight stake fence, interwoven with thorny bushes, which is the only defence the followers of Mahomet in this country adopt. This arises from their not engaging in war, and never meeting with any other attack from an invading army ihan on their provisions, with which they are in general abundantly supplied."

Thus we see, that while Boolibang and Madina, and other fortified towns, with all their walls, towers, battlements, and palis

ades, are sacked and plundered, Barra Cunda, defended only by pacific principles, and a “slight stake fence," as the “ only defence,” enjoys peace and plenty, amid the horrors of war, though sourrounded by ferocious man-stealers and murderers.

If we look abroad among the nations of the world, where shall we find a nation adopting the pacific principles of the Prince of Peace? Shall we look among his professed followers ? Alas! no. It is to the Mahometans of Africa, and the Pagans of Asia, (the inhabitants of the Loo Choo islands) that we are obliged to look for an example of a whole nation or province, adopting the precepts of Him, whom we call our Master, and the teacher sent from God. Instead of sending missionaries to the heathen, we seem to have need that the disciples of the bloody Mahomet and Confucius should send missionaries to us, to teach us the first elements of the Gospel of peace, which they practise more than we do. I would by no means etio courage missionary labours; but I cannot help thinking that the discrepancy which the heathen observe between the practice of Christians and the precepts of Christ, is a great bar to their conversion. We go to the heathen with the Bible in one hand and the sword in the other. A man in a black coat, preaches peace in the same ranks with a man in a red coat, who is waging war.

It is curious to observe how the train of a man’s reflections is directed by his occupation. The expedition passed the ruins of what had been a beautiful walled town, situated in a fruitful cultivated plain, now a scene of ruin and desolation, having been ravaged by the people of Bondoo, and its inhabitants murdered or enslaved. Major Gray very feelingly remarks" a fate too common in this country, where the stronger party always finds an excuse for making war on the weaker, not unfrequently carrying off whole towns of miserable inoffensive beings, without either any previous intimation of their hostile intentions, or indeed any cause given by those wretched objects of their avaricious encroachments. On all such occasions the only object is money, as they call it *** **. A multitude of ideas, bringing with them the conviction of how much En

glishmen, and indeed all civilized nations, are favoured by divine Providence in enjoying freedom and security against such unwarranted and barbarous practices, rushed on my mind, as we surveyed the silent and awful remains of some human bodies which lay outside the walls of this once respectable and no doubt happy town, the inhabitants of which were torn by unrelenting savages from that native spot so dear to all mankind; -even the strongest ties of nature riven asunder, and all this to gratify the brutal desires of some neighbouring tyrant, or to enrich a set of savages who are daily exposed to a similar fate themselves.”

Now these are the very just reflections of a soldier on the slave trade; and a slave dealer might make just the same reflections on the war trade. They would answer very well without changing a syllable; and it would require only the alteration of two words to make them as applicable to one ease as the other. For “ money," as they call it, read "glory," as they call it; and for “enrich," read glorify. By the help of these slight alterations, the reflections would

suit either case. O when will Christians learn, that slavery and war are equally forbidden by the religion they profess : and that it is no worse to steal hundreds of men for money, than to slay thousands for honour!

NO. 15.

THE PANAMA MISSION.

I can hardly express the relief of my mind, on hearing of the final favorable settlement of this question. I had been wrought up to a painful intensity of feeling, while there was danger, that a measure so fraught with the peace and happiness of the world and true national glory, would be frustrated in the Senate. The delay has been, without doubt, injurious; but a kind Providence may bring more good than evil out of it. As our natures are constituted, it happens, that principles which meet with resistance, if finally successful, become more firmly fixed, than

« PreviousContinue »