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to Bagdad, lest the valuable results obtained by their joint labours might be lost in the event of both facing the still greater perils of a journey to the piratical coast of Oman. This later adventure Mr. Palgrave achieved alone, narrowly escaping from death in a shipwreck, where out of a party of twenty-one but nine survived. He was very kindly treated by the potentate known to us by the title of Imaum of Muscat, which Mr. Palgrave assures us is an entire misnomer, his title being “Sultan of Oman,” and his capital Shohar, a little to the north-west of Muscat, the latter being merely the chief trading emporium of the country. From this point, after three months of solitary travel, he rejoined his companion at Bagdad, no word of his movements having reached any of his friends for eleven months.
In reply to the request of Sir R. J. Murchison, the President, Mr. Palgrave proceeded to give a most interesting and graphic account of the manners and political and religious peculiarities of the various tribes he encountered, besides narrating with much humour the straits in which he found himself, owing to the cupidity of the Wababite sovereign, in his thirst after forbidden knowledge. He first of all dispelled the illusion which identifies the wandering Bedouin with the Arab proper, and considers the entire peninsula as given over to a nomad race inhabiting tents. The Bedouins, he said, encircle, as it were, the more settled central kingdom, in which occurred forms of society as firmly established, and as strongly marked in their
way, as any in more civilized countries. Some of the cities were inhabited by as many as twenty thousand inhabitants and upwards; and there were not only shops, bazaars, and mosques, but houses of two and three stories, displaying occasionally a degree of taste which he feared few streets in London could aspire to. As to their tolerance of other religions, it was well known that hospitality is an Arab virtue ; but he was hardly prepared to find that the fact of his being a Christian, of which he made no secret, never subjected him to the slightest insult or inconvenience. A much more serious annoyance arose from the extreme severity of the Wahabite code of Mohammedanism. The founder of this sect, Ibn Abd-el-Wahab, who was born about a century since at the beautiful town of Hormeilemek, revived the Mohammedan precepts in all their pristine strictness; so that anyone desirous of understanding what Islamism resembled in its palmy days of early enthusiasm could not do better than visit Riadh. His followers are divided into mollahs, or spiritual guides, who have nothing but learning and devotion to recommend them, and the great body of the people, who are governed by an hereditary despotism, perhaps the strictest and most extraordinary of any recorded in history. So rigorously are the precepts of the Koran observed, that a debasing fatalism supplies the place of all religion; of which Mr. Palgrave cited some ludicrous examples. Moreover, there is to Western notions the most grotesque disproportion in the classification of great and little sins. Such sins as murder, robbery, and the like, are those of which Providence reserves the condign punishment to Himself: whereupon Alla hu kherim! (“God is merciful!”) is the consolation that the faithful believer mutters to account for the culprit escaping his just
doom. On the other hand, the most deadly and abominable of all sins is tobacco-smoking,—“ drinking the shameful!" as it is usually termed by the horror-stricken Wababite. Though Mr. Palgrave was known to indulge occasionally in this nefarious practice, he was not molested, and might have remained much longer, had he not, unfortunately, successfully treated an attack of paralysis of the lingual nerve in a patient by the application externally of an infinitesimal quantity of strychnine. The fame of this wonderful cure reached the royal ears; and His Majesty thereupon redoubled the attentions he had hitherto lavished on the wonderful Syrian doctor, with the view of obtaining some of the wonder-working powder. This was refused on the plea of the danger of its use in unpractised hands, when the monarch speedily let drop a hint that such a quality only made it the more precious in his eyes as an instrument for carrying out state ends. After a scene, in which Mr. Palgrave was only saved from destruction by his firmness in refusing to become an accomplice in political assassination, he made his escape a day or two later, during the long evening prayers, and, as already mentioned, reached El-Khatif, buried among its roses. Before leaving the Wahabite capital, however, he had been called in to doctor one of the royal horses, which gave him an opportunity of seeing the renowned stables of the Wahabite king, where is, of course, to be seen the pick of the celebrated breed of Nedjed, the finest of all descriptions of Arab horses. Mr. Palgrave stated, that almost all Arab horses now imported came from North Arabia, Egypt, or South Syria, and that such a thing as exporting a Nedjed steed was atsolutely impossible. They were chiefly a clear grey or light chestnut, (bay being a colour that never occurred,) with occasionally white, black, and deep chestnut. Dapples, piebalds, skewbalds, and roans were equally unknown; and the peculiar obliquity of the shoulder-blade gave them an easy, springy motion, which, combined with their splendid barrel, immense baunches, superbly set tail, delicate muzzle, and magnificent crest, made them the beau idéal of the horse, though rarely standing over fifteen hands,-a horse of sixteen hands being utterly unknown. Oman, which he next visited, he described as by far the most beautiful portion of Arabia, resembling India in climate, as also in physical geography ; a line of mountains analogous to the Western Ghauts, but apparently as high as Lebanon, running down the Arabian Sea from Ras Mussendom to below Muscat. The Sultan (or Imaum) received them very hospitably. Much of the peculiarity of the natives of Oman is undoubtedly due to their being entirely cut off from the rest of Arabia by vast deserts. The nominal state religion all over Arabia is, of course, Islamism ; but, except in the large towns, it is anything but obtrusive, and is usually intermingled with certain superstitious observances strongly suggestive of a lingering trace of the old Sabæan worship of the sun, such as it is known to have existed before Mohammed drove cut paganism. Thus, in Northern Arabia, the people prayed as the first ray of the sun rose above the horizon, and so continued till his whole disc was clear; and again in the evening, (reversing the order, of course,) - ritual which is stringently prohibited by the Koran, as the sun is sup
posed to rise and set between the horns of Eblis, to whom, therefore, all prayers performed as above are supposed to be addressed ! Again, in Oman he found that the people were in the habit of praying, not to the sun at east or west, but with their faces to the north ; and on inquiry he learned, to his surprise, that the name they applied to the north star was that very same mysterious title, Jah, assumed to Himself by the Almighty in the Book of Exodus. This he was inclined to attribute to the idea of fixity, which, in their ignorance of astronomy, they would probably attribute to the only star that seemed to them always to occupy the same place. In conclusion, he would remark, that all anti-Islamitic nations were always to be found in the East, nestled among the mountains.
6 THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD ASSERTED."
HELP IN DUE SEASON,
A rew years ago there lived in a village near Richmond, Yorkshire, a man and his wife, truly pious members of the Methodist Society, with which the latter had been in communion sixty, the former nearly fifty years. In consequence of protracted afflictions and domestic bereavements they were brought at one period into embarrassment, which caused them no small annount of anxiety. While unwilling to make known their affairs to men, they earnestly and believingly brought them in prayer to God. Availing themselves of he Divine direction and promise,—“Call upon Me in the day of trouble : I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me,"— they found relief in a manner quite unlooked for, and by the kindness of an unknown benefactor. They received a letter, bearing the York postmark, in which the writer stated, that, having heard of their Christian character, and of their benevolence in adopting an orphan boy notwithstanding their many adversities, he felt himself moved to send them a £5 note, with a request that the fact might never be divulged, and a declaration that they should never know, in the present world, from whom the gift proceeded. He wished the remittance to be acknowledged in a letter addressed, “R. S., Post-Office, York; to be left till called for.” York is about forty miles from the place where they lived, and they had no knowledge of any one residing in that city. It may be imagined with what astonishment and gratitude this timely relief was hailed by persons so pious, and in such circumstances. Ardent thanks were at once offered to God, and earnest prayers on behalf of the unknown almoner of His bounty. But this gift was only the first of a series, which continued during eight years. The amount annually sent-sometimes £5, and at others £10was remitted from Hull, Bath, and Brighton, as well as York ;-places, it is supposed, which the donor was in the habit of frequenting. He was wont, with the gift, to remark, that the ravens had been again commanded to bring them food.
Twenty years have passed since these benefactions ceased ; and as the children of those who received them are of opinion that the donor, as well as their parents, is now beyond the reach of earthly praise, they regard themselves as no longer bound to keep the secret, but called upon to make it known, for the glory of God, the encouragement of His embarrassed people, and the confirmation of His “exceeding great and precious promises.” “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water... That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.” (Isaiah xli. 17, 18, 20.)
ZIEGENBALG AND BESCHI.
NO. 1.-THEIR ENTRANCE ON MISSION-WORK AMONG THE TAMIL PEOPLE.
LITTLE more than one hundred and sixty years ago two young men were pursuing their studies, the one at IIalle in Saxony, and the other at Rome, preparatory to their departure for India :-Bartholomew Ziegenbaly, a German Protestant, under the direction of the pious and zealous Augustus Hermann Francke, Professor of Divinity, and of the Greek and Oriental Languages, in the University of Halle ; and Constantius Joseph Beschi, an Italian and a Romanist, under Jesuit teaching and discipline. Both were well versed in ancient and modern learning, sacred and profane; both possessed no ordinary measure of physical and mental energy, and were endowed with a power of endurance of toil, and of vicissitude of climate, which fitted them in an eminent degree for effective labour under a tropical sky. Each in his own sphere ultimately achieved a greater work than any of his contemporaries in India, and left behind him a name and a memory which cannot perish in the history of India, and of the Missions designed to promote the conversion of the Hindus to Christianity. It may be difficult to award to each the meed of his services to the common cause of Hindu enlightenment; but it cannot be uninteresting to trace their history, their labours, and the results of those labours which remain to the present day.
Bartholomew Ziegenbalg landed at Tranquebar * in the month of July, 1706. He and his colleague and companion, Henry Plutcho, though Ger
* A settlement formed by the Danes on the Coromandel coast, in 1616. It is 145 miles S. by W. from Madras ; in lat. 11° N., long. 79° 56' E. The town, and a small adjoining territory, were ceded to the Danish crown in 1621, on payment of an annual tribute of two thousand crowns to the Rajah of Tanjore. The Danish Government has recently relinquished Tranquebar ; and the British collector has removed thither from Negapatam.
mans, had received ordination in Copenhagen, and were sent out under the patronage of Frederick IV. of Denmark; who, on coming to the throne, carried into effect the plans for the benefit of the heathen which he had entertained in the pious thoughts of his youth. A church for Christian worship was erected within the Fort of Tranquebar, in 1701. But the Danish governor and other officials did not consider that they were under any obligation to care for the heathen natives. It is said, that they gave the Missionaries a most cold and unfavourable reception. They refused to recognise their right to dwell within the Fort under the protection of the Danish flag ; so that, until further orders could be received from Denmark, involving the lapse of one or two years, these apostolic men had to dwell among the heathen, and obtain the necessaries of life as best they could. The letters they wrote to Europe were printed and widely circulated. A profound impression on behalf of the Mission was produced, so that Germany and England vied with Denmark in sending all needful supplies for its support. Francke, of Halle, was most active and zealous in its favour, and continued to be so for twenty years, until the time of his death.
Meantime the Missionaries did not allow their discouragements to interfere with their proper work. It was a tradition in Tranquebar, when the writer visited that settlement more than forty years ago, that, shortly after his arrival in India, Ziegenbalg might be seen with his dress locsened at the knees, seated on the ground after the Hindu fashion, repeating his lessons with the youngest children in a native school, as the only means he could command for the acquisition of the rudiments of the Tamil language. Such diligence and earnestness met with the appropriate reward. Vix ingressi eramus hoc studium, cùm experiremur, audentes a Deo jurari, &c. “Scarcely had we entered on this course of study, when we found that God helps those who help themselves. For in the course of eight months I obtained such an acquaintance with the Tamil language, and that confidence in the use of it, that not only could I understand the jargon of those who spoke it, and their written books, and had begun to speak in the native manner, but I had begun to preach publicly in the language, while the Indians assembled eagerly and frequently to my sermons; the more so, because it was a new and unusual thing to them to hear their vernacular spoken by an European.”
While Ziegenbalg had no predecessor in his Mission, and no extraneous help to the acquisition of the language, Beschi was more highly favoured. He arrived in Goa in the year 1707, about a year after the arrival of Ziegenbalg in Tranquebar.* He proceeded at once to the Tamil country, to a Mission which had been established more than a century and a half; one of the first Missionaries having been Robert de Nobili, a brother of the same order, and nephew to the famous Cardinal Bellarmine ; whose example suggested to him a course of action in perfect contrast to that of his Protestant contemporary, Ziegenbalg.
* Hough's “ Christianity in India.” My Tamil ms, states that Beschi arrived in India in the year 1700.