Page images

termarriages, have undermined many of their customs. The Choctaws formerly scaffolded their dead, in a house appropriated for the purpose, in their different towns; and in these houses, the various families were kept distinct. Sometime, they bury them in their dwellings, like the ancient Egyptians. "Mr. Hodgson left the Kentucky trace, with the intention of visiting the missionary settlement, among the Choctaws, at Elliot, about sixty miles from the road. Of this visit he gives the following narrative :"Our course was through the woods, along a blazed path about a foot broad; and, as it was necessary to procure a guide, our host rode with us till he had engaged an Indian, who, for a dollar attended us twentyfive miles on his little horse. At night we reached the cabin of a half-breed, who took us in. We found him setting a trap for a wolf, which had attempted, a few hours before, to carry off a pig in sight of the family. "In the course of the evening, one of the missionary brethren arrived from Elliot, for some cattle, which were ranging in the woods: he promised us a hearty welcome at the establishment.

"The following day we set off early, our friends having procured us an Indian to take us the first twelve miles: he could not speak English; but, having received his quarter of a dollar, and parted from us at the appointed place, he returned to draw our track in the sand, pointing out all the forks and little cross paths, and again left us. After proceeding about a mile, where we were a little embarrassed, we were surprised to find him again at our side, making motions to direct our route. Again we shook hands and parted : but being again puzzled by a diverging path, half a mile distant, we looked round almost instinctively, and there was our faithful fellow still watching our steps: he then came up and set us right-made signs that our road now lay in the direction of the sun-and then finally disappeared; leaving us much affected by his disinterested solicitude.

"We had a delightful ride along our Indian path, through a forest of fine oaks; which, within ten or twelve miles of Yaloo Busha, was occasionally interspersed with small natural prairies, and assumed the appearance of an English park. I felt as if I was approaching consecrated ground; and the confidence which I had in the kindness of those on whom I was going to intrude myself (Christian kindness is not capricious) relieved me from any awkwardness about my reception. If I had felt any, it would soon have been dismissed by the simple hospitality

of the missionaries.

"Soon after my arrival, we proceeded to the school, just as a half-breed, who has tak

en great interest in it, was preparing to give the children 'a talk,' previous to returning home, sixty miles distant. He is a very influential chief, and a man of comprehensive views: he first translated, into Choctaw, a letter to the children, from some benevolent friends in the north, who had sent it with a present of a box of clothes: he then gave them a long address in Choctaw. When he took leave, he shook hands with me-said he was glad to hear that the white people in England were interested in the welfare of their red brethren-that the Choctaws were sensible of their want of instruction, and that their teachers were pleased to say that they were not incapable of it-that they were grateful for what had been done; and were aware that it was their duty to co-operate, to the utmost of their ability, with those who were exerting themselves on their behalf.

As soon as school was over, the boys repaired to their agricultural labours; their instructer working with them, and communicating information in the most affectionate manner: the girls proceeded to their sewing and domestick employments, under the missionary sisters. They were afterwards at liberty, till the supper bell rang; when we all sat down together to bread and milk, and various preparations of Indian corn; the missionaries presiding at the different tables, and confining themselves, as is their custom except in case of sickness, to precisely the same food as the scholars. After supper, a chapter in the bible was read, with Scott's practical observations. This was followed by singing and prayer; and then all retired to their little rooms, in their log cabins.

"In the morning, at day light, the boys were at their agriculture, and the girls at their domestick employments. About seven o'clock, we assembled for reading, singing, and prayer; and soon afterward for breakfast. After an interval for play, the school opened with prayer and singing, a chapter in the bible, and examination on the subject of the chapter of the preceding day. children then proceeded to reading, writing, accounts, and English grammar, on a modification of the British system. The instructers say that they never knew white children learn with so much facility; and the specimens of writing exhibited unequivocal proofs of rapid progress. Many spoke English very well.


"Toward evening I was gratified by the arrival of the reverend Cyrus Kingsbury, who has the general superintendence of the mission. He had been determining the direction of a path, to be blazed to another settlement, on the Tombigbee river, in Alabama; and although he had slept in the woods in heavy rain the preceding night, he

sat up in my room till after midnight, and the following morning rode with us seven miles, to see us safe across the Yaloo Busha. "The immediate object of the settlement of Elliot (called by the Indians Yaloo Busha, from its proximity to a little river of that name which falls into the Yazoo) is the religious instruction of the Indians. The missionaries are, however, aware, that this must necessarily be preceded or accompanied by their civilization; and that mere preaching to the adult Indians, though partially beneficial to the present generation, would not probably be attended with any general or permanent results. While, therefore, the religious interests of the children are the objects nearest to their hearts, they are anxious to put them in possession of those qualifications, which may secure to them an important influence in the councils of their nation, and enable them gradually to induce their roaming brethrent abandon their erratick habits for the occupations of civilized life. The general feelings of the nation, at this moment, are most auspicious to their undertaking. For the reasons which I assigned when speaking of the Creeks, the community at large is most solicitous for civilization. In this they have made some progress; many of them growing cotton, and spinning and weaving it into coarse clothing. "Of the three districts or towns into which its fifteen or twenty thousand souls are divided, one has appropriated to the use of schools, its annuity for seventeen years, of two thousand dollars per annum, received from the United States for ceded lands; another, its annuity of one thousand dollars per annum, with the prospect of one thousand more: and one has requested the United States, not only to forbid the introduction of ammunition into the nation, that the hunter may be compelled to work; but to send their annuity in implements of husbandry. At a recent general council of the chiefs, thirteen hundred dollars in money, and upwards of eighty cows and and calves, were subscribed for the use of schools, and the total contribution of the Choctaws to this object exceeds seventy thousand dollars.

"Here is noble encouragement for active benevolence! and the industry, judgment, and piety, of the seven or eight brethren and sisters at Elliot seem to qualify them, in a peculiar manner, for their responsible office. They have all distinct departments-the the reverend Mr. Kingsbury being the superintendent; another brother, the physician and steward; another, the instructer of the

children; another, the manager of the farm: the females also have separate and definite duties. At present, they are overworked; and the reverend Mr. Kingsbury greatly regretted that so much of his attention was necessarily engrossed by his secular concerns. But, coming into a wilderness, in which the first tree was felled but about eighteen months since, they have had something to do, to erect ten or eleven little log buildings, to bring into cultivation forty or fifty acres of woodland, and to raise upward of two hundred head of cattle. A deep sense. however, of the importance of their object, and an unfaultering confidence in God's blessing on their exertions, have supported them under the difficulties of an infant settlement; and under the still severer trials of a final separation from the circle of their dearest friends, and a total renunciation of every worldly pursuit. (To be continued.)


From the Missionary Register for November. Extract of a letter from the reverend Henry Davies to the church missionary society, dated Bombay, June 2, 1821. "Death of Mr. Newell.


"Among the losses which we have met with, you will be sorry to hear of that of Mr. Newell, one of the American missionaries. He was attacked about ten o'clock, on the morning of Wednesday last, the 30th of May, and died about six in the evening. usual symptoms of violent vomiting and diarrhoa came on, attended with spasins, and it pleased God, in the course of a very few hours, to release this faithful servant, to take him from his abode on earth to his abode in heaven. He is gone!-but, being dead, he yet speaketh to us, for he has left this testimony-that he loved, and feared, and glorified God in this his day and generation.

"We knew much of him; and found him a meek, and humble, and affectionate follower of Christ. Surely we may say of him, the day of his death was better for him than the day of his birth! Here he had no rest; but now he has entered into peace, and into the enjoyment of that eternal rest that remaineth for the people of God

"The day fortnight before his death, he passed a large portion of it with us, with his wife and child; and appeared in excellent spirits. We had much comfort in prayer with him, in the evening; and parted little thinking that we should see his face no more."


"Plain Remarks, by a Parish Minister;" communications from S.; M.; and B.; and a "Hymn for Epiphany;" are received, and will be inserted.

No. 17



"Knowing that I am set for the defence of the Gospel." Phil. i. 17.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

OPHIR, like Eden, is supposed, by different writers, to have been situated in places widely distant from each other; so much so, that there is scarcely any country, which has not been considered as the seat of this golden region. It is believed, however, that there are geographical marks, descriptive of it, by which its situation may be identified with some country existing at the present time.

We shall now give a short account of the principal places, which have been considered as the situations of the Ophir of the scriptures.

1. Josephus says, that Ophir is in the Indies, and seems to fix upon Malacca as the particular place of its situation. Lucas Holstenius thinks, that we must fix on India in general.

2. Others have placed it in Ceylon, Pegu, Sumatra, Malabar, Bengal, &c. &c. Columbus thought, that the deep and extensive caverns, which abound in Hispaniola, were the places in which Solomon dug his gold.

3. Huëtius and others have fixed upon Africa for its situation; but they have uniformly assigned some particular portion of this continent for it.

4. Calmet thinks, that Ophir was ADVOCATE, VOL. II.


in Armenia, and that Solomon's fleet sailed from the Red Sea round the Arabian peninsula, through the Persian_gulf, and afterwards ascended the Euphrates, to Armenia. For further details on this part of the subject, see Calmet's dict. art. Ophir.

Concerning these opinions, it may be observed, that they all suppose Ophir to be a particular place, famous for its mines, and that Solomon's people obtained their gold by working its mines. This appears to us to be a fundamental mistake, and the cause of the great diversity of conjectures concerning this remarkable place.

In 1 Kings x. 11. the Hebrew word, translated Ophir, occurs twice. The first time it is ; in the latter part of the verse it assumes the form of DN. These are both derived from the root DN, signifying dust or ashes. See Buxtorf's lex.

These words are both rendered, in the vulgate, Ophir, as in the English translation. The LXX. render them by Zoudig, of which the corresponding Latin translation of the polyglott, is Suphir. In the targum of Jonathan, the word occurs under the

form of vo in both instances. Latin translation, Ophir. Latin of the Syriac, Ophir. Latin of the Arabick, Terra Indica. This last is merely the opinion of the translator.

We think it very evident, that the

words Ophir and Africa are both derived from the Hebrew root N. In our translation, and its derivations are rendered only by Ophir, a word corresponding in sound to the original, according to the Masoretic pointing; whereas, by the Greek and Latin writers, a termination is affixed peculiar to each language. Thus, rendered in our translation Ophir, is, by Greek writers, rendered appxn, being a Greek termination, and, by Latin writers, Africa, ca being a Latin termination See Littleton's Lat. dict. upon the word Africa.

The conclusion to be drawn from these observations is, that Ophir and Africa are really the same word, and that the continent of Africa is the true Ophir of the scriptures.

Solomon sent out his fleet for commercial purposes, as is abundantly evi dent from the circumstances mentioned in connexion with the history of his voyages. The articles of merchandise which he procured, by his fleet, were, gold, silver, apes, and peacocks. 1 Kings x. 22. Also, almug trees and precious stones. 1 Kings x. 11. His ships sailed from Ezion-geber, a port upon the north-east branch of the Red Sea, which was particularly fitted for this commerce. They proceeded through the Red Sea, along the coast of Africa, either trading with the natives, or procuring, by search, the articles of merchandise to which they had been instructed particularly to direct their attention. Although Solomon's fleet brought him great riches, yet this was not the only way by which he acquired his vast treasures. He received large sums, by way of presents, from various descriptions of persons. See 2 Chron. ix. 9. 14. and 1 Kings x. 25. As commerce was in a high state of cultivation, he received large sums from duties on various kinds of merchandise. See 2 Chron. ix. 14. 1 Kings x. 15. When these two sources of wealth, together with the revenues from his own people, are taken into account, our astonish

ment at the riches of Solomon will be much diminished. And considering the length of the voyage, the extent and richness of the eastern coast of Africa, and the commercial skill of the persons employed, the profits of the voyage were not more than might have been expected. For proof that the eastern coast of Africa abounded in the commodities mentioned, see Calmet's dict. vol. ii. art. Ophir; Edinburgh Encyclopædia, vol. i. pp. 35, 39, 44, 45, 46, 136, 194, 195; vol. ii. p. 265; vol. iv. p. 427; Rees's Cyc. vol. xvii. art. gold; Montesquieu L'esprit des Lois; 1. 21. c. 2.

Africa was, for many ages, an appellation applied in general to those remote and southern provinces of the continent, which were scarcely known either to the Greeks or Romans, but by fable, or indistinct report. Edin. Encyc. vol. i. p. 186.

Solomon prepared his fleet in the Red Sea, and sent it to Ophir about 996 years before Christ. The nature of the commerce of India induces us to believe, that Ophir could not have been in any part of the East Indies. Every nation which has traded to India, hast always carried money, and received merchandise in return. From the nature of the commerce, therefore, Solomon could not have received gold and silver from India, but from Africa. Montesquieu, L'esprit des Lois, 1. xxi. c. 1. 6.

The invention of the mariner's compass has produced great influence upon commerce, and upon our knowledge of different countries. Before its invention, geographers gained their knowledge of Africa principally by travelling into its interiour parts. Hence we must go to the geographies of Strabo and Ptolemy, for a knowledge of the interiour of Africa, rather than to the works of modern geographers. Coasts, which were much frequented, were likewise well known, because they sailed very near, and extremely slow. L'esprit des Lois. 1. xxi. c. 6.

That the coasts of the Red Sea and Africa were early known to the ancients, will be sufficiently evident from consulting a good chronological table, or the works of the ancient geographers. Edinburgh Encyc. vol. i. p. 185, 6, and vol. vi. p. 263, 4. The Caffres were known to the ancients, under the name of Anthro-pophagi. idem. vol. i. p. 34. L'esprit des Lois,

l. xxi. c. 10.

If we inquire into the navigation of those early periods, we shall not be surprised at the length of time occupied in a voyage. They probably coasted nearly as far as the cape of Good Hope, an extent from Ezion-geber of nearly five thousand miles, besides following the windings of the coast, which must render the distance much greater. Being occupied in trade with every tribe which they met with upon the coast, must have caused them much delay. The necessity of following the coast, waiting for favourable winds, &c., circumstances which arose out of the nature of such voyages, must have rendered them long and tedious. L'esprit des Lois. 1. xxi. c. 6.

If what has been said is correct, the Hebrew word, rendered Ophir in our translation, ought to be rendered Africa, in every instance. In the present un. certainty, Ophir is considered a mysterious country, and no definite idea is gained from reading those passages in which it is contained. M.

To the Editor of the Gospel Advocate. The following is a translation of a short French tract, which was published, some time since, in Paris. M.


THE object which I ought to desire with the greatest ardour is, that my heart may be pure in the sight of God, so that, after my death, my soul may be eternally happy. But how can I assure myself of this happiness?-By fulfilling, with the assistance of his

grace, my duties towards him, my du. ties towards my neighbour, and my duties towards myself.

My duty towards God, is, to love him, to honour him, and to fear him, as my Creator, my Sovereign, and my Judge; remembering that he knows all my thoughts, and sees my most se. cret actions. I ought to receive all the bounties of his providence with a lively gratitude. I ought also to keep his commandments, and to pray to him to pardon me, and bless me, on account of the love of Jesus Christ, who died to save all men, on condition that they will sincerely repent, and incline internally towards him with faith, and lead a holy and virtuous life.

My duty towards my neighbour, is, to love him as myself; to be careful that all my actions be just and honest, my words true and sincere; and that all my thoughts be kind and charitable; so that, in every respect, I may do to all others that which I should wish them to do to myself.

My duty towards myself, is, to be sober, chaste, and temperate; to employ my time with prudence and advantage; to examine, with care, the intentions of my heart; and to maintain my conscience pure and without offence before God and men.

If my heart applies itself sincerely to these duties, I may humbly hope, that the Almighty will continue towards me the assistance of his grace, and by it will render me capable of fulfilling them. Then I shall be happy in this life, and shall have the hope of enjoy. ing eternal happiness.


PSALM li. 9, 10. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within


REPENTANCE is a duty of primary and essential importance in the Christian

« PreviousContinue »