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torture of the rack or the stake, would tremble and fly before the face of an armed enemy. The pusillanimous temper of the Egyptians could only hope for a change of masters; the arms of Chosroes depopulated the land, yet under his reign the Jacobites enjoyed a short and precarious respite. The vićtory of Heraclius renewed and aggravated the persecution, and the patriarch again escaped from Alexandria to the desert. In his flight, Benjamin was encouraged by a voice, which bad him expect, at the end of ten years, the aid of a foreign nation, marked like the Egyptians themselves with the ancient right of circumcision. The charaćter of these deliverers, and the nature of the deliverance, will be hereafter explained; and I shall step over the interval of eleven centuries to observe the present misery of the Jacobites of Egypt. The populous city of Cairo affords a refidence or rather a shelter for their indigent patriarch, and a remnant of ten bishops: forty monasteries have survived the inroads of the Arabs; and the progress of servitude and apostasy has reduced the Coptic nation to the despicable number of twenty-five or thirty thousand families”; a race of illiterate beggars, whose only consolation is derived from the superior wretchedness of the * Greek patriarch and his diminutive congrega
148 This number is taken from the curious Recherches sur les
149 The history of the Copts, their religion, manners, &c. may be found in the Abbé Renaudot's motley work, neither a translation nor an original; the Chronicon Orientale of Peter, a Jacobite; in the two versions of Abraham Ecchellensis, Paris, 1651 ; and John Simon Asseman, Venet. 1729. These annals descend no lower than the xiiith century. The more recent accounts must be searched for in the travellers into Egypt, and the Nouveaux Memoires des Missions de Levant. In the last century, Joseph Abudacnus, a native of Cairo, published at Oxford, in thirty pages, a slight Historia Jaco. bitarum, 147. post 150. "150 About the year 737. See Renaudot, Hist. Patriarch. Alex. p. 221, 222. Elmacin, Hist. Saracen. p. 99. 151 Ludolph, Hist. AEthiopic. et Comment. l. i. c. 8. Renaudot, Hist. Patriarch. Alex. p. 480, &c. This opinion, introduced into Egypt and Europe by the artifice of the Copts, the pride of the Abyssinians, the fear and ignorance of the Turks and Arabs, has not even the semblance of truth. The rains of Æthiopia do not, in the increase of the Nile, consult the will of the monarch. If the river approaches at Napata, within three days journey of the Red Sea (see d'Anville's Maps), a canal that should divert its course would demand, and most probably surpass, the power of the Czsars. 1s. The Abyssinians, who still preserve the features and olive £omplexion of the Arabs, afford a proof that two thousand years are pot
not sufficient to change the colour of the human race. The Nubians,
bians at length executed their threats of returning to the worship of idols; the climate required the indulgence of polygamy, and they have finally preferred the triumph of the Koran to the abasement of the Cross. A metaphysical religion may appear too refined for the capacity of the negro race : yet a black or a parrot might be taught to repeat the words of the Chalcedonian or Monophysite creed, ...
Christianity was more deeply rooted in the Abyssinian empire; and, although the correspondence has been sometimes interrupted above seventy or an hundred years, the mother-church of Alexandria retains her colony in a state of perpetual pupillage. Seven bishops once composed the Ethiopic synod: had their number amounted to ten, they might have elečted an independent primate, and one of their kings was ambitious of promoting his brother to the ecclesiastical throne. But the event was foreseen, the increase was denied ; the episcopal office has been gradually confined to the abuna '**, the head and author of the Abyssinian priesthood; the patriarch supplies each vacancy with an Egyptian monk; and the character of a stranger appears more venerable in the eyes of the people, leis dangerous in those of the
through the air from a distant planet. In the first moments of their interview, the subjećts of Rome and Alexandria observed the resemblance, rather than the difference, of their faith; and each nation expected the most important benefits from an alliance with their Christian brethren. In their lonely fituation, the AEthiopians had almost relapsed into the savage life. Their vessels, which had traded to Ceylon, scarcely presumed to navigate the rivers of Africa; the ruins of Axume were deserted, the nation was scattered in villages, and the emperor, a pompous name, was content,