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EQUITABLE PROVISION FOR THE WIDOWS AND ORPHANS OF
PROTESTANT MINISTERS. We cordially recommend to the consideration of our brethren in the Ministry the following Address of the Directors of the PROTESTANT UNION, a Society which we believe is fully entitled to their confidence.
THE ATTENTION of Ministers and Students is earnestly invited to an Institution which, it is presumed, is not sufficiently known, and whose advantages are very inadequately appreciated.
The PROTESTANT UNION -established in the year 1799, for the benefit of the Widows and Orphans of Protestant Ministers of all denominations—claims their special notice, on account of some of its peculiar features.
1. In addition to the income of the Society, arising from the annual payments of its members, which are usually equal to meet its current demands, a capital is accumulated amounting to £20,000, by which it will be seen that the Society bas been guarded with great circumspection from those calamities which bave sometimes frustrated the hopes originally entertained by subscribers to such institutions.
2. This Society holds out advantages not, (as is usual in such societies,) to the Widows only of Ministers, but to their children, if there be no Widows. It secures to the Widow of each Minister a certain annuity, proportioned to the amount of his annual payment, or to his bereaved children, if there be no Widow, a sum equal to four, six, seven, or eight years' annuity, according to their number, to be equally divided amongst them, unless by his last will and testament he should direct it to be otherwise apportioned. Hence
3. It is evident that a subscriber to this Institution (which is not a Charity, but conducted, like other life assurances, on equitable principles) may calculate almost with certainty on the amount of his annual payments being returned either in the person of his widow, or to his children (if any), in the event of his decease.
This brief statement of facts, so obviously plain and important, without any arguments to enforce them, is entitled to the fullest consideration of every Protestant Minister and Student. Signed, in the name and by the authority of the Directors,
Joun KNIGHT, Secretary; Of whom further information (if by letter, post-paid) may be obtained. Surrey Lodge, Brixton-hill, Jan. 10, 1837. We have also received the following practical letter from the Rev. R. Kpill, upon the same subject, suggesting a plan that deserves the attention of the benevolent. He has not, however, fully estimated the benefits of the Society, as our readers will find by a reference to its printed regulations.
To the Independent and Baptist Congregations of the United Kingdom. RESPECTED FRIENDS,—The man who suggests a profitable hint may be as great a benefactor to his country as one who discovers a gold mine, therefore I claim your patient consideration of the following statement.
When I was in Russia, a generous friend offered to insure my life, so that in the event of my death some provision might be made for my wife and children. I wrote to a gentleman in London on the subject, who returned an answer, saying, that my being a resident in a foreign land rendered me ineligible. There the matter ended; but I learned from it that ministers who reside in England are eligible, and of course those who can afford it may provide for those whom they leave behind.
Since my return to England, I have heard of several very painful cases of excellent ministers dying and leaving large families wholly unprovided for; owing to the scanty pittance which they received as salaries, it was impossible for them to lay by a sixpence. Thus their widows and fatherless children are called to endure many painful privations. I think this could in a great
measure be prevented in future, and it is with a hope to accomplish so desirable a work that I now address you.
A Report lies before me of · The Protestant Union Society for the Benefit of Ministers' Widores and Children,' by which £25 per annum is secured to the family. The plan is this: if a minister's age do not exceed twenty-five, and his wife is not under twenty-five, then the annual subscription is about £5, and so in proportion. The Society's office is the Congregational Library, Blomfield Street, Finsbury, London.
Now there are generally two or three opulent people in a congregation, and if their hearts are like the heart of the Petersburg friend, what a luxury it would be to do for their minister what he was prevented from doing-insure his life. It also occurred to me, that there are frequently pious widows, who have felt the pang of parting with their husbands, but have never felt the bitterness of being destitute of comfortable food, and raiment, and habitation, and of money to buy them. If such widows were brought acquainted with the fact that £5 or £7 a year from them would prevent the distress alluded to, might we not hope soon to hear of many poor ministers being enrolled on the list?
Query? Is it not a fit subject for the considerations of Deacons ?
I believe the feeling on this subject through the country is very good, and we only want a commencement to be made and the work will go on.
Perhaps Missionary Societies might feel an interest in the matter, and thereby prevent heavy claims from being made on their funds and remove many anxieties from their Missionaries Widows.
I know that £25 a year, is a small sum for a family, but it is a hundred times better than nothing.
With a sincere desire to help the widow and the fatherless, and with earnest prayers that you dear brethren may do the work,
I remain your very obedient servant, Bristol, 2nd March, 1837.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS, &c. Favours have been received from the Rev. Drs. Halley-J. P. Smith-Rev. Messrs. R. Knill-J. Knight-A. Bishop-A. Fyvie-G, Wardlaw-S. M'All -N. M. Harry-A. Wells–A. Tidman—and Thos. Edkins.
Also from Wm. Stroud, M.D.-J. R. Bennett, M.D.-Messrs. J. Poynder-G.F.Angas-R. Styles - Joshua Wilson-F. N. and a Friend to Poor Ministers.
The subject to which Mr. Poynder's communication refers will be introduced to these pages shortly, when the Editor hopes to avail himself of the very important statements that gentleman has published. Want of room alone has prevented the insertion of the paper with which he has favoured him.
Some use will be made of the intelligence from South Australia in an early number.
The Editor does not deem the lines of Mr. Styles unworthy of their subject, but he doubts the propriety of publishing poetical eulogies on living individuals, however excellent.
The Report of the Blackburn Academy will be noticed in our next,
lively - lovely
THE CONGREGATIONAL MAGAZINE.
ADDITIONAL NOTICES REGARDING THE KARENS
OF THE BURMAN EMPIRE.
The Editor has inserted, in preceding numbers of this Magazine, (August, 1835, July 1836,) articles that have been transcribed from the Madras Missionary Register, The Calcutta Christian Observer, and The North American Review, respecting a peculiar people, called Karens, scattered to an unknown extent over the kingdoms of Siam, Martaban, and Burmah. It is supposed, from the many Jewish traditions and usages that are found amongst them, that they are a remnant of the ten tribes of Israel, and the following paper is calculated to strengthen that opinion. It was written by the Rev. F. Mason, of Tavoy, the author of the former articles on the same subject, and by him communicated to The Calcutta Christian Observer, in which it appeared March, 1836.
It will be gratifying to many readers to know that the work of God is prospering amongst this interesting people, and therefore the Editor has added some extracts from the Journal of Mrs. Judson, one of the American missionaries who have been sent to them, which he transcribes from The New York Evangelist of Jan. 26, 1837.
What has been already published proves, that the Karens regard God as the Creator of all things, as Omnipotent, and Omniscient. The following saying shows that they also regard
God as Omnipresent."God is not far off. He is among us. He has only separated himself from us by a single thickness of white cloth. Children ! it is because men are not upright that they do not see God.”
PRAYERS. To this God many of the Karens are in habits of daily prayer. Like Christians they can pray without “ a form;" but the following have been given me as specimens of the character of their prayers.
For a King and City.-- () Lord, we have had affliction for a long succession of generations; have compassion, have mercy upon us, O Lord. The Talaing kings have had their season, the Barmís kings have had their season,
Vol. I. N. S.-Vol. XX.
the Siamis kings have had their season, and the foreign kings, all have had their season; the Karen nation remains. Let our king arrive, O Lord. Thou, O Lord, whom we adore, to whom we sing praises, let us dwell within the great town, the high city, the golden palace, Give to us, have compassion upon us, O Lord.”
For Righteousness to come to Earth.-" O righteous Lord, with thee are the sources of life and death, and perfect art thou in divine attributes. The people that dwell on earth have no righteousness, O Lord. Have compassion then upon thy children, and let righteousness come to them, O Lord.”
For Holiness and Happiness." O Lord, that I may obtain happiness, that I may be delivered from my sins; now while my eye winks and my heart beats, let my unholy heart be destroyed. When I die, cast me not into hell, but on the contrary let me arrive at happiness."
For Holiness and Superiority.-" () Lord, my wicked heart, my anger, my covetousness, my impurity, my dissipation of mind, do thou utterly destroy. When I die, let me be more holy than others, possess more praise-worthy qualities, and be exalted above them."
For the City and King.--"O Lord, the God whom we adore, have compassion, have mercy upon us. Let us have kings, and let the city, the town, the great town, the silver city, the new town, the new city, the palace, the royal residence arrive to us all, O Lord. Have compassion, and grant unto us, o great God."
PROVERBIAL SAYINGS. The Karens abound in sententious expressions, which, although not so curious perhaps as the aphorisms of many other nations, are remarkable as being generally of a religious character. The following are offered as specimens.
Road to Heaven.-" There is a great road to hell; a very small one to heaven."
Sin.--" The winking of the eye we say is quick, but we sin quicker; the running out of water we call quick, but we sin quicker."
On hiding our own sins, and charging sin to others.-“ We shut up corruption in our mouths, and leave a corpse against other persons."
Bad Associates.-“ One bad fish spoils all in the boat."
Uncompromising Character of Truth.-" We may cross a great hill, we may cross a lofty mountain, but we cannot cross a single strand of the cord of truth."
Using mild words to an angry Man.-“ Although fire is very hot, pour cold water upon it and it goes out immediately."
Pure Doctrine.- When pure words arrive, few will receive them. When purity comes, kings will not be able to buy it; the poor alone will be able to purchase."
PROPHETS. There is a class of persons among the Karens who are professedly possessed of “ familiar spirits.” These spirits give information to their possessors relating to any future event concerning which they may be questioned, but more especially in relation to the sick. The process has been described to me as follows :-The necromancer, for such he may be called, sits down cross-legged, and placing his hands on his knees, shakes himself until he trembles all over, at which time the spirit enters him, and speaks through him in a manner which seems to make real the poetical description of the sybil when visited by Eneas. The following is what really occurred, as related to me by a spectator. The persons who came to visit the oracle standing
erect, the necromancer and his spirit held the following dialogue in
Behold difficulties beset me,
Is sick, very sick."
“ My disciple, O my disciple,
Thou canst not effect any thing.'
Speak, assist, I entreat."
“Eat a hog, and thou shalt be delivered,
My son, O my son.” Here the affair closed, and the people returned to offer a hog as they had been directed. These offerings are made to malignant spirits, many of whom are designated by name.
These necromancers are regarded as wicked men, and, like the spirits which they serve, are feared by the people.
Tradition, however, says, that formerly God gave the Karens a succession of individuals, who were instructed by himself to give occasional information in relation to future events; but the instructions of these pious individuals being neglected, he deprived them of their aid. “ Had we not,” they say, “ in ancient times, disobeyed the instructions of the persons God sent us, he would have continued to afford us their assistance in each succeeding generation; but because we did not obey, unholy and wicked necromancers abound among us." These are said to derive their knowledge from evil spirits, but the pious ones of antiquity from communicating with God himself, and were therefore prophets. They are called Wee, and the word for prophet in Chaldee is wa Na-Wee or Na-vee.
The people are evidently conscious in their hearts, and most of them acknowledge, that offering to evil spirits is wrong; which feeling is perpetuated by another class of persons that are constantly rising up among them, who uniformly condemn the practice. These persons come before the people in the character of extraordinary prophets or teachers; as forerunners of their salvation. One declares, that God is about to raise one of their fathers from the dead; another, that the “ sufferer" immortalized in their legend is about to appear again; and a third, that God himself will quickly take a human form and descend to earth.
When one of these individuals has gathered a few followers, a shed is erected for him, where he assembles his disciples around him every night, and after praying with them he recites verse by verse some of the hymns that he has composed, which are sung by the congregation, usually accompanied with instrumental music. These hymns are disconnected compositions of religious sentiments, allusions to popular traditions, and incongruous thoughts that suggest themselves to the prophet's mind at the moment. The following is a specimen.
“ O Lord my great God,