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MADAGASCAR. THE persecution that has been maintained with unabated rigour in this island, for several years past, bears a painful resemblance to the awful scenes perpetrated, both by Jewish and Gentile adversaries, when the first preachers of Christianity went forth, and converts were won to the faith which they preached. In both cases we find despotic power, a jealous intolerance of innovation, and remorseless cruelty arrayed on the side of the oppressor; but we find, also, a noble simplicity of purpose and patient endurance of wrong on the part of the oppressed. It is further observable, that the casting of incense on the altars of the Pagan deities, which absolved the offerer from the dangerous suspicion of being a follower of the Nazarene, finds its counterpart in the test applied by the Queen of Madagascar, of adhesion to the national creed, viz., the administration of an oath of homage to her dead ancestors and the idols. Like cases produce like effects. The spirit of persecution may now, as in former ages, do its worst; and some who had named the name oi Christ, may, in the day of trial, be found to waver ; but others are prepared to endure hardness and even death itself, in its most fearful forms, rather than deny the faith ; while many of God's hidden ones, discouraged for the moment, but not convinced by the stringent arguments of the oppressor, in due season will come forth as confessors and champions cí the faith.
It is known to many of our readers that, during the persecution in Madagascar, in 1849, eighteen individuals were called to seal their testmany with their blood. From a journal kept by one of the native Christians, which has recently come to band, we are now enabled to furnish a more detailed account of the events of that disastrous period. The document, written in the Malagasy language, has been kindly tral lated by the Rov, David Griffiths, formerly of the Madagascar Mission, and its authenticity and faithfulness may be entirely relied upon. The dooument, however, is long, and owing to frequent repetitions and top redundancy of the native style, it cannot be given entire, In the follow ing narrative it has accordingly undergone modification, but only so far as to render it more concise and intelligible than in its original form. NOTICES OF THE PERSECUTION OF 1849, ABRIDGED FROM THE JOURNAL OF A
CHRISTIAN WITNESS, “ The persecution was commenced on their companions, which three of the Monday, the 19th February, 1849, by an courageously refused to do, but the other order from the Queen's government to de- two at length gave in the names of gters. molish two private houses, used as places of of their fellow-Christians, of whom fou? Worship, and which order was carried into were taken into custody. effect.
"At this time five individuals were arrested and put in chains. All possible means were used to induce the prisoners to implicate the capital. He soon distinguished bin
. The history of one of these four person, ERRE Andriantsivoanaby, is particularly interesting. entered one of the country schools, in tbe you 1824, kept at a village eight miles to the nort?
“On the 22nd February, two other persons, a father and son, were arrested. On the 29th, numbers of the people were summoned to meet the officers of the queen, to know her will as to the manner in which those who persisted in the profession of the Christian faith were to be dealt with. “These are the words of the queen,' declared the officers on one of these occasions, “which we have to tell you:—“I ask you,” saith the queen, “tell me the truth, and tell me no falsehood, what is the reason you will not forsake the very root of this new religion and mode of worship? For I have deprived officers of their honours, put some to death, and reduced others to unredeemable slavery, and you still persevere in practising this new religion. What is the reason that you will not renounce it?"' Whereupon two of the Christians, in the name of their companions, replied, “that they were restrained by reverence for God and his law.”
“Another gathering of the people took place on the 25th, when the queen, by the mouth of her officers, again addressed them to the following effect: ‘If any new religion or mode of worship, and especially this worship of yours, be introduced and practised in my country, I forbid it; for it shall never be done. These are the things that are prohibited,—the practice of baptism, abstinence from work on the Sabbath-day; forbidding to swear by father, mother, sister, or brother, or by the queen; refusing to sacrifice bullocks, or to worship idols of wood or stone. Therefore come forward all of you that have done so, and confess, that I may determine what punishment to inflict upon you; but if any one shall wait till he is accused by another, that person shall be punished without mercy.’
“On the 14th March, nine persons, five of whom were women, belonging to the province of Wonizongo, when called upon to take the
of the best scholars in the school, was appointed a teacher in 1826, and continued to hold the office until 1829, when, with hundreds of the teachers and scholars, he was drawn for the army. There he was soon promoted, and became secretary and aid-de-camp to one of the generals. In 1834, he lost his sight, and, on account of this misfortune, was dismissed the service. He had been a faithful and efficient teacher and a powerful speaker, and so long as he continued in the army was highly respected by his general. He was moreover a humble, zealous, and devoted Christian, and was at last called to seal his testimony for Christ with his blood.-Note by Mr. Gr.sfiths.
oath required by the queen's officers, declared their adhesion to the Christian faith, and were forthwith put in chains and wrapped in mats. “On the 16th, a pious soldier, having refused to conform to the royal ordinance, was also loaded with chains and wrapped in mats. “On the 21st, all the people who were self-convicted of having been secret followers of the new religion were, with those of the province of Wonizongo, ordered to repair to Analakely, to take the required oath, and they were accordingly compelled to invoke upon their heads all the curses that the deceased deified kings, and the idols, and the twelve holy mountains, could inflict upon them, should they so transgress any more. An officer, however, of the 5th honour boldly declared, that he would not conform to the ways and manner of this world, and, when called upon to take the oath, made answer— “It is God alone that I will worship, for he, and he alone, can do all things for me, and I shall not pray to any other object whatever.' He was thereupon put into chains, to await the queen's pleasure. “On the 22nd, the swearing in of the people was continued; when two more confessors, one of them a retainer of the queen's nephew, Prince Ramanja, refused to conform, and were put under arrest. On the following day, their example was followed by two others, and with the like result. One of these last, Ramany, also a retainer of Prince Ramanja, stood up before the people, and said, “I believe in God, for he alone can do all things for me; and I wish to obey whatever he commands me; but as to swearing by the queen, or by one's mother or sister, or by one's father or brother, a lie is a lie still, whether you swear to it or not. I believe in God, and put my trust in Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of all that believe in him.’ He was then put in chains, with his companions, to await the queen's pleasure. At the same time, a female named Ranivo, of the tribe of Ralambo (the descendants of the first kings of Imerina), avowed her confidence in the God of the Christians, and was cast into prison. “The 24th, 25th, and 26th, were occupied in inquiries among the people as to the houses where they assembled to worship, and who selves were to atone for their crime by paying each three bullocks and three dollars ; but half of that sum was forgiven them. “6. And with regard to the noble band of confessors, who were prepared to sacrifice everything for Christ, the sentence was:that four of them, viz., one of the first five taken at the outbreak of the persecution, and three of those arrested on the 14th of March, should be BURNT ALIVE ; and their bodies were accordingly consumed in the flames. (See Engraving, page 257.) The rest of the martyrs, FourTEEN in number, were condemned to be thrown over the precipice at Itsinihatsaka, and their bodies to be afterwards burnt at the same place where their companions had suffered, and which sentence was executed upon all of them. “7. And the slaves that were found guilty upon their own confession, were condemned to receive twenty stripes, in addition to their payment of the same sum with the other criminals, as an atonement for their sin of praying. “Then all the people, excepting the Christians, were called upon to take the oath of allegiance, by forcing a spear into the carcase of a bullock, and drinking the holy water mixed with the holy earth taken from the tombs of the deceased kings. “The Christians who had been condemned to slavery were then sold, in the presence of the people. “Announcement was then made, that the queen intended to erect a memorial-stone in each of the six provinces of Imerina, to forbid the practice of the new religion in her country. “The Prince Ramanja, the queen's nephew, was condemned to pay one hundred dollars, as an atonement for his sin in worshipping the true God; Rajoaka, an officer cf the palace, was also condemned to pay fifty dollars; but both of these penalties were asterwards reduced to one-half, and all the degrees of honour which the (Christian) officers in the army, and in other departments of government, had enjoyed, were forfeited. “On the 29th of March, upon the petition of the officers and people, the queen consented to reduce the redemption-money imposed upon the wives and children (of Christians) who had been made slaves; but, on the fol
were the preachers of the word to them, when Rabetsarasaotra and Rasoalandy" were mentioned as the preachers. “On the 28th, another large assemblage of the people took place, when the officers of the palace, having thanked them for their good attendance, delivered the queen's message:– ‘I, the Queen of Madagascar, say that no religion whatever, excepting that of Andrianampoinimerina and Radama, and the customs of your ancestors, shall be ever introduced and practised in this my country: anything else is totally rejected by me. Had I not ordered the followers of the new religion to inculpate themselves, they would soon overturn the country, and all the people would follow them. I consider them rebels; therefore, I tell you how I have punished them, as the spirits of Andrianampoinimerina and Radama have revealed them to me. The preachers and the persons that brought back their books, and those that sold the books to others, I have set apart, and ordered the soldiers to keep them separate from the multitude, and I have also set the slaves apart.' “The Christian confessors, before enumerated as having been placed under arrest, were then brought into Analakely, being borne by two poles on men's shoulders, wrapped in mats from head to foot, and their mouths stuffed with rags, to prevent them from speaking, the female, Ranivo, alone being unconfined, and made to walk behind. “The following were the punishments appointed to be inflicted upon them by the queen:“1. The wives and children of all taken by the officers were reduced to slavery. “2. The slaves that were taken, and also the slave accused of preaching the word, were condemned to work in chains during the remainder of their lives. “3. The wives and children of the preachers were condemned to pay half the value of their persons, as if they had been sold as slaves. “4. Half the value of the persons and property of those who brought back their books was confiscated. “5. The multitude that inculpated them
* To these persons I had the honour of giving the right hand of Christian fellowship.–Nots by Mr. Griffiths.
lowing day, the wives and children of those
fifty dollars; but one-half of the
amount was afterwards remitted. “6 persons, who had been punished before,
were condemned to work in chains
for their lives. “1 slave, for preaching the word, was con
demned to work in chains for his life. “l slave, taken by the queen's officers, re
ceived a similar sentence:
“Making altogether a total of 1903 persons who have been called to suffer the various punishments above indicated, for the alleged crime of having embraced or favoured Christianity. On the 10th of November, the Christian
officers who had lost their honours and been reduced to the rank of common soldiers, were ordered to build a stone house. On arriving at the appointed place, they had to raise the stones, and carry them to the building, for a whole year; and they were compelled by their taskmasters to work hard every day, without any adequate supply of food or clothing. The distressed Christians who have been subjected to this degradation and misery, have since been branded by their enemies with a peculiar epithet, significant of the queen's dislike to their religion. They are called Tsihianarana, or, “That which is not to be imitated.’”
IN the course of last year, a series of lectures on Christianity as contrasted with the various false systems of religion prevalent in India, was delivered to the educated native youth of Calcutta, by the Missionaries of the various societies labouring in that city. The lectures appear to have been attended by the most salutary results, and it is an indisputable fact that, since that time, a spirit of inquiry has manifested itself more widely among the young men, especially of the upper classes, in Calcutta, than at any preceding period.
We have recently had the gratifying duty to announce the conversion and baptism of six of the students, in the Society's Institution at Bhowanipore, and we are happy to learn that the faithful labours of the agents of another Society have also been blest by the Lord of the harvest.
The following article, from the “Home and Foreign Record of the