Newspaper Page Text
THE PATHOS OT PAGANISM
We are not to consider the sins of the heathen
peoples, such as cannibalism, untruthfulness, slav
ery and immorality, but certain pathetic facts that
should appeal to men and women everywhere who
are lovers of their kind. We do not assert that
there are not certain excellencies to be found among
the heathn, for oriental peoples are polite and pa
tient, are wont to persevere in the face of hostile
conditions, and could teach us much in the way of
reverence for age and respect for law. And yet,
there are certain circumstances connected with their
home life and their spirtual needs which are ex
ceedingly pathetic, and cry out for the proper con
sideration of mankind.
The most obvious are their loveless homes, and
unhappy child-life. The home is the foundation of
the social order, and when the foundation is not
what it ought to be, that which is built upon it can
not be. And the false religions of the heathen
world have struck at the homes of the people.
It is to be seen first of all in the very prepara
tions which are made for the building of the home.
Parent-betrothal is practically universal in non-
Christian countries. The contracting parties to the
marriage have nothing to say as to who shall be
the partner for life. The result is inevtable; the
home is a loveless one.
In one country especially this system leads to a
terrible result. We refer to India, and the result
referred to is the institution that is known as child
widowhood. Children are betrothed in infancy, and
multitudes are actually married before they are five
years of age. If or any reason, the little girl, be
trothed or married at that tender age, should suffer
the loss of the boy who is destined for her husband,
her life immediately becomes one of untold misery.
She is turned over‘to the tender mercies of the
mother of her intended husband, and her life be
comes one of unspeakably pathetic sufferings. Her
very touch is pollution. She lives under a curse.
Now, when it is remembered that every fifth woman
in India is a widow, doomed from the most tender
ages to all the rigors of lives of outcasts, this be
comes one of the most pathetic facts in our modern
life. For all the world is akin in this century.
Unhappy Child Life.
But the cruelty against these children is the most
pathetic part of this picture. In China children
are sold into slavery, and daughters into lives of
shame. Infant-murder is a feature of the life of
every non-Christian land save the land of the Mo
hammedans. (And there it is almost a calamity
that it does not exist, so degraded are the people.
To travel through Palestine is to see everywhere
hopeless faces of childhood, and the degradation of
womanhood.) In one province of China it is esti
mated that 40 per cent, of the girl babies are mur
dered every year. In another province the estimate
is from 30 to 70 per cent. Throughout China the
average is put at 39 per cent. A missionary writes
that when he went to Amoy there was a pond in the
center of the city known as 1 ‘The Babies Pond,”
into which little babies were thrown to be drowned.
There were always several bodies of little babies
floating on its green, slimy waters, and passers-by
looked on without surprise or emotion. It is inter
esting to know that the influence of Christianity
has banished that ghastly sight. There are tens of
thousands of infant girls who are killed every year
in China alone. The same is true of India, and ex
ists in even more horrible proportions in the Pacific
islands and Africa.
Neglect of Sick Children.
When a child sickens, we are told that the par
ents care for it as long as there is any chance of
saving its life. When remedies fail, the situation
changes. Stripped, the child is laid naked upon the
floor just inside the outside door, The elders sit
The Golden Age for May 10, 1906.
By JUNIUS W. MILLARD.
around and watch the issue. If it lives, it is their
true child; if not, it never was their child, and the
body is thrown into the street.
In Pekin, one never sees a child’s funeral, but
every morning early a large covered wagon, drawn
by two oxen, passes along, piled to the brim with
the bodies of dead children, sometimes a hundred at
once, thrown into the wagon like garbage.
Unwashed, unkempt, unhappy, such is the life of
the child in the lands without Christ, 0 my brothers!
And for these children, let their very sorrows
plead. If a child’s wretchedness in a single city
appeals to the sympathy of the world, how much
more should the sufferings of these million of
wretched ones plead with the sympathetic heart of
the wide world? Tn China we have child slavery,
in India child widowhood, and everywhere child
exposure and murder. The cry of these innocents
ascends to the God of the ages from every heathen
land, crying out, “How long’, 0 Lord God, shall
these iniquities endure?”
Another pathetic circumstance, which is closely
akin to what has already been written, is the wanton
disregard of human life. The heathen world is the
strong man’s world where the weakest goes to the
wall, and no hand is held out to the wasted, and
the poor are ever unpitied. How could it be other
wise in an environment which has produced canni
balism, slavery, human sacrifices, torture and the
degradation of woman? Heathenism builds no asy
lums for the insane, no hospitals for the sick, no
almshouses for the poor, but in its brutal selfishness
allows the weaker ones of the earth to go down into
hopelessness and misery. China will see a thous
and men perish with less emotion than America
would see a dozen. In India life is squandered as
if it were a worthless thing. And this would be
true of us today, had not One come to teach us that
the whole world itself is not enough to recompense
for the loss of a single human life. We have learn
ed the worth of humanity by looking at it through
the eyes of God. But it is a pathetic thing to see
lives of men and women and children, not only ren
dered wretchedly miserable, but even wantonly
disregarded and thrown away, in heathen lands.
But the pathos of the situation is not thoroughly
seen until we see the great and terrible burdens
from which the heathen world is altogether unable
to free itself.
The Burden of Poverty.
See especially the great burden of poverty. The
average income of the people of India is from six
to eight dollars per annum. Fifty millions are always
upon the verge of starvation, and forty millions
of them go through life on insufficient food. In
times of famine, millions die.
In China from three to four millions die annually
of hunger. In Africa the poverty of the people
And all this poverty is different from the poverty
among us, for the people have no hope of help from
the more favored ones, for they have no pity be
cause they have no proper regard for human life.
Actual starvation is always in sight, and life be
comes a bitter struggle to keep death from the door.
The cause of this poverty is not far to seek. Be
cause of their ignorance, the people have no mas
tery over nature, no inventive genius, no economic
enterprise. Much of it is due to their laziness and
their great pride, but fully one-half of it is due to
their priestcraft and superstititon, and is connected
with their religious practices.
The only cure is to be sought in the introduction
of modern civilization, which rests upon Christianity.
This will bring a ray of hope to the hopeless. It
will not banish poverty, but it will introduce reme
dial forces and raise up new ideals, and arouse the
people to new endeavor, and hold out a helping
hand to the despairing, and will thus become the
great saving power among the heathen, There is
an air of sociological hopefulness in the very atmos
phere of a truly Christian land, and the religion of
Jesus, aiming directly at the regeneration of the in
dividual, indirectly results in the regeneration of
society itself. A most interesting gift was received
a few years ago in London as a subscription to the
fund of Lord Mayor for the Indian famine suffer
ers. This was $4,000, which had been sent by ii -
habitants of the Fiji Islands, who were all canni
bals when Queen Victoria ascended the throne.
They had been reconstructed by their acceptance of
Christianity into a constituent part of our modern
world, with sympathy for their fellow-men.
Another terrible burden is the burden of pain,
suffering and illness. Heathenism shows no intelli
gent sympathy toward the sick. In India they used
to expose such sufferers upon the bank of the
Ganges, until the banks of the river were a pan
orama of horror. In all these lands sickness is sup
posed to be the work of demons, hence a sick per
son is the object of loathing and terror. They are
often turned out of the house, and in many cases
are carried from door to door. The people have
no knowledge of the nature of disease, or of the
methods of cure. They are poorly fed, and but
rarely visited. Often the priests, wizards or as
trologers attempt to cure disease by driving out
the demons by the beatings of gongs. Desperate
cases of illness and contagious diseases are left
without attention. The blind and deformed must
shift for themselves. Often, the sick and aged are
Missionary R. T. Bryan, of China, while on a visit
to America a few years ago, told me of a man in Chi
na who had fallen down a precipice, breaking his leg
and horribly gashing his head and arm. One had
dragged him to a place by the roadside, at the very
door of the temple of the goddess of mercy, and there
he had lain for three days, suffering indescribable
agony under the very eyes of the priests, with thou
sands of people passing constantly. At the end of
this time, maggots had formed in his wounds, and
during all this time he had had neither food nor
drink. When Mr. Bryan first saw him, the priest was
looking at him ,and was about to pass on, when Mr.
Bryan asked him why he, a priest of the goddess of
mercy, did not do something for the poor man, and
the priest answered that he had no time to waste
upon him. Mr. Bryan hired a man to take the man
away and wash his wounds, but the next day he died.
But the greatest burden of all is sin. They all rec
ognize something wrong, and in innumerable ways
try to rid themselves of their great burden, only to
fail. It is infinitely pathetic to see them going to
their temples to pray to their idols, and fondly hop
ing that those deaf pieces of stone have heard their
petitions. Their slavery to fear is something awful.
But in spite of prayer-wheels, and votive offerings,
incantations, and exorcism, their burden of sin re
But the most pathetic thing of all is that they
have a dim consciousness of God, and try to search
after him, but are unable to find him. They have
gods many, temples for them to inhabit; but the
true God they do not know. They are feeling after
God, if haply they may find him. They have not
beard Jesus say, “He that hath seen me hath seen
Ah, but when they do find God, how happy it
makes them! The Boxers came to a young China
man, and said, “If you will deny the Christians’
God, we will not kill you.” He replied, “God
knows that I know him. It would do no good to
deny him.” And they killed him with this confes
sion upon his lips.
Some, in this great soul searching, do find him.
It rests with ug to give this saving knowledge to