Larger font
Smaller font

The Signs of the Times, vol. 13

 - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First

    November 17, 1887

    “That Paper Carnival” The Signs of the Times 13, 44, pp. 695, 696.

    THE “Paper Carnival” seems to have become a regular annual thing in the religious work of the “Church of the Advent,” San Francisco, “Rev. John Gray, pastor,” following immediately upon the close of the annual exhibition of the Mechanics’ Fair, and held in the Mechanics’ Fair Pavilion. This special religious effort of the Church of the Advent, for the year, continues a whole week—thus it did last year, and thus it has done this year. This year this season of special devotion began October 29, and ended November 6, the holy vigils being kept only at night, however. For the edification of our readers, we shall insert some of the published accounts of the particularly devotional scenes of these very devout people. Perhaps some sketches from the account of the exercises of the opening night will be all that is necessary. So we quote:—SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.1

    “Had a stranger stepped into the Mechanics’ Pavilion last night between 9 and 10 o’clock, he could have believed himself, if it were not for the spectators in modern dress, transported to Rome in the time of the great Cesar. In the center of the great Pavilion was the triumphal car of the first of the Cesar, drawn by slaves from the countries which the world conqueror had taken, and surrounded by some of the prettiest slaves that could have been gathered in all the empire, except that the ‘slaves’ on this occasion were from the Church of the Advent. Upon the car sat Caius Julius Cesar—at least Robert White, Jr., sat there, and although somewhat younger than Julius would have been, looked much as the busts of the great Consul represent him. ‘Cesar’ had designed the triumphal car, as also all the cars which were used, and showed a talent in this direction that the gentleman of the Pello Gallico might have envied. Standing over ‘Cesar’ was ‘Victory,’ a charming young lady, dressed in a striking costume of dazzling white. This was Miss Nellie Morse, and she grew rather weary of holding the gilt crown over ‘Cesar’s’ head.SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.2

    “Standing around ‘Cesar’ as a center, and filling the vast hall, were all the participants, to the number of over 1,000, arrayed in the costumes of every nation, every century, and every clime.... As all those taking part stood upon the Pavilion floor and the differently colored lights were flashed upon them, a scene was presented never to be forgotten by the beholders. Such a wreath of color, such gorgeousness of detail, were never seen before in this city at a similar entertainment. The flashing spears of the Roman soldiers; the chaste, white robes of the vestal virgins; the varied hues of the oriental garments worn by those from the far East, made up a pageant of barbarian splendor long to be remembered.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.3

    This “pageant of barbaric splendor” was divided up into about nine divisions, and conducted through a grand march. We have not space for the account of all the divisions; we shall content ourselves—and doubtless our readers will be contented—with the description of only two or three of them:—SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.4

    “The second division consisted of Greek mythological characters. It was led by Mrs. Gage as Juno, and beautiful-looking young ladies who took the parts of Minerva, Sybil, Pomona, Faith, Hope, Charity, Nemesis, The Three Fates, Peace, Fame, Diana, Ceres, Imps, Rhea, Luna, Saetitus, Felicity, Tranquillity, Concordia, Fortuna, Italia, Aurora, Daphne, Psyche, Night, Egeria, the Muses, Iris, and Satellites. Miss Lizzie McCormick, who took the part of Diana, was particularly noticeable, her dark blue robe falling in graceful folds around her, and contrasting strongly with the white vestments of the others. The car of Iris was much noticed. Iris was Miss Dottie Gray. In the forward part of the car were two swans, and back of Iris was a representation of a rainbow.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 695.5

    This is the account exactly as we find it, and although we are not very well versed in either the principles or the practices of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, we know that neither Faith, Hope, nor Charity, ever had any place among them. This, however, is no doubt the mistake of the reporter, who, seeing these excellent Christians confounding the pure graces of the Spirit of Christ, with the vengeful and impure gods and goddesses of the shameful heathen, supposed that these really were Greek gods, and of a class with all the others. But what sort of Christians can they be, anyhow, who have no more respect for the religion of Christ than to place its three choice graces in a confused association with a lot ofSITI November 17, 1887, page 695.6

    “Gods partial, changeful, passionate, unjust,SITI November 17, 1887, page 696.1

    Whose attributes were, rage, revenge, and lust”?SITI November 17, 1887, page 696.2

    But, as though this was not enough, they must descend yet lower. A short time ago the Chinese of San Francisco got a new god, and inaugurated its worship by a grand procession in which a huge Chinese dragon was carried in honor; and so to make their heathenish carnival complete, the celebrants of the Church of the Advent went to the Chinese and got the dragon that had been carried in the Chinese procession. The report continues:—SITI November 17, 1887, page 696.3

    “The last division was the hit of the evening. It was a take-off on the recent procession in Chinatown in honor of the joss, and was given by the Chinese booth. They marched along to the barbaric music of the tom-tom and the gong, carrying the same dragon that was carried in the real procession, Dugg Maynard acting as high-priest, and William C. Meagher, Paul Davis, and others jumping around the dragon in a very humorous way.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 696.4

    Exceedingly “humorous” it must have been indeed to see a company of men jumping around a Chinese dragon, like a veritable lot of heathen Chinamen themselves! An excellent way, this, to commend to the Chinese the superior merit and dignity of Christianity!SITI November 17, 1887, page 696.5

    But this was not all:—SITI November 17, 1887, page 696.6

    “At the conclusion of the grand march five tableaux were given, as follows, all of which showed much elaboration in their presentation: ‘Cesar Offering Sacrifice at the Temple of Jupiter,’ ‘Iris and Mercury Displaying the Messages of the Gods,’ Pictures from Mother Goose,’ ‘The Sacrifice to Priapus,’ ‘Penelope Carrying the Bow.’ These called forth much applause.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 696.7

    These things may, perhaps, have been worthy of the applause which they received—from those from whom they received it. But we cannot imagine what kind of a sacrifice to Priapus it could have been that should have called forth applause, unless indeed it were this: Donkeys were among the most acceptable sacrifices to Priapus; not if these 1,000 Church of the Advent devotees of Priapus and his fellow-gods and goddesses were represented in the tableau as donkeys being offered in sacrifice to Priapus, then we freely confess that the tableau was so perfectly appropriate as to justly deserve all the applause that could have been reasonably bestowed. To the minds of those who understand what Priapus really was, this will be considered what Priapus really was, this will be considered a very charitable view of what the sacrifice to Priapus probably was, as compared with what it might very properly be supposed to have been.SITI November 17, 1887, page 696.8

    This is only a part of the report of a single night’s revel. The exercises of all the other nights were only variations of this, “interspersed with favorite dances.” And the carnival was most fittingly closed with another Chinese-dragon parade, with accompaniments described as follows:—SITI November 17, 1887, page 696.9

    “The youthful portion of the attendants were thrown into ecstacies of delight by the reckless antics of the Chinese clowns, who formed themselves into a dragon procession and paraded about the hall, bearing aloft the huge head of a hideous monster, who had a frightful habit of gnashing his teeth and making awful lunges at every small boy within range. The parade being over, the Chinese were ‘captured’ and dragged forth from their laundry quarters, quaking with simulated terror, by a squad of policemen. The small boy’s cup of delight, which was already full to the brim, was caused to run over by this performance, and if he doesn’t dream of spooks and hobgoblins for a month to come it will not be the fault of the Chinese clowns.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 696.10

    The net profit of the carnival is reported to be “upward of $2,500,” and the whole report closes thus:—SITI November 17, 1887, page 696.11

    “All in all, the exhibition has been a grand success, and the results attained reflect much credit upon those who have had the management in hand.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 696.12

    It may be so, but it is certain that the more of such credit as that that is reflected upon a professed Christian, the more discreditable he will appear to all people who have any respect for the reality of the Christian profession. To realize that such practices as these can be carried on by people who profess to be Christians, is enough to bring the blush of indignant shame to the cheek of every soul who remembers the cross of Calvary, and the dying agonies of Him who was the “Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”SITI November 17, 1887, page 696.13