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Greek churcli. On the Emperor's first request, Caleb sens orders to Abrela, Governor of Yemen, to march to the affift. ance of Aretas, the son of him who was burat, and who was then collecting troops.
Strengthened by this reinforcement, the young foldier did not think proper to delay the revenging his father's death, till the arrival of the Emperor ; but having come up with Phineas, who was ferrying his troops over an arm of the sea, he entirely routed them, and obliged their prince, for fear of being taken, to swim with his horse to the nearest fhore. It was not long before the Emperor had crossed the Red Sea with his army ; nor had Phineas lost any time in collecting his scattered forces to oppose him. A bate tle was the consequence, in which the fortune of Caleb again prevailed.
Neither of the Jewish kingdoms were destroyed by the victories of Caleb, or Abreha, nor the subsequent conquest of the Persians. In the Neged, or north part of Arabia, they con. tinued not only after the appearance of Mahomet, but till after the Hegira. The Arabian manuscripts say positively, that this Abreha, who aflifted Aretas, was Governor of Ara. bia Felix, or Yemen.
In the Greek church a most shameful prostitution of manners prevailed, as also innumerable heresies, which were first received as true tenets of their religion, but were foon after persecuted in a most uncharitable manner, as being erro:
Their lies, their legends, their faints and miracles, and, above all, the abandoned behaviour of the priesthood, had brought their characters in Arabia almost as low as that of the detested Jew, and, had they been considered in their true light, they had been still lower. The dictates of nature in the heart of the honeft Pagan, constantly employed in long, lonely, and dangerous voyages, awakened him often to reflect who that Providence was that invisibly governed him, supplied his wants, and often mercifully saved him from the deftru&tion into which his own ignorance or rashness were leading himn. Poisoned by no system, perverted by no prejudice, he wished to know and adore his Benefactor, with purity and simplicity of heart, free from these fopperies and follies with which ignorant priests and monks had disguised his worship. Pofseffed of charity, steady in his duty to his parents, full of veneration for his superiors, attentive and
merciful even to his beasts ; in a word, containing in his heart the principles of the first religion, which God had inculeated in the heart of Noah, the Arab was already prepared to embrace a much more perfect one than what Christianity, at that time disfigured by folly and superstition, appeared to him to be.
Mahomet, of the tribe of Beni Koreish (at whose instigation is uucertain) took upon-himself to be the apostle of a new religion, pretending to have, for his only object, the worfhip of the true God. Ostensibly full of the morality of the Arab, of patience and self-denial, fuperior even to what is made necessary to salvation by the gospel, his religion, at the bottom, was but a system of blasphemy and falsehood, corruption and injustice. Mahomet and his tribe were most profoundly ignorant. There was not among them but one, man that could write, and it was not doubted he was to be Mahomet's secretary, but unfortunately Mahomet could not read his writing. The story of the angel who brought him leaves of the Koran is well known, and so is all the rest of the fable. The wiser part of his own relations, indeed, laughed at the impudence of his pretending to have a communication with angels. Having, however, gained, as his apostles, fome of the best soldiers of the tribe of Beni Koreish, and persisting with great uniformity in all his measures, he established a new religion upon the ruins of idolatry and Sabaism, in the very temple of Mecca.
Mahomet enjoined nothing severe, and the frequent prayers and washings with water which he directed, were gratifications to a sedentary people in a very hot country. The lightness of this yoke, therefore, recommended it rapidly to those who were disgusted with long fafting, penances, and pilgrimages. The poison of this false, yet not severe religion, spread itself from that fountain to all the trading nations ; Indiá, Ethiopia, Africa, 'all Asia, suddenly embraced it; and every caravan carried into the bosom of its country people not more attached to trade, than zealous to preach and propagate their new faith.
The Arabs begun very soon to study letters, and came to be very partial to their own language ; Mahomet himself fo much so, that he held out his Koran, for its elegance alone, as a greater miracle than that of raising the dead. This was not universally allowed at that time, as there were even then compofitions supposed to equal, if not to surpass it. The The Arabs were a people who lived in a country for the most part desert ; their dwellings were tents ; their principal occupation feeding and breeding cattle ; and they mar. ried with their own family. The language therefore of such a people must be very poor : there is no variety of images in their whole country. They were always bad poets, as their works will testify; and if, contrary to the general rule, the language of Arabia Deserta became a copious one, it must have been by the mixture of. so many nations meeting and trading at Mecca. It must, at the same time, have been the most corrupt, where there was the greatelt concourse of (trangers, and this was certainày among the. Beni Koreich at the Caba..
The war that had distracted: all. Arabia, first between the Greeks and Persians, then between Mahomet and the Arabs, in support of his divine miffion, had very much hurt the trade carried on by universal.consent at the Temple of Mecca. Caravans, when they dared venture. out, were surprised upon every road by the partisans of one side or the other. Both merchants and trade had taken their departure to. tbe fouthward, and establithed themselves south of the Arabian Gulf, in places which had been the markets for commerce, and the rendezvous of merchants. The conquest of the Abyssinian territories in Arabia forced all those that yet remained to take refuge on the African side, in the little districts which now. grew into consideration. The Governor of Yemen, (or Najashi) converted now to the faith of Mahomet, retired to the African side of the Gulf. His government, long ago, having been shaken to the very foundation by the Arabian war, was at last totally destroyed.
After. Omar had subdued Egypt, he destroyed the valuable library at Alexandria'; but his successors thought very differ.. ently from him in the article of profane learning. Greek books of all kinds (especially those of geometry, astronomy, and medicine,) were searched for every where and translated, Sciences flourished; and were encouraged. Trade at the same time kept pace, and increased with knowledge. Geography and astronomy were every where diligently studied, and solidly applied to make the voyages of men from place: to place safe and expeditious.
In one family of the Jews, an independent sovereignty had altyays been preserved on the mountain of Sanjen, and the X 2.
foyal residence was upon a high pointed rock, called the Jews Rock : several other inacceslible mountains served as natural fortresses for this people, now grown very consider: able by frequent accessions of strength from Palestine and Arabia, whence the Jews had been expelled. Gideon and Judith were then king and queen of the Jews, and their daughter Judith whom, in Amhara, they call Esther, and sometimes Saat, i, e. fire) was a woman of great beauty, and talents for intrigue ; had been married to the governor of a small district called Bugna, in the neighbourhood of Lasta, both which countries were likewise much infected with Judaism.
Judith had made so strong a party, that the resolved to attempt the subversion of the Christian religion, and, with it, the succession in the line of Solomon. The children of the royal family were at this time, in virtue of the old law, confined on the almost inaccessible mountain of Damo in Tigre. The short reign, sudden and unexpected death of the late king Azior, and the desolation and contagion whịch an epidemical disease had spread both in court and capital, the weak state of Del Naad who was to succeed Azior, and was an infant; all these circumstances together, impressed Judith with an idea that now was the time to place her family upon the throne, and establish her religion by extirpating the race of Solomon. Accordingly, the surprised the rock Damo, and flew the whole princes there, to the number, it is said, of 400. Some nobles of Amhara, upon the first news of the catastrophe at Damo, conveyed the infant king Del Naad, now tie only remaining prince of his race, into the powerful and loyal province of Shoa, and by this means the royal family was preserved to be again refored. Judith took pofleffion of the throne in defiance of the law of the queen of Saba, by this the first interruption of the succesfion in the line of Solomon; and, contrary to what might have been expected from the violent means she had used to acquire the crown, she not only enjoyed it herself during a long reign of 40 years, but transmitted it also to five of her posterity.
After a great number of years, the line of Solomon was again restored in the descendants of Del Naad, who, as we have seen, had escaped from the massacre of Damo under Judith. Content with poffeffing the loyal province of Shoa, they continued their royal residence there, without having made one attempt, as far as history tells us, towards recovering their ancient kingdom,
TO DISCOVER THE
SOURCE OF THE NILE.
ANNALS OF ABYSSINIA.
CONTAINING THE HISTORY OF THE ABYSSINIANS, PROM THE RESTORATION OF THE LINE OF SOLOMON
TO THE DEATH OF SOCINIOS.
ICON AMLA C.
FROM 1268 TO 1283.
CON AMLAC is the name by which we know this first
prince of the race of Solomon, who, after a long exile his family had suffered by the treason of Judith, is now restored to his dominions. His name fignifies, “ let him be made our sovereign," and is apparently that which he took upon his acceffion to the throne ; and his name of baptism, and byename, or popular name given him, are both therefore loft. He was a wife and prudent prince,