Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

140)

AFRICAN SUPERSTITION.

GREGREES, OR PRESERVATIVES.

The word “ gregree” is probably a corruption of a Persian word, which signifies a Charm or Incantation. The following narrative of Mr. Nylander, the Church of England Society's Missionary among the Bulloms, is calculated to awaken earnest desires in the reader, that the poor Afri. cans may be delivered from the influence of their wretched superstitions.

One day a man brought a good grégree to one of my scholars ; " which," said he, “ your brother has sent you, to hang before your breast, that no shot may hit you when you go to war.” I happened to be present, and said, “ This is a very poor preserver !: If you have nothing else to stop the shot, this piece of leather cannot do it.” We agreed to try. The gregree was fixed to a tree, which was supposed to be the man whom it was to protect; and the boy, whose preserver it was to be, fired at it with small shot : all the shot struck into the tree: the messenger rejoiced that the gregree had received no damage : I said, “ The gregree was appointed, not to preserve itself, but the man on whose neck it was to be hung; and the tree was supposed to be the man.” However, we agreed upon another shot, and the gregree was hit. We then cut open the leather, and found the piece of paper writ ten in Arabic (which I enclose herewith), wrapt up in a small scrap of cloth well rubbed with some sort of grease, and covered with thick leather, which, perhape, might prevent a shot from penetrating. Our shot however went through.

A Krooman, being present, said: “Oh ! Mandingo Gregree no good. Me sabby feteece he pass 'm too much." (I know a preservative far beyond them all). His feteece was tried in the same manner, and was shot through.

The king was alarmed at the firing, and came in haste with some of his people, to see what was the matter; when he was informed of the whole.

A Mahometan from the neighbourhood also was curious to know the reason of firing guns. I said we had tried a Mandingo Gregree, and proved it to be good for nothing. He said, “ The gregree is good: only it is not appointed to prevent a shot, but merely to preserve the possessor from bad people;" but he had a gregree, he added, which if I ventured to shoot at, my gun would burst. He came within a few

[ocr errors]

לל

days to have his gregree tried. I said, “ Friend, without taking the trouble to try your gregree, I know it is good for nothing. It is not worth the powder that is wasted by firing at it." _“ Aha!” said he, “ you fear my gregree break your gun.”—“ No," said I; it is only pity for my gunpowder : however, if your gregree be so good as you say, hang it round your neck and stand before me: let me fire at it.” - I did not come to fight,” said he," but that you should fire at my gregree as you did at the other man's. I know my gregree is good. God lives in it.”—“ What sort of a God is that, who can live in this piece of leather ?"" No,” said he, $6 God's name is there.” I asked him whether he could read Arabic: he said, “ No." I then said: “ God forbids us to make any sort of gregree at all, or to depend on any thing for help but himself; and he commands us, · Thou shalt not use my name for nothing, or in vain ;' and, as you write God's name a hundred times on a piece of paper,

and then

say,

« This paper is my God, it will keep me from all harin, God is angry with you: he hates your gregrees.

But if I fire at your gregree, and hit the stick it is fixed on, will you then throw away

all
your
other

gregrees, and come to me, and learn to read God's book, and find the way to heaven?" The man was perplexed, and had nothing more to say ; but went home with his gregree,

The following is a translation of the gregree to which Mr. Nylander alludes above. The power of the charm is supposed to rest in the mysterious words printed in capitals, which are probably made up of the initial letters of some words or sentences in the Koran. The name in Italics is, perhaps, the name of the person to whom the charm was originally

sold :

TRANSLATION, In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful. 1 This is written for assistance, that though mayest proceed by night and by day; and that the favour of God

may

be attendant. Any one of living things, either demon, or dog, or sun of man, shall not ensnare thee, if God be willing. And this seal giveth tranquillity: BSTSKS, and WFSHSKSK, BSMFFFTA, BSLMLLSFTFS, BSSHLLSHLLFLK. Shall it not overcome them, even when they imagine mischief? And God shall separate thee from men, if God is willing. Security is made known to his name. Jinalakaki is his name, the son of Nabar.

JUVENILE DEPARTMENT.

troduce me into a better life.” ANECDOTE.

Divine grace having enabled him During a dreadful persecution to witness this good confession, in the middle of the third century, he was ordered to be bound, and at Cesarea, in Cappadocia, a child led as it were to execution. The named Cyril showed uncommon judge had given secret orders to fortitude. He called on the name bring him back again, hoping of Jesus Christ continually, nor that the sight of the fire might could threats or blows prevent overcome his resolution. Cyril him from owning christianity.-- remained inflexible. The humaMany children of his own age nity of the judge induced him persecuted him; and his own tä- still to continuehis remonstrances. ther drove him out of his house, “ Your are and your sword,” said with the applause of many for his the young martyr, “ are insignizeal in the support of paganism. ficant ; I go to a better house and The judge ordered him to be more excellent riches ; dispatch brought before him, and said, me presently that I may enjoy “ My child, I will pardon your them !" The spectators wept faults--your father shall receive through compassion.

" You you again : it is in your power to should rather rejoice," said he, enjoy your father's estate, provid- “in conducting me to punished you are wise, and take care of ment. You know not what a your own interest.” “ I rejoice city I am going to inhabit, nor to bear your reproaches," replied what is my hope." - Thus he went the child; “ God will receive to his death, and was the admirame; I am glad that I am expel- tion of the whole city. And thus led out of your house; I shall out of the mouths of babes and have a better mansion ; I fear sucklings has Jehovah ordained not death, because it will in- strength.

REVIEW.

Travels in South Africa ; under- minutest inquiries, we are gład

taken at the request of the Mis- to find, that the charges to which sionary Society. By John we refer, are either greatly exagCAMPBELL, Minister of Kings- gerated, or entirely false. land Chapel, pp. 528, price 12s. The following extracts, though (Continued from p. 109.)

long, will gratify such of our Mr. Lichtenstein, a German readers as have no opportunity traveller, who had visited South of consulting the work itself:Africa, in a volume lately published, has brought several charges March 20.-About sun-rise the of a serious nature against the bell called the people to worship in Missionaries in that quarter, and the meeting-house; the service. con

tinued little more than half an hour. particularly against the settlement At tan o'clock the church and conat Bethelsdorp. Mr. Campbell gregation assembled, when, after visited that station, and after the praise, prayer, and reading of the

scriptures, Mr. Wimmer delivered of the farmers, and others of the an animated discourse, not standing, inhabitants being called to public but sitting, as our Lord did when 'service. the original plan has been he preached in the synagogue of completely deranged, and now it Nazareth, (Luke iv. 20.) The as- appears as irregularly built as either sembly was large and attentive. In the city of Norwich or town of Manthe afternoon, a Hottentot, a mem- chester. The ground on which it ber of the church, began the service stands is barren in the extreme, so by engaging in prayer, and when that nothing green is to be seen near they had sung an hymn, any mem- the houses; this also adds to the ber of the church who chose being gloominess of the village. Neither permitted to give a word of exhor- trees nor gardens are to be seen to tation, a Hottentot spoke with much relieve the eye; but all this arises modesty and propriety. After unit- from the total want of good water ing again in prayer and praise the on their ground, except in the bare people were dismissed, when the

ren spot where the village stands. members had what they called a in consequence of the miserable aplove feast, each person having a cup pearance of the village, the settlers of coffee poured out to him from a are by many people reported to be kettle, and a small biscuit given hint, extremely indolent. which was done without the smallest bustle or confusion. During this, Bethelsdorp, as well as in all other

That there are indolent people at several short remarks were made by the brethren, after which I mention. I have no doubt; but from what I

places, especially in South Africa, ed a few things which I thought have seen and heard, I believe there might interest them. We then celebrated the Lord's supper together,

are also many who are industrious' as is their custom every first day of and active. People in general make the week. When the wine began of indolence in the houses of boors,

no allowance for their early habits. to be distributed, they sang an hymn, where they have very little real work after which the church separated to employ their time, and few people This ordinance was short, get very who call there ever enquire what animating In the evening they met for wor

work is performed or what ground ship, when Mr. Corner, a black,

is cultivated. I visited their farms from the West Indies, led the ser in the afternoon, which lie about a vice. Though sent out by the Mis- mile and a half distant, on Little sionary Society but little more than Zwartkops River. I found there, a year ago, he has made such pro- the river for upwards of two miles.

ground cultivated on both sides of gress in the Dutch language, that he can already exhort in it. He is Indeed I had not seen so much cu! a carpenter by trade, has two or

tivated land in any part of Africa. three apprentices, and is a useful where I had yet been--three times ncember of the community.

more than is to be seen at Bavian's 21st. I had heard much against Kloof, though an old missionary Bethelsdorp since my arrival in Afri-station, compared with Bethelsdorp; ca, and I must confess it has a most but the soil is still more barren at miserable appearance as a village.--.

Bavian's Kloof. The houses are mean in the extreme, After riding along the cultivated and apparently very irregularly ground, I came to the oxen, which placed ; they say, however, that the had just been driven home for the huts were arranged according to a night. Except in Smithfield, I had plan, wbich I believed after it was never seen so many together; inpointed out to me, but in conse- deed, I remarked that we had now quence of some having fallen down, arrived at the metropolis of those and their owners having built else- animals, We returned to Bethelswhere, others having gradually de- dorp just in time for their evening cayed in consequence of the people worship. Thermometer at noon, sixleaving them to go into the service ty-twe. Was in conversation with the brethren till three o'clock in the About ten o'clock at night, while morning, p. 95-98.

sitting at Mr. Read's, we heard for 24th. Mr. Read has a meeting, a considerable time a female weepwith twenty or thirty children, eve- ing bitterly at a little distance bem ry evening a short time before the hind, on which Mr. R. went to inmeeting for worship, when he asks quire into the cause. On returning them a few questions. This meet., he said it was a few people conversing arose from his examining his ing together, one of whom was own children: other children came, much affected with something that then more, till it arrived at its pre- had been said. bent state--it is wholly voluntary In their state of society they have on the part of the young people.- no idea of suppressing their feelings When we came to the door of the until a time when it may be season. small house where these children able to give them vent, but they inwere waiting for Mr. Read, they stantly act as they feel. Among were singing a hymn together—we uncivilized nations this will generallistened behind the door with much ly be found to be the case. In Bean pleasure till they had finished. I thelsdorp, though most of their understood all the questions that minds niay be said to be civilized, were asked, and the answers given yet their manners are not. The to them, though in Dutch, and was christians there love God and all much pleased. Kaje, a young fe-. who bear his image; they have remale Hottentot, who is one of this linquished sinful conduct, and are little meeting, is an orphan, eleven looking for the coming of the Son of years of age, who lived at George, man; yet they can sleep on the bare about a fortnight's journey distant ground as comfortably as the Eufrom Bethelsdorp; but after Mr. ropean on his bed of down--nor do Read had {preached there a while, they perceive the necessity for the she cried so much to accompany him same delicacy in dressing, as he home, that he was obliged to take does, because they have been acher, with the consent of her friends, customed to another mode from their and she row lives in his house as infancy; but many of them are in one of the family. Thermometer a state of progression as to these at noon, eighty.

things. 26th. In the afternoon, Cobus, 27th. Mr. Corner preached to 'who is blind, and his wife, came us in the morning, after which the from four hours distance with their whole congregation walked down to child to be baptised on the morrow. the river, when two children were They are both members of the church baptized by brother Wimmer. He at Bethelsdorp. The wife knew the stood in the middle of the little river, Lord first, and soon after Cobus holding the child. and pouring wawas deprived of his sight, God open- ter upon its head, he pronounced ed the eyes of his understanding, the usual words, after which the and he says he never was so happy surrounding assembly sung a hymn. as since he believed in Jesus. In- Tne service appeared to be impresdeed, from the pleasant smile on his sive. The many young, Hottentots countenance when he spake of the around, as well as the elder, behava Saviour, peace was evidently within. ed with great propriety. He remarked that Jesus had hither- On returning home, a personwhom to kept him from falling, and he Dr. Vanderkemp redeemed from slatrusted he would keep him to the very only five years ago, followed end, and bring him to his heavenly me to my room. Among other kingdom and glory. His wife said, things which she mentioned, she that she had obtained this child from said she had three sons dead, Abrathe Lord, and wished to give her ham, Isaac, and Jacob. On saying to him again---that she had no wish so, she turned her face to the wall that her child should be great or and wept bitterly, and could not for ricb, but she wished she might have half an hour be pacified. The scene grace, and be a child of God.

was extremely affecting. I wished

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »