Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

is even made obligatory on the priests, to marry. In comparing only under a worldly point of view this portion of their clergy with ours, I have a thousand times thought, that the best answer to the opposers and enemies of the celibacy of the priesthood, would be to point to them a few traits of the condition of a married priesthood in the East. It is very easy for these disputers to argue speciously against this most praiseworthy rule of Catholic discipline; because they judge of it from the point of view of France, and because they are accustomed to see before them an order of clergy of a zealous, intelligent, and sober life. They imprudently imagine that marriage would be a complement of these qualities, and that it would add to the sacerdotal character the merit of a social utility, according to the conventional language of these economists." II. 100.

Every line here on the celibacy of the clergy is directly the contrary of what we should expect to find. We should neither expect that a candid inan would put the moral life of an unmarried clergy foremost in his argument, nor that the enemy of their celibate life would be found appealing to their morality, as a reason why they should marry. After men desert the safe and sure guide of Scripture, and trust to their own understandings or to authority, they may look at all the institutions of society from such extraordinary points of view, that no one can anticipate the absurdities that will be uttered. In all the degradation of the Eastern churches, it is impossible to tell from what evils the degree in which marriage is tolerated among their ecclesiastics has preserved them; certainly they have never fallen so low in point of morals, as did that clergy whose shameless conduct demanded the Great Reformation. This institution, the marriage of the clergy, and numerous others in which the Eastern churches conform to evangelical principles, (and of course they are much more numerous than presented by M. Boré,) now that the voice of evangelical protestantism is heard in their midst, will forever effectually bar their passing over to acknowledge the authority of the Western church.

If we were disposed meekly to listen to the complacent self-gratulations of such Romish writers as M. Boré, we should not find it difficult to present a solution of the cause of their present degradation. The commencement of their fall dates, according to him, from the day when they forsook the Catholic church, and their abasement was a natural judgment upon them, for their error in forsaking unity. As one specimen among many, the following is his language respecting the Nestorians.

As soon as the unity of the church was broken by the heresy of Nestorius, the Pagan powers took advantage of these divisions to repair the losses they had suffered under the Roman emperors. The persecutions excited against the orthodox were provoked by the heretics, who, to conciliate the favor of Sapor and Chosroes, gave them to understand that the means of resisting the sovereigns of Constantinople, would be to destroy the Catholic population, who seemed to be allied with them. What did they gain by this treason? They made more heavy the yoke of the unbelievers on their own heads, and dug the abyss of misfortune in which they are now plunged."." These people are now weary of their errors and their insulation, and see that their deliverance is in returning to the holy and universal church.” II. 77, 320.

It would be impossible here briefly to answer all the false pretensions and assumptions in such accusations. A schismatic spirit truly is sinful, yet, owing to the want of true charity in the rulers of the church and in the people, schisms will come: but it is not for the strongest party to exclaim as a consequence,

nly are the true church." We believe indeed that the Eastern churches have been visited with judgments for their sins; and the Greeks and Armenians, as they contemplate the history of Mohammedan rule over them, confess the same; but the judgments of God connected with the Mohammedan conquests fell upon the larger part of them, hundreds of years before these same portions were separated from the Western church. Yet the outward unity of the churches was not a protection to the Greeks; rather the brothers in unity of the Western church betrayed their Eastern brethren, through the jealousies of their metropolitan bishops.

The true unity of the church is not to be found in a formal acknowledgment of a visible head, but in being united to the one Lord in spirit; and the evils that have weighed down so heavily on the Eastern churches, will be found to have had their origin, rather in having forsaken this latter unity, which made room for every jealousy, intrigue, dissension and persecution.

M. Boré enters with much minuteness into the history of the Chaldean or Nestorian nation and church. We will not follow him in his detailed survey; we give only his conclusions on


their national origin, remarking that he had personally surveyed the ground, and was in possession at the time of writing of a rich selection of books on the subject. His views are:-“ First, that all the tribes designated by the name of Chaldean, are one and the same people, occupying, from the remotest antiquity, Babylonia, Mesopotamia, and Assyria, the east and north of Syria, and part of the actual Curdistan. Second, that the Chaldeans are distinct from the Curds in origin and language, that they are of a Shemitic stock, and are not Medo-Persians, as many German orientalists have maintained.” He regards the Nestorians evidently as of the same race as the Chaldeans of revealed and profane history. On minuter points we seek not for discussion, nor do we pretend to adopt his views in all their definiteness, however worthy of consideration. He arrived at the conclusion which most interests the general reader, by means of various historical, philological, and geographical comparisons, and without any acquaintance with recent controversies.

We feel disposed ourselves to present, briefly, some facts tending to confirm these conjectures, and support this side of a disputed question: for the knowledge of these facts for several years past, has hitherto prevented our obtaining a conviction of the alleged Jewish origin of the Nestorians. Some of the grounds, then, from which it may be inferred that the Nestorians may, with propriety, be called Chaldeans, are

First : The Nestorians still retain, exclusively of all other people, the name of Chaldean. While the designation, Syrian, is applied to them and used as an ecclesiastical name, and the designation of Nestorian is their name of reproach from other sects, that of Chaldean is their civil or national name. They are also called Nasrani or Nazarenes. Rev. Mr. Perkins of

* In addition to the remarks of Dr. Grant in his work on the Nestorians, and of Dr. Robinson in his review of the same, we would add the following observation on the use of this word as a designation of Christians in the East. It is the theological word of the Mohammedans to designate all Christians. The Koran was written by Mohammed with the aid of Jews, who called the Christians Nazarenes. In every place in Sale's Translation of the Koran, where the word Christian is found, the word in the original Arabic is Nazarenes. Vid. Chap. II. v. 105, 107, 114, 59. Chap. V. 17, 22, 85. And this is in fact the only word used in the Koran to desigOroomiah, in a letter dated November, 1838, remarks, that “the Nestorians have often expressed a preference for being called Chaldeans;" and in a letter of later date, April, 1840, he says: “ The Nestorians say that they call themselves Chaldeans, (they almost never do it among themselves,) because their country was Ur of the Chaldees, the country of Abraham. There seems to be a pride of lineage connected with the appellation, which leads them to arrogate it to themselves as an ornament for the occasion." Yet we think the statements in the letters of Mr. Perkins go far to establish the position that it is their national name.

Another striking fact is, that their patriarch retains the same title formerly given to the patriarchs of Ctesiphon and Seleucia, that is, Patriarch of the Chaldeans. We have seen a letter directed to Mar Shimon, the present patriarch, by a Nestorian deacon, in which he is addressed by this title. During a long period of the early church, all the Christians of Mesopotamia were under the see of Antioch. After many years of animosities between the Chaldean and Syrian Christians, at last the bishop of Seleucia succeeded in entirely breaking off relations with the see of Antioch, and was styled the Patriarch of the Chaldeansthe separation being consummated in 485, by the heresy of Nestorius. This title has been perpetuated among the Nestorians, as being themselves the people over whom the patriarch of the Chaldeans always exercised authority. It is very plain, therefore, why the Catholics call their proselytes from this sect, Chaldeans; but it is not the Latin Catholics only who do this. The Jacobite Syrians, their neighbors, also designate them as Chaldeans. Yet no one has thought of calling the Catholic

nate Christians, unless when they are called infidels. The Persians calling the Nestorians Nazarenes, arises from the fact that they were the first Christians with whom the Persians became acquainted, while to the Armenians they were obliged for distinction to leave their national name. Just in the same manner, though more remarkable in a historical point of view, the national name of the Greeks of Tocat and Iconium is Christian, having remained to them from the days when the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch; while the Armenians, as having been latest converted, are called Armenians. Said a Greek to us—“I am not an Armenian, but a Christian.” And an Armenian of that region said the reverse. Syrians by the name of Chaldeans, for the distinction of Catholic Chaldeans and Catholic Syrians is carefully kept up-while all alike, Nestorians, Jacobites, Catholic Chaldeans, and Syrians, use the Syriac Scriptures and liturgy. In giving this name to their proselytes from among the Nestorians and to the patriarch, the Catholics can only have followed ancient usage. Indeed, in what age of the church, since the separation from the see of Antioch, can it be shown that there has not been a patriarch of the Chaldeans, as well as of the Syrians? Only that now we have two patriarchs, one of the Catholic Chaldeans, and another of the Nestorian Chaldeans. The language of Simon Asseman, in his dissertation in his Bib. Orient., on the Nestorians, is indicative of his weighty opinion. The dissertation is entitled, “ De Chaldæis seu Assyriis quos mundi plaga incolunt Orientales, et ab hæresi quam profitentur Nestorianos appellantur.”

Second. The Nestorians are still living in and about the proper country of the Chaldeans. And as among none of the other distinct races inhabiting Chaldea can we find their descendants, why may we not search for them among the Nestorians ? The appellation Chaldea has, at different periods, been in use as the general name of the whole country, from the Persian Gulf to the Taurus. Even to this day, at one extreme, we find, near the Persian Gulf, the Nabatai, or Sabian Christians of St. John the Baptist, speaking a Chaldean dialectwhile Jacobite Syrian Christians, speaking also an Aramean tongue, occupy other portions of the ancient Babylonian monarchy. Regarding the people of Cilicia and Lycia as having been included among the Chaldeans, we have the present Nestorians occupying a position near the geographical centre of this empire, at the time when they were all united as one great people. The 30,000 souls who have passed beyond the Gordian

Curdistan mountains, to the plains of Oroomiah, are not in the original position of their race. Yet still many are to be found in the vicinity of Mosul; and, till within a few generations, they were found in large numbers in Mesopotamia ; and, till the times of the Mohammedan conquests, the majority even were found on the banks of the Tigris, from whence they have been driven to the mountain fastnesses, or absorbed in the various races around them. Now, if the Nestorians have other claims to being considered Chaldeans, as it may be argued they have, and they have, indeed, an à priori claim, until there is

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »