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the cafes or doctrines apply, we may fay is the written law of the country. Thefe were tranflated out of the Arabic, they have next a general liturgy, or book of common prayer, befides feveral others peculiar to certain festivals, under whofe names they go. The next is a very large volumnious book, called Haimanout Abou, chiefly a collection from the works of different Greek fathers, treating of, or explaining feveral herefies, or disputed points of faith, in the ancient Greek Church, Tranflations of the works of St. Athanafius, St. Bazil, St. Sohn Chryfoftome, and St. Cyril, are likewise current among them.

The next is the Synaxar, or the Flos Sanctorum, in which the miracles and lives, or lies of their faints, are at large recorded, in four monstrous volumes in folio, ftuffed full of fables of the most incredible kind. They have a faint that wrestled with the devil in the fhape of a ferpent nine miles long, threw him from a mountain and killed him. Another faint who converted the devil, who turned monk, and lived in great holiness forty years after his converfion, doing penance for having tempted our Saviour upon the mountain: what became of him after, they do not fay. Again, another faint, that never ate nor drank from his mother's womb, went to Jerufalem, and said mass every day at the holy fepulchre, and came home at night in the shape of a stork. Jaft Mr. Bruce mentions was a faint, who, being very fick, and his stomach in diforder, took a longing for partridges; he called upon a brace of them to come to him, and immedi ately two roasted partridges came flying, and rested upon his plate, to be devoured. Thefe ftories are circumftantially told and vouched by unexceptionable people, and were a grievous stumbling block to the Jefuits, who could not pretend their own miracles were either better established, or more to be credited.


The laft of this Ethiopic library is the book of Enoch. Upon hearing this book first mentioned, many literati in Europe had a wonderful defire to fee it, thinking that, no doubt, many fecrets and unknown hiftories might be drawn from it. Upon this, fome impoftor getting an Ethiopic book into his hands, wrote for the title, The Prophecies of Enoch, upon the front

front page of it. M. Pierife no fooner heard of it than he
purchased it of the impoftor for a confiderable fum of money
being placed afterwards in Cardinal Mazarine's library,^
where Mr. Ludolf had access to it; he found it was a Gnoftic
book upon myfteries in heaven and earth, but which men-
tioned not a word of Enoch or his prophecy, from beginning
to end; and, from this difappointment, he takes upon him
to deny the exiftence of any fuch book any where else. This,
however, is a mistake; for, among the articles Mr. Bruce
configned to the library at Paris, was a very beautiful and
magnificent copy of the prophecies of Enoch, in large quarto ;
another is amongst the books of fcripture which he brought
home, ftanding immediately before the book of Job, which is
its proper place in the Abyffinian canon; and a third copy
he prefented to the Bodleian library at Oxford.

The Abyffinian annals mention an expedition to have happened into the fartheft part of Arabia Felix, which the Arabian authors, and indeed Mahomet himself in the Koran calls by the name of the War of the Elephant, and the cause of it was as follows: There was a temple nearly in the middle of the peninfula of Arabia, that had been held in the greatest veneration for about 1400 years. The Arabs fay, that Adam, when fhut out of Paradife, pitched his tent on this fpot; while Eve, from fome accident or other, died and was buried on the fhore of the Red Sea, at Jidda. Two days journey eaft from this place, her grave of green fods about fifty yards in length, is fhewn to this day. In this temple also was a black stone, upon which Jacob faw the vifion mentioned in fcripture, of the angels defcending, and afcending into Heaven. It is likewife faid, with more appearance of probability, that this temple was built by Sefoftris, in his voyage. to Arabia Felix, and that he was worshipped there under the name of Ofiris.


This tower, and idol, being held in great veneration by the neighbouring nations, fuggested the very natural thought of making the temple the market for the trade from Africa and India. They chofe this town in the heart of the country, acceffible on all fides, and commanded on none, calling it Becca, which fignifies the Honfe; though. Mahomet, after


breaking the idol and dedicating the temple to the true God, named it Mecca, under which name it has continued, the centre or great mart of the India trade to this day.

Abreha, in order to divert this trade into a channel more convenient for his prefent dominions, built a very large church or temple, in the country of the Homerites, and nearer the Indian Ocean., To encourage alfo the resort to this place, he extended to it all the privileges, protection, and emoluments, that belonged to the Pagan temple of Mecca.

Among the various tribes of Arabs, one called Beni Koreish, had the care of the Caba, the name by which the round tow er of Mecca was called. Thefe people were exceedingly alarmed at the profpect of their temple being at once deferted, both by its votaries and merchants, to prevent which, a party of them, in the night, entered Abreha's temple, and having first burned what part of it could be confumed, they polluted the part that remained, by besmearing it over with human excrements.

So grofs an affront could not be påffed unnoticed by Abreha, who, mounted upon a white elephant, at the head of a confiderable army, refolved, in return, to destroy the temple of Mecca, and with this intent laid fiege to that place. Abou Thaleb was then keeper of the Caba, who had intereft with his countrymen the Eeni Koreifh to prevail upon them to make no resistance, nor fhew any figns of wishing to make a defence. He had prefented himself early to Abreha upon his march. There was a temple of Ofiris at Tajef, which, as a rival to that of Mecca, was locked upon by the Beni Koreish with a jealous eye. Abreha was fo far mifled by the intelligence given him by Abou Thaleb, that he miftook the temple of Taief for that of Mecca and razed it to the foundation, after which he prepared to return home.

Being foon afterwards informed of his mistake, and not repenting of what he had already done, he refolved to deftroy Mecca alfo Abou Thaleb, however, had never left his fide; by his great hofpitality, and the plenty he procured to the Emperor's army, he fo gained Abreha, that hearing, on in

quiry, he was no mean man, but a prince of the tribe of Beni Koreifh, noble Arabs, he obliged him to fit in his presence, and kept him conftantly with him as a companion. At last, not knowing how to reward him fufficiently, Abreha defired him to ask any thing in his power to grant, and he would fatisfy him. Abou Thaleb, taking him at his word, wifhed to be provided with a man, that fhould bring back forty oxen, the foldiers had ftolen from him. Abreha, who expected that the favour he was to afk, was to fpare the temple, which he had in that cafe refolved in his mind to do, could not conceal his astonishment at fo filly a request, and he could not help testifying this to Abou Thaleb, in a manner that fhewed it had lowered him in his esteem. Abou Thaleb, fmiling, replied very calmly, "If that before you is the Temple of God, as I believe it is, you shall never destroy it, if it is his will that it fhould ftand: If it is not the Temple of God, or which is the fame thing, if he has ordained that you should deftroy it, I fhall not only affift you in demolishing it, but shall help you in carrying away the last stone of it upon my fhoulders: But as for me, I am a fhepherd, and the care of cattle is my profeffion; twenty of the oxen which are stolen are not my own, and I shall be put in prifon for them to-morrow; for neither you nor I can be. lieve that this is an affair God will interfere in; and therefore I apply to you for a soldier who will feek the thief, and bring back my oxen, that my liberty be not taken from me.”

Abreha had now refreshed his army, and, from regard to his gueft, had not touched the Temple, when, fays the Arabian author, there appeared, coming from the sea, a flock of birds called Ababil, having faces like lions, and each of them in his claws holding a small stone like a pea, which he let fall upon Abreha's army, so that they all were destroyed. The author of the manuscript from which Mr. Bruce took this fable, and which is alfo related by several other hiftorians, and mentioned by Mahomet in the Koran, does not feem to fwallow the story implicitly. For he says, that there is no bird that has a face like a lion; that Abou Thaleb was a Pagan, Mahomet being not then come, and that the Christians were worshippers of the true God, the God of Mahomet; and, therefore, if any miracle was wrought here, it was a miracle of the devil, a victory in favour of Paganisin, and destructive



of the belief of the true God. In conclufion, he fays, that it was at this time that the small pox and measles first broke out in Arabia, and almoft totally deftroyed the army of Abreha. But if the stone, as big as a pea, thrown by the Ababil, had killed Abreha's army to the last man, it does not appear how any of them could die afterwards, either by the small-pox or measles. All that is material, however, to us, in this fact is, that the time of the fiege of Mecca will be the æra of the first appearance of that terrible disease, the small-pox, which we shall fet down about the year 356; and it is highly prob. able, from other circumstances, that the Abyffinian army was the first victim to it.

As for the church Abreha, built near the Indian Ocean, it continued free from any further infult till the Mahometan conqueft of Arabia Felix, when it was finally destroyed in the Khalifat of Omar. This is the Abyffinian account, and this the Arabian history of the War of the Elephant, which are stated as found in the books of the most credible writers of thofe times.

The Jewith religion had fpread itself far into Arabia as early as the commencement of the African trade with Paleftine; but, after the deftruction of the temple by Titus, a great increase both of number and wealth had made that In people abfolute mafters in many parts of that peninfula. the Neged, and as far up as Medina, petty princes, calling themselves kings, were established, who, being trained in the wars of Palestine, became very formidable among the pacific commercial nations of Arabia, deeply funk into Greek degen


Phineas, a prince of that nation from Medina, having beat St. Aretas, the governor of Najiran, began to perfecute the Christians by a new fpecies of cruelty, by ordering certain fornaces, or pits full of fire, to be prepared, into which he threw as many of the inhabitants of Najiran as refused to renounce Christianity. Juflin, the Greek Emperor, was then employed in an unfuccessful war with the Perfians, so that he could not give any affiftance to the afflicted Christians in Arabia, but in the year 522, he sent an embaffy to Caleb, or Elefbaas, king of Abyffinia, intreating him to interfere in favour of the Chriftians of Najiran, as he too was of the Greek


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