Page images
PDF
EPUB

to her elder sister of Rome. We make some extracts from the account of the catacombs, and the use to which Dr. Henderson's zeal appropriated them :

“Our lights being provided, we descended into the passage leading to the Catacombs, known by the name of St. Anthony's, the founder of the monastery, whose relics are preserved in a cubitory at the extremity of the labyrinth. This passage is about six feet in height, but so extremely narrow, that it is with difficulty that iwo persons can pass each other. Like all the other apertures and terraneous galleries to wbich it leads, it is dug out of the hill, which seems to consist of a mixture of sand and clay, possessing a considerable degree of adhesion, but too soft to be entiHed to the character of stone.

“We had not proceeded far, when we came to a niche on the right side of the pase sage, containing a coffin without the lid, in which lay the mummied body of one of the saints, wrapped in a silken shroud, with one of the stiffened hands placed in such a posture, as easily to receive the kisses of those who visit the cemetery for purposes of devotion. Besides these niches, we canie every now and then to separate dormitories, in “ the sides of the pit"-- little chambers having been dug in the sand, and after the bodies had been deposited in them, again closed up by a thin all, parallel with the side of the gallery, in which, about four feet from the ground, a small glass window is inserted, discovering, on a candle being beld to it, the funeral attire of its unghostly inhabitant. In one of these little chambers we were shewn the remains of a rigorous ascetic of the pame of John, who, as the legend goes, constructed his own dormitory, and, after building himself in by a wall with a small window, as above described, he interred himself up to the waist, and in this posture performed bis devotions, till death left him in possession of the grave he had wade. A figure representing him is visible through the small aperture, but whether his mummy, or merely his effigy, we could not determine. Another of these sepulchres is said to contain the relics of the twelve friars who first addicted themselves to the severities of the monastic life in this place, one of the bones of the protomartyr Stephen, and some of the children of Bethlehem, murdered by order of King Herod !-p, 182, 183.

“ Our visit to these “ dark places,” in “the nether parts of the earth,” where we literally were “ among those that be dead of old,” tended, in no small degree, to furnish us with lively recollections of those passages of Scripture, which represent the grave as a pit or cavern, into which a descent is necessary, Psalm xxviii. 1. ; cxliii. 7. ; Prov, i, 12.; where there are deep recesses, containing dormitories, or separate burying-places, Isaiah xiv. 15; Ezek: xxxii, 23, so that each dead body may be said to “lie in its own house," Isaiah xiv. 18; and “rest in its own bed," chap. lvii. 2. The idea also of a vast subterraneous abode necessarily presented itself to our minds an idea frequently to be met with in the sacred and other oriental writings. Hence Solomon, when treating of the end of man's mortal existence, calls the grave,

his long home,” Eccles. xii. 5. ; to which, as the family residence, descendants are said to “go,” or “ be gathered” at death, Gen. xv. 15; 2 Kings xxii. 20; and on one of the ancient Phenician inscriptions, found on the island of Malta, the same idea of the grave, as a place of residence, is evidently conveyed ;

, , , , “ chamber of the long abode—the grave.”

“ The origin of the catacombs of Kief is to be traced to the introduction of the ascetic life into Russia. Hilarion, Presbyter of Berestof, a learned and devout man, abandoning bis church, and the intercourse of the world, dug a cell, two fathoms in depth, in a sequestered and woody part of the hill, close to the spot where the monastery now stands, where he imposed upon himself numerous acts of mortifications

the“ ,חדר בת קלם קבר ,which, if properly divided, is ,חדרבתעלמקבר

[ocr errors]

till called by Iaroslav to be the Metropolitan of Russia. The cell, however, was soon re-occupied by a native of Liubetch, who, after performing a pilgrimage to Mount Athos, where he received the tonsure, and assumed the name of Antonius, endeavoured to settle in some monastery; but not finding any sufficiently strict in its rules of discipline, he repaired to the cave of Hilarion. Here be led a most retired and austere life, addicting himself to prayer and fasting, and, in a short time acquired such reputation for sanctity, that immense crowds of devotees, among whom the Grand Duke Iziaslav bimself came to his cell, in order to obtain his blessingOther ascetics now associ uted themselves with bim, and enlarged the subterraneous reclusion; a regular monastery was at length formed ; churches and chapels were erected for the accommodation of those who visited the place ; and, in the course of time, after miraculous powers were ascribed to the relics of the original founders and others, who bad rendered themselves famous for the rigour of their discipline, the spot obtuined that celebrity which it still retains in the present day.

“It is the great resort of pilgrims from all parts of the empire, not even excepting Kamstchatka, and other distant regions of Siberia, who, as they proceed bither, collect money from those who are not able to come in person, with wbich they purchase candles to be placed before the images of the saints. The average number of those who annually perform this pilgrimage, is estimated at 50,000.-186, 187.

“ To direct the attention of such weary pilgrims, most of whom are excited to proceed bither from a concern about the salvation of their souls, to that book which alone reveals HIM wbo is the true way to eternal life, we could not but regard as an object highly deserving the consideration of the Bible Society, and accordingly took the liberty to propose, that depots of Bibles and New Testaments should be established in the chambers, where all the pilgrims purchase and light the candles with which they proceed into the Catacombs. It gave us pleasure to find that our proposition was instantly approved, and two very appropriate inscriptions, which had been drawn up by the Secretary, were read, adopted, and ordered to be fixed in the most conspicnous places at the entrance to the tombs.”—193, 194.

What will our Caledonian friends think of the assumption by the Russ of their national saint ?

We next visited the church of St. Andrew, which is built at a short distance from that just mentioned, and being situated on a projecting point of the bill, commands one of the most extensive prospects of any place about Kief.

“ It owes its name to a tradition that the Apostle Andrew, in the course of his missionary excursions among the Scythians, planted the cross on this hill, and predicted, that, at a future period, it would become the site of a city, and of numerous churches dedicated to the honour of his Divine Master.

In the course of their journey they fall in with some Moldavian villages, and we are glad to learn that their change of masters has been beneficial :

The inhabitants seem to have been in great poverty during the period of their subjection to the Turks, and the priests are scarcely distinguishable from the common peasants; but their circumstances are beginning to improve, and measures are adopting for accelerating the amelioration both of their physical and mental condition. They are the descendants of the Daci, and of the Roman colonists who were planted here by Trajan; and their language, commonly known by the name of the Wallachian, presents a curious mixture of foreign words. Of these, a very great portion is Italian, or vulgar Latin, a considerable number Slavonic, and the rest are Gotbic, Greek, or Turkish. The peasants still call themselves Rumanie, or Ro

mans, a name they inherit from their ancestors, who actually enjoyed the title and privileges of Roman citizens.

It was not without feelings of melancholy interest that we travelled through a territory once inbabited by a literary Cbristian people, who have now totally perished from the face of the earth, I refer to the Goths. Abandoning their original seats, they made inroads into the Roman provinces, and established themselves on both sides of the Dniester. Those who dwelt to the east of that river obtained the name of Ostro-Goths, and those who inhabited the region on its western bank, that of Visi or West Goths. In Dacia, they not only found the Romana rustica, which considerably affected the purity of their language, but the Christian religion, which they adopted, and in which they were instructed and confirmed by learned presbyters, whom, among other prisoners, they took captive during their irruptions into the eastern parts of the Roman empire. Their Metropolitan, Theophilus, was present at the Nicean Council, in the year 325 ; and bis successor Ulpbilas, invented an alphabet for their use, and translated the Scriptures into their vernacular language.”—249, 250, 251.

They soon after met with as remarkable a monument of the transitory nature of human ambition and its objects, as the hut on the Louja, or the field of Pultava :

“ As we descended into a deep valley, in the midst of this mountain scenery, our attention was arrested by a monument on the left side of the road, which, on our coming up to it, proved to be that erected by order of the Empress Catherine, on the spot where Prince Potemkin terminated a life the most splendid for bonors, dignities, and riches, that perhaps ever fell to the lot of a courtier. It consists of a round pillar, standing on a pedestal, and exhibiting on two sides of a square tablature, near the summit, a Russian inscription, the letters of which, owing to the softness of the stone, are beginning to become illegible."--page 255.

We could have wished that our Author had been able to collect some circumstances connected with a remarkable race of people whose origin and history are still most singularly obscure.

Pervading every country, and settling in none-retaining relics of an oriental language, but disfigured by words stolen from every other

-devoid equally of every principle, moral, social, and religious they present a field for the philologist, the philanthropist, and the Christian, that we wonder has not been cultivated. We think Bright mentions, in his interesting Travels in Hungary, that they have been in every instance with success proselyted from their wandering life. In this age of Christian benevolence, we think the subject might be successfully taken up.

“ Next to the Jews, who have a fine synagogue, and amount in number to upwards of 4,000, the most remarkable race that arrests the eye of the traveller is the Tchiganies, or Gypsies, who inhabit a particular quarter of the town, and are distinguished by habits, occupations, and a polity peculiar to themselves.

“ The first time we observed any of this singular-looking class of men was at Kursk; they increased upon us as we proceeded southward ; and towards the Turkish frontiers, they became exceedingly numerous; but it was only at this place that we found any of them stationary. Their houses are built of wood, within small courts inclosed by wattled fences, in the same manner as those of the Moldavians, and exhibited more of cleanliness and order than might be supposed from the general appearance of the people. Their females are exceedingly fond of dress, and generally adorn themselves with a profusion of trinkets. Some of tbem possess a consi. derable share of beauty; but with all their efforts to brighten their skin by the gloss which they contrive to give to their faces, they find it impossible to eradicate the unequivocal marks which they exhibit of remote Asiatic origin. Some of the men practise bandicrafts, but the greater number deal in horses, and are frequently absent a great part of the year.

“ of the strolling Gypsies we saw great numbers encamped with their waggons and baggage, in the vicinity of the town. Their look was baggard and miserable in the extreme. They had recentiy arrived from Turkey, and appeared to be in circumstances of great poverty. They mostly subsist by juggling and fortune-telling, and are notorious for pilfering and dissolute conduct.

Not only the physiognomy, but the language of this remarkable people, proves them to be of Indian origin; but at what period, or by what 'means they first penetrated into Europe, in almost every country of which they are found to exist, is a problem yet remaining unsolved in the history of our species."-257, 258.

We give the following extracts without any attempt at arrangement:

“Of the emigrants whose acquaintance we formed, none interested us so much as Daniel, the Metropolitan of Adrianople, a man of very short stature, and of a lively, active, and pious turn of mind. On receiving intelligence of the execution of the Constantinopolitan Patriarch, Gregory, he concerted measures of escape from his see, as there was reason to apprehend that he might be the next dignitary on wbom the Turks would exercise their wanton barbarity; but, such was the strictness with wbich the Greeks of Adrianople were watched, that he found no possibility of effecting his purpose, except by suffering himself to be confined in an empty cask, in which he was conveyed on a cart, drawn by oxen, in the midst of a caravan tbat had been hired to carry a large quantity of wine to the coast of the Euxine. In this awkward situation he remained for three days, till safely shipped for Russia. The account he gave us of the destitute state of his countrymen, in regard to the Holy Scriptures, was lamentable in the extreme.

Among other antiquities we saw at the house of the General, was a beautiful collection of Tangute, or Tibetan prayers, in the best state of preservation. They are written with silver letters on black paper. They were found by a peasant while digging the ground, and have, no doubt, been left here in the grand Mongolian expedition, under Dcbingis-Khan.-263, 264.

“ We now entered the extensive steppe between the Dniester and the Bog, the Sors desertus of the Peutigerian Table,where, with the exception of the post-houses, the only objects that relieved the dreariness of the scenery, were a number of sculptured monuments, erected as way-marks, at irregular distances on both sides of the road. They consist of large male and female images, hewn in stone, whose physiognomy, shape, and costume, evidently prove them to be designed to represent a people of Mongolian origin. They are executed with considerable taste, the features, limbs and ornaments being all distinctly marked. Some of them are erect, and others in a sitting posture. They bold with both hands, in front of their body, a small box or pot, and are generally raised to some height above the stone forming the pedestal by which they are supported. They were found on the tumuli, which are scatterred all over the steppe, and are in every respect, the same with those described by Pallas, of which we had afterwards pumerous specimens in our progress through ancient Scythia. The fact that these regions were inundated in the 13th century by the Mongolian hordes, under Dchingis Khan, might naturally suggest the idea that these monuments are to be ascribed to that period; but this hypothesis

is overthrown by the mention made of their existence by Ammianus Marcellinus, a writer of the fourth century, whose observation, that the features they exbibited were of the same cast with those of the Huns (Xovvol), forces upon us the conclusion that they were erected by the Mongolian tribes distinguished by that name, which were driven over the Volga by the Sien-pi, in the year 374, and spread alarm through all the nations inhabiting the eastern frontiers of the Roman empire. - 267, 268.

“The 19th of June was a remarkable day in the history of Odessa, being the day on which the corpse of the late Greek Patriarch Gregory was interred, with all the pomp and splendour with which it was natural to expect the Russians would bonour the principal dignitary of a Church, from which the light of Christianity was first introduced into this country, and to which they still maintain the most zealous and devoted attachment.

“ The body which had lain some time at the Quarantine, was conveyed in solemn procession up to the principal church two days before, and placed on a large catafalk, erected for its reception in the centre of the church. It was richly ornamented with various trappings of silver and gold, and surrounded by a greut profusion of candles, which, together with the crowd, rendered the heat of the place almost suffocating. After the usual mass for the dead bad been performed at the altar, by the dignitaries of the Russian, Moldavian, Bulgarian, and Greek Churches, who bad been convened on the occasion, Constantine, a Greek monk of distinguished talents, who had been the Patriarch's chaplain and steward, ascended an elevated scaffold, at the opposite end of the church, and delivered a most eloquent and pathetic funeral oration, in modern Greek, from the words, Εν γενεά αυτου εδοξάσθη, και η oóča ávtoữ óvk égalel ponoetai, which he selected, and adapted to his subject, from the 8th and 13th verses of the xlivth chapter of the apocryphal Book of Wisdom.—273, 274.

“ The only object that attracted our notice as we pursued our journey towards Kherson, were the immense tumuli which lay scattered in every direction, the more distant of which, with now and then a straggling but, seemed elevated above the horizon, like so many ships resting on the smooth and shining surface of the

Similar phenomena, produced by saline vapours, exhaled by the excessive heat of the sun, we bad afterwards frequently occasion to admire; presenting to the view, islands, castles, and a thousand fancied shapes, rising above the water, and exhibiting a curious undulating motion ; yet, with all the experience we had of the deception, we were more than once imposed on by the speciousness of their appearance, and conceived that we were approaching a lake or an arm of the sea, when in reality in the midst of a dry and arid steppe.

It is to an optical deception of this nature, that reference is made in that beautiful propbetic description, given by Isaiah, of the blessings of Messiah's reign, chap. xxxv. 7.

:

The imaginary water shall become a lake,

And the thirsty soil fountains of water. “What bad existed only in appearance, and thus deceived the beholder, should now be converted into reality : an image bighly calculated to produce an impression on the mind of an oriental reader, who is accustomed to witness the phenomenon, and bas often been disappointed by the vain expectations it excites. This lusus naturæ is wbat the French call mirage. It is seen in Provence and the department of the Rbone, and has often been described by travellers.—278, 279.

We are convinced that our readers will not censure us for the

Ocean.

והיה השרב לאגם וצמאון למבועי מים:

« PreviousContinue »