Puslapio vaizdai

ing no custom except as it pertains to uni- less earnestly strive to live after his examversal Christianity to do. His success in ple. The Japanese as a nation will never vocal music in the Cathedral of the Resur- become Christians by multiplication of inrection in Tokio has been amazing. dividuals, but rather of families; for Nip

Of the Protestant Christians to-day, pon's life and civilization, as all her hisnine tenths are away from home, from the tory shows, is a matter of families, the village priest and the graveyard. Rural units of society. Japan is hardly touched. Yet apart from Is Japan becoming a Christian nation? the church, a quiet and sure work is pro- If the answer must be given to mean the ceeding among the Japanese themselves, acceptance of the theology made in Eunot by individuals, but by families. Harsh rope, I reply, “Never." Christianity in native critics of missionaries who refuse Japan will develop without our traditions, dogmatic Christianity declare that there classifications, and controversies.

If anare more Christians without than within swer must be by statistics, in terms of the churches. My own view is that at mustard-seed phenomena, I answer, “Perleast five million Japanese see in Jesus haps.” If in terms of leaven and transtheir Master and in pure Christianity the formation, there can be no other answer only hope for Japan, and they more or than an emphatic “Yes."

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'HE cremation of the remains of the are as follows: a crematorium, or phra

late King of Siam took place at inoro, or premane, as it is sometimes called, Bangkok on March 16, amid circumstances is erected, and decorated in lavish fashion. of pomp and splendor that were probably The site of the phra moro is a large plot without precedent in a land that is accus- of land in front of the palace at Bangkok tomed to pageants of semibarbaric mag- that is known as the Premane Grounds. nificence.

Ordinarily the ground is used by foreignIn Siam, as the reader may or may not ers as golf-links, cricket-grounds, and for know, cremation is general, the interment other sports. Around the crematorium, of the dead taking place only when certain which is of wood, are built other wooden diseases are responsible for the demise. structures, to be used by the priests and The higher the rank of the deceased, the for the shows and festivities, secular and more impressive are the appointments and religious, that form an important part of the mise en scène of the cremation. Where the total function. royalty furnishes the silent principal to The ceremonies last several days. Each the solemn function, the incidentals are as morning begins with religious rites, hunelaborate as they are costly. So it was in dreds of priests conducting the services. the present instance.

Following these come theatrical shows, The death of King Chulalongkorn took the Siamese equivalent for vaudeville, place just a year ago. In accordance with wrestling-matches, and so forth; and at the etiquette of the Siamese court, the em- night there are fireworks in profusion. balmed body has been kept in the palace in The new king, the royal family, the nobles, the interval, surrounded day and night by and the court officials are among the speca guard of honor. Incidentally it may be tators from the beginning to the end of remarked that the elapsing period between the daily functions. the deaths of royal personages and the On the last day of the religious observlighting of their funeral-pyres has been ances, usually lasting a week or ten days, gradually reduced within recent years. the remains of the deceased are placed in a The remains of the grandfather of the jeweled urn, which is placed on a pyre of present king were kept nearly two years dried fagots. The king starts the fire, before being consigned to the flames. specially invited spectators throw holy canThose of the then crown prince, who died dles and sandalwood on the flames, and the in 1895, were not cremated until 1901. priests chant prayers meanwhile until the

The preparations for a royal cremation body is consumed.

After the pyre has burned itself out, the from a semibarbaric state to an indepenashes of the body are collected amid fur- dent kingdom, he abolished slavery, and,

, ther ceremonies, put in an urn, and placed more wonderful still, by his energy and in a building in the palace in which are constant devotion to duty, he inspired his kept the urns of the reigning family. people with an enthusiasm which has had

With the dawn of the morning ap- an effect on the national character; for the pointed for the recent royal cremation, Siamese of to-day are not the indolent, minute-guns began booming in various pleasure-loving people we knew them to be parts of Bangkok. All else was still, thirty years ago. traffic being stopped, and the usually chat- The Siamese people somewhat resemble ting, laughing Siamese for once the Japanese in their love of artistic effect hushed and subdued. From a very early and display. There is the same minute hour of the day the streets presented a attention to detail, the same harmonizing unique aspect. White being the Siamese of bright colors, and an equally fervent de


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mourning color, the spectacle of several votion to national style and conventions. thousand people so dressed, and packed In the construction of the royal cremaclosely together, wending their way slowly torium they showed that the Siamese style and reverently to the Premane Grounds, of architecture—which may be described gave one the impression, when viewed as ornate, for everything is sacrificed for from above, of a river of white on which the sake of elaborate ornamentation-is floated the heads of the people.

capable of much dignity and grandeur. What made the ceremonies specially in- For several months many hundred teresting was the remarkable enthusiasm skilled artisans, working under the direcshown both by Siamese and foreigners to tions of the king's architect, had been busy make the event a testimonial to the worth, night and day at the construction of the and a fitting close to the remarkable ca- meru, or central building, and the pavilreer, of a great monarch. King Chula- ions surrounding it. The meru was delongkorn was generally loved and re- signed to carry the large golden and bespected; he took a great and personal in- jeweled urn in which was placed, in a terest in the welfare of his people, and was kneeling posture, the body of the king. It by natural gifts eminently qualified to rule stood 110 feet high, rising from a base his people. He saw his country emerge ninety feet broad, and consisted of three

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platforms, on the top and middle one of ing, or inlay-work, some idea may be which was a golden frame which was to formed of the time and money spent upon receive the royal urn, and under which, it--all to be destroyed in a few minutes. within the closed middle chamber, were a As we took our seats in one of the paclosely packed pile of dry fagots.

vilions that surrounded the crematorium, At each of the four corners of the large and awaited the entrance of the royal promain platform were the praying-towers, cession, about us was a living sea of white, where the yellow-robed priests sat reciting silent and expectant. Already the priests the Buddhist scriptures.

in the praying-tower had begun their moThe pillars and walls of the cremato- notonous incantation. There was a slight rium were beautifully ornamented with a smell of burning incense, and the stewards groundwork of gold, over which scenes were making final preparations for the refrom the sacred books, worked in blue silk, ception of the distinguished mourners. gave a charming effect. On each platform There was a moment of hushed expectancy, were delicately carved figures of angels and over the still and torrid air came the and of yaks (devils), the former in atti- sound of a low wail, which grew louder tudes of devotion and prayer, the latter and louder as the Tamruet Band, 300 holding the large pagoda-shaped umbrellas, strong, clad in scarlet, came marching the emblems of royalty. The ceilings had slowly along the broad Palace Road, the a beautifully chased design in gold and drummers leading, behind them the silver blue, alternating with inlaid mother-of- trumpets, then the long line of conchpearl, and from the inside of the eaves shells, and last the clarionets and flutes. hung great golden curtains lined with red. Some distance behind the band, looking

When we consider that almost every very pompous and sedate, marched the inch of this enormous building was elabo- high officials,

high officials, carrying great jeweled rately ornamented in hand-painting, carv- swords, long silver spears, golden vessel,

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