But there is an idol in Thibet, which there is not in China. It is a LIVING IDOL. He is called the Grand Lama. There are Lamas in Tartary, but the GRAND Lama is in Thibet. He is looked up to as the greatest being in the world, by all the Lamas in Tartary, and by all the people of the Buddhist religion. There are more people,—a great many more,—who honor him, than who honor our GREAT GOD.
But this man leads a miserable life. When one Lama dies, another is chosen;—some little baby,—and he is placed in a very grand palace, and worshipped as a god all his life long. I have heard of one of these baby Lamas, who, when only eighteen months old, sat up with great majesty on his pile of cushions. When strangers entered, he looked at them kindly, and when they made a speech to him, he bowed his little head very graciously. What a sad fate for this poor infant! To be set up as a god, and taught to think himself a god—while all the time he is a helpless, foolish, sinful, dying creature!
This is the chief city of Thibet. Here is the palace of the Grand Lama. If is of enormous size. What do you think of TEN THOUSAND rooms? Did you ever hear of so large a house? Neither did you ever hear of so high a house. It is almost as high as the pinnacle of St. Paul’s church. There are seven stories, and on the highest story are the state apartments of the Grand Lama. It is no matter to him how many flights of stairs there may be to reach his rooms; for he is never allowed to walk; but it is fatiguing for his worshippers to ascend so high. I suppose the priests make their Grand Lama live so high up, that he may be like our God who dwells in the highest heavens. Who occupy the ten thousand rooms of the palace? Chiefly idols of gold and silver. The house outside is richly adorned, and its roof glitters with gold.
There are many magnificent houses in Thibet, where priests live. No one could live with them, who could not bear a great noise: for three times a day the priests meet to worship, and each time they hollo with all their might, to do honor to Buddha. The noise is stunning, but they do not think it loud enough; so on feast days, they use copper instruments, such as drums and trumpets, of the most enormous size, and with them they send forth an overwhelming sound.
This unmeaning noise may well remind us of a sound—louder far—that shall one day be heard; so loud that all the world will hear it. It is the sound of the LAST TRUMPET! It will wake the dead. Stout hearts will quail; devils will tremble; but all those who love the Lord, will rejoice and say, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us.”—(Is. xxv. 9.)
This is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Part of it indeed is flat—that part near Hindustan; but in the midst—there are mountains; and streams running down their sides, and swelling into lovely rivers, winding along the fruitful valleys. Such scenes might remind you of Switzerland, the most beautiful country in Europe.