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THE TEMPLE OF APES. Most of our readers know that a large portion of the inhabitants of the world are worshippers of images, which represent some real or imaginary being; and that to various animals homage is paid by deluded worshippers.
Monkey worship has long existed. The ape, we are informed, was worshipped by the ancient Egyptians, and monkeys are still adored in some parts of India and in other places. A magnificent monkey temple is said to exist in India, which is supported by seven hundred columns. When the Portuguese pillaged the island of Ceylon, they discovered on the top of a mountain, called Adam's Peak, a magnificent temple, in which they found a small box full of goldand jewels, containing also an ape's tooth. This tooth the natives worshipped, and they offered a very large sum of money to ransom it from the Portuguese ; but orders were given that it should be burned, and the ashes be cast into the sea. We are informed that at the present time there are temples in India, in some of which, with the precincts, not fewer than ten thousand apes are maintained as sacred animals; and that there are many temples in which smaller numbers are provided for, and regarded as divinities.
Our engraving represents the inside of a Temple of Apes, in the Japanese empire. Japan is a powerful state near to China. It consists of three large islands, with several others which are much smaller. It has been said, that if the sea divided Scotland from England, then, England, Scotland, Ireland, and their adjacent islands, would resemble the Japanese empire.
The largest of the islands is called, by the Japanese, Niphon. The Chinese, from its being east of China, call it Chiphon, which signifies the Foundation of the Sun. This must refer to the sun's rising, to the Chinese, in the direction of this island. Jeddo, the capital city, is said to be sixty miles in circumference. Miaco, the second city, is reported to contain a million of inhabitants. In Miaco there are a vast number of temples. One of them contains three thousand idols. In the middle of this temple is a gigantic idol on a throne; on each side of which are statues of armed men, witches, magicians, and devils. There are also representations of thunder, wind, and rain. Near the great idol, already referred to, there is another, of an immense size, having forty-six arms and hands, near to which stand the figures of sixteen devils. There is also in this temple a row of idols, having their heads adorned, as with rays of glory; some of them have shepherd's crooks in their hands, to intimate that they are the guardians and protectors of mankind.
The Temple of Apes is adorned with numerous figures of animals, which are reverently worshipped by deluded devotees. How awfully debased has sin made the minds of those who can thus worship inferior animals, and idols of wood and of stone, instead of worshipping God, who made the heavens, the earth, the universe, and all animated and all unanimated beings.
The Japanese believe, that after death the souls of men pass into the bodies of various kinds of living creatures ; into reptiles, fishes, birds, and beasts; and that souls, after enduring their allotted amount of suffering in the bodies of these inferior creatures, are again permitted to enter human bodies.
Soon after Japan was discovered by the Portuguese, Roman Catholic Missionaries visited the empire, and were so successful in their efforts to convert the natives, that many of the Japanese professed conversion. The mission commenced in the year 1549, and in the year 1582 a public embassy was sent from the Japanese court, with letters and valuable presents to the Pope. The Portuguese, who had settled in great numbers in Japan, were so inflated with the extent of their commercial transactions, and the success of their religion with the Japanese, that they became so grasping, domineering, and insulting, as to arouse public indignation against them; and the Pagan priests persuaded the Emperor of Japan to issue an edict against the profession of Christianity. A violent persecution ensued, and twenty thousand professors of Christianity were put to death. Still the number of converts increased, and one of the Emperors professed to become a convert to Christianity. The Portuguese, encouraged by these successes, became arrogant and insulting in their behaviour; and one of the Romish bishops acted insulting to one of the royal Princes. Another persecution then broke out, which raged for forty years. The native Christians were put to death, and the Portuguese were banished from the country. It is also said, that to evince their detestation of the Romish religion, a yearly festival was instituted, at which images of the Virgin Mary are trampled upon.
Very little intercourse with either Europeans or visitors from other parts of the world is permitted by the Japanese. Their moral state is most deplorable, as is the case with all heathen nations. We ought to pity their miserable condition, and earnestly to pray that they may be delivered from their idolatrous wicked practices; that the Gospel of Christ, in its purity, may be preached unto them, and that they may be “turned from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God.”
How thankful ought our readers to be that they dwell in a land where the pure worship of God is taught and observed; where the Gospel of Christ is preached; where every one may learn to read, and may possess the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make us wise unto salvation.
THE POWER OF AFFECTION. “Welcome little Ellen to our home and hearts," said I. “See how confidently she looks up to us! She expects to find affection. Oh! never let her look for it in vain. There is nothing which appeals to my heart like the confiding affection of a little child. How many and bitter must have been the lessons which make the child distrustful of others! I cannot bear to think of it. If there is one thing more than another that I covet, it is faith in goodness, in kindness, in affectionprecisely that faith which a little child has. If there is one thing more bitter than another in the experience of years, it is to have had this trust shaken-this faith destroyed. I remember"
“What do you remember ?" exclaimed the girls.
“Many things, dear children," I replied; “but let us turn over the leaves of this great book of past experience, and see what is written there, wbich has a bearing upon this matter; who will hold little Ellen on her knee ?"
“I will,” said one; “and I;" “ O let me," was echoed throughout the group of happy children. So many arms were outstretched-so many faces were lit up with smiles-so many eyes looked a welcome invitation that the little one was bewildered; and, turning from one to another with uncertainty, fied at last to me, the mother, and nestled in bosom.
“I remember a little white cottage, on a sunny hill side. Sloping down to the river edge was a young forest of birches, whose glossy leaves, for ever in motion, dappled with dancing shadows the lap of the green earth, into which loving summer and autumn scattered their flower-gifts perpetually. And, oh, the music of that happy place! Who can describe it? Winds and water sent forth a merry peal that gladdened me, wherever I went; and I loved it, for it called up pleasant images within my heart; and it seemed to speak the very language of my own delight.
“ In this white cottage lived my mother and my sister, and
a little baby brother-the pet and darling of us all; and with us dwelt, unseen but for ever felt, the spirit of our father. His hand had planted the grove which was our play place—had made the path over which back and forth, hither and thither, with a light step and a lighter heart, we dragged the little wicker waggon that held our paragon of perfection—the blueeyed boy that mother said was so like his father, and in whose tiny features we used to strive to trace lineaments which had faded from our memories. We were too young, even to know the nature of grief, or the bitterness of those heart-wrung tears which we saw upon the cheek of our mother—and she never spoke to us of her sorrow, but always of his joy, who was with his heavenly Father; and we thus learned to associate every thing bright and glorious with death, and to look forward to it, not as the end of life, but the beginning. She talked to us always of our father. She removed nothing from its accustomed place which had belonged to him. His hat and cane still stood in the hall. Everything spoke to us of him, and we never lost the feelings of his presence with us.
" I remember a bright dawn in summer. My mother came to the bed where my sister and I were lying awake, and beckoned us to get up quickly, and come to her room, for our brother was dying. He had been slightly ill the night before, but none of us had dreamed of danger. In the night his symptoms were more alarming, and before morning he was past hope. We entered the room just in time to see him die.
“We saw his blue eyes turn toward us, but the mists of death gathered thickly upon them, and quenched their light for ever. My mother stooped down and kissed his last breath away, and her tears fell fast upon his pale cheek. We wept, too, but it was to see her weep. But day by day we missed the dear child more and more. This was our first sorrow. It did not remain with us long; for by degrees we became accustomed to his absence, and pleased our fancy by picturing the delights of his new existence.
“I remember another morning, when, after a night of anguish, my sister and myself stood beside our dying mother. In this remembrance there is a pang even now-for we had