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Chalcedon.” During several ages, the bishops of Nubia chAP. were named and consecrated by the Jacobite patriarch of XLVII. Alexandria: as late as the twelfth century, Christianity pre- vo"Yo vailed; and some rites, some ruins, are still visible in the savage towns of Sennaar and Dongola.” But the Nubians 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 church of empire; and, although the correspondence has been some- or times interrupted above seventy or an hundred years, the A. D. 530, 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 elected 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 headandauthor 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, less dangerous in those of the monarch. In the sixth century, when the schism of Egypt was confirmed, the rival chiefs, with their patrons, Justinian and Theodora, strove to outstrip each other in the conquest of a remote and independent province. The industry of the empress was again victorious, and the pious
153 Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. tom. i. p. 329. 154. The Christianity of the Nubians, A. D. 1153, is attested by the sheriff al Edrisi, falsely described under the name of the Nubian geographer (p. 18). who represents them as a nation of Jacobites. The rays of the historical light that twinkle in the history of Renaudot (p. 178. 220.224. 281.286. 435.434.451.464). are all previous to this aera. See the modern state in the Lettres Edifiantes (Recueil, iv). and Busching (tom. ix. p. 152.159. par Berenger). 155 The abuna is improperly dignified by the Latins with the title of pa" triarch. The Abyssinians acknowledge only the four patriarchs, and their chief is no more than a metropolitan or national primate (Ludolph. Hist. Åthiopic. et Comment. l. iii. c. 7). The seven bishops of Renaudot (p. 511), who existed A. D. 1131, are unknown to the historian.
The Portuguese in Abyssinia, A. D. 1525.... 1550, &c.
Theodora has established in that sequestered church the faith and discipline of the Jacobites.” Encompassed on all sides by the enemies of their religion, the AEthiopians slept near a thousand years, forgetful of the world, by whom they were forgotten. They were awakened by the Portuguese, who, turning the southern promontory of Africa, appeared in India and the Red Sea, as if they had descended through the air from a distant planet. In the first moments of their interview, the subjects 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 situation, the Æthiopians 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, both in peace and war, with the immoveable residence of a camp. Conscious of their own indigence, the Abyssinians had formed the rational project of importing the arts and ingenuity of Europe;” and their ambassadors at Rome and Lisbon were instructed to solicit a colony of smiths, carpenters, tilers, masons, printers, surgeons, and physicians, for the use of their country. But the public danger soon called for the instant and effectual aid of arms and soldiers to defend an unwarlike people from the Barbarians who ravaged the inland country, and the Turks and Arabs who advanced from the sea-coast in more formidable array. AEthiopia was saved by four hundred and fifty Portuguese, who displayed in the field the native valour of Europeans, and the artificial powers of the musquet and cannon. In a moment of terror, the emperor had promised to reconcile himself and his subjects to the Catholic faith; a Latin pa
156 I know not why Assemannus (Bibliot. Orient, tom. ii. p. 384). should call in question these probable missions of Theodora into Nubia and Æthiopia. The slight notices of Abyssinia till the year 1500 are supplied by Renaudot % 336...341. 381, 382. 405. 443, &c. 452. 456. 463. 475. 480. 511. 525. 59.564). from the Coptic writers. The mind of Ludolphus was a perfect blank. 157 Ludolph. Hist. Althiop. 1. iv. c. 5. The most necessary arts are now exercised by the Jews, and the foreign trade is in the hands of the Armenians.
What Gregory principally admired and envied was the industry of Europe... artes ct opificia.
triarch represented the supremacy of the pope;” the em- chAP. pire, enlarged in a tenfold proportion, was supposed to XLVII. contain more gold than the mines of America; and the wildest hopes of avarice and zeal were built on the willing submission of the Christians of Africa. But the vows which pain had extorted, were forsworn on *::::: the return of health. The Abyssinians still adhered with "A" ty.” unshaken constancy to the Monophysite faith; their languid 1% belief was inflamed by the exercise of dispute; they branded the Latins with the names of Arians and Nestorians, and imputed the adoration of four gods, to those who separated the two natures of Christ. Fremona, a place of worship, or rather of exile, was assigned to the Jesuit missionaries. Their skill in the liberal and mechanic arts, their theological learning, and the decency of their manners, inspired a barren esteem; but they were not endowed with the gift of miracles,” and they vainly solicited a reinforcement of European troops. The patience and dexterity of forty years, at length obtained a more favourable audience, and two emperors of Abyssinia were persuaded that Rome could ensure the temporal and everlasting happiness of her votaries. The first of these royal converts lost his crown and his life; and the rebel army was sanctified by the abuna, who hurled an anathema at the apostate, and absolved his subjects from their oath of fidelity. The fate of Zadenghel was revenged by the courage and fortune of Susneus, who ascended the throne under the name of Segued, and more vigorously prosecuted the pious enterprise of his kinsman. After the amusement of some unequal combats between the Jesuits and his illiterate priests, the emperor declared himself a proselyte to the synod of Chalcedon, presuming that his clergy and people would embrace without delay the religion of their prince. The liberty of choice was succeed
158 John Burmudez, whose relation, printed at Lisbon, 1569, was translated into English by Purchas (Pilgrims, l. vii. c. 7, p. 1149, &c.), and from thence into French by La Croze (Christianisme d’Ethiopie, p. 92.265). The iece is curious; but the author may be suspected of deceiving Abyssinia, ome, and Portugal. His title to the rank of patriarch is dark and doubtful (Ludolph. Comment. No. 101. p. 473). 159 Religio Romana . . . nec precibus patrum nec miraculis ab ipsis editis suffulciebatur, is the uncontradicted assurance of the devout emperor Susneus to his patriarch Mendez (Ludolph Comment. No. 126. p. 529); and such assurances should be preciously kept as an antidote against any marvellous legends.
ed by a law, which imposed, under pain of death, the belief of the two natures of Christ: the Abyssinians were enjoined to work and to play on the Sabbath; and Segued, in
the face of Europe and Africa, renounced his connexion
with the Alexandrian church. A Jesuit, Alphonso Mendez,
the Catholic patriarch of Æthiopia, accepted in the name of Urban VIII. the homage and abjuration of his penitent.
“I confess,” said the emperor on his knees, “I confess that
“ the pope is the vicar of Christ, the successor of St. Peter,
“ and the sovereign of the world. To him I swear true
“obedience, and at his feet I offer my person and king
“dom.” A similar oath was repeated by his son, his bro
ther, the clergy, the nobles and even the ladies of the
court: the Latin patriarch was invested with honours and wealth; and his missionaries erected their churches or citadels in the most convenient stations of the empire. The Jesuits themselves deplore the fatal indiscretion of their chief, who forgot the mildness of the gospel and the policy of his order, to introduce with hasty violence the liturgy of Rome and the Inquisition of Portugal. He condemned the ancient practice of circumcision, which health rather than superstition had first invented in the climate of AEthiopia.” A new baptism, a new ordination was inflicted on the natives; and they trembled with horror when the most holy of the dead were torn from their graves, when the most illustrious of the living were excommunicated by a foreign priest. In the defence of their religion and liberty, the Abyssinians rose in arms with desperate but unsuccessful zeal. Five rebellions were extinguished in the blood of the insurgents: two abunas were slain in battle, whole legions were slaughtered in the field, or suffocated in their caverns; and neither merit, nor rank, nor sex, could save from an ignominious death the enemies of Rome. But the victorious monarch was finally subdued by the constancy of the nation, CHAP. of his mother, of his son, and of his most faithful friends. XLVII. Segued listened to the voice of pity, of reason, perhaps of fear; and his edict of liberty of conscience instantly revealed the tyranny and weakness of the Jesuits. On the death of his father, Basilides expelled the Latin patriarch, and restored to the wishes of the nation the faith and the discipline of Egypt. The Monophysite churches resounded with Final exa song of triumph, “that the sheep of Æthiopia were now ło, “delivered from the hyaenas of the West;” and the gates ...A. D. of that solitary realm were for ever shut against the arts, 1632, &c. the science, and the fanaticism of Europe.”
160 I am aware how tender is the question of circumcision. Yet I will af. firm, 1. That the AFthiopians have a physical reason for the circumcision of males, and even of females (Recherches Philosophiques sur les Americains, tom. ii). 2. That it was practised in AEthiopia long before the introduction of Judaism or Christianity (Heredot, l. ii. c. 104. Marsham, Canon. Chron. p. 72, 73). “Infantes circumcidunt ob consuetudinem non ob Judaismum,” says Gregory the Abyssinian priest (apud Fabric. Lux Christians, p. 720), Yet, in the heat of dispute, the Portuguese were sometimes branded with the o of uncircumcised (La Croze, p. 80. Ludolph. Hist, and Comment, l. iii. c. 1).
Plan of the remainder of the History...Succession and Characters of the Greek Emfierors of Constantinofile, from the time of Heraclius to the Latin Conquest.
I HAVE now deduced from Trajan to Constantine, oi from Constantine to Heraclius, the regular series of the Ro-J -,
man emperors; and faithfully exposed the prosperous and Defects of adverse fortunes of their reigns. Five centuries of the de- *::::: ry. cline and fall of the empire have already elapsed; but a period of more than eight hundred years still separates me from the term of my labours, the taking of Constantinople by the Turks. Should I persevere in the same course, should I observe the same measure, a prolix and slender thread would be spun through many a volume, nor would the pa
161 The three protestant historians, Ludolphus (Hist. AFthiopica, Francofurt. 1681; Commentarius, 1691; Relatio Nova, &c. 1693, in folio), Geddes (Church History of Æthiopia. London, 1696, in 8vo), and La Croze (Hist. du Christianisme d’Ethiopie et d’Armenie, La Haye, 1739, in 12mo), have drawn their principal materials from the Jesuits especially from the General History of Tellez, published in Portuguese at Conimbra, 1660. We might be surprised at their frankness; but their most flagitious vice, the spirit of persecution, was in their eyes the most meritorious virtue. Ludolphus possessed some, though a slight, advantage from the AEthiopic language, and the personal conversation of Gregory, a free-spirited Abyssinian priest, whom he invited from Rome to the court of Saxe-Gotha. See the Theologia Athiopica of Gregory, in Fabricius, Lux Evangelii, p. 716.734.