Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

ished. And how wonderfully, again, does the topography of Eden, as given in the second chapter of Genesis, coincide with the natural characteristics of the region of to-day! Notwithstanding some obvious mixture of error in these traditions, undoubtedly they retain their bases in reality, with essential marks of truth. Streams of history, radiating from a common centre, have been transınitted from generation to generation, with some of the greatest events inscribed upon solid rocks, that the succeeding generations might not lose the thread of history. What had transpired prior to the deluge, one person, such as Lameck, the Son of Mathuselah, who lived from the days of father Adam to the second progenitor of mankind, would have been sufficient to communicate all particular events to Eber, Isaac and Levi, and from these patriarchs the thread must easily have followed to Moses himself. Should not the Armenians, who sprung from a remotest ancestry, rightfully suppose such a chain among their progenitors, which would justify their historical tradidions, especially in view of the harmony of the native traditions with the Bible. Again, we find various claims as to the location of the Garden of Eden. The latest and most absurd theory is its location at the North Pole, advocating that in the lapse of ages, the earth has gradually cooled off, consequently the first suitable place for man to live was at the Arctic Zone. What a habitable paradise would such a frigid region be! Our country, however, has the earliest and the most reasonable of all claims. Our land is the natural center. Where the Tigris, Euphrates and other rivers of the Paradise still flow, the identity of these streams alone should banish all doubt. The very odors of the forests are of singular fragrance. Indigenous plants of great variety and hue bloom here, which refuse to lend their beauty and ravishing odors to any foreign clime. Her numerous birds, too, with their many qualities, adorn and enliven the enchanting landscapes. Robert Curzon gives us a list of over one hundred and seventy kinds of birds in an Armenian city, ennumerating them one by one with their particular names and families. He says: “I have no power to do them justice. The number of various kinds of birds which breed on the great plain is so prodigious as to seem almost incredidible to those who have not seen them, as I often have, covering the earth for miles and miles, so completely that the color of the ground could not be seen." Do not all these natural and scenic characteristics, coupled with Biblical documents and native traditions, bear most circumstantial reminiscences of the primitive ages ? Surely the Armenians are justified in their claim that the beautiful landscapes which were twice selected by the Omnipotent as the cradle of the human race, are in Armenia; that here was embuwered the original Eden, and here the ark rested after the deluge. Armenians are thus ever proud of their land of fragrant memories. But what comfort can we obtain from a banished home! Paradise has been lost and transformed into a wild forest of fallen specimens of humanity, from whence her wisest decendants long removed to the remotest parts of the world. Some nations glory in

their many past achievements and the monuments of antiquity; Rome, in her universal dominion, grand representatives, patriotism and statecraft; Greece, in her precious legacy of art and letters; Egypt, in her aweinspiring ruins of ancient grandeur; Palestine, in her lofty sentiments of religious fervor, and Armenia in her prehistoric fame and the bloom of sacred memories. But may we consider all this past greatness worth much of itself? The Holy Land has left her Christ.

The dust of time and modern traffic has covered the exquisite monuments of Greek ideals and culture. They lie buried in ruins, and slumber mute and silent in the eternal death from whence there is no resurrection. All roads no longer lead to Rome, and the past is as dead in Armenia as elsewhere. It is the disposition of the nineteenth century to look forward to the glories of the future rather than to look backward to a glorious past. The palm and not the potato plant is the symbol of progress and enlightenment. Keep your roots in the ground and your fruits in the air, and let not the best part of you be buried. The richer soil your past may furnish you to flourish on, the better, but you must bear fruit in the present. Who are you to-day, as a nation or individual, is the question of the age. True, there is an inspiration for the patriotic heart in looking back upon the past glory of his mother country; and as I gaze upon the green hills, blooming valleys, venerable mountains, luxuriant pastures, rippling waters, the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates and the slope of Ararat, it thrills my heart with a deep pride in my native country. There our Armenian fathers bravely fought at the altar of civil and religious liberty-a land whose noble sons, the valiant soldiers of the cross, stood firm and pre-eminent for centuries against the sword and fire of avenging heathenism. Armenia! the mother of nations, the theatre of human and super-human prowess! the venerable shade of my departed fathers!

The genius of modern investigation was developed so far from the Armenian landscapes, that here, as the latest, is left the richest and most profitable field that can reward scholarship in every department of human knowledge. The geologist has yet to trace the changes that have created lakes where cities stood, or turned rivers from their courses. The botanist can here add to the world's knowledge of beautiful, useful and aromatic plants. Here philology has an ample field for the most acute intellect. The antiquarian can delve amid the ruins of cities that were great when Egypt was a new country. Ere Babylon was built, the men whose names these cities bore were fireside heroes in the most civilized regions on the globe.

Dr. George Smith of the British Museum, after an ex tensive exploration in the valley of the Euphrates, gathered tons of tablets covered with inscriptions, which he translated into English in a large volume, in which he has carefully classified the facts thus collected. He places column beside column on the same page, one the Bible text and the other the text of the tablets, showing a marvellous agreeinent, thus verifying the statement that modern scientific research constantly corroborated the truth of the Bible. How happy do the periods of geological construction agree with the poetic account of the creation, as given in the Old Testament Scriptures. I am somewhat proud to think that. my native land has been, and will ever be, a growing witness to the truth of the Mosaic record. Should the reader be disposed to doubt, let him read Smith's 'Chaldean Account of Genesis,' or, indeed, any of the modern works that treat of the wonderful revelations unfolded by the recent researches about the Tigris and Euphrates, Layard's “Ninevah,' or Bishop Newman's “Thrones and Palaces,' or the ‘Records of the Past,' published by the authorities. of the British Museum.

Because of the fact that Armenia's political existence has long ceased and passed under alien powers, I shall attempt but a brief description of her natural characteristics and history. Armenia, an inland region of Western Asia, like all lands of pre-historic renown, is a small country, a little larger than the state of Pennsylvania, and lies: directly north of the Mesopotamian plain, between the Black and Caspian seas.

Her geographical boundaries, though constantly varied at different periods, extended to her largest limits under the administration of our kings, Aram and Tigranes II., to the Caucasus on the north, Asia Minor on the west, the Mesopotamia on the south, the Caspian sea and Media on the east.

« ForrigeFortsett »