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of endless advancement towards the perfections of Divinity! To neglect the means which will secure such an exaltation of our nature; to remain in the slumber of negligence, when activity is required; to be regardless of the consequences which depend on the use of time, exhibits a stupidity which cannot be exceeded. He who considers the brevity of human existence; he who has seen death intrude on the vigour of manhood, the bloom of youth, and hour of gaiety, should learn to value and employ time, according to its importance. Let us be piously diligent, nor suffer repentance to be unperformed because we imagine that life may be prolonged in agreement with our wishes or necessities; then will the stroke of mortality, whether sudden or expected, fall lightly, as we shall be prepared to receive it.
OF THE CHARACTER OF THE MANDINGOES. AFRICANS are found of all complexions, from the jet black, to the perfectly white, their moral character appears to possess a similar range from the most virtuous, to the most vicious. The Ashantees probably form one extremity, while those who are described by the Baron as forming the centre of the New Church in this world will make the other; between these two extremes are many intermediates; among the best of those known to Europeans are the Mandingoes; a people inhabiting a district abounding with some of the richest gold mines* in the world, situated on the sources of the Gambia, the Senegal, and the Niger ; extending from the banks of the Niger, to the banks of the Gambia, even down to the sea coast bordering on Sierra Leone. Their moral character and remarkable situation must make them interesting to the members of the New Church; they are divided into two classes like all the Negroes of Northern Africa, known to Europeans, viz. Mahomedans and Kafers, or in other words into those who worship God, and those who do not; for all the worshippers of God, among the various African nations in the interior, known to Europeans, are Mahomedans.
Park, in his general observations on the Mandingoes, after stating that the Mahomedan Negroes are in the possession of the Pentateuch of Moses, the Psalms of David, and the book of Isaiah, (the first of which was so highly prized, that they have been known to give the value of a prime slave, which at that time was worth £8.) observes that “ by means of these books, many of the converted Negroes have acquired an acquaintance with some of the remarkable events recorded in the Old Testament. The account of our first parents ; the death of Abel; the deluge; the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the story of Joseph and his brethren ; the history of Moses, David, Soloman, &c. All these have been related to me in the Mandingo language, with tolerable exactness, by different people; and my surprise was not greater on hearing these accounts from the lips of the Negroes, than theirs on finding that I was already acquainted with them; for although the Ne groes in general have a very great idea of the wealth and power of the Europeans, I am afraid that the Mahomedan converts among them think very lightly of our superior religious knowledge.”
* That they are among the richest is evident by their being equally so with those of South America, being sixty times as rich as some of the Gold Mines in Europe, that are considered
Concerning the general character of the Mandingoes, Park says in his first travels, “ The Mandingoes generally speaking, are of a mild and sociable disposition. The men are commonly above the middle size, well shaped, strong, and capable of enduring great labour. The women are good natured, sprightly, and agreeable.”
“The Mandingoes in particular are a very gentle race; cheerful in their dispositions, inquisitive, credulous, simple, and fond of flattery."
Page 399, “ It is impossible for me to forget the disinterested charity, and tender solicitude with which many of these poor heathens from the Sovereign of Sego, to the poor women who received me at different times into their cottages when I was perishing of hunger, sympathised with me in my sufferings, relieved my distresses, and contributed to my safety.”
Park's description of the Mandingoes has been confirmed by Major Laing, who visited the Soolima and Kooranko countries a few years since, which countries are situated more than one hundred miles to the South. The Major observes that, “ the Mandingoes are a very shrewd people and superior to any who inhabit Western Africa, from the boundaries of Morocco, to the Southward.”
“A destitute old man is unknown among the Mandingoes : a son considers it his first duty to look after, and provide for, his aged father's comforts ; and if he is unfortunate enough to have lost his own, he looks for some aged sire, who, being without children, requires the care and attention of youth. There is no nation with which I am acquainted, where age is treated with so much respect and deference.”
“The appearance of the Mandingoes is engaging ; their features are regular and open ;
well formed and comely." Such is the testimony of Major Laing.
A people possessing the above character must be well calculated to become recipients of the heavenly doctrines, and offer a promising field for the exertions of the Missionaries from the New Church in Europe.
Most Missionary establishments abroad, require constant support from the mother country; but an establishment among these people would not only be able, in a short time, to support itself with
every comfort that art could devise to counteract the effects of the climate, but be enabled to assist the church in Europe.
That Park considers such an attempt practicable is evident from his appeal to the benevolent and enterprizing. "It was not possible” (says Park) “ for me to behold the wonderful fertility of the soil, the vast herds of cattle, proper both for labour and food, and a variety of other circumstances, favourable to colonization and agriculture, and reflect withal on the means which presented themselves of a vast inland navigation, without lamenting that a country so abundantly gifted and favoured by nature, should remain in its present savage and neglected state. Much more did I lament that a people of manners and dispositions so gentle and benevolent, should either be left as they now are, immersed in the gross and uncomfortable blindness of pagan superstition, or permitted to become converts to a system of bigotry and fanaticism, which, without enlightening the mind, often debases the heart. On this subject many observations might be made; but the reader will probably think I have digressed too largely." It
may be demonstrated from the experience of Park and others, that the climate of this part of Africa is equally salubrious with a similar latitude and situation in South America, where it is well known Europeans reside in great numbers, without being visited with those alarming fevers which prevail in the sea ports of tropical climates; and, likewise from the above experience, that there is no reasonable grounds to call it a sickly climate. The expence attending such an attempt would be comparatively trifling.
As the subject opens into a wide field, and many objections may be raised, should any individual belonging to the New Church be desirous of investigating it, with the view of improving the condition of this interesting and amiable portion of the population of Africa; the writer of this article who has paid considerable attention to the subject for many years, and has collected much information, will be happy to communicate what he knows on the subject, and give every assistance in his power.
THE WEALTHY NATION.
See Jeremiah xlix. 31. It is most true, that the great subjects which are contained in the Holy Scriplures cannot be seen in their true light, until
they are seen in their spiritual or celestial ground. It is to be feared that the christian church, generally speaking, is to much carried away with the noise and bustle of external things too anxious perhaps, about propagating the peculiar doctrines of religion, and of increasing the number of its professors, while the more important purposes of life, and the furtherance of the regenerate state in the hearts of its members, are too much neglected, as though they were not connected with a man's personal safety, and with his everlasting peace in the world to come.
An over anxiety about external things, even if those things are connected with the visible church, and with the promulgation of truth, is no desirable state for the mind to be absorbed in; we have other malters, more weighty than these to attend to, and which will come home to every breast; a neglect of which, will ruin our peace here, and blight for ever our prospects of eternal joy! An anxious desire to promote the cause of true religion among men, is indeed laudable and praiseworthy in the highest degree; but an over anxiety to do this, to the total neglect of the weightier matter of which we shall presently speak, is indeed replete with danger, and, to say the least of it, it is choosing that state which Martha (as recorded in Luke) chose, and neglecting the one thing needful, made choice of by Mary. Of these two female disciples it is said, that “Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone ? 'bid her therefore that she help me.” To which the Lord replied and gave this gentle rebuke—“Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things; but one thing is needful : and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken from her.” X. 42. Here we observe that the part which Mary chose is called a good part, and the one thing needful ; not that the part made choice of by Martha was an evil part; it was good in its degree, but it was not of that stamp, which deserved the exalted appellation of the one thing needful. How anxious, then, should every christian be, to make choice of this good part, in order that he may secure thereby the presence and approbation of the Lord. That we may know what this good part is, we may briefly observe that to be troubled about many things, which was the state of Martha, is to be wholly taken up with the external affairs of the church, with the propagation of the doctrines of truth, and with the externals of religion; but the good part which Mary chose, is silently and carefully to watch over and promote the life of religion in the soul, to increase in good, purity and holiness, and thus that the religion should be made personal, and the will thus advanced in the regeneration, without which there is no second birth, and consequently no good part, or life eternal. We may, like Martha, be troubled about many things, we may be most anxious to propagate the truth, and the doctrines of religion to our fellow men, but in assisting in this great work, every man should be careful not to neglect himself. He who neglects his own affairs, is but little calculated to attend to those of others. St. Paul seems to have cautioned himself against this neglect of personal advancement in the true life of religion, where he says, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: Jest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast away,” 1 Cor. ix. 27. A simple attendance upon the externals of religion, may be compared to Martha, who ran out to meet the Lord; but a carefulness to promote the life of religion in the soul is described by Mary, who sat still in the house ; for to sit still in the house, signifies the tranquillity of peace, arising from a settled dependance upon the Lord, and from the leadings of his providence.
Do we wish to experience in a supereminent degree the joys and felicities of true religion ? If we do, we should listen, with the most profound attention to these words of the Lord,
“ Arise ! get you up unto the wealthy nation, that dwelleth without care, which have neither gates nor bars, which dwell alone,” Jer. xlix. 31.
This verse describes the settled tranquillity and peace of the celestial man, and although, in the present state of things, few may arrive to this most exalted and happy state, yet it is satisfactory to know that the state is attainable by all those who will make use of the means, and those who would enjoy the blessings of eternal life, must arise and go up unto the wealthy nation, that dwelleth without care.
The first thing necessary to be done in order to obtain the celestial state of tranquillity, is to ARISE! and 0 may we not be deceived upon this point, for the deceitfulness of the heart, and the treachery of our judgment, may often flatter us with the idea, that we have arisen, when in reality we are grovelling in scenes below, and delighted only with the sensual gratifications of this world and time. To arise is an expression which very frequently occurs in the Word of God, but its interior signification is little attended to; it is passed over in a light manner, because it is considered as a familiar expression frequently used in ordinary discourse. Nevertheless its true meaning is not to be destroyed, because men carelessly and foolishly pass it by. If it be necessary to arise in order to enjoy the sweets of celestial tranquillity, it is expedient to know the true meaning of the term, and what it is in