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to mark his conduct with disapprobation. David was a polygamist. True, a temporary one; but he was heavily rebuked : by the lips of Nathan God announced to him, “ I will take thy wives from before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour.' He lived to experience the infliction of this sore calamity, and to bow to the dust in penitence. The result was, his wives were “ in widowhood till the day of their death.” But does not Moses say, “ If a man have two wives,” &c.—thus sanctioning bigamy? No : the English version says so, but in Hebrew the verb is in the past tense—“ if a man had or have had"; and thus the passage says nothing of two simultaneous wives ; but, on the contrary, the provision for the rights of the first-born supposes his mother deceased.

But does he not say " thou shalt not take a wife to her sister ...... in her lifetime"? No, not at all, according to the idiomatic interpretation. “ A wife to her sister" is a Hebrew idiom, uniformly meaning, in the Old Testament, “one another”; and thus the passage is a plain prohibition of polygamy.

But another fact is advanced, as if it would overwhelm all opposition. If polygamy were unlawful, Samuel (a priest) and Solomon (a king) must have been illegitimate ! Here is a nonsequitur, wide enough to permit us to walk through it unscathed. “ Unlawful" is confounded with “ immoral.” It is assumed that what passed as law in Eli's and David's government was the law of God. Does it need proof that Eli and David, though both upright men, were guilty of great errors in government, and were severely punished? But here is another non-sequitur-polygamy is confounded with legitimacy. Legitimacy is a question of pure legislation, while marriage in God's code is moral, whatever it may be in national law, which varies in Scotland, England, and America. This was exemplified in Queens Mary and Elizabeth. If parties are immorally though legally united in marriage, they are sinners ; nor is this by any means a rare occurrence. But in illegitimacy there is no immorality, though a social and legal blight may rest on the person. But apart from argument, special pleading is employed,-Would it not be cruel and unjust to forsake the second, third, &c. wife ? Most undoubtedly. But what then ? May she not honourably and virtuously and happily live as his sister, supported by his industry, and contributing by her industry to the common stock, until granted a legal divorce, and thus held free to enter another matrimonial relation ? · Then, and then only, let her quondam husband be exempted from the duty of supporting her. Thus there is no shade of cruelty or injustice ;

Romanist and Protestant Missions.


no forsaking, and no perpetuation of the heart-burnings inseparable from a polygamic family.

We submit to Dr. Allen that in virtually ignoring the existence of various influential missions in different parts of India, lie has inconsiderately erred against the law of brotherhood, and done injustice to some Christian denominations as actively employed as the others in the work of propagating the Gospel of Christ.

Of the author's remarks on the Romish missions in India, we can only take a glance. He tells us,-" The Roman Catholic missionaries made no translations of the Scriptures in any of the languages of India. They wrote a work which they called Ezour Veda (Qu. Ishwar Veda, the Veda of God, or Isu Veda, the Veda of Jesus ?) and then attempted to obtain for it the honor of a genuine Hindu work of this name." (P. 559.) The work is described as ably executed, and so like, that some Brahmans did not detect the forgery. In 1761 Voltaire, becoming acquainted with its existence, used it “ to disprove the truth of the Holy Scriptures.". How short-sighted the cunning employed in pious frauds ! These missionaries found their way to the court of Akbar, and finding that monarch in a mood of mind disposing him to favour some eclectic and all-comprehensive form of religion, they published a work, “compiled, as they stated,' from the Holy Gospels and other Books of the Prophets;" but stuffed with strange stories and foolish legends concerning the Virgin Mary, Peter, and other saints. The result need not be detailed : Akbar and his court “ lost all respect for Christianity, and manifested no farther desire for inquiry.” In this, we lay not all the blame at the doors of the missionaries. Had Akbar been a true inquirer, the corrupt books, and their unsatisfactory character, would have stimulated him in the search for truth. But verily culpability of the Roman agents was of a grave character. Its issue illustrates the truth that “honesty is the best policy,”--that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. Some would have portions of the Scriptures withheld, as the historical and biographical, under the impression that the mere narratives of sinful actions formed valid objections against the inspiration of the Scriptures ; and on the same principle the Romanists have withheld from India the whole Bible. Those who feel this difficulty should seriously consider the fact that the Old Testament, by frequent quotations and references, is identified with the New; that the Apostles constantly proved, out of the Old Testament, that Jesus was the Messiah ; and that the reason why the lieathen in India are not able to take up the subject of Christian Evidence is just their want of the Old Testament History. If we cannot teach them that, in vain shall we try to teach them the histories of Babylon, Egypt, and such histories as are contained in Rollin. On the other hand, the knowledge of Old Testament History will make known the fulfilment of prophecies in Christ's genealogy, and prepare the mind for understanding the general fulfilment of prophecy.

But by this cursory allusion to a great subject,—the respective policies and the genius of Romanist and Protestant missions, we are only conveying a most inadequate representation of its importance. And we refer our readers to Dr. Allen's chapters on the subject, and to sach works as Hough's History of Christianity in India, Sir J. Emerson Tennent's Christianity in Ceylon, and Dr. Duff's pamphlet on the Romish Missions in Southern India.

And now we feel we have carried our readers beyond the bounds we intended; and we cordially recommend both works. We could have wished Dr. Allen had avoided numerous repetitions, as of statistical and other facts, and that his book had been more condensed, and perhaps we may be pardoned for saying more lively. But notwithstanding our strictures, we allow that it has a large measure of fairness and Christian spirit. It is got up in a style of good typography, a fair specimen of Boston. We doubt not it will be interesting to many American readers, and even here, where such works abound, it deserves to be known.


Italian Irrigation, being a Report on the Canals of Piedmont and

Lombardy. By R. BAIRD SMITH, F. G. s., Captain of
Engineers, Bengal Presidency. William Blackwood and
Sons, Edinburgh and London, 1855.

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THE system of irrigation to which for special reasons we now invite our readers' attention, is that effected by means of dams constructed of masonry across the rivers of Khandesh, for the Method of construction ; malerials.


purpose of raising water to a certain height, in order that being conveyed through trenches it may fertilise the land in the dry season.

The courses of the trenches are usually very irregular, making many detours, taking advantage of the natural levels of the ground, so that there are no deep cuttings, embankments, or aqueducts. The sites of the works have for the most part been chosen judiciously with reference to the land which they are designed to irrigate. No particular form of dam appears to have been invariably adhered to: some lie nearly straight across the stream, others obliquely to it in various degrees; generally speaking, however, they are more or less oblique, the lower end being that from which the water-course issues. As they are most frequently founded on rock, their forms are most irregular, where the rock is not continuous in the river.

The rivers across which these dams are thrown, have beds of sheet-rock with sand above, or sand and boulders mixed in various degrees. Although they are full during the rainy season, the other parts of the year their diminished stream is so spread over its bed as to be scarcely more than knee-deep in any one single place, and as it is easily diverted, masons experience no difficulty whatever in the prosecution of their work. "It will be generally found that the nearer the rivers are to the hills, the deeper and more confined are their banks, so that the water, not being spread over a broad surface, is less liable to absorption and more abundant; while the rich soil of the small valleys also holds out great inducements for the construction of a dam. As the streams reach the open plains, they become wider, their banks lower, and their water is

The consequence is that dams become fewer, and if the river flows over a large extent of open plain, are found to cease altogether. During the rains the quantity of water is so great, that leakage is comparatively of little consequence, and it is only for the sugar crop in the dry weather that the water-course is required to be at all perfect. The nearer the works are to the sources of the rivers, the more efficient they will generally be found, for as the supply of water is more abundant there, so also they are less likely to collect deposit.

The masonry, of which the dams are constructed, is a common sort of rubble stone-a coarse description of concrete, having pieces of brick the size of a hen's egg mixed with it, and choonam of the very best quality. The stone is the black basalt of the country. Occasionally large masses of the rubble are to be found in the face of the wall, but the interior stones are of small VOL. 7.-NO. I.


size ; and seldom or ever is dressed stone of any sort to be discovered either for facing, quoins, or coping. The lime is mixed with very coarse river sand.

In constructing these works, the plan usually adopted by the Natives appears to have been this :—The site having been fixed, holes were cut in the sheet-rock according to the line the dam was intended to follow, from six to thirteen inches square, the same or more in depth, and from three to six or more feet apart. In the holes thus cut, stone uprights, from three to four feet in height, were let, and either the dam was built in front of these stones, or, the stones were built into the dam, leaving only the back of the uprights visible. No particular proportions of thickness with respect to height ever appear to have been regarded, the height and thickness not unfrequently being found the same. The dams are in fact nothing more than strong, clumsy walls across rivers : commonly with a batter on both sides, narrowing towards the top. Not the slightest attempts ever appear to have been made towards getting rid of the deposit which has accumulated behind them, either by any arrangements in their original construction, or since their erection. In some cases they are filled to the very top of the wall, and have been occasionally abandoned for some others constructed lower down the stream. In many the deposit is within a few feet of the top of the bhundarra wall, and in every one, the sand brought down by the floods has more or less accumulated. In some dimunitive openings have been left, sometimes in the middle, in others at the very base, about a foot square, appearing as if they owed their origin to the builder's freaks rather than as if they were intended for some useful purpose.

In the heavy floods during the monsoon these works must have not unfrequently failed, and at the present day large masses of masonry below many of them are evidences of former injuries. In the beds of many streams, where the square holes in the shieetrock for inserting the stone uprights are still perfect, not a vestige of the former dam is to be seen. It is not improbable that many of the sites thus marked out may have been abandoned by the original projectors, when they had discovered better localities, or from other causes. It is, however, indisputable that the dams of this Province must have been very numerous in former times ; for one scarcely crosses a nullah of any size, on which remains of them are not distinctly visible. In some places they are still perfect, but useless on account of the scarcity of water-a subject which will be hereafter noticed. Tradition attributes their construction to the Mohamedans, and it is not

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