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THE RELIGION OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS.

Their religion is very confused, and no two Indians have entirely the same belief. They believe in a good and evil spirit; they pray to the latter to avert evils, but never to the former, saying that the good spirit only confers benefits, and, therefore, does not require praying to : they are also fire-worshippers, and believe in the transmigration of souls. The Natches worshipped the sun, and kept a sacred fire continually burning ; so that the sun and fire-worshipper of Persia, the Brahmins, the Buddhists of India, as well as the Jews, and the devil. worshippers of Arabia, can each bring forward a claim of parentage! Their worship of fire is partial, but very peculiar ; they take it as their " totem," or “tutelary Deity," and will not on any account treat a fire roughly, always replenishing and adjusting it with their hands, believing that if it is touched with a hatchet, knife, or any other instrument used in war, some one of the lodge will die. Other Indians take wolves, foxes, buffaloes, in fact nearly every animal, for their totem, being careful never to injure one of the species unnecessarily. When an Indian, whose totem is the buffalo, kills one, he always makes a point of turning its head towards the south, which is intended as a sign to the other buffaloes, that their fellow-bæuf is gone to the happy hunting-grounds. Before going on a war-path, the Indian generally tries to get an omen from his totem. I could not find out on what principles their divination was carried on, but, if a warrior's path is crossed by his totem, nothing will persuade him to go on the war-path. The excessive superstition of the Indians has been one of the chief reasons of their not having destroyed one another long ago. They will never go to war till their medicine men say the omens are propitious, even though they know their enemy is unprepared ; and sometimes they will delay a whole year, neglecting the most favourable opportunities, before they strike a coup; whereas, if they had not been trammelled by their absurd fancies, they might have committed twice the damage. Their belief in transmigration of souls must be partial : for, from the manner they treat their horses and dogs you would not imagine they ever expected to occupy a like position. As far as I could learn from the missionary, the whole sum of their belief in a future state consists in the idea, that there are two paths that the spirits pursue after death, one to the south, leading to the happy hunting grounds, where buffaloes swarm, and where they will never suffer from cold and hunger any more; the other to the north, where in a region of perpetual cold, the evil spirit passeth a life of want and miseryrather reversing our belief as to the temperature of the place of eternal punishment. One tribe of the Daheotaks, or Sioux, have a belief, which has a remarkable resemblance to the Mohammedan creed, of the path pursued after death ; they believe that the road to the village of the dead, where warmth and plenty exist, leads over a rock with an edge as sharp as a knife, on which only the good are able to keep their footing ; the wicked fall off, and are severely flogged and worked by a relentless master, in a region of perpetual cold below, very much like the bridge, as slight as a spider's web, over which the faithful entered their paradise.

SELF-EXAMINATION.—He that never examines his own heart, is like the captain of a vessel who never examines his ship to see if there is a leak; and, without reformation, all such will finally shipwreck their souls, and all will be lost. Alas! what multitudes, who once shone as burning lights, have perished for lack of self-examination! Reader, art thou secure ?

CHARACTER OF AN HONEST MAN.

for a

An honest man is the wisest man, for, by his policy he secures himself, and benefits those with whom he has transactions. He is the best musician, for his tongue, thoughts, and actions, constitute a just harmony. He is the best grammarian, for he commits no solecism in morality. He is the richest man, good conscience, which he always preserves, is the choicest treasure. He is the strongest of men, for true honesty can never be conquered by threats or promises.

He is a true friend, a charitable enemy, a loyal subject, a good husband, a tender father, and a kind master. His body is diaphonous, for his soul is visible ; nor is his heart confined to his breast alone, but is apparent in his tongue and countenance. He is never deceived, but by too charitably judging of others. He scorns to take advantage of another's weakness, and had rather be accounted a fool than proved a knave; because he reckons honest simplicity to make nearer approaches to wisdom than subtle fraud. He may be accused by malice, mistake, or ignorance, but he pardons his accuser, nor will he ever recriminate, however truly he may, being content with the present attestations of conscience, and the future proof of time. What is bad he condemns, as well in himself as others. What he condemns he loaths to hear; what he dislikes hearing, he will not speak of, nor even think of. He speaketh ill of nobody; not of the good for equity's sake, nor of the bad for charity. But when he hears any one discommend, he remembers what is commendable in him, and if he knows nothing favourable of him, he pities him, for he reckons it his own shame to discover his brother's infirmity ; notwithstanding in secret he can advise and reprove as a friend. He may receive an injury, but he cannot revenge it; he may repent a promise, but cannot break it, although he may lose by its performance. He is in the world, and yet lives without the world; he is counted below the world, and yet is above it. He is pure as fire, serene as air, supple as water, and lowly and fruitful as earth. His losses enrich, his afflictions rejoice, and his mortifications comfort him.

What he bestows on others redounds to his own profit. He would rather suffer much evil than commit any, for he deems no evil small, because the least is against truth and goodness. He espouses virtue without inquiring into her position, and loves honesty without interest; and as his life is innocent and profitable, so his death is easy and comfortable. No harm can reach him, no fear dismay, no flattery deceive, no pleasures entice, no condition afflict, no enemy hurt. He is the gift of God, the treasure of the common wealth, the joy of the poor, the love of the good, the flower of paradise, and the poison of the arch enemy. The Deity is his father, religion his mother, truth his friend, chastity his companion, justice his practise, honour his reward, sincerity his spouse. His children are complacency, good-humour, love, and confidence. His brethren and kinsfolk are angels and good men.

His diet is temperance, his apparel decency, his trade peace-making, his study forgiveness, his patrimony eternal felicity. He is as firm as a rock, as bold as a lion, as mild as a lamb, as wise as a serpent, as harmless as a dove, as constant as a turtle, and as rare as a phenix.

RETRACTATIONS OF OPINION ON A DEATH BED.

It is a fact not less extraordinary,—and not less pregnant with evidence of the divine origin of the gospel,—that it never yet has had a dyiug penitent-I mean, any one, in the hour of dissolution, repenting of having trusted to it.--I call attention to the fact. The gospel is the only system of which this can be affirmed; and the fact is without exception. I am in the full recollection, when I say so, of the many believers who have passed through the valley of the shadow of death in mental depression and gloom, and whose fears have encompassed them, even to the last. But these are not exceptions to the fact; they are confirmations of it. For whence has the gloom of these believers arisen? —what has drawn the cloud over their souls ?-what has engendered their fears? Has it been any apprehension starting up within them, of the solidity of the gospel foundation of hope?-any doubt of its being trustworthy ?-any conviction, or even any suspicion, forced upon them in this testing-time of human confidences, of its being, after all, not rock, as they had fancied, but sand-a delusion-a 'refuge of lies ?”—The very reverse. Their doubts have not been about it, but about themselves ! The question has not been about the security of the foundation, but about the fact of their having built upon it :-not about the sufficiency of Christ, but about the reality of their interest in him :-not about the soundness of the hope, but about their scriptural warrant to entertain it. That is a very different matter. So far from repenting in the end their having trusted to the gospel, their bitter regrets and their heart-sinking fears are all about the reality of their trust, Their hearts misgive them, -whether under the morbid operation of physical causes, or of mystical obscurity in their views of truth,---when they think of their past profession. They fear-they fear that they may have been self-deceived, -fancying themselves Christ's, when they were none of his.' But regrets, lamentations, anxieties, and fears, springing from such sources, bear testimony, not against the gospel, but for it.— I ask for an instance of any individual, in perfect possession of his mental powers, unaffected by any morbid hallucinations, and in the full prospect of death, expressing regret for the folly, or repentance for the sin, of having believed and followed Christ ;-disowning the foundation on which he has rested through life, as now seen, in the searching light of its closing hour, to be false and unstable. Infidelity, and every system of human framing, have had their dying penitents by thousands. How comes it that the gospel has had none ?

If it were itself human, how should it have this extraordinary distinction from all else that is human? Many are the schemes, with which men have made shift to live, but which have misgiven them when they have come to die. The last enemy is a ruthless inquisitor. Many a time has he shown what a power he possesses of detecting to the mind the sophistries by which it had flattered itself in error, and of exposing to the conscience the flimsiness of its favourite refuges. Even in the valley of the shadow of death, there is often a revealing light, which compels the sinner to see what he had been shutting his eyes against before, and awakens him to a late and appalling sense of his infatuation. How comes it, then, that to no one mind has Death, in the hour of his dread inquisition, ever made the discovery of the insufficiency and delusiveness of the gospel ? Is there not something extraordinary in this ?—that of all systems this should be the only one that has stood the scrutiny of death, and the test of anticipated judgment ? Let the infidel account for it.

POETRY.

THE OLD CLOCK ON THE STAIRS. From that chamber, clothed in white,

The bride came forth for wedding dight; BY H. W. LONGFELLOW.

There, in that silent room below, "Eternity is a pendulum, the oscillating The dead lay in his shroud of snow; click of which says and resays without And in the hush that follow'd the prayer ceasing two words only, as amidst the Was heard the Old Clock on the stair, silence of the grave, .For ever ! never !

6. For ever-never ! Never! for ever!'"

Never-for ever !" Somewhat back from the village street

All are scatter'd now, and fled ; Stands the old-fashion'd country-seat.

Some are married, some are dead; Across its antique portico

And when I ask, with throbs of pain, Tall poplar-trees their shadows throw; “Ah! when shall they all meet again ?” And from its station in the hall

As in the days

long since gone by, An Ancient Timepiece says to all,

The Ancient Timepiece makes reply, “ For ever-never!

“ For ever-never ! Never-for ever!"

Never--for ever !!!
Half-way up the stairs it stands,

Never here; for ever there,
And points and beckons with its hands Where all parting, pain, and care,
From its case of massive oak,

And death, and time, shall disappear; Like a Monk, who, under his cloak,

For ever there, but never here ! Crosses himself, and sighs, alas !

The Horologe of Eternity With sorrowful voice to all who pass : Sayeth this incessantly, “ For ever-never !

6 For ever-never !
Never-for ever !!!

Never-for ever !"
By day his voice is low and light,
But in the silent dead of night,

A WILLING GIVER.
Distinct as a passing footstep’s fall,
It echoes along the vacant hall

,

AT a collection made at a church in Along the ceiling, along the floor,

Dundee, which amounted to £300, the And seems to say, at each chamber door,

following lines were found written on the “For ever-never !

back of a bank note :Never—for ever !”

What! called again to give still more, Through days of sorrow and of mirth, Through days of death and days of birth,

Although I gave so much before !

This surely must oppression be,
Through every swift vicissitude

To give so much continually.
Of changeful Time, unchanged it has stood,
And as if, like God, it all things saw, Nay-doth not God in mercy give
It calmly repeats those words of awe,

Each gift and blessing that I have ?
"For ever-never !

He lent me this, and I shall then
Never-for ever!”

Most freely give it back again.
In that mansion used to be
Free-hearted Hospitality:

THE PRESENT TIME.
His great fires up the chimney roard;
The stranger feasted at his board :

FULL many a bard of memory sings,
But, like the skeleton at the feast,

And hope hath oft inspired the rhyme; The warning Timepiece never ceased, But who the charm of music brings " For ever-never !

To celebrate the present time ?
Never-for ever !"

Let the past guide, the future cheer,
There groups of merry children played; While youth and health are in their
There youths and maiden's dreaming, But, oh! be still thy greatest care [prime;
O precious hours! O golden prime, [stray'd; That awful point--the present time !
And affluence of Love and Time 1
Even as a miser counts his gold,

Fulfil the duties of the dayThose hours the Ancient Timepiece told, The next may hear thy funeral chime; "For ever-never !

So shalt thou wing thy glorious way Never-for ever!"

Where all shall be the present time.

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