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Serope, now Archbishop of Astrachan, is highly respected by the Armenians in India; but not by those round Ararat. He was formerly a member of the Propaganda, and then turned to the Armenian Church. He was known by Henry Martyn. He was Professor of the Eleazarean college of Moscow.
Michael Salanth, an Armenian archbishop at Moscow, has discovered, or brought into notice, an Armenian poem, called the "Muses of Ararat."
The following Europeans, who have written about Armenia and Armenian literature, are highly esteemed by the Armenians in Calcutta, and those of Venice. Professor Neumann at Munich in Bavaria has translated the chronicles of Vahram, an historian, cotemporary with the Crusaders. Avdall wrote to me about Neumann, "The misapprehension of a certain passage in the text, has induced the translator to attach an unmerited stigma of heresy to poor Vahram, whom he says he pities, for a fault of which he is not guilty." M. J. St. Martin and Villefroy are highly esteemed by the Armenians. The Armenians have translated several European writers. Avdall has translated Johnson's Rasselas, and Chateaubriand's Atala. Mesrop, a young gentleman at Julfa, has translated Heber's Palestine. At Venice, the Mehitarites have published in the Armenian convent of Saint Lazaro, English-Armenian, and French-Armenian grammars, &c.
During the twelve years of my mission, I have met every where traces of Christianity. In Egypt, I found the Copts; in Palestine and Mount Libanus, the Maronites, Syrians, Greeks, Armenians and Armenian Catholics; in Mesopotamia, at Merdeen, Mosool, Arbel and Bagdad, I met with the Jacobites, the followers of Nestorius, and Roman Catholics; in Asia Minor, Trebison, Bayazid, and Shoosha in the land of Karabagh, again Armenians; and at Tiflis, the Georgians professed the name of Jesus Christ, and there I met even with devoted German colonists; and thus it was in Macedonia, and in the Greek islands, the name of Jesus Christ was professed in some form or other. Now the reader will follow me in my wanderings from Teheraun, towards a country, where the Gospel of our Lord has never been preached, where the light of the Gospel never shone; a land, untrodden by the Apostles of old, or missionaries of later times. The reader will now see me wandering towards a country, inhabited by followers of the Arabian Fanatic, and a few only of the Children of Israel; never visited but by wandering tribes for the purpose of plunder, and intoxicated Dervishes: a country, in which human life is estimated at the lowest price.
Khorossaun is the name of one country: Bokhara is the name of the other country and city, towards which I am now directing my steps.
DEPARTURE FROM TEHERAUN.
I had agreed with Haje Sheikh Mohammed, the son of the grand Mullah of the Sheah at Herat, who had daily visited me in the British Embassy at Teheraun, to go in his company to Herat.
September 23.—The camels came near the British Embassy, where I had resided all the time: my effects were loaded; they consisted of Bibles, a few clothes, and some victuals; and thus we went out of the gate of Teheraun, to wait there, until the whole of the caravan had assembled. Haje Telah Multane, a Hindoo cf Checarpoor, whose Hindoo name was Eyshee, and Mullah Bahram, the Guebre, Agent of Sir John Campbell, accompanied me out of the gate. Our caravan consisted of 150 camels and 20 camel drivers. Haje Sheikh Mohammed of Herat, with his wife and children, Ali Akbar and a Dervish of Candahar, were my fellow travellers. We travelled the whole night, and arrived at Hezaar Ameen, 16 miles distant from Teheraun, a village inhabited by Curds. This nation is scattered from Damascus to Khorossaun. The Curds and Arabs being complete democrats, anarchy and robbery prevail among them in a greater degree than under any monarchical government.
Haje Sheikh Mohammed entered to-day at large into the subject of a dispute, which took place in former times between the Benee Abbas, the Sunee, and Benee Fatimah or Sheah, relating to the succession of the Khalifat.
Sept. 25.—We arrived at Ivanee Keif, 24 English miles from the former place, a little village inhabited by the Ali Ullahe. Here we pitched our tent, which comfort however, I could only enjoy for a short time. I asked my friend Haje Sheikh Mohammed's opinion about the establishment of sacrifices, whilst he was sitting with me smoking his galyoon. After having given some puffs of his galyoon, he observed, "Abraham saw twice in a dream, that it was God's command to kill Ishmael his son; (peace upon him!) he went then with Hagar's permission to Mecca to kill Ishmael, whom he had bound. The Devil tried to prevent it, but Abraham insisted upon executing the command of God; however, the moment he put the knife to his throat, it did not cut. God the most High sent them a sheep, which he killed instead of him: hence the beginning of sacrifices."
I then told him the Christians' views respecting sacrifices; how that without shedding of blood, there was no forgiveness of sin, and that the sacrifices of animals, and even the sacrifice of Isaac and the death of Abel, were types and figures of the great sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, once offered for us all, upon the altar of the cross.
Sept. 26.—We arrived early in the morning at Arradoon, 24 miles from the former place. As an ass of our caravan went astray, we did not move on to-day. An old castle, built by Guebres in former times, is seen here. It is remarkable that in these little villages towards Khorossaun, the Mussulmans themselves, as those of Arradoon and Lasghd, speak the old Persian, the Pehlevee language.
Haje Sheikh Mohammed came again to my tent, smoking his galyoon; he gave me the following account: "Khosroe Parweez was King of Persia in the time of Mohammed; he was of the religion of the Guebres. Mohammed wrote to him a letter, in which he stated the tenets of his religion: Parweez tore the letter in pieces; Mohammed heard of it, and exclaimed, 'Thus his belly shall be torn.' Khosroe killed his father Parweez, and tore his belly in pieces. Khosroe reigned a short time; then Hassan, Omar's General, took possession of Persia." I then told him of Paul's conversion to Christ, and of the spiritual conquests of Christ. The Affghaun camel drivers, seated near my tent, listened with attention to the conversation carried on between their Sheikh and myself.
The Jews said to Mohammed, "If your religion is the true one, why do you turn your face towards Jerusalem? why has not God given you another kebla?"* From that time, Mohammed wished in his heart that God might give him another kebla. Whilst one day praying at Medina with a crowd of people, and having turned his face towards Jerusalem, the Angel Gabriel came, and took him by his shoulders, and turned his face towards Mecca; from that time the Kebla was established. I recited then to my Mohammedan friend, the words of our Lord to the woman of Samaria: "The hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor at Jerusalem worship the Father: but the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth."
Oh that the Mohammedan world may soon turn their face towards Thee, Oh Temple, which can never be broken down; which once was broken, and built up again after three days! Haje Sheikh Mohammed told me the following story about Cain and Abel: "God commanded Abel to marry the twin sister of Cain, and he commanded Cain to marry the twin sister of Abel; but Cain wanted to marry his own twin sister, married to Abel, and therefore he put Abel to death."
Ali Akbar, a merchant from Candahar, informs me, that there are only a few Jews at Candahar. Poor, poor Israel! Do not you observe, how your brother is going about, and enquiring where he may find you all over the world, to speak to you about the good Shepherd, who came in fulness of time to seek those sheep, that were lost? And I, following my Saviour's steps, am now seeking you in the mountains of Toorkestaun, and Aifghanistaun, and among the unkind people of Khorossaun; banished from those ties that are dear to my heart. It is a great thing to belong to the Lord, and to look out for the Lord's people!
* Kebla is the quarter towards which they turn their faces during prayer.
Haje Sheikh Mohammed continued the conversation, sitting in my tent.
/. I like to converse with you, for you are a man of candour, and one who has seen the world; I can learn something from you. Tell me now openly, what do you think about Christianity?
Haje Sheikh Mohammed. We do not think it to be a good religion, for the same reason as you believe Judaism not to be a good religion. You believe Judaism not to be a good religion, because it was abolished by Jesus; and for the same reason we believe Christianity not to be a good religion, because it was abolished by Mohammed.
/. We do not say that Moses and the Prophet3 were abolished; but that Judaism was accomplished, and its types were realised, and the prophecies respecting the incarnation, sufferings and death of Jesus were fulfilled. We believe that sin came into the world, by Adam and Eve's transgression, with all our sorrows and woes; and therefore God promised to Adam, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the rest of the Prophets, one, who should be brought like a lamb to the slaughter, and thus take away the sins of the world, i. e. Jesus of Nazareth. He came, and the religion of the Jews was accomplished.
H. S. M. And Mohammed was the Prophet after Jesus.
1. How do you know that Mohammed was a true Prophet?
H. S. M. By his miracles: he divided the moon; and persons, taller than himself, became shorter as soon as they walked with him; he had no shadow as other people have; he was able to see every thing with his back, as well as with his eyes; the earth opened itself and swallowed up the uncleanness of his digestion.
I. (Continuing to question him, for it would in the first instance have been of no use to urge him to produce proofs; and besides this, it would have exasperated him.) How did Mohammed promote his religion?
H. S. M. With a few by persuasion, but with most by the sword.
/. Does God want merely outward confession, or belief of the heart?
H. S. M. Belief of the heart.
I. Now suppose, that you go to England, and all Englishmen hold the sword to your throat, and say, "If you do not become a Christian, we kill you;" fear might betray you into an external consent, but this will not make you a Christian in heart.
//. S. M. Mohammed was driven to use the sword from the number of his enemies, who, after he had made peace with them, attacked him again.
I. This does not alter the case, and the fact, that the sword can never be a means for persuading a man really of the truth of a religion.
CALVINISM AND ARMENIANISM AMONG MOHAMMEDANS.
The same question which divides Protestant Christians, divides the Mohammedans likewise: namely, Predestination, and Free will. Haje Sheikh Mohammed told me, that as well in Affghanistaun, as at Mecca, the grand question among the Mullahs is, "Is there destiny with free will: or destiny without free will?" Haje Sheikh Mohammed is an Arminian, and he answers like Milton, that "Foreknowledge of God does not affect the free will of man."
Sept. 28.—We arrived near the miserable village called Denamak, 20 English miles from Arradoon. We pitched our tent again, and my old friend Haje Sheikh Mohammed sat near me; for every thing had gone on smoothly. He informs me, that according to the views of Mussulmans, angels are creatures of God, endowed with a body like men, but entirely destitute of all the passions of earthly men: no desire of eating, drinking or propagating; always in the presence of God, singing praises and hymns to Him, and executing His commands. The angel Gabriel riding upon a horse, drowned Pharaoh in the sea. The conversation turned upon
ALEXANDER THE GREAT.
As well among the Jews, as the Parsees and Mohammedans, it is believed, that Alexander the Great came as far as the Land of Darkness. "Rivers were running around it; an angel with a fiery and flaming sword was guarding it, giving Alexander to understand, that no mortal could enter there; that here his ambitious designs must end. Alexander returned." Then we talked about
"After God had created Adam, he desired the angels to serve and worship him; all obeyed, except the Devil, who would not condescend to worship dust and earth, and therefore he was cast into Hell." I myself believe, that Lucifer, like the Socinians of the present day, refused to bow to the mystery of the Incarnation.
Walking this afternoon near the village of Denamak, (for in these countries one never enters the villages, but sleeps always in the desert places, or in the fields) and considering the difficulty one meets with in preaching Christ in these dark countries, my mind was lifted up to our heavenly Father, imploring the assistance and direction of his Spirit. Oh! these are happy moments at all times, as long as the soul is able to pour forth her sighs to her beloved; this sweetens all hardships and all persecutions!
Hale Sheikh Mohammed highly praised the following historical books, written in Persian: Tabaree, Rawsat Assoofa, and Habeeb Ussiar. It is perhaps not generally known, that one Ameer Sheer is the author of Rawsat Assoofa.
DEATH OF CHRIST.
Haje Sheikh Mohammed, as well as other Mullahs, tell me, that the death of Christ is believed by some Mohammedans, though