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debasing superstitions and cruel abominations inculcated upon still more millions of the human family, by an earth-born system of idolatry. From the pain of dwelling upon these darker shades, he will find relief, by turning his eye to some bright spots in the picture. There are, blessed be God, some such spots, illumined by the shedding down of light from on high; and, although that heavenly light is in a degree obscured by the variety and contrariety of opinions, which still prevail among Christian communities ; yet the reader will find it pleasant to reflect that the differences, which now divide the Christian world, are gradually diminishing. A day is coming, when, in respect to essential truths, and perhaps in respect to those which are less important, there will prevail a delightful harmony among the professed followers of a once crucified Redeemer. Nay, more than this, the voice of prophecy has predicted a still more glorious triumph of the Son of God. Into the dark corners of the earth, the light of the Gospel will ultimately penetrate, and the habitations of cruelty will become the dwelling places of righteousness. Even at this present time, the Christian Church is gathering in the first fruits of this golden age. The anti-christian systems and the idolatrous superstitions of the world are rapidly approaching their fall. What, if the Jew still clings to the dreams of a Messiah Ben David-what, if the Mussulman still pays his devotions at the tomb of the prophet---what, if the Hindoo yet points to a future avatar of Vishnoo the preserver, the tidings of a crucified Redeemer are spreading through every portion of the globe. “ Idolatry has been overthrown in the islands of the Pacific ; and in India, that massive, gorgeous, venerable superstition, which has withstood not only the decay of time, but the sword of Mahomet, zealously protected, patronised, and endowed by a Christian government, has been undermined, and a breach has been made in the outworks. The Bramin has been converted, and the still prouder Moslem, the unimpassioned Chinese, the degraded negro, the wild Caffer, and the brutish Hottentot.”

These are antepasts of better days. Yet how much remains to be done before the warfare of Zion shall be accomplished !--- before that period shall arrive, when the earth shall be full of the knowledge of God! Let the reader inquire, while he hails that day as certain in its advent, what he may do to accelerate its arrival.

RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES AND

CUSTOMS.

INTRODUCTION.

It is a fact which we learn from history, that religion of some kind has existed, in every period of time, and among all nations. It can be traced Religion of some up to the infancy of the world, and among the fathers of kind has always the human race. The earliest account that has reached us,

which is that of our sacred scriptures, informs us of its existence even before the origin of nations, while as yet the inhabitants of the globe were one entire community.

existed.

Some few notices appear in holy writ of the religious rites of the antediluvian world; as the offerings of Cain and Abel, the practice of prayer,

or the profession of religion ; mention is also made of the In the antediluvian world.

pious character of the descendants of Seth ; the brief but

touching story of Enoch's faith is given ; and the family of Noah is particularly introduced in connexion with the religion of this period.

After the origin of nations, consequent on the dispersion at Babel, we learn something from the Bible of the fate of divine institutions among

the separate portions of mankind, so far as these are brought After the ori- into view in the sacred narrative. In confirmation of the gin of nations.

Bible, the earliest fabulous accounts, as they are called, all refer to some kind of religion promulgated by the founders of nations, and held and practised by the latter. Profane history abounds in representations of this nature; and we learn from its pages

how the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, and other ancient nations, were accustomed to the observation of certain religious rites and ceremonies. Their notions and tenets also on this subject have been occasionally transmitted to us; and although these, in most instances, are extremely vague and absurd, they evidently betray a common origin. Thus the universality of religion of some sort, in the earliest ages, is a matter of history: and the same im

partial guide introduces us to an acquaintance with the Through every varying creeds, forms, and observances of nations since, age since

whether in their rude or civilized condition. All seem to

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