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second interview. I thought him very agreeable. He asked very sensible questions, and answered those I put to him, in an intelligent manner. He apologized for his inquisitiveness. 'I am, perhaps, impertinent,' said he, “but remember what a strange thing it is, for a Koord to have a conversation with an Englishman; and what a desire he must have to profit by it, and inform himself of things which he could learn in no other way, but which it must do him good to know.''
The peasantry in Koordistan, are a totally distinct race from the tribes, which seldom, if ever, cultivate the soil ; while on the other hand, the peasants are never soldiers. The clannish Koords call themselves Sipah, or military Koords, in contradistinction to the peasant Koords. The clans conceive the peasants to be merely created for their use ; and wretched indeed is the condition of these Koordish cultivators.
“I observe in general," remarks Mr. Rich," the Koords are much more eager after information, much more diffident of themselves, and much easier to instruct than the Turks, and, I believe, than the Persians either ; for there are certain things which a Persian will readily adopt, but others in literature and science, in which he conceives himself to be highly superior to other nations. A Turk has a comfortable idea of his own superiority in every thing, and has a thorough contenipt for whatever he does not understand. The Mohammedan religion is a bar to all improvement. A nation could not be civilized and remain Mohammedan. Islamism is, without exception, the religion which is the most exclusive of all improvement, and the most favorable to the permanence of falsehood and error. Mohammed has meddled with every thing, and poisoned every thing he touched. A Turk blasphemes who believes any point of ancient history, concerning which Mohammed has pronounced his opinion.”
“ No women can conduct themselves with more real propriety than the Koordish ladies ; and their morality far exceeds that of the Turkish females. They are treated as equals by their husbands, and they laugh at, and despise the slavish subjection of the Turkish women. There is something approaching to domestic comfort in Koordistan ; in Turkey the idea is quite unknown.” “Adela Khanum,” remarks Mrs. Rich, in a brief journal of hers, in an appendix, “ the wife of the Pasha, has a very mild and touching expression of countenance. She looked as if she had known sorrow, there was a dignified resignation and stillness in her deportment, that quite affected me. She is the only wife of the Pasha, and they are much attached to each other; and have been endeared to one another by their common sorrow for the death of many children by the smallpox. She seemed almost afraid to speak of her little boy as likely to remain with them. Her eyes filled with tears as she most tenderly looked at him, and added, “ he is not mine, but God's. His will be done.'”
Our limits will not allow us to proceed further in quotations from these volumes. We have written this short account of them, partly from the very interesting nature of their contents, and partly from the fact that the principal foreign missionary association of this country is directing its attention to the regions of western and central Asia as an inviting field for christian and philanthropic effort. No benevolent man can read Mr. Rich's journals without earnestly desiring that pure Christianity may soon take the place of that bloody fatalism which now spreads gloom and wo over some of the finest countries of the globe. What political changes will occur before that day arrives, we know not.
All the governments of central Asia are feeble and ready to vanish away. England or Russia could easily subdue the vast territories between the Caucasus and the Indus. Whether such an event, in the case of Russia, would be for the advantage of the people, or for the spread of Christianity, there is room for serious doubt. An infusion of European mind is, however, clearly wanted. The death-like torpor which now prevails, needs to be broken up.
In this view we cannot but be gratified with the efforts of the British government to open a steam-navigation on the Euphrates. Whether this particular measure shall meet with success, or the reverse, we may still be allowed to hope that it is the beginning of a series of efforts to introduce the arts of civilization where a semi-barbarism has long reigned.
THE HISTORICAL Books OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
By Hermann Olshausen, professor ordinarius of Theology in the University of Koenigsberg.
Translated from the German, by David Fosdick, Jr. Boston.
[The following essay is taken from a little volume lately published by Olshausen, entitled “Nachweis der Aechtheit sämtlicher Schriften des N. Test.” For information in respect to the character of Olshausen, our readers are referred to Bib. Repos. III. 151, 161, 757. VIII. 88 seq. His candid and very valuable essay on the authenticity of the second epistle of Peter was inserted in the last volume of this work. His commentary on the Acts of the Apostles is now in the process of translation by Mr. Fosdick. EDITOR.
Preliminary Remarks on the New Testament generally.
The oldest traces of the existence of the whole New Testament as a settled collection occur so late as three centuries after the times of the apostles. The particular reason why so long a period elapsed before this body of writings became definitely determined was, that its individual books, which of course existed before the whole collection, were at first circulated in part singly, and in part in smaller collections. For, so long as the apostles were upon earth, and the power of the Spirit from on high was in lively action in every member of the church, so long there was no sensible necessity of a book to serve as the norm or rule of faith and practice. Whenever any uncertainty arose in regard to either, application was made to one of the apostles, and his advice was taken. The Epistles of the apostle Paul owe their origin in part to such inquiries. Now some of the apostles lived to a great age. Peter and Paul, it is true, died under the emperor Nero (67 A. D.), suffering martyrdom at Rome; but the evangelist John, who outlived all the rest, was upwards of 90 years of age at his death, which did not happen till the time of the emperor Domitian, at the close of the first century. Hence, in the lifetime of the apostles, though their writings were highly valued, they were naturally not regarded as sacred writings, which were to be the rule of faith, because there was a more immediate guarantee of truth in the living discourse of the apostles and their first companions, as also in the Spirit who was so powerfully exerting his influence upon the church. The apostolic writinys, therefore, were indeed read in the public assemblies, but not alone, and not regularly. The book for regular public reading was still the Old Testament; and this is always to be understood in the New Testament when the Holy Scriptures are mentioned. Besides the apostolic writings, however, other profitable books were used for the edification of the church. In particular, we have still some remains of the writings of immediate disciples of the apostles, coinmonly called apostolic fathers, which were publicly read in the ancient churches.
These men all lived in the first century and some time in the second. Among them are Clement, bishop of Rome, Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, Hermas, who was probably presbyter at Rome, and the well-known Barnabas. The epistles of Clement and Polycarp, as well as the book of Hermas, were read with special assiduity in the ancient churches. On account of the great antiquity of these writings, they very seldom quote the books of the New Testament, and much of what coincides with the contents of the New Testament, e. g. Christ's sayings, may have been drawn by these apostolic fathers from oral tradition as well as from perusal of the gospels. Indeed, the former is perhaps most probable, since they certainly did not read the gospels so assiduously as they were read in later times, when it was impossible to listen to the living discourse of the apostles and their immediate companions. The reason why so few written remains of the immediate disciples of our Lord are now extant, is in part the long lapse of time which has destroyed many books, but in part, also, that the ancient Christians labored more than they wrote. The preaching of the gospel and the regulation of infant churches consumed so much of their time, that little remained to be employed in composition. Moreover, in the first century it was as when Paul wrote (1 Cor. 1:26): Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. For the most part only people of inferior standing joined the church of Christ; and these had neither the capacity nor the inclination to labor with the pen. In these circumstances it is undoubtedly true
that we find little information concerning the books of the New Testament in the first century. That they did nevertheless exist in the church, we shall prove hereafter. It might, then, be expected that although the most ancient Christians do not speak of their sacred writings, still the heathen writers of Greece and Rome must have done so, considering the multiplicity of their works on all subjects. But the heathen writers who were contemporary with the apostles and the apostolic church make no mention of the apostolic writings, because they cared nothing at all about the christian church as a whole. They considered the Christians as only a sect of the Jews, and despised them as much as they did the latter. They therefore credited the malicious reports which were circulated respecting the Christians, and treated them accordingly as the off-scouring of humanity. Such is the procedure of Tacitus, a noble Roman, who relates the persecution of the Christians under Nero. Thus, of course, nothing could induce the Greeks and Romans to cultivate acquaintance with the writings of the Christians; particularly as they were distasteful on another account, from their not being clothed in the same elegant language as their productions. It was only when the number of the Christians became so great as to excite apprehension, that they began to pay attention to every thing of importance concerning this new sect, and so at last to their sacred books. It is not, however, till after the middle of the second century, that we find examples like that of Celsus, who, in order to confute the Christians, acquainted himself with their sacred books.
The original condition of the maiden church, in which less stress was laid on the Scripture than on the word of the apostles, was not, indeed, of long continuance. For the mighty outpouring of the Spirit, which, on the day of Pentecost, filled the disciples of our Saviour, had hardly been communicated to a number of other minds, and lost its first power, when erroneous schisms began to prevail in the church. The germs of these may even be discovered in the writings of the apostles. The first of these party divisions of the ancient church, was that of the Jewish Christians. As early as in the epistle to the Galatians, Paul speaks expressly of persons who desired to bring the Galatian Christians again under the yoke of the law. They wished faith in Christ and his redemption, to be regarded as insufficient for salvation, unless circumcision and the observance of the law were added. The great teacher of the Gentiles, Vol. IX. No. 25.