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quarrels never rise between you, and may
your fondness for each other increase day
by day. May you both learn to adhere to
truth, and be always pure in your thoughts
as well as actions, and always try to
please the Almighty, who is the lover of
truth and righteousness. Shun evil company;
abstain from avarice, envy, and pride; for
that is the road to destruction. Hold out a
helping hand to the needy and poor. May
success crown all your efforts. May you be
blessed with children and grand-children."
With more to the same effect. The last
acts of the ceremony are to wash the
bridegroom's toes with milk, and rub his face
with the bride's vest. This done, the feast

During the life of the bridegroom's father
it is usual for the young couple to reside with
him. The household of the illustrious and
wealthy Parsee, Sir Jamsetsee Jeejeebhoy,
includes nearly a hundred of his children and
descendants. In the Parsee services of death
and burial, we see simply the customs of old

Now we come to the fire-worship. It
began in the sixth century before Christ. Its
founder, Zurtosht or Zoroaster, lived in the
days of King Gushtasp, the Darius Hystaspes
of the Greek historians. He composed twenty-one
books, called the Avasta, which were
written in the Zend language. Of these, there
remain to us only six, together with the
fragments of three others. The rest of the work
was destroyed utterly, during the persecutions
of the Emperor Alexander and the
Caliph Omar.

Zurtosht finding his countrymen worshippers
of idols, taught that there is only one
God, the Creator, Ruler and Preserver of the
universe, uncreated, formless, and invisible.
The whole duty of man the prophet summed
up in three great requirements: purity of
speech, purity of action, purity of thought.
These lofty doctrines run through the whole
Zend Avasta. Evil is everywhere condemned
and degraded; righteousness everywhere
exalted and enjoined. Virtue alone, it is said, is
happiness in this world. Virtue is a garment
of honour; but vice is a robe of shame. The
sacrifices precious in the sight of Ormuzd (or
God) are good actions, and next to good
actions, good intentions. Truth is the basis
of all excellence; untruth is utterly

The symbol of all goodness is light.
Therefore said Ormuzd (the good principle)
to Zurtosht, "My light is hidden under all
that shines." It is right to feed the sacred
fire upon the altar, and to contemplate the
sun, as the great type of the everlasting light.
But, urges the Parsee to whose talk we are
listening, neither the ancient Persians nor the
modem Parsees deserve more seriously than
the English by their hearths, the character
of true Fire-worshippers. "The Parsees
themselves repel the charge with indignation.
Ask a Parsee whether he is a worshipper
of the sun or fire, and he will emphatically
answer, No !"

Eight and a-half centuries after the time of
Zurtosht, when his teachings had become
debased by false interpreters, a Reformation
was established. It happened under the
sovereignty of Ardeshir Babekan ; and from
this period there dates another sacred book,
the Revelations of Ardia Veraf, a work
very similar in structure to our Book of
Revelations. Ardai Veraf describes his visit
to the future home of the righteous. It was
a place formed, as it seemed, of rubies and
diamonds, with a splendour surpassing that
of the sun at noonday, resembling an eternal
flash of lightning. The air was filled with
delightful melody ; everything was beautiful
and blessed.

The practice of the Parsees shows that
their religion, which has, of course, its associated
superstitions, is something more than
a profession. They manifest honest desire to
live uprightly in the world; and their known
probity gives them the place of trust as
brokers for the European merchant. They
have acquired commercial influence in India
and the East, and there is a Parsee merchant's
house even in London. In all their relations
with each other, written agreements are
unknown : literally, it is the rule with them,
their word is their bond. Thus, by their
energy and truth, they everywhere prosper,
making at the same time generous use of their
well-earned wealth. The most illustrious
instance of their liberality is to be found in
the conduct of Sir Jamsetsee Jeejeebhoy, a
gentleman of world-wide fame. Numerous
schools and hospitals have been founded,
and continue to be supported by him: he
neglects no means of assisting the poor: all
western India is the field of his charity:
all creeds and castes share alike in his good

There is proof of the industry of the
Parsees, and of their care in providing for
those of their own body who fall into
misfortune. It was lately reported by a
goverment institution for the relief of paupers,
that "the public at large owe a debt of gratitude
to the Parsees of Bombay, for not one
beggar of that caste has ever applied for
relief, nor is a Parsee beggar ever to be seen
in our streets."

These worthy Fire-Worshippers are trusty
friends of England. They have from the
beginning understood and valued us. Our
countrymen in India know and value them;
so let us thank Mr. Dosabhoy Framjee for
helping all of us to know and value them in
England also.