Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

because he expressed himself as if he were of my opinion. Before they entered upon a new conversation, I asked permission to retire.—Pp. 235, 236.

66

We select the following interesting examples of Abyssinian peculiarities and prejudices, as well as of their sentiments upon certain points of belief. (We may remark, by the way, that Bruce is yet traditionally remembered in the country, and with much respect.)

This afternoon, his disciple Habeta Selasse came to see me. He has always a great number of questions to ask me. It is evident that he is eager to learn ; but I have had a much bigher pleasure to-day, on seeing him touched with a sense of his spiritual misery. I desire," said he to me, “to become good ; but I feel thai I am wicked ; even when I sincerely desire to do good, Satan always finds a hold on my heart.” Conversation arose about the Lord's Supper ; and when we came to the article of Transubstantiation, he inanifested a kind of horror at it, and said to me, “We call the bread and the wine of the Holy Supper the body and the blood of Jesus Christ, that we may not confound them with ordinary bread and wine. We believe that the bread in itself remains bread, and the wine remains wine; but believers, in receiving the bread and wine, receive spiritually the body and blood of Jesus Christ." He made inquiries concerning the Greeks, the Copts, and the Armenians; and asked me from which of these three sects they should elect an Abuna. I, as usual, took the opportunity of showing him the errors and crimes into which people fall

, when they neglect the Word of God. I told him that there was no great difference; that they are all corrupted in doctrine and practice; but that there are promising appearances that the Greeks will improve in course of time.Pp. 92, 93.

To-day is Good Friday bere. The people send their servants to salute their acquaintances; and they are frequently going in and going out of church. I went there also ; and found a company of young people, with two or three priests, who were inattentively reading Chrysostom. The churches of Abyssinia are very neat, entirely covered with carpets, which are very dear in this country. All the ornaments which they have in the shape of images are, commoniy, the Trinity under different forms, most frequently that of three old men; Jesus on the cross; the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove; the Virgin Mary, with the Infant Jesus on the left arm; St. George, and the patron saint of the church. There are also good and bad angels; the bad are represented as burning in Aames with the devil. There is never wanting a St. Michael. The churches are commonly built by some great person, and enriched by the sins of the rich : that is to say, when a rich man has done some evil, his father confessor imposes on him a long and rigorous fast; but at the same time proposes, that if the fast be too difficult for him, he, the priest, will fast for him ; on condition, however, that he should give a certain sum of money for the church of such a saint. It is said, quite openly enough, that the priest does not fail to pay himself also for his fast. I had a visit from a man of the royal family, who told me that he gains his living by labour. He acts the writer, the painter, and the joiner. He complained nuch of the corruption of the people; but I fear that it is only because they leave him in poverty: at the same time, I saw with pleasure that he carries about with him a copy of the Gospel according to St. John.

April 17, 1830.—This morning, at break of day, the priests of two churches, St. Michael and St. George, came to sing in my room, one party after the other. Afterward, I went to the house of the Etchegua, who was for the first time visible after the fast. I was not able to speak much with him, because the priests of all the churches of the city came, one after the other, to sing at his house, as they did at mine this morning. The sight of them, at first, gave me great pain, because their vestments much more resembled carnival masquerade dresses, than the decent clothing of the servants of God: but afterward I endeavoured to lay aside all the feelings of a European, to view the thing just as it is. Never did I feel the spirit of prayer animate me with so much ardour and pity. There are commonly two priests, two boys of fourteen or fifteen years of age, and one of ten, dressed in clothes of richly-coloured silk, with very clumsy crowns. One of the priests carries a great cross, and the youngest boy a band-bell. Besides those, there are from three to eight other priests, dressed in wbite, according to custom. They sing in a very rustic manner, but not without regularity, according to the tenor of these words of St. Paul, Rom. iv. 25 : Jesus was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. In singing, they make several signs with the right hand, which at first sight do not appear very well to agree with the words of their hymn. In finishing, they softly strike the ground with the foot, and bow, so as to kiss the ground as they pronounce the last word. They remained in this posture while the Etchegua offered vows for the whole country; till at length be closed by beginning the Lord's Prayer, which each accompanied in a low voice. In other houses, it is the office of one of the priests to make vows for the house which they visit.Pp. 117–119.

I had afterward a long conversation with Guebra Haiwat, and then with a priest, on the Lord's Supper. They call the consecration of the bread and wine, which is raisin-juice and water, melawate (a change), and they are very much afraid of explaining this term: yet, when I urged them to explain it, both of them told me, that the nature of the bread and wine is not changed; that the bread remains bread, and the wine, wine ; but that those who receive them with faith, receive Jesus Christ : this is why, after consecration, they call the bread, flesh, and the wine, blood. Among the Abyssinians there must be at least five priests and deacons to be able to give the communion. If a less number should do it, they would be excommunicated: yet when I tell them that a single priest is sufficient, proving it to them by the example of Jesus Christ and St. Paul, they say that I am right. Many of those who visit me say, that, among the great people, they talk of requiring me for an Abuna, but there are others wbo oppose it.-P. 223.

From Mr. Gobat's concluding general remarks, we select the following:

The Christians of Abyssinia are at present divided into three parties; so inimical to each other, that they curse one another, and will no longer partake of the Sacrament together. It is one single point of Theology that disunites them; but I have so much enlarged upon it in my journal, that I need only mention it here ;-—it is, the unceasing dispute concerning the unction of Jesus Christ. One party is of opinion, that when it is said that Jesus Christ was anointed with the Holy Spirit, it is meant that the Godhead was united with the human nature of Jesus Christ; and that, in all the passages of the Bible where the Holy Spirit is represented as having been given to Jesus Christ, the name Holy Spirit only signifies the divinity of Christ, who had no need of the assistance of the Holy Spirit, whom he could not receive, having always possessed him. Their manner of expressing themselves is, that Jesus Christ has anointed ; that He has been anointed ; and that He himself is the unction. This party is chiefly in Tigré—the most exasperated one. Their doctrine was that of the last Coptic Abuna.—The second opinion is, that when it is said that Jesus Christ was anointed with the Holy Spirit, it is signified merely that the Holy Spirit accomplished the union of the Godhead with the human nature in the person of Christ. This party is principally to be found in the provinces of Godjam and Lasta.— The third opinion, predominating in all the other provinces of Abyssinia, even in Shoa, is, that Jesus Christ as man, although united to the Godhead from the moment of his conception, received the Holy Ghost in the human part of his nature, in the same manner as we receive bim ; viz. as a gift of the Father; in order that he might be enabled to accomplish, as man, the work of our

VOL. XX. NO. I.

D

redemption : whence they conclude, that, because Jesus Christ received the Holy Spirit as we receive him, bis unction is to be called a third birth. These are the most tolerant. I have understood that, after my departure from Gondar, some of the most learned men left off calling the unction of Jesus Christ a birth. It appears that these differences of opinion are founded upon the different views they have adopted of the two natures of Jesus Christ; although, according to the letter, they are all Monophsites.—They hold, as all the other sects of the eası do, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father only. If we except the differences of opinion concerning the unction of Jesus Christ, they have all nearly the same superstition.—Pp. 342, 343.

The priests receive the Lord's Supper every day; and others, either every Sunday, or when they choose. During the time appointed for fasting, they celebrate the Communion at three o'clock in the afternoon, and at other times at day-break. Even when not attending communion, those who observe fasting do not eat any thing till it is over. For the administration of this Sacrament there must be at least five priests and deacons present. Besides priests and monks, scarcely any but aged persons and children attend communion; whence it may easily be concluded that there is no kind of order. The communionservice consists in reading some chapters from the Gospels, and in chaunting some prayers ; the whole being performed in an unknown tongue. They call the consecration of the bread and wine, Melawat, a change;" but at Gondar I found po person who believed in Transubstantiation. In Tigré there are some who believe in it; and when they are asked bow the ungodly and unbelievers can receive Jesus Christ, they reply, that an angel comes to take Him away from their mouths, and they merely eat the bread and drink the wine. It must be a man, and not a woman, that breaks the bread for the communion. The wine is the juice of dried grapes, with water.-Pp. 344, 3-15.

The ordination of priests is easily performed. It is sufficient for a man to know the letters of his Alphabet, with a few prayers, and to give two pieces of salt to the Interpreter of the Abuna or Coptic bishop; after which he receives the imposition of hands, without examination or exhortation : and this is the reason why those who are better instructed would be ashained to be made priests. There are exceptions ; but I am speaking of the generality.--P. 349.

The Abyssinians do not hold a purgatory, yet they appear sometimes to confound the notion of hell with Hades; and they are generally persuaded that the souls of the righteous dead are advanced to a higher degree of felicity by the prayers, &c. of friends, and of the Church. Mr. Gobat, we are happy to observe, bears a very high testimony to the kindliness of feeling, and comparative morality of the people. He is of opinion that the orgies described by Bruce, must have been celebrated by disreputable libertines.

We beg to recommend this amusing and interesting book to our readers. The remarks which we have felt compelled to offer upon certain portions, have not proceeded from any feeling of disrepect to the reverend author. On the contrary, we feel the sincerest admiration and regard for those devoted servants of Christ who so fearlessly go forth for his name's sake. Our strictures proceeded from an anxiety that a country which merits our warmest sympathy, a country which, hemmed in and cut short by beleaguering Mussulmen and Pagan tribes, greatly needs support, should derive the full advantage of christian effort. It would be a lamentable recklessness to excite jealousies amongst the people, which would induce them to reject our help, and thus, to our disgrace as Christians, ensure their gradual ruin. If Ethiopia, in her distress, is stretching out her hands unto God, and British succour is destined to be the channel of his mercy, let it not fail by misdirection or mismanagement. Moral aid, and christian instruction, will soon develop the strength and resources of this interesting and teachable people, and may render political interference needless. Let us not mar the good work by wantonly shocking the prejudices of our fellow-Christians, or by obtruding unwisely our own.

LITERARY REPORT.

The Life of the Just. Being the Sub- passages of scripture, violently torn

stance of a Sermon preached in Hare- from their contexts, are thrust in, wood Church, before the Lord Bishop without either rhyme or reason,

to the of Ripon. By J. W. GOWRING, utter perversion of their meanings. B. A., Curate of Havewood. London: Verily, the people of Harewood may Simpkin. 1837. Pp. 23.

congratulate themselves, that of what We were highly amused at the naïveté

ever else they may be deprived, they of the following brief notice prefixed

at least have got their full share of to this discourse :

Calvinism. “The Author had selected his text, according to his usual custom, from one

A Free and Explanatory Version of of the portions of Scripture appointed the Epistles. By the Rev. E. BARfor the Sunday, and was not aware that LEE, late Fellow of St. John's College, the Bishop would have been present Oxford, und Rector of Worlinguntil he went to church.”

worth-cum-Sout holl, in the County The text is from the words, “ The of Suffolk. London: Pickering. just shall live by his faith.” The tone

1837. and temper of the whole discourse may The authorized version is never unbe judged of from the following pas- necessarily departed from by Mr. sage, page 4: “llere is one of those Barlee; who, however, has so well passages which the Arminians and conducted his improvements, that Methodists of the present day, like while we have in reality a new version, their father the devil, who could mis- we still feel that, after all, it is only quote scripture, (compare Matt. iv. 6 another and better form of the one to with Ps. xci. 11, 12) perverts and which we have been attached from wrests in order to give some specious childhood; it is alter et idem.By appearance of truth to their blasphe- inserting also short and brief explanamous assertions. The way in which tions into the body of the text itself, these words are frequently quoted is, he has forced the most careless to “ He that runs may read,'" &c. &c. pause with the self inquiry, “UnderThe preacher then goes on to contend standest thou what thou readest?" that it should be thus uoderstood, The benevolent anthor professes his “that he may run (i. e. escape) that desire to promote, by this publication, readeth it." But enough of this “the instruction of the poorer classes, discourse, wbich has more than the and adds the following declaration of usual allowance of the defects attend- bis intentions and feelings in the ant on unwritten sermons. Many Preface.

оп

“He is quite sensible of the serious land admits, that this was the doctrine responsibility of the attempt, and its of the Fathers; we believe it has, many deficiencies; but he begs to state, too, been all along the doctrine of the that his purpose has been merely to put

greatest theologians of the Church of together, in a simple form, the thoughts

England; of this, however, we are and interpretations of others, and that, as he believes, there is not one explana

sure, that there is nothing inconsistent tion which has not for its author some

with this high view, either in the Arlearned and eminent divine."

ticles or Ritual of our Church. As

the Scotch Ritual is much more full We cordially approve of the design, and clear than our own, the preacher praise its execution, and recommend makes his allusions to that when it to general use for purposes of speaking of the two-fold nature of christian edification.

the Eucharist, as an oblation, and as a sucrament. They (the bread and

wine] are presented among our obSermons the Apostles' Creed.

lations to Almighty God, in which Preached in the Episcopal Chapel of

oblations we give to God his own, St. John the Evangelist, Edinburgh.

from bis own, in acknowledgment of By the Rev. Geo. AYLIFFE Poole,

his goodness and providence.” He B.A. Edinburgh: Grant. 1837.

speaks of the consecration thus, in

allusion to the invocation of the Pp. 392.

Holy Ghost, in the Scotch Ritual : Clear and perspicuous in style, cogent " We

pray

that God would bless in argument, and sound in the faith, and sanctify with his Spirit these his are these discourses. There are, in creatures of bread and wine, so our language, numerous

and more

that they may become, not only in copious expositions of the Creed; but our intention, but by his grace and none which bring all the essential power also; not only to our imaginapoints into a smaller compass, or a tion, hut to the very strengthening and form so admirably adapted for the refreshing of our souls, the body and exigencies of the present time. They blood of his Son." And again : " They are, in short, what was wanted for the are endowed with such virtue from on Church in its present state. The high, as to be justly entitled to the preacher is peculiarly happy in bis name, in a symbolical and sacraexposition of the doctrine of the sa

mental sense,

of the body and blood craments; of which he justly says,- of Christ; and as such, they ought to “ A due administration of the sacra- be approached with the greatest rements enters into the simplest possible verence, not merely as the vehicle of definition of the Church which we call good things, and as the commemoraholy and catholic.” He thus admir- tive symbols of one great sacrifice; ably shows the meaning which too but as possessing a relative holiness to many erroneously attach to the term which nothing else can pretend.". regeneration : "Those who ohject to To revert once more to Baptism; the expression baptismal regeneration, the following sentence is admirable :by regeneration inean, for the most “What approaches most nearly, to part, the first influx of irresistible and that grace of their own imagining, indefectible grace: grace that cannot which they call regeneration, is the be repelled by its subject, and which

repentance not to be repented of, and must issue in his final salvation. Now, followed by fruits of righteousness to of such grace our Church knows no- the glory of God's grace, and to the thing, and of course, therefore, means salvation of the Christian, which we not by regeneration at baptism, the call conversion or renewal, and attrifirst influx of such grace."

bute to the same Spirit from which we With regard to the sacrament of the receive our new life at baptism; and Altar, the eloquent preacher maintains which we hold to be as necessary to the high and positive consecration of the salvation of one who has fallen the elements, considered in themselves, from bis baptismal purity (and who and independent of their use. Water- bath not so fallen ?) as we hold bap

« ПредишнаНапред »