« ForrigeFortsett »
from the hazard of being so defiled. These temples could not fail, and have not failed, to be constituted general receiving-offices for the tributes of superstition, paid during life, and by bequest after death: for 'even people of moderate fortune,' says our Author, 'at their death bequeath part of their property not 'only to the clergy, but to the possessions of the temple.'
No clear notion is afforded of the dogmas of the Lama religion; but several of the forms of devotion are translated from the Mongol language, and among them one of the ' six great
• Jorohl, or Universal Litanies,' which are ' sung once a month * in the most solemn manner in their temples.' These forms appear composed for the most part, of unconnected sentences. Some of these convey acknowledgements, ascriptions, and petitions, very proper to be addressed to the true Divinity; some are attempts to express a conception of the nature, or of some attribute, of the power adored; some of them appear to be pure nonsense, overspread with a glimmer of mysticism; and some are petitions essentially absurd, to whatever power they were addressed. Of this last description are such as these: 'May hail
• storms, and stones that wound the feet of the traveller, be 'henceforth changed into flowers, and showers of flowers;' 'may
• all that lives remain for ever free from the pains of disease,'
• may all who are striving after any thing obtain the accom-' plisbment of their aim;' 'may aU who have been disfigured 'through indigence and misery be restored to personal beauty;'
• may all that breathe enjoy length of life; may the voice of 'death be no more heard,' &c. &c. &c. The mythological parts of these compositions have a very near resemblance, in the general cast of sentiment and fancy, to the devotional reveries so copiously poured into our literature of late years from the ancient sacred books of the Hindoos.
The desperate sincerity of the Mongols in their superstition, is attested by the extension of its apparatus and rites into all their abodes.
'Besides the public temples, and the numerous habitations of the priests in the country, which are in every respect the representatives of temples, all the nomadic tribes professing the Lama religion have in each habitation a holy place and altar, and certain sacred utensils for their domestic worship. This place is invariably on the side of their huts opposite to the entrance, and a little to the left as you go in. Wealthy people keep in their spacious and neatly-furnished dwelling houses, large decorated'altars, and utensils for their service, which are not inferior to those of the temples in value and magnificence. So powerfully are these people influenced by the fear of God and a spirit of religion, that even the poorest Mongol cannot live without an altar or consecrated place in his habitation. However plain, or even mean, these places may be, the owners mark with them the spot where, as they conceive, the presence of God dwells in their tent. This consecrated place they consider as holy; no person approaches or passes it with indifference, qr without lifting up his left hand in the most reverential manner. Every morning the altar and all the articles belonging to it are cleaned with things which are never used for any other purpose, and the seven basins are filled with fresh water. This done, each person prostrates three or nine times before the altar, and at last blesses himself by touching it with his head.' p. 126.
They practise a kind of baptism, which is performed a few days after the birth of the child, and at which two names are given him, a secular one, for ordinary use, and a spiritual one, conferred by the priest, and never used except on religious occasions. The name of a priest, it should seem, is never to be pronounced by those to whom he acts as instructer. It is too sacred; and they either say simply master, or teacher, in speaking olhim, or make a name for him to obviate the liability to profaneness.
It is from the circumstance that man knows he must die, that religion in some form or other, obstinately clings to him in all regions and ages; and whatever pretends to be a religion, is required to do something in his aid at the hour of death. The Lama religion is very busy about its disciples at that gloomy season, and, it seems, with no small effect; for,
'In imminent danger they willingly prepare for death, make all necessary arrangements themselves, and have the masses for the dead said for them while yet living. A kind of history of the soul's pilgrimage to paradise is commonly read to the patient while still in perfect possession of his faculties; and many likewise desire to hear it when about to embark in any dangerous enterprise. This history not only describes the course of the pilgrimage, but likewise contains exhortations against pusillanimity in pressing dangers, with religious encouragement to vanquish death by the hope of everlasting bliss in paradise. I have seen these people, so distinguished by the warmth of their religious zeal, expire with perfect faith and resignation.'
The Tscherkessians, though a race of so much less local extension than the Mongols, are next in importance in our Author's exhibition. But our very narrow limits will allow no satisfactory account of them. Though a much more energetic, they are represented as a much less amiable portion of humanity, than the ugly Mongols*, to whom they are in person so advantageously contrasted. They are fierce barbarians, in a state of utter predatory wildness. They are suspicious and revengeful, and will for a mere trifle or punctilio cut a man down. At the same
* Klaproth's description of their peculiar physiognomy conveys a most unattractive image. And he says it is decidedly victorious over all removes and mixtures. To the remotest degree of consanguinity it maintains itself inexpugnably and conspicuously apparent.
time they fulfil all the laws of hospitality with a proud honour, and inviolable fidelity. Within the last half century they are become for the most part Mahomedans, being previously little other than absolute heathens. Their language is affirmed to be 'totally different from every other.' There is no writing in it. Their political state is completely feudal. There is a class called princes. Each of thes»is~the proprietor of a number of families by courtesy called nobles; and these nobles inherit the mencattle beneath them. There are no regular taxes; whatever is required by the upper people, is furnished by the lower. These requisitions are not seldom as oppressive as they are arbitrary. The highest value is set on the true ancient quality blood, insomuch that no man is deemed to be 'of noble blood whose family 'is ever known to have been ignoble, even though it may have 'given birth to several kings.' A prince commits his son, when only a few days old, to the care of one or other of his nobles, and never sees him till the time of the young man's marriage. * Hence,' says our Author, 'results the utmost indifference be'tween the nearest relations.' ' A prince reddens with indignation 'when he is asked concerning the health of his wife and children, 'makes no reply, and commonly turns his back on the inquirer in 'contempt.' Mr. K. coincides with the prevailing report as to the fine forms and countenances of this nation. They are also very cleanly in their habits. •
It would be in vain for us to attempt to enumerate the multitude of tribes and sub-divisions of tribes that are scattered among the villages, mountains, lakes, and steppes of the wild region of the Caucasus, or to trace the line of the Russian boundary, or to state the precise kind of relation between the frontier authorities of that empire and such tribes as may not yet be quite swallowed up. By our Author's account it should seem that this great monopolist is very cordially hated by these innumerable hordes of wild people; at the same time that their hostility to one another enables the Russian government to mainlain its power among them by means of a military force quite contemptible in point of number and fortresses.
There are some interesting descriptions of antiquities and ruins, especially of the extensive remains of Madshar, a large Tartar city, supposed to have been destroyed about the year 1400.
Our traveller sometimes found himself in very romantic and sublime situations, and seems to have felt some very slight promptings of enthusiasm, in gazing on the vast range of snowy mountains, the two loftiest of which, Elbrus and Mqinwari, he pronounces to be rivals to Mont Blanc. Elbrus he deems to be probably as high as that monarch of the Alps. The inhabitants have many superstitious feelings respecting these two sublime objects, feelings which would very seriously incommode an adventurous traveller that should attempt the ascent.
« The Elbrus has never yet been ascended, and the Caucasians have a notion that no person can reach its summit without the special permission of the Deity. They likewise relate that here Noah first grounded with the ark, but was driven further to Ararat. The ascent from the south side would perhaps be the most practicable, did not the mountaineers throw innumerable obstructions in the way of such an enterprise. Its foot is totally uninhabited, and surrounded by marshes produced in summer by the melting of the snows.' 'All the mountaineers have abundance of tales to relate concerning the evil spirits and daemons who dwell upon it, whose prince they call Dshin Pudischah, and of whose annual meetings they have invented as many fables as the North Germans respecting the assemblies of the witches on the Brocken.' p. 168.
'The Mqinwari is without doubt the next in height to the Elbrus of the whole snowy range of the Caucasian mountains. It is probably equal in size to Mont Blanc, if however it does not exceed the latter*. Its figure is that of a sugar-loaf, and it is covered nearly to its base with everlasting snow and ice. So high as it can be ascended, that is to say, to the commencement of the snowy region, the stone consists of red basaltic porphyry and clay-porphyry, intermixed more or less with vitreous feldspar.'
'Above the foot of the Mqinwari are excavations called in Georgian Bethleemi, the access to which is extremely difficult. Tradition reports thai, they were formerly inhabited by pious recluses. Here is said to be suspended an iron chain by which you can ascend to the cradle of Christ, and the tent of Abraham constructed without either poles or cords.
'According to other fabulous accounts, buildings of marble and crystal, standing upon the snow itself, are here to be seen ; these are probably masses of ice, which form all sorts of figures of palaces and towers. Greek monks, who pretended to have reached the very summit of the mountain, might with impunity palm upon the credulous all sorts of fictions respecting the wonderful objects to be met with there, and among the rest the tale of a golden dove which hovers self-supported in the midst of one of the buildings.' p. 382.
In dismissing the book, we have to acknowledge that there is mingled with its dry statistical and historical details much cu
* We suspect that an accurate collation of the different parts of the book would detect a considerable number of inconsistencies, not to say contradictions. We think we have observed several, and here is a palpable one: In speaking of the Elbrus he pronounces it to be * by far the highest' mountain of the Caucasus, and adds, 'it is little 1 interior in elevation to Mont Blanc' In describing (as above) the Mqinwari, which, by his former statement must be ' by far' looter than the Elbrus, he yet suggests that it may be higher than Mont Blanc.
matter to which we have not found room to make even the smallest allusion. More than half of it will be read with interest. \Ve Lope another volume will not be condemned to appear without a large and well authorized map, the want of which renders much of this totally useless.
.Art. III. 'h xaivii JiaOn'xn. Novum Testamentum, cum Notis Theologicis et Philologicis. 8vo. 3 vols. Vol. i. pp. 631; vol. ii. pp. 550; vol. iii. pp. 678. Londini, .in eedibus typographicis A. I. Valpy. Price 21.12s. 6d. 1816.
JfORTES creantur fortibus et bonis. The poet's adage, unhappily as it has failed in many instances, has a gratifying application to the family of that respectable clergyman and excellent scholar, Dr. Valpy, of Reading. The editorship of this Greek Testament is from one of his sons, the Rev. Edward Valpy, of Norwich; and the typographical execution, at once elegant and correct, is one of the numerous labours which shew that another son of the Doctor, Mr. Abraham Valpy, is treading in the steps of the learned printers of the sixteenth century. We cordially wish him the rewards of success and honour; and that he may emulate the Stepheuses and Turnebi and Cratanders.
The plan of this work is to give the Greek Text, with a series of brief Scholia after the manner of Hardy's, (Lond. 1768.) principally selected from Grotius, Eisner, Raphelius, Bos, Palairet, Kypke, and Rosenmuller. A Testament of this kind, judiciously furnished with critical and philological notes, is certainly a desirable manual for constant use in the study of a divine, or of any scholar. But we regret that we cannot greatly commend the execution of this attempt. Those of the Notes which are intended, we suppose, to be Theological, (in a great measure, we believe, taken from Hardy,) are in general miserably jejune; and are frequently no other than bare truisms and identical propositions. Had all the Notes of this 'Theological' denomination been omitted, the book would have acquired in goodness all that it would have lost in size. Thus also more space would have been gained for Critical and Philological Annotations. Those of these two descriptions which exist, are indeed numerous, and often valuable, being transcribed and abridged from the authors above mentioned; but we find, in relation to them, two subjects of regret. First, that these Notes are often too , shoit for the satisfaction, or at least for the reasonable gratification, of the reader. If all the paltry and childish Comments had been excluded, more ample extracts could have been given from the best Critics, and apposite passages from the Classics, from Philo and Josephus, and from the Fathers. Secondly, we