Morelstshiki (i.e., self-immolators), also called the "Voluntary Martyrs," a Russian sect of fanatics, whose wild and savage practices are more like those of ancient Scandinavians than of professing Christians of the 19th century. It is difficult to know what are the dogmas of these voluntary martyrs, because they have no printed books, and they do not confide to foreigners the mysteries of their sect. Regarding the Old and New Testament as having been corrupted, it is said that they give themselves the right to change it. They recognize God the Father, manifested to men under the double form of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. They reject the true death and resurrection of Jesus, maintaining that the body placed in the sepulchre by Joseph of Arimathea was not the Lord's body, but that of an obscure soldier. They think that Christ will soon return, and make his triumphant entrance into Moscow, and that thither his disciples will hasten from every part of the earth. They do not observe the Sabbath. Their only religious holiday is Easter. They then celebrate the Lord's Supper with bread which has been buried in the tomb of some saint, supposing that it thus receives a kind of mysterious consecration. Their meetings are held on Saturday night. The following are a few lines of one of their hymns: "Be firm, mariners! Triumph over the tempest! Fear neither fire nor whirlwind. Christ is with us. He will collect the faithful in his vessel. His masts will not break; his sails will never be rent; and he will hold the helm firmly, and land us in a safe haven. The Holy Spirit is with us; the Holy Spirit is in us." Their custom is to meet together on a certain day in the year in some retired place, and, having dug a pit, to fill it with wood, straw, and other combustibles, while they are singing weird hymns, like that of which we have given an extract, relating to the ceremony. Fire is then applied to the piled fuel, and numbers leap into the midst of it, stimulated by the triumphant hymns of those around, to purchase a supposed martyrdom by their suicidal act. Others, without sacrificing life, cruelly mutilate their bodies, like the fanatics of India, who throw themselves beneath the triumphal car of their idol. These sectarians are to be found chiefly in the north of Russia, especially Siberia, but they are also represented on the banks of the Volga. There are a few at Moscow, St. Petersburg, Riga, Odessa, etc. They try to make proselytes in the army, but the imperial police pursue their missionaries, and when they are discovered punish them most cruelly. The Russian government has endeavored to suppress them by means of very severe measures, but has thus far failed in doing so. See Marsden, Hist. of Christian Churches and Sects, 2:231, 232.

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