Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Giants, and How to Fight Them.

 The Giants, and How to Fight Them is a Christian work by Rev R. Newton, that dates from 1862. It provides a valuable insight into moral, spiritual and colonial values of the period. It is also of historical interest for those interested in education and children's reading at this time.

The Giants described in his book are Heathenism, Selfishness, Covetousness, Ill-Temper, and Intemperance ("Often he is seen covered with dirt, gathered from the gutter where he has been lying."). An example of Newton's writing follows.

The first giant I am to speak of, is the Giant Heathenism. 

This giant doesn't live here. He is found in countries where the Gospel is not known. His castles may be seen in Africa, and in India, in China, and in the islands of the sea. He is a huge giant. He has a great many heads, more indeed than I can pretend to count. In every country where idols are worshipped one of the heads of this giant may be found. One of these heads is called Juggernaut; another is called Brahma; another Buddha, and many such like names. This giant is very strong, and very cruel. We read in that interesting book called "Pilgrim's Progress," about a giant whose name was Despair, and who lived in a castle called "Doubting Castle." He used to seize the pilgrims to the heavenly city, as they ventured on his grounds. When he had caught them, he used to thrust them into a dark, dismal dungeon, and beat them with his great club; and treat them so badly that many of them were driven to kill themselves. He was a very strong giant, and very cruel. And Heathenism, the giant of whom I am speaking, is just like him in these respects.

He Is Vert Strong. He is so strong that he keeps six hundred millions of people in his dungeons all the time. They are bound hand and foot. They cannot possibly get out, till the friends of Jesus attack the giant, and make him let go of them.

And he is Very Cruel, as well as very strong. The things that are done in some of the dungeons where he dwells show how cruel he is. Look at India. There is Juggernaut, one of the heads of this giant. This idol is kept on a great heavy car. At certain seasons of the year, when they have a festival, this car is dragged out. Hundreds of people take hold of the rope and pull it along; and while it rolls on, great numbers of men and women will throw themselves down before the car, and be crushed to death under its wheels, as they roll over them. For miles around the temple you may see the bones of the poor creatures who have been crushed in this way.

In other parts of his dungeon this giant makes his poor wretched prisoners put iron hooks through the flesh, on the back of their bodies, and then swing themselves round, with the whole weight of their bodies resting on these hooks.

In other parts, he makes his poor prisoners kill a great many of their innocent children, as soon as they are born. Sometimes their parents will dig a hole in the ground, and bury their baby, alive, in it. Sometimes they will throw them into the river, to be drowned, or devoured by alligators. In some places, along the river Ganges, there are crocodiles that live almost altogether on the dear little babies that are thrown in, by their cruel mothers, to be devoured alive by those horrible monsters.

In the South Sea Islands, three out of four of all the children born used to be killed.

In one tribe of people in India, that numbered 12,000 men, there were only thirty women. All the rest had been killed when they were young.

In the city of Pekin many infants are thrown out into the streets every night. Sometimes they are killed, at once, by the fall. Sometimes they are only half killed, and linger, moaning in agony, till the morning. Then the police go round, and pick them up, and throw them, altogether, into a hole, and bury them.

In Africa the children are sometimes burnt alive. In India they are sometimes exposed in the woods till they either starve to death, or are devoured by the jackals and vultures. In the South Sea Islands they used, sometimes, to strangle their babies; while at other times they would break all their joints; first their fingers and toes, then their ankles and wrists, and then their elbows and knees.

Surely they are horrible dungeons in which such dreadful things are done! And the giant Heathenism, who makes his prisoners do such things, must be indeed a cruel giant!

Well, what are we to do to this giant? Why, we must Fight him, as David did Goliath. We do not expect to kill him outright. He will never be killed till Jesus comes again. He Himself will kill the giant Heathenism. But we can cut off some of the giants' heads, and set some of his prisoners free. We are bound, in duty, to fight against this giant. But how are we to do this? Just as David did. He fought against Goliath with a sling and a stone. He picked the stones out of the brook, and hurled them at the giant. And this is what we must do. The Bible is the brook to which we must go. The truths which it contains are the stones that we must use.
When these truths are hurled against the head of this giant, they will sink into it just as David's pebble did into Goliath's head—and he will fall.

A Chinese idolater had become a Christian. He stood among his countrymen, one day, distributing some tracts. They were taken into the interior of China, and read. The reading of them led the people of many towns and villages to give up the worship of idols. This destroyed one of the heads of the giant. In the Sandwich Islands another of his heads has been destroyed; and another in the Islands of New Zealand; and another in the Feejee Islands. And Sunday-school children are trying to help in this work, when they assist in making contributions to, the Missionary cause. We are helping to throw the stones of truth at the heads of the giant Heathenism. When the Missionaries preach of Jesus to the heathen, they are slinging stones at the giant's head. God directs the stones which they throw, and makes them effectual to wound and disable the giant. David never could have killed Goliath, if left to himself. But God helped him, and then the stone did its work. And so God will help us: so He will help all who fight against the great cruel giant—Heathenism. Then let us go on, like brave giantkillers. We are sure to succeed, for God has promised that the Giant shall be killed at last.

The first giant is Heathenism. We are to fight him by throwing stones of truth at him.

But now let us go on to speak of some other giants. The one I have just spoken of lives a great way off from us. The others we are to fight against live near us. They may be found in our country ; in our own city; in our own homes; yes, even in our own Hearts. 

[My edition was awarded to Thomas Helm, 1st prize for arithmetic, Leith High school, 16th July 1874; the book was passed to Isabel helm in 1911] 

Giant Intemperance

1 comment:

  1. We've just reached our 25,000th viewing for the Monster Observatory. Thanks for your support. Dr Ian McCormick.