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error with truth, it often happens that The modern Parsees believe the docthe shadow cast by the error gets deeper trines of their great teacher; and when and deeper, till at last the truth is lost in the sun rises in brightness, and when it ; and so, at length, the Persians wor “his going forth is from the end of the shipped the sun as God, and all forgot heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of that there was one Great One, who com it,” Psa. xix. 6, or when he sets in “ the manded the sun, and it riseth not; and seal- golden clouds of even,” the Parsees aseth up the stars; who alone spreadeth out semble in great numbers on the public the heavens, and treadeth upon
the waves walks of Bombay, to present their mornof the sea; who maketh Arcturus, and ing or evening devotions. They do not Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of bury their dead, but when a Parsee dies, the south, Job ix. 7, 8, 9. They used to go his remains are laid on a high stone wall, to the mountain heights when the morn when the birds of prey hover over the ing sun first gilded their summits, and, corpse till it is consumed. They have lifting up their hands, they then offered not castes, like the Hindoos; and they their devotions to the great luminary; do not, like the Mohammedans, abstain but they built no temples, for roofs and from wine. They regard no particular walls, they deemed, would exclude some food as unclean; but, on account of their of those rays which they regarded as the peculiar superstitions respecting fire, they essence of the Deity himself.
will not eat food prepared by any but But as years passed on, a philosopher Parsees. They are not like the men of arose among the Persians, whose power- the east in general, who marry several ful mind enabled him to gain great in- wives, for they admit of one only; nor fluence over them. His name was Zoroas- are they, like so many natives of oriental ter. He taught them anew the old countries, addicted to untruth, and to forgotten truth, that there was one God habits of cheating. They are, as a body, over all the earth ; but he left some old remarkable for their upright and honourerrors untouched, and introduced some able dealings, and the morality of their new ones. He bade them still to reve lives; and they partake with the Persians rence the sun and fire; and taught the in a politeness of manner, which renders existence of the two great principles of them very pleasing in their address. good and evil. He assured them, too, They dress like Hindoos, but their comthat he had obtained sacred fire from plexion is lighter than theirs. Its tint, heaven, so that when the sun nightly indeed, is but of a pale olive, and not withdrew his rays, some symbol of Deity dark enough to hide those variations in yet might even be present with the fire- colour, to which sensitive persons are worshippers. He ordered temples to be subject, as different emotions affect the built to contain sacred fires, all to be mind. The changing colour, the deepkindled from the flame which he pro- ening blush, which so often adds expresfessed to have received. These fires sion to the countenance, is plainly visible were neither to be blown by bellows nor on the Parsee cheek. Their eyes are by the breath of man, and woods of kinds dark and intelligent. deemed peculiarly sacred were alone to Nearly all the isle of Bombay belongs form their fuel. By day and night the to the Parsees, and several families reside priests tend these fires, and keep them at Surat. The British houses of business in ever burning; and the Parsees believe the former place have, very generally, a that they have yet in their temple the Parsee partner, and many of these people sacred flame of Zoroaster.
are very rich, and have large estates. The doctrines of Zoroaster spread, and They generally speak English well, and became the general religion over all the associate much with the British residents western parts of Asia, from the time of of India. The poorer people are agriculthe reign of Cyrus, till the period when turists, or practise several mechanical Alexander the Great conquered Persia. trades ; but they will not be blacksmiths, In the third century after Christ, the Per- or carry on any business in which fire is sian monarchy was again established by used. Their ideas respecting fire also Artaxerxes, and then the form of religion prevents their being soldiers, on account taught by Zoroaster became the general of the fire-arms; and, like the Persians, faith of the east, and men were com- they seem to have, from generation to manded to follow it. Thus it continued generation, a great dislike to the sea, till the religion of Mohammed was esta- which prevents their being sailors. It blished in Persia.
has been said of them, by British writers,
that when fires occur in Bombay, they consumption. Of the use of naphtha for stand quietly by, and make no effort to giving light Milton speaks, when, deextinguish the flames; but this the Par- scribing the home of the fallen angels, sees decidedly deny, and affirm, no doubt he says: truly, that they have, in several instances,
“ From the arched roof,
Pendent by subtle magic, many a row extinguished the fire, when property was
Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed burning in the town of Bombay.
With naphtha and asphaltes, yielded light There is a celebrated spot on the bor
As from a sky." ders of the Caspian sea, to which the All false religions have some books, from Parsees of Bombay and Yezd make occa which those who profess them derive sionally a long and fatiguing pilgrimage. their opinions. The people of China had It is called the “Place of Fires,” of an ancient philosopher, who was called Shirwan. This spot is about two miles Confucius, and the moral principles refrom the town of Bakan, and an in- corded in his books form the religion of flammable gas exists there, which will be their nation. Mohammed, who made many come a flame, if lighted by any burning people receive his doctrines, by threatsubstance. The flame may be conducted ening them with death if they were not to the height of some inches above the his followers, wrote a book called the ground, by inserting a tube or funnel Koran ; and the many thousands of Arainto the soil. Very ancient, but small bians, and other people, who are still stone temples are built on this spot, in living in the darkness of the Mohammedan each of which a fire burns; while a religion, and raising the crescent as their flame which burns in the centre of these standard, believe that the Koran was inbuildings, and which never goes out, is spired by God. The Hindoos have their believed by the Parsees to have burned sacred books. And Christians have that thus since the world was created, and to holy book for their guidance, which now be destined to continue till the world blesses both the British palace and the shall end. The flame in these places is cottage, teaching alike the rich and the like that of spirits of wine, and the pil- poor how we may walk with God. grim Parsees not only value it as the ob The book said to be written by Zoroasject of their devotion, but use it too in ter is called the Zendavesta. We cannot preparing their simple food, and in warm- tell, certainly, when it was written; for ing themselves, when the cold of winter we are not sure exactly at what time renders Shirwan a dreary land. At a Zoroaster lived. Butit is, by some writers, little distance from the temple, a beauti- thought that it was during the period ful clear flame issues perpetually from a when the Jews were captives at Babylon, natural cleft in a rock, and it is, of at that time when Nebuchadnezzar, king course, regarded with great veneration by of Babylon, came to Jerusalem, and bethe pilgrims. Springs of naphtha, too, sieged it. Daniel, as my young readers an inflammable substance, are found in will remember, was, at that period, a several parts of this province; and the captive in the great city. The writers of naphtha which floats upon the water the east are very fond of saying that will, if a light be applied, produce a clear Zoroasterconversed with the captive Jews, blue flame. These springs boil up about and that Daniel and others among them two or three feet high. The pilgrims to taught their philosopher much of what the “ Place of Fires” attribute great vir- he recorded. "Perhaps it might be so, for tues to naphtha in the cure of diseases, certainly there are in the sacred book of but these they believe are owing to the the Parsees many sentiments which are sacredness of the spot whence it is taken. like those of the Jewish Scriptures; and The poor people of the neighbourhoods amidst all its errors, the Zendavesta where it is found mix it with sand for teaches the one great truth, that there fuel, for wood is rare in Persia; and they is one Almighty God, Lord over all. use it too as oil for their lamps; while, But it may be asked, How came so when hardened, it is an excellent mate- many of the Parsees to be so far from rial for forming the flat roofs which the their native land, and to have settled in people of Bakan, like other oriental India ? Did they not like their own people, have on the tops of their houses. country? Yes, all people do that. The Both on the continent of Europe, and love of our native land is not merely bealso in our own country, naphtha is used cause it is a beautiful land, and because for a variety of domestic purposes, and it it gives great natural, or even social adhas lately been employed as a remedy in vantages. The Laplander, amidst his
it for ever.
snows, and the Negro, on his sandy | ceremonies of their forefathers, and worwastes, alike loves the land of his birth, ship in a fire temple, in which they think and would not unnecessarily say adieu to the flame has burned since the days of
The Arab youth in England, Zoroaster. But the modern Persians who seemed tolerably cheerful and happy oppress them in various ways, make till he saw his native palm-tree in an them pay heavy taxes—and not content English hothousė, and then burst into with addressing them in words of retears, and expressed a deep yearning for viling, they circulate cruel and false the soil whence it sprung, only feels as mil stories of these unoffending people. And lions would do, if taken from their early just as, in former times, the Jews were home, and the scenes of their childhood. falsely accused, in our land, of sacrificing Yes, Persia, with its wild mountains and little children at the feast of the passover, wide wastes, varied by spots of luxuriant so, now, the Parsees are said by the Arabs vegetation, and enlivened by brilliant to kill and eat infants. These oppressors, flowers, and famed, from earliest ages, for however, allow them to erect a temple its magnificent gardens, was a lovely for the sacred fire; and here the Parsees, land to the Persians. They loved to look strangers in the land of their fathers, up to its cloudless sun, shining nowhere assemble in humiliation, to mutter a few more brightly than in their native land; prayers and devotions; but they seem to they enjoyed the pure air, where no have but a very confused and imperfect damp mists float to obscure the bright idea of the religious belief of their anlight of day, or the silver moon and cestors. golden stars of night. The Persians We all feel an interest in those who would not have forsaken Iran; but the suffer for their religion, however it may conqueror came with fire and sword, be mixed up with errors. There is someand, after many struggles, they were thing noble in a fixed principle, and in obliged to flee.
the determination to uphold it at any risk It was in the seventh century that the of lesser interest; and the suffering for Arabian Mohammedans made themselves any belief, at least proves that the sufmasters of Persia. The Mobammedans of ferers are sincere. But it is truly a meevery country have a great dislike to lancholy sympathy which we feel for those who do not adopt the religion of men who, like the Parsees, have much to him whom they term “The Prophet.' endure for a faith, which after all has so They call them all infidels. In Turkey little of hope for the future, and so much this word is applied very unceremoni- of doubt and darkness. Ít is, we feel, ously to all Europeans; and an English- suffering for a superstition, and not for a man, as he walks along a Turkish street, valuable truth. When the holy men of thinks it no wonder to hear a nurse say old died for the faith of the gospel, or to the child under her charge, “Look when the martyrs were burned alive at there, my little rose, there goes a dog, an Smithfield, or other places, we know that infidel !" But in Persia the term is they were supported by God's especial applied more especially to the fire-wor- presence; and they had promises, that shipper; and the modern Persian calls as soon as death was over, they should the Parsee, gueber, (or infidél,) with the live for ever in glory; and when they most bitter expression of scorn and were cast out from men, and had to hatred.
wander in dens and in mountains, and With a determination, so far as pos in caves of the earth, because they would sible, to root out every other religion follow the commands of Christ, they did save that of their prophet, the Arabs strove not do these things on some vague notion to make the fire-worshippers submit to of what awaited them. God had given the rites and practices of Mohammedan them promises of support in trouble; for ism. Many of them embraced the doc Cbrist had said,
Every one that hath trines of Mohammed, and many, after forsaken houses, or brethren, or sister, or bravely resisting their 'oppressors, filed to father, or mother, or wife, or children, or another land. A few only remained in lands, for my name's sake, shall receive Persia, and the descendants of these are a hundredfold, and shall inherit evernow to be found chiefly in the barren lasting life,” Matt. xix. 29. And every one sandy province of Kerman, where, in the who has read the account of “ the deaths large city of Yezd, built on a green spot of the noble army of martyrs," who from in the desert, and called by them “ The among our fathers were appointed to follow Seat of Religion," they still practise the Christ through a great tribulation," must
haye seen how remarkably God was with long shipbuilders in the presidency. Acthem in their hour of trial, so that they cording to the eastern custom, the sons could speak cheerfully, and glorify his follow, from generation to generation, the holy name in a most triumphant man trade or profession of their ancestors, and ner, in a season of great agony. Heart thus the two Parsees, of whom we are and flesh were failing, but they sang with speaking, had also been trained as shipDavid, “God is the strength of my heart, builders, and it may be observed, that and my portion for ever. And in that owing to the wealth and skill employed glorious vision which the apostle John by various members of the family, a docksaw in the isle of Patmos, and which yard now exists, which ranks as the first was written for their sakes and ours, we naval arsenal in India, and that Bombay, find St. John describing the martyrs, as which was formerly a small and insignifithose that were slain for the word of God, cant island, offers a city equal in importance and for the testimony which they held, to almost any in India. Before the dockand white robes were given unto every yard was built there, the vessels of India one of them, Rev. vi. 9-11; while he were constructed at Surat, a city on the also speaks of some who were arrayed western side of India. One of the younger in white robes, and had palms in their Parsees then in England, was the son, and hands : “These are they which came out the other the nephew, of the present of great tribulation, and have washed their master-builder in the Honourable East robes, and made them white in the blood India Company's dockyard at Bombay. of the Lamb. Therefore are they before The object which induced these stranthe throne of God, and serve him day and gers to visit our land, was that they might night in his temple, and he that sitteth learn the mode of building steam-vessels upon the throne shall dwell among them. and ships, and for this purpose they reThey shall hunger no more, neither sided in England for rather more than thirst any more; neither shall the sun three years. It has been observed that light on them, nor any heat. For the the Parsees, as well as the Persians, Lamb which is in the midst of the throne dislike the sea, and the present party shall feed them, and shall lead them to formed no exception. Although they did living fountains of water, and God shall not share in that sea-sickness so usually. wipe away all tears from their eyes,' felt by those who cross the ocean for the Rev. vii. 14–17. Well might such men first time, yet the difficulties which they exclaim with St. Paul,“We glory, there had to encounter on the voyage, made fore, in tribulation;" but the poor Parsees them lament having chosen that mode of who fell in the contest, or who quitted reaching England, and they observed, their native land because of their re that had there not been a number of inligion, had no promises like these to cheer nocent children on board, whose playful their sorrows, or soothe their poverty, tricks amused them during the passage, But the day is coming when God will the voyage would have been intolerably teach and guide them; and missionaries tedious. They were not used to the are even now in India, who watch for tossing of the waves, and the blowing of their souls, and who pray and labour, gales, and they were sadly annoyed when that God may yet bring these amiable the things on the cuddy table were carpeople into the fold of the great Shep- ried away, and when they found that they herd of Israel.
could with difficulty take their meals, But we must now turn our attention owing to the rolling of the vessel. “The from the Parsees in general to speak of plan we adopted,” said they,
was that a small party of them, who, in the year of holding the plate in one hand, and 1838, visited England, and two of whose eating out of it; but the most laborious number were introduced at the com task was that of taking tea. We were mencement of this little book. This party obliged to hold the cup in our hands, consisted of three gentlemen and their and pour out the liquid, and drink it off two servants. The names of two, who as fast as we could ;” and with the feelwere cousins, were Jehangeer Nowrojee, ings of men, accustomed to the luxuries, and Hirjeebhoy Merwanjee. Their friend and little used to the hardships of life, and preceptor was called Dorabjee Mun- they thought with regret on the homes cherjee. They are known at Bombay as they had left, and determined that they members of the Lowjee family, and one would not again undertake such a voyage, of their ancestors founded the dockyard but would return to India by the overthere, while their forefathers have been land route.
attachment which existed between the THE ALBATROSS.
albatross and the penguin, and the reguThe albatross is three or four feet in larity with which they mingle their nests. length, and nine or ten from the tip of one On that bleak and desolate spot, of which wing to that of the other, while some of these birds had long-continued and undisthese birds have been seen of even much turbed possession, their little buildings larger dimensions. The bill of the albatross, were arranged by thousands, with the which is a formidable weapon, is of a yel- greatest uniformity. In the centre the lowish colour, and six inches in length, ter albatross raised its nest of heath, sticks, minating in a crooked point. Its head is and long grass, about two feet above the a bright brown, the back has a dingy, surface, and then seven or eight penguins deep-spotted appearance, and the belly using the nest of the albatross as a centre, and under part of the wings are white. made holes in the ground around its These colours, however, undergo consi- outer circumference. These settlements derable alterations, according to the age were, however, abandoned on the ap, of the bird, the young ones having a dirty proach of man, and the albatross and cast, while the old ones are of a snowy penguin have gone to more distant shores white, excepting the tips of the wings, to continue their friendly intercourse. which are dark brown. "They then pre- During the season of incubation, the gent a magnificent appearance as they male bird is assiduously engaged in prohover over the bosom of the ocean, or viding for the wants of his companion; wing their rapid flight in the upper regions and at this period the birds are so tame of the air.
as to allow themselves to be pushed from During the breeding season, they retire the nest while the eggs are removed, to the groups of rocky and desolate islands though at other times they will defend that are scattered over the ocean's bosom, themselves stoutly with their bills. as the Marion Isles, Crozettes, Tristan The power of flight possessed by the d'Acunha, and the Falkland Isles; while albatross is truly wonderful ; for they we are informed that they also visit the have been often noticed between six and coast of Patagonia. Captain Hunt, who seven hundred leagues from land, in the for some time commanded at the settle- middle of the Southern Ocean. Some perment on the Falkland Islands, states that sons, however, have partly accounted for he was often astonished at the peculiar this distance, by supposing that they rest