A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 770 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01.
God only.  On asking them whether he was a spirit or of a corporeal nature, they said he was a spirit.  Being asked if God had ever assumed the human mature, they answered never.  Since, then, said I, you believe God to be a spirit, wherefore do yow make so many images of him; and as you believe that he never took upon him the human form, wherefore do you represent him under the image of a man, rather than of any other creature?  To this they answered, we do not make images of God; but when any of our rich men die, or their wives or children, or dear friends, they cause images to be made of the deceased, which are placed in the temple, which we venerate in respect to their memory.  Then, said I, you do these things in flattery of men:  but they insisted it was only in remembrance.  They then asked me, as if in derision, where is God?  To this I answered by another question, where is your soul? and they said, in our bodies.  Then, said I, is it not in every part of your body, ruling over the whole, yet cannot be seen.  Even in the same manner God is everywhere, ruling all things, yet is invisible, being intelligence and wisdom.  I would willingly have proceeded in this conference, but my interpreter became weary and unable to express my meaning, so that I was obliged to desist.

The Moals and Tartars follow the same religion, in so far that they believe in one only God; but they make images in felt of their departed friends, which they cover with fine costly garments.  These they carry about with them in one or two appropriate carts, which no person must touch, except their priests or soothsayers who have the care of them.  This is to be understood only of the great men who are of the race of Zingis, for the poor or meaner people have none such.  These soothsayers constantly attend upon the court of Mangu and other great personages; and when the court moves, these men precede the march, like the pillar of cloud before the children of Israel.  They determine on the site of the new encampment, and unload their houses first, after which they are imitated by the whole court.  On days of festival, such as the kalends or commencements of their months, these images are placed in order around their idol houses, and the Moals enter in and bow themselves before these images, to do them reverence.  Strangers are never permitted to enter, so that once endeavouring to go into one of these tabernacles, I was sore chidden for my presumption.

[1] The following more complete account of this superstition, has been
    deemed worthy of insertion.

“These supposed Nestorian Christians were undoubtedly professors of the religion of the Dalai-Lama, who had several usages and ceremonies resembling corrupt Christianity.  Like the Roman catholics, they had rosaries, containing 108 beads, and their prayer is, Hom-Mani-Pema- Hum.  This does not signify, as asserted by Rubruquis, God! thou knowest it; nor, as supposed by Messerschmid, God have mercy on us
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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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