Page images

other is warm in his hive to-night, amidst the fragrant stores which he gathered beneath the bright beams of summer.

Reader, to which do you belong?-the butterflies or bees? Do you search the Scriptures, or do you only skim them? Do you dwell on a passage till you bring out some meaning, or till you can carry away some memorable truth or immediate lesson or do you flit along on heedless wing, only on the outlook for novelty, and too frivolous to explore or ponder the Scriptures? Does the Word of God dwell in you so richly that in the vigils of a restless night, or in the bookless solitude of a sickroom, or in the winter of old age or exclusion from ordinances, its treasured truths would perpetuate summer round you, and give you meat to eat which the world knows not of?

At this moment we have lying before us a thick and ancient tome, "A learned and useful Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, being the Substance of Thirty Years' Wednesdays' Lectures at Blackfriars, by that holy and learned divine, William Gouge, late pastor there;" and many of our readers are acquainted with Dr Owen's voluminous exposition of the same epistle. But they are not only the more doctrinal books which have been thus largely illustrated. Some of the obscurest flowers are the most mellifluous, and some of the least frequented portions of Scripture are not the least productive. Some have a tacit prejudice against the Book of Job. They feel as if it were a funereal episode in the Bible, and look drearily at it, as if dust and ashes were sprinkled over all its pages. Amongst these Bible-conning Puritans was one who dwelt all his days on Job, and found its sombre-looking text full of sacred instruction and evangelic comfort. In ten quartos he has left the product of his pleasant toil; and every book in the Bible would bear to have its Caryl, if only the world could bear the books.

Then, again, there are certain plants which require some effort to reach their penetralia, but whose ample stores exceedingly requite the toil. There are such books in Scripture; labiate and personate flowers in the garden of heavenly wisdom, which need dexterity and diligence to master all their meaning. A careless comer might fancy that the trace of sweetness on the outer edge was all the honey there; but the true investigator knows better, and through the unreluctant opening pushes on to the molten ambrosia within. A careless reader alights on the outside of Leviticus, and sees

little prepossessing in the smoke of its altars, and its law of the leper, and its catalogue of interdicted meats. Another reader takes the Epistle to the Hebrews for his key, and finds himself at once in an interpreter's room, where everything is vivid, siguificant, and spiritual. In that law of the leper, as in a glass, he beholds his own natural face, and sees what manner of man he is, and what a hateful evil in God's sight sin is. Through the smoke of altars and sacerdotal vestments he discerns the heavenly High Priest; and the forbidden meats carry him forward to Joppa, and remind him of that middle wall of partition which Peter was the first to overleap. Or, an outside reader takes up the Song of Solomon, and is greatly captivated with the Eastern glow and gorgeous imagery of these sacred idyls; but a spiritually-minded reader sees at once that a greater than Solomon is here. On its aromotic hills he recognises the beautiful steps of his Saviour, and in its language of tender condescension he hears the voice of his own Beloved. In the depths of its rose and its lily, such reader finds “a fountain sealed" of sacred meaning," a well shut up" of heavenly sweetness.

In proportion as we cultivate a minute and loving acquaintance with the Word of God. our faith will be firm, and our religion will be sound and robust. The bee, which is gathering strength and sweetness from the blossom, needs no argument to persuade it that honey is hidden in the cells of flowers. And the man who is daily gathering comfort and support, sanctification and spiritual vigour, from the Word, needs no reasonings to convince him that heavenly wisdom is contained in the Scriptures of truth; and such a man will not be easily beguiled of his stedfastness, whatever deceivers enter into the world. When near her death, a singularly clear-thinking and pious student of the Bible wrote to a friend the following result of her own experience: “You may remember my telling you that some years ago I declined greatly, almost entirely (inwardly), from the ways of God, and in my breast was an Infidela disbeliever in the truths of the Bible. When the Lord brought me out of that dreadful state, and established my faith in his Word, I determined to take that Word alone for my guide. I read nothing else for between three and four months, and the Lord helped me to pray over every word that I read. At that time, and from that reading, all my religious opinions were formed, and I have not changed one of them since."*

*Memoir of Mary Jane Graham.


3 who had parted with everything for his sup

THE REFORMERS BEFORE THE REFOR- port in the course of his journey, save a copy



BY THE REV. THOMAS M'CRIE, EDINBURGH. “WHEN examining the history of the eleventh century," says Beausobre, an eminent ecclesiastical historian of the last century, "I met with the bloody execution of thirteen canons of Orleans, who were esteemed 'the noblest, the wisest, and the most virtuous of all the clergy of that city.' These men were burnt under the pretext of being Manicheans. Prosecuting my researches into this new species of Manicheans, I discovered that they came from Italy; that those of Italy had come from Dalmatia; those of Dalmatia from Bulgaria; those of Bulgaria from Thrace; and those of Thrace from Syria and Armenia. Thus it appears," he adds, "that our Manicheans of France, Germany, and Italy, are neither more nor less than a branch of those who were called PAULICIANS. Further inquiries into the tenets of these people have convinced me that the accounts which we have generally received of them are little better than a tissue of fabrications."*

It must be curious to examine the history of a Church so very ancient, and which has passed through so many transmigrations. It must be interesting to trace the apostolic connection between the Churches of Italy, the immediate precursors of the Reformed Church, and the Paulicians, who arose in the seventh century. And the task deepens in interest when we find reason to believe that this much maligned people carried with them in all their wanderings from east to west, from the plains of Armenia to the Alps of Europe, the vital stream of evangelical truth. It might be presumed, indeed, that the principles which kept such masses together, which survived whole centuries of bloody persecution, and which flourished in soils so widely different, must have been sounder at heart, and more tenacious of life, than the vagaries of an heretical imagination. And, in point of fact, the lights of history which are only beginning to dawn on the monastic records of the dark ages, have already discovered enough to convince us of the truth of Beausobre's statement, so far as the Paulicians are concerned, that they are "little better than a tissue of fabrications." It is but a slight sketch that can be here attempted of this interesting, but little known and much neglected people.

About the middle of the seventh century, a Christian deacon, who had escaped from captivity in Syria, was returning homewards through Armenia. The exhausted traveller,

• Letter of Mr Beausobre to Mr de la Motte. (Bibl. de l'Europe, vii., 145.) Beausobre is the author of a learned work on Manicheism, and had prepared a history of the Paulicians, which he did not live to publish, and which, unfortunately for the interests of historical truth, has never vet been given to the public. Memoires sur la Vie., &c., de Beausobre; Hist. Critique de Manichee, vol. ii.)

of the New Testament in Syriac, which he had carefully carried from the land of his captivity, at length reached an obscure town called Mananalis, in the neighbourhood of Samosata, and begged for lodging at the house of one named Constantine. This person, it would appear, belonged to a colony which was proscribed under the odious name of Manicheans; --a sect which arose very early in the Church, and was chiefly distinguished by holding the existence of two divinities, or supreme principles, a good and a bad-the former of whom was the creator of all that was spiritual and good; the latter, the creator of matter and all evil. The Church of Rome has branded all who opposed her pretensions and superstitions in these early ages with the epithet of Manicheans, much in the same spirit as those who have separated from corrupt Churches with us have been stigmatized by such names as Puritans and Methodists. Be this as it may, the errors of Constantine's creed do not seem to have entirely hardened his heart or blinded his understanding. He received the poor deacon into his house, and hospitably entertained him for several days. On his departure, the grateful captive made his kind host a present of his highly-prized Syriac Testament, which was in two volumes-the one containing the four Gospels, and the other the fourteen Epistles of Paul. To the study of these sacred books, hitherto locked up from him, Constantine diligently applied himself; and the simple reading of the Word of God, without note or comment, led to such a revolution in his sentiments that he publicly burned all his Manichean books, and became a zealous preacher of the Gospel. Numerous proselytes gathered around him; many Catholics were converted by him; he preached with success in the regions of Pontus and Cappadocia; and with the aid of fellow-labourers who came to his assistance, a large Church was speedily instituted, the members of which, in token of their veneration for the writings of Paul, assumed or received the name of Paulicians.* Constantine himself, from the same innocent ambition to revive the memory of the first ages of Christianity, took the name of Paul's friend-Sylvanus; while some of the leading pastors with whom he was associated were named after Titus, Timothy, and Tychicus; and six of their principal congregations represented the Churches to which Paul had addressed his Epistles.

The leading tenets of the Paulicians were characterized by the purity and simplicity that might be expected from an association which sprung from the fresh and immaculate seed of the Word. Discarding the Gnosticism of the school in which they had been educated, and

"The name of Paulicians is derived by their enemies from some unknown teacher; but I am confident that they gloried in their affinity to the Apostle of the Gentiles.' (Gibbon's Decline and Fall, x., 169.)


deriving their knowledge immediately, though imperfectly, from the Fount of Inspiration, their creed was distinguished rather by its freedom from error, than by its fulness of truth. It is easy for a Protestant to recognise in the list of their errors, given by Phocius and Peter Siculus, at once their historians and their accusers, some of the leading points of the Protest of the Reformation. "Against the gradual innovations of discipline and doctrine," says Gibbon, who has been singularly favourable to the Paulicians, the more, perhaps, because they were hardly acknowledged as Christians, they were as thoroughly guarded by habit and aversion as by the silence of St Paul and the evangelists. The objects which had been transformed by the magic of superstition, appeared in the eyes of the Paulicians in their genuine and naked colours. An image made without hands was the common workmanship of a mortal artist, to whose skill alone the wood and canvass must be indebted for their merit or value. The miraculous relics were a heap of bones and ashes; the true vivifying cross was a piece of sound or rotten timber; the body and blood of Christ, a loaf of bread and a cup of wine, the gifts of nature and the symbols of grace. The mother of God was degraded from her celestial honours and immaculate virginity; and the saints and angels were no longer solicited to exercise the laborious office of mediation in heaven, and ministry upon earth. In the practice, or at least in the theory of the sacraments, the Paulicians were inclined to abolish all visible objects of worship; and the words of the Gospel were, in their judgment, the baptism and communion of the faithful." It is sufficiently plain that it was the study of Inspired Truth, and not any tendency to Manicheism, which taught them to spurn so much of the fiction and mummery of their time; and we can easily understand what is meant by that "despite of the cross," and "disrespect for the Virgin," of which their enemies bitterly accuse them. At the same time, these accusers are compelled to acknowledge that the Paulicians "held the doctrines of the Trinity, and of Christ's incarnation and Godhead." And when we add, that they appealed to the Scriptures as the only standard of faith and practice, and boldly contended for the unlimited use of the Sacred Oracles, we have surely stated enough to show that they could not be so deeply infected with error as has been generally supposed. The most serious charge against them is, that they rejected the Scriptures of the Old Testament; but this can be easily explained. That it could not be on the same principle which led the Manicheans to reject the ancient Scriptures, namely, on its characteristic hypothesis that they were the revelations of the devil, or the author of matter, is very obvious from the acknow

[blocks in formation]

ledged fact, that they disowned, with horror, the whole system of Manicheism; and we may simply state it as our conviction, without entering here into the grounds on which it rests, that the Paulicians did no more than insist on their being judged by the writings of the New Testament, to which they owed their first illumination in the truth, in preference to those of the Old, and more especially the Levitical law, to which their opponents were constantly in the habit of appealing, and to an attempted revival of the ceremonies of which many of the abuses of the Church may be traced.*

Twenty-seven years did the faithful and fervent Constantine-Sylvanus labour in his vocation, when the number of his followers having at length roused the jealousy of the emperor, a body of soldiers, under the command of one Simeon, was despatched, with orders to smite the shepherd and scatter the flock. Simeon, in order to execute his commission in the most emphatic way, placed Constantine in the midst of a circle of his disciples, and, as the price of their pardon, commanded them to stone their heretical leader to death. The Paulicians lifted the stones, but instead of aiming them at their devoted pastor, flung them simultaneously behind their backs. One of their number, however, called Justus, emulous, we should say, of the fame of Judas, though, in the estimation of the Popish historians, rivalling the prowess of the youthful David in slaying Goliath, aimed his stone at the head of Constantine, and killed him on the spot. And thus fell the brave and pious Sylvanus, as he loved to call himself, in a way which must have recalled to his own mind the memory of the first martyr of the age which he sought to revive. But, as if to complete the resemblance, the death of the martyr was followed by the conversion of the persecutor. Struck with the constancy displayed by Sylvanus, and the devotedness of his followers, who resolved rather to die than recant, Simeon, who had acted the part of Saul of Tarsus, returned to Constantinople an altered man. Shutting himself up in his own house, he devoted three years to a close study of the Scriptures, and other books; after which, without apprizing any of his friends, he returned to the place of Constantine's martyrdom, made a profession of his faith in the Gospel which he had once sought to destroy, and was accepted by the Paulicians as the successor of the man whom he had put to death, under the assumed name of Titus.

The accession of Simeon to the ranks of the

Paulicians was the signal for kindling anew the fires of persecution. Very soon, through the agency, it appears, of the detestable Justus, they were betrayed into the hands of their enemies; and the emperor, collecting them together, devoutly burned them all, pastor and people, upon one enormous funeral-pile. One

*Those who wish to see this subject treated at greater length, may cor sult Milner's Hist. of the Church, vol. fi. p. 493, &c.; Faber's Vallenses, p. 31, &c.; Vaughan's Life of Wycliffe, vol. i., p. 116, &c.


Paul, however, with his two sons, having been fortunately out of the way, escaped the general doom of his companions, and through his efforts the sect again revived and flourished. We do not hear much of them till the ninth century, when one of those little incidents is recorded, which, like a flash of light suddenly illuminating the prevailing gloom, discovers to us more at a single glance, than we can make out during all our previous investigations guided by the dark lantern of monastic history. An aged female Paulician, whom Peter Siculus describes as the tool of Satan, and a fair specimen of her sect, accosts a young man of the name of Sergius, with some flattering remarks on his attainments, and some expressions of surprise that he did not read the sacred Gospels. His immediate reply was: "It is not lawful for us profane persons, but for priests only." She then suggested whether it were not obvious from the Scriptures themselves, that they were designed by their Author for general perusal; hinted at the suspicious motives of the priests in concealing them; and proceeding to read certain portions of the New Testament, the youth became interested, read the volume for himself, and was afterwards numbered with the most zealous of the Paulician missionaries. The anecdote illustrates at once the spirit of the historian, the ascendency which the Oriental priesthood had already obtained over the people, and the character of the means employed by the branded communities of Armenia with a view to diffuse a more scriptural piety. It may be added that Sergius, who took the name of Tychicus, published several writings, which were long after held in veneration by the Paulicians; and that he ultimately gave the most unequivocal proof of the depth of his convictions by suffering martyrdom, being literally "sawn asunder," or cut in two pieces with an axe; on which the monkish historian perpetrates a miserable joke, asserting that "it was just, that he who had divided the Church, should himself be divided, and consigned to eternal fire."

The subsequent history of the Paulicians is We one of bloodshed, oppression, and war. may form some idea of their immense numbers from the fact which seems almost incredible, but which is boasted of by the inquisitors, that in the ninth century, under the reign of the Empress Theodora, and by her orders, no less than “a hundred thousand Paulicians had been despatched by the sword, the gibbet, and the flames." At length, goaded to madness by the unrelenting fury of their enemies, they raised the standard of revolt, joined with the Saracens, and, under the generalship of Corbeas, Chrosyschier, and others, gained several victories, and made severe retaliation on their enemies. Ultimately, however, defeated, borne down, and dispersed, they retreated into foreign countries, and many of them found their way, by various roads, into the heart of Europe. And thus, as was stated in our opening paragraph, we may trace a con


nection between the Albigenses of the Alps and the Paulicians of Armenia; nor, after all that has been said against them by their enemies, and repeated by others, do we see anything either unreasonable or discreditable in the connection thus established. It proves the care which God has taken, in the darkest ages, to maintain a race of witnesses to the truth; it affords an interesting illustration of the indestructible power of vital religion; and it shows us that to the East, from which the saving light of the Gospel first shone forth, we are indebted also for the first dawnings of the blessed Reformation.


(From Warburton's "Crescent and the Cross.") AFTER some resistance from the Turkish sentinels, I entered the Pilgrims' Gate, under a lofty archway, and found myself in Jerusalem.

On the left within the walls is a waste place strewed with ruins, and containing a broken cistern, called the "Pool of Bathsheba;" on the right is pointed out the Hill of Zion, whereon "David's Tower" maintains its ground in tradition, if not in truth. From this open space three streets, or rather roads (for they are almost houseless), branch off; that to the left leads to Calvary and the Convent of the Terra Santa; that to the right to Mount Zion, the English Church, and Armenian Convent; and that straight onward to Mount Moriah, where stand the Mosque of Omar and the collection of villages that is called the city.

I betook myself to the hospice of the Latin Convent, where I found a white-washed cell and an iron bedstead at my disposal. It was dismal enough; but long travel under a Syrian sun prevents one from feeling fastidious, and it ill becomes a pilgrim to complain on Calvary.

The Convent, whose guest I now found myself, is the wealthiest and most influential of all those in Palestine. It is called, by distinction, the Convent of the Terra Santa, and has possessions handed down from the times of Godfrey de Bouillon. All the other Latin convents in Syria pay deference to this, the chief guardian of the Holy Sepulchre.

I took no guide but memory; and, mounting a fresh horse, I repassed the gate by which I had entered on the southern side, and rode forth to make a circuit of the city-" to walk round about her, and mark well her battlements." Sadly has all been changed since this proud challenge was spoken, yet the walls are still towering and imposing in their effect. They vary in height from twenty to sixty feet, according to the undulations of the ground; and are everywhere in good repair. The columns and architraves, as old at least as the Roman-conquered city, that are worked into these walls instead of ruder stones, bear eloquent testimony to the different nature of their predecessors. A bridle-path leads close to their base all round; the Valleys of Hinnom and Jehoshaphat yawn suddenly beneath them on the west, south, and north, separating them from Mount Gihon, the Hill of Evil Counsel, and the Mount of Olives. These hills are utterly barren, and lonely as fear can make them. Though within gunshot of the city, robberies are here committed with impunity, and few people venture to leave the walls without being well armed and attended. The deep gloom of the Valley of Hinnom; the sterility of all around; the silence and desolation so intense, yet so close to the city; the sort of memory with which I could trace each almost familiar spot, from the Tower of Hippicus

to the Hill of Scopas, made this the most interesting excursion I ever undertook. Now we look down upon the Pool and Valley of Gihon from the summit of Mount Zion; now upon the Vale of Hinnom, with the Pool of Siloam, and Aceldama beyond the brook; now over Mount Moriah, with the Valley of Jehoshaphat beneath, and the village of Siloam on the opposite side, scattered along the banks where Kedron used to flow. Then, passing through the Turkish cemetery and over the brook Kedron, we come to the venerable garden of Gethsemane, in which, say the legends, still stand the olive trees that sheltered Christ. This garden is only a small grove, occupying perhaps two acres of ground, but it is one of the best authenticated scenes of interest about Jerusalem. From it a steep and rocky path leads to the three summits of the Mount of Olives, on the loftiest of which stands the Church of the Ascension. An Armenian priest admitted me into the sacred enclosure, motioned to a little monk to lead about my horse, and led the way in silence to the roof of the church. From hence is the most interesting, if not the most striking, view in the world.

From such a summit might the great leader of the people have viewed the land which was to be the reward of their desert wanderings. From it is laid bare every fibre of the great heart of Palestine. The atmosphere is like a crystal lens, and every object in the Holy City is as clear as if it lay within a few yards, instead of a mile's distance. Each battlement upon those war-worn walls, each wild flower that clusters over them; the dogs prowling about the waste places among the ruins, and cactus, and cypress; the turbaned citizens slowly moving in the streets; all these are recognisable almost as clearly as the prominent features of the city.

The eminence called Mount Moriah lies nearest to our view, just above the narrow Valley of Jehoshaphat. The city wall passes over the centre of it, embracing a wide enclosure, studded with cypresses and cedars, in the centre of which stands the magnificent Mosque of Omar. This is of a very light, fantastic architecture, bristling with points, and little spires, and minarets, many of which have gilded crescents that flash and gleam in the sunshine; while the various groups of Moslems, sitting on bright carpets, or slowly wandering among the groves, give life and animation to the scene. The Mosque occupies the site of the Temple, and is held holy by the Moslem, as the spot where Abraham offered Isaac to be a sacrifice. To the left of the Mosque enclosure, within the walls, is a space covered with rubbish and jungles of the prickly pear; then part of the Hill of Zion, and David's Tower. To the right of the enclosure is the Pool of Bethesda; beyond which St Stephen's Gate affords entrance to the Via Dolorosa, a steep and winding street, along which Christ bore the cross in his ascent to Calvary. To the right of this street, and towards the north, stands the Hill of Acra, on which Salem, the most ancient part of the city, was built, they say, by Melchisedek. This hill is enclosed by the walls of the modern town; but the Hill of Bezetha lies yet farther to the right, and was enclosed within the walls that the Romans stormed. Beyond Bezetha stands the Hill of Scopas, wherefrom Titus gazed upon Jerusalem the day before its destruction, and wept for the sake of the beautiful city.

Whatever beauty may have distinguished the city in the day of its evil pride, there is little within the wide enclosure of its walls to claim an interest, except the unchangeable hills on which it stands. Here and there is a cluster of flat-roofed buildings, then a space bewildered with weeds and ruins; here is a busy street, with vines sheltering its bazaars, and gorgeous-looking crowds streaming through it; and there is a deserted garden, with a few dreary olive trees and

cypresses shading its burnt soil; here is a mosque, with its heavy done and its pert minarets; and there is the capacious church that covers the Holy Sepulchre.

The eye wanders away with a feeling of relief from this most mournful city, to the wide, strange prospect that surrounds it. Far to the south, we look over the barren but magnificent hills of Judah, with vistas through their rocky glens of the rich Valley of the Jordan, and the calm, green waters of the Dead Sea, whose surface gleams on either side of a foreground formed by the lofty village of Bethany. Beyond Jordan and the Sea of the Plain, the mountains of the Moabites tower into the clear blue sky, and are reflected in brown and purple shadows on their own dark, mysterious lake.

Beneath us is the garden of Gethsemane, the Valley of Hinnom with its Tophet, and the Vale of Jehoshaphat with its brook Kedron, which meets the waters of Siloam at the Well of Joab. The Tombs of the Kings, of Nehemiah, of Absalom, and of the Judges, lie before us; the Caves of the Prophets everywhere pierce the rocks that have so often resounded to the war-cry of the Chaldean, the Roman, the Saracen, and the Crusader. Beyond the city spreads the Vale of Rephaim, with Bethlehem in the distance; every rock, and hill, and valley that is visible, bears some name that has rung in history. And then the utter desolation that everywhere prevails as if all was over with that land, and the "rocks had indeed fallen, and the hills indeed had covered" the mighty, the beautiful, and the brave, who once dwelt there in prosperity.and peace. No flocks, no husbandmen, nor any living thing is there, except a group of timid travellers-turbaned' figures, and veiled women, and a file of camels-winding along the precipitous pathway under the shadow of the palm tree.

Descending from the Mount of Olives, I re-entered the city by St Stephen's Gate, where Turkish soldiers constantly keep guard; turning to the left, I visited the Pool of Bethesda, and then wandered slowly over the Via Dolorosa, in which is pointed out each spot where the Saviour fell under the burden of the cross, as he bore it to Calvary along this steep and rugged way.

In after days, I impatiently traversed the squalid city, with a monk for my guide, in search of its various localities of traditionary sanctity; but I will not ask the reader to stoop to such a labour. My monkish cicerone pointed out to me where Dives lived, where Lazarus lay, where the cock crowed or roosted that warned Peter of his crime, and even where the blessed Virgin used to wash her Son's linen.

The character of the city within corresponds with that of the country without. Most of it is very solitary and silent; echo only answers to your horse's tread; and frequent waste places, among which the wild dog prowls, convey an indescribable impression of desolation. It is not these waste places alone that give such an air of loneliness to the city, but many of the streets themselves, dark, dull, and mournfullooking, seem as if the Templars' armed tread was the last to which they had resounded. The bazaars and places of business are confined to one small quarter of the city; everywhere else you generally find yourself alone. No one is even there to point out your way; and you come unexpectedly upon the Pool of Bethesda, or wander among the vaulted ruins of the Hospitallers' courts, without knowing it. The remains of the ancient city that meet your eye are singularly few; here and there a column is let into the wall, or you find that the massive and uneven pavement is of costly marble; but, except the Pools of Hezekiah and Bethesda, the Tower of Hippicus, and some few other remains, preserved on account of their utility, there is little of art to connect the memory with the past.

« PreviousContinue »