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sent, than it has been at other times. There are is to the happy times of Christianity when nascent, also many merchants in Syria from Roman Catho- that you would have us ascend in order to justify lic countries.
the traditions. It is to the first four centuries, The various Roman Catholic families in Syria, that you appeal on the subject. Ask, then, all as well as in other parts of the Levant, have these people who surround you : they will answer, maintained their influence by intermarriages, in that, in all their practices, (which are the same consequence of the contiguity of Roman Catholic with ours,) they only follow the apostolical tradicountries to the Mediterranean, much more easily tions—traditions which they received from the fa. than could possibly be the case with the remoter mous Antioch, which they regarů as their mother.' Protestants of England, Holland, and Germany. This objection embarrasses our Protestants. They
The number of Latin or Frank Roman Catho- dare not advance that confession, fasting, lent, ablic missionaries, whom devotion and the papal sys- stinence, the real presence of Christ in the tem induce to visit Syria and the Holy Land, and Eucharist, Purgatory, the adoration of the cross who take up their residence either in monaste- the invocation of the saints, &c. are papistical inries or in the principal cities, is never inconsider- ventions, manufactured by Satan: their eyes, their able. It is indeed, at present, far inferior to what very eyes make them see the contrary. It is not it was formerly: but, for the whole of this tract, here a question of Papists, or of Babylon, or of their number, even at this day, cannot be com- the Antichrist-great words these, which, proputed to be less than seventy. The influence of nounced with the hardy tone inspired by heresy, the European friars constantly serves to maintain may have an imposing effect in Europe, but in the Levant, in which they lead a migratory life, which signify nothing here: they must attack a kind of European or Frank attachment among a thousand Christian nations : they must renounce many Levantine families of western origin or antiquity: they must condemn Antioch, and aban. connections.
don the apostles. This step it is difficult to take:
possible, entering with us upon a dispute where
they would have the worst ; and, more wise than
in France, they observe, on all contested points The Protestants in Syria are but few in number; and on all the rites of religion, a profound and reconsisting, principally, either of consular represen- spectful silence, well persuaded that they would tatives of Protestant nations, or of merchants from not have on their side the suffrage of the Greek those countries. In former times, there was an church. English Protestant chaplain fixed at Aleppo : the “ This conformity of sentiments between the office has been adorned by the names of bishop Greek and Latin churches soinetines makes upon Frampton, of Maundrell, and of Pococke. Re- right hearts a salutary impression. I was particucently, Protestants missionaries have visited the larly acquainted, some years since, with a minister Levant, and some of them have begun to take up of the Dutch nation : he was a man of much their residence in this interesting region.
talent: I often conversed with him, as he spoke Before we quit this brief topic, it may be useful Latin easily: he was about to set sail; but, before to observe the footing on which Protestants are his departure, said to me in confidence, that he represented to have stood about a hundred years was going to Italy, there to weigh well an imporago, in their relation to the native Christians. tant atlair, concerning which, what he had seen For this purpose, we shall select from the work with his eyes had led him to make serious refiecalready so often quoted, the following passages, tions which had changed him. written in a lively style; and tending, pointedly, - Persons of the pretended reformed religion to illustrate the extremely disadvantageous ground would not dare here to dogmatize : at least they which a Protestant must occupy in the view of would not do it with impunity. Some time since, oriental Christians, whenever he allows, or is re an English minister, zealous for his sect, went to presented by others as allowing, questions of great expenses in printing a catechism according Christian doctrine or worship to be brought before to his fashion. He aimed at infusing into the the tribunal of mere antiquity, usage, or tradition. spirit and heart of all the Christians the poison One of the Jesuit missionaries, writing from Aleppo, with which he was filled. But they trampled it says
under foot : they tore it, and burnt it, without the “ You will ask me, how the English and the missionaries being obliged to interfere in the least Dutch conduct themselves. Here, as in Holland degree.* and England, they observe neither fast nor absti. nence : but it occasions scandal. The people of
* The learned Orientalist Pococke, who, from the the country say that they are not Christians; and year 1630 10 1636, was chaplain to the English at the Turks themselves regard them as people with Aleppo, subsequently published in England, (besides out religion. They are sometimes affected with many other valuable pieces,) the work “de Veritale these reproaches; and, not being able to bear Fidei Christianæ " of Grotius, with whom he was them, many of them during Lent eat meat only in personally acquainted; and, likewise, a Selection secret. Those, who act like men of good faith, from the Liturgy of the church of England-buih in confess that they are extremely surprised to see; by the Church Missionary Society, and copies have that the religion of all the Christians of the east been circulated in the Levant. Of the Liturgy resembles that which they profess in scarcely any there is a copy in the library of the society: it was thing.
printed A. D. 1674. It contains the forms of conThis marked difference gives us a great ad-fession and absolution, with several other prayers, vantage over them. •It is,' we say to them, 'itand the Litany. The author is ignorant what steps
“ The Christians of all the nations of the east apostle One believeth that he may eat all do not know what it is to doubt of the reality things; another, who is weak, eateth herbs. He, of the body of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist ; and that eateth, eateth to the Lord; for he giveth God they have so great an attachment to their fasts thanks : he, that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth and their lents, that they would die, rather than not, and giveth God thanks."—(Rom. xiv. 2, 6.) fail in them. They have also received from An- The preference which this Jesuit gives to the tioch, their neighbor and their mistress in the faith, Turk above the Protestant, might find its parallel, the custom of praying for the dead. The invoca- though in a higher degree, in those words, Not tion of the saints, and in particular of St. George, this man, but Barahbas : for he has more than half is, to them, so dear and so precious, that they would offered the right-hand of fellowship to the Morather suffer themselves to be hacked to picces, hammedans, who would rob Jesus Christ of his than renounce it.
divinity; while he, at the same time, calumniates “ It is impossible to add any thing to the pro- those in England and in Holland, who honor, not found veneration, which even the Turks have for less than the Romanist, Christ as the Son of God, Mary. They call her the mother of the great and reject only their excessive worship, practically prophet Jesus ; * and, in this quality, they rever- amounting to adoration, of the blessed Virgin. ence her to such a degree, as to impale those Scarcely, even, will a correct disciple of Rome be Jews who dare blaspheme against her. What a brought to admire the juxta-position, which he has strange contrast! Men born in the bosom of so smartly effected, of Jerusalem and Mecca! But Christendom, refuse to Mary honors, which are it may suffice briefly to remark, on one main point, rendered to her by the most implacable enemies that, at the bottom of all these delusive represenof the Christian name!
tations, there is a mystery of iniquity, which still “Further the respect of Mohammedans is not works in the Levant. The enemies to the enlimited to the mother of our God: the sepulchre trance of the pure light of the gospel will adopt of the Messiah is one of the objects of their pil- the same tactics as formerly: any friend, rather grimages of devotion. They regard those who than the friend of the Bible, will be the object of have visited the sepulchres of the two prophets as their choice; the Turkish civil power is even now men of extraordinary piety: and to this double courted, with a view to obstructing the labors of pilgrimage, are attached certain marks of distinc- that glorious society, which has embodied in its tion. Such an one is a saint, they would say: fundamental law the best part of the spirit of • he has been at Jerusalem and Mecca.'
Protestantism. Upon this topic, however, as be“One of our merchants, who has resided a long longing to the affairs of the present day, it will be time at the Holy City, and has seen, various times, proper to treat more largely in another part of these Turkish pilgrims, related to me that they go this volume. upon their knees, that they crawl upon the ground from the gate to the holy sepulchre; but, before entering there, they take off the bandage of their
MOHAMMEDANS. turban: this is with them a mark of ignominy, when done upon compulsion; and a mark of respect, when done voluntarily—that then they prostrate themselves ; that they make profound obeisance, THE Sonnites are that division of the Mohamand strike their head upon the pavement. This medan world, which asserts the legitimacy of the spectacle,” he added, " has always edified me, and first three caliphs-Abu-Beker, Omar, and Othhas sometimes touched me even to tears.' The
It is not designed to enter here into the Grand Signior himself, among all the pompous various opinions of this body. In addition to the and magnificent titles which he assumes in the Koran, they admit a multitude of traditions and orders which emanate from the throne, prides interpretations ; while the rival sect, the Shiites, himself in adopting that of protector and preserver though they admit some traditions, yet hold them of the Holy City of Jerusalem. It is a consola- more loosely, and are almost considered by the tion, not a little moving, for poor enslaved Chris- Sonnites as unbelievers. The Sonnites regard tians to see their proud masters do so much honor the Grand Signior of Constantinople as their civil to the God whom they adore.”—Letters Edifiantes head and protector; and the Turks and Arabs of et Curieuses. Vol. II. pp. 167–172.
Syria are, generally, of this sect. Persia is the It would be an easy task, were it requisite, to patron of the opposite party: yet these, also, as refute the various misrepresentations contained in will appear under the next head, are found in the preceding extract. The supposed merit of
Syria. the rigid abstinences, so much extolled, might well be contrasted with the moderate views of the
were taken for the circulation of this book, or what accounts may exist of its reception in the countries This is the title by which many Mohammedans where Arabíc is spoken. It seems, however, by no in Syria are distinguished, as being the followers means improbable that the above-cited passage of Ali, the fourth Caliph, the cousin and son-in-law has reference to this pious and laudable effort of of Mohammed ; maintaining his right to be the Pococke, to make the Christians of the east ac- immediate successor of his father-in-law. In this quainted with the church of England.
*. But they would not call her * Otorokos, Deipara, they resemble the Persians, and are in opposition Mother-of-God :" here, therefore, this impassioned to the Turks. The following extract will give the encomiast of the Turks has streiched the bow too reader a general view of the extent to which their iar.
influence reaches in these parts.
· The Metawali make, either entirely or in part, bodies in the east more copious and minute infor. profession of that Mohammedan sect which is mation than is to be found perhaps in any other dominant in Persia ; and, consequently, they are single author. Subsequent travellers appear to Shiites. Like the Persians, therefore, they neither have borrowed largely from him. It is not with eat nor drink with people of another religion; any design to detract from his merit, (which would nor would they even use a plate from which a be impossible,) that the extracts made from his stranger has eaten, till they have well cleansed it. work are less copious than those made from subThey even hold themselves to be defiled, when a sequent travellers : but the inquisitive reader may, stranger simply touches their clothes. As they better be recommended to consult the original are under the domination of the Turks, they dare materials. Niebuhr observes not treat the Sonnites with contempt. They are “ The Druscs are divided into Akals, that is to sometimes under the necessity of passing them- say ecclesiastics; and djahels, or seculars. The selves off as Sonnites.
ecclesiastics are dependant upon three Akals, who “In general, neither the Sonnites nor the Chris- are Sheiks among them; of whom one dwells in tians like to dwell among them; and the Maro- the district Arkub, the second in the district nites, who'serve as secretaries to the Sheiks of Tschuf el Heite, and the third in the district Has. the Metawali, seldom remain with them for many beia. The Akals are distinguished from the seyears. They have, nevertheless, for some centu- culars by their white dress. They have generally ries been in possession of several districts. A good houses on the hills; and, judging by those family named Harfoosh, the head of whom takes few which I saw on the road from Saide to Dathe title of Emir, lives at Balbec, and pays the mascus, it seems to me that they have not chosen rent of this district direct to Constantinople. At the worst situations. On Thursday evening, Sour (i. e. Tyre,) and in the adjacent country which among the Orientals is called the night of called Belad B'sherri, there are seven or eight Friday, they assemble in the house of one or other Sheiks of the family Nasif, which govern there, of their fraternity, to perform their worship and and pay their rent to the Pacha of Saide. * There is pray for the whole nation: the wives of ecclesialso Sheiks of the Metawali oi the family Elastics may be present ; but they do not admit Kuanza, which govern at Kirrinie and Hurmel
, a seculars, not even a Sheik or an Emir. They town on the river Orontes. They pay their tribute despise all employments of honor in the world : to the Bey of Homs.”-Niebuhr, Vol. II. p. 347. but perhaps, in this they make a virtue of neces
sity ; for, on the return of Hakem, they hope to
be kings, viziers, and pachas. They do not marry DRUSES.
the daughters of seculars; and they even carry
their aversion to the property of the great so far, This people appears to be one of the most consi- as not to eat with the Sheiks and Emirs of their derable in Syria, on account both of their num- own nation. Akals eat only with Akals; and bers, and their political situation in Mount Leba- with the peasants and other poor people, who, non. Although less numerous than the Chris. they are certain, earn their bread by labor.”. tians, yet, together with them, they constitute Voyages en Arabie, fc. Vol. II. p. 349. nearly the whole of the population of the moun
The following passages, extracted from a more tain. Neither the Christians nor the Druses, recent traveller, the enterprising Burckhardt, will however, have the government in their hands, develope the political state, and describe some of The Emir Bechir, who governs Mount Lebanon. the more curious customs of the Druses. The is not a Druse. The government was formerly account is rendered the more interesting by his held by Mohammedans, whose policy it was to ba- having discovered that these people are not conlance the Christian and Druse interests. The fined to Mount Lebanon, but have spread thenipresent Emir is said to be a Christian; but, in selves to a district on the east of Damascus, the conformity with this line of policy, and to keep up
Haouran. appearances with his superior, the Pacha of Acre,
“It is now about one hundred and twenty years, he complies with many Mohammedan usages.
since the government of the mountain has been The extent of territory in which the Druses are always entrusted, by the Pachas of Acre and Tri. to be found is thus described by one of the Jesuit poli
, to an individual of the family of Shehab, to missionaries :
which the Emir Bechir belongs. This family de“We have also in our mountains another nation, rives its origin from Mecca; where its name is of which it is not easy to discover either the ori- known, in the history of Mohammed and the first gin or the religion. They are called Druses. Caliphs: they are Mussulmans, and some of them This nation inhabits a part of Mount Lebanon, pretend even to be Sherifs. About the time of the mountains above Saide and Balbec, and the the Crusades, for I have been unable to ascertain country of Jabajle and Tripoli.
the exact period, the Shehabs left the Hedjas, and “ These Druses extend even into Egypt.—Let- settled in a village of the Haouran, to which they fres Ed. et Curieuses, Vol. I. p. 366.
gave their family name : it is still known by the The division of this body into religious and appellation of Shohba; and is remarkable for its secular orders is described in the following terms antiquities, of which I have given some account, by Niebuhr; a traveller of the greatest merit, in my journal of a tour in the Haouran. The faand who has collected upon the state of various mily being noble, or of Emir origin, were consi
dered proper persons to be governors of the * So styled in the Firmans of the Grand Signior; mountain ; for it was and still is thought necesbut more commonly called, from his modern place sary, that the government should not be in the of residence, Pacha of Acre.
hands of a Druse. The Druses heing alwavs di.
vided into parties, a governor chosen from among are not more than forty or fifty persons about them would have involved the country in the him, who are not Christians. How far the Shequarrels of his own party, and he would have hab may be sincere in their professions, I am unbeen always endeavoring to exterminate his ad- able to decide: it is probable, that, if their inversaries; whereas a Turk, by carefully manag- terests should require it, they would again eming both parties, maintains a balance between brace the religion of their ancestors.”—Trarels them, though he is never able to overpower them in Syria, pp. 197, 198. completely; he can oppose the Christian inhabi
The following is the novel and interesting actants to the Druses, who are in much smaller numbers than the former; and thus he is enabled count given by Burckhardt of the Druses residing to keep the country in a state of tranquillity, and in the Haouran :in subjection to the Pachas. This policy has long “In manners, these Druses very much resembeen successful, notwithstanding the turbulent ble those of the mountains of Kesrouan. The spirit of the mountaineers, the continual party families form clans almost independent of each feuds, and the ambitious projects of many chiefs, other; and among whom there are frequent quaras well of the Druses as of the reigning house. rels. Insults are studiously avenged by the reThe Pachas were careful, also, not to permit any spective families; and the law of blood revenge one to become too powerful: the princes of the is in full force among them, without being miti. reigning family were continually changed; and gated by the admission of any pecuniary commuparty-spirit was revived in the mountain, when- tation. They all go armed ; as do the Turks and ever the interests of the Porte required it.”- Christians of the Haouran in general. Few Burckhardt's Travels in Syria, pp. 194, 195. Druses have more than one wife; but she may
This writer having observed, that, at present, be divorced on very slight pretexts. the most rich, shrewd, and powerful individual in “With respect to their religion, the Druses ofthe the mountain, el Sheik Bechir, is a Druse, and is Haouran, like those in Mount Libanus, have the a dangerons rival to the ruling prince, the Emir class of men called Akoul (sing. Aakel,) who are Bechir, who can do nothing important without his distinguished from the rest by a white turban, and consent, takes occasion from this circumstance the peculiarity of the folds in which they wear it. thus to develope still more clearly the political | The Akoul are not permitted to smoke tobacco: state of Mount Lebanon :
they never swear; and are very reserved in their “It will be asked, perhaps, why the Sheik does manners and conversation. I was informed that not set aside the Emir Bechir, and take the os- these were their only obligations; and it appears tensible power into his own hands. Many per- probable, for I observed Akoul boys of eight or sons believe that he entertains some such design; ten years of age, from whom nothing more diffiwhile others, better informed perhaps, assert that cult could well be expected, and to whom it is the Sheik will never make the attempt, because not likely that any important secret would be imhe knows that the mountaineers would never sub-parted. I have seen Akouls of that age, whose mit to a Druse chief. The Druses are certainly fathers were not of the order; because, as they in a better condition at present, than they would told me, they could not abstain from smoking and be under the absolute sway of the Sheik, who swearing. The Sheiks are, for the greater part, would soon begin to oppress instead of protecting Akouls. The Druses pray in their chapels, but them, as he now does; and the Christians, not at stated periods: these chapels are called who are a warlike people, detest the name of “an insulated place ;” and none but Druses are Druse too much ever to yield quietly to a chief of allowed to enter them. They affect to follow the that community. It is, probably, in the view of doctrine of Mohammed; but few of them pray attaching the Christians more closely to him, and according to the Turkish forms : they fast during to oppose them in some measure to the Druses, Ramadan, in the presence of strangers; but eat that the Emir Bechir, with his whole family, has at their own homes, and even of the flesh of the secretly embraced the Christian religion. The wild boar, which is frequently met with in these Shehab, as I have already mentioned, were for- districts. merly members of the true Mussulman faith; and " It is a singular belief, both among the western they never have had among them any followers Druses and those of the Haouran, that there are of the doctrines of the Druses. They still affect a great number of Druses in England; an opipublicly to observe the Mohammedan rites: they nion founded, perhaps, upon the fanatical opinions profess to fast during the Ramadan; and the Pa- of the Christians of Syria, who deny the English chas still treat them as Turks; but it is no longer to be followers of Christ, because they neither matter of doubt, that the greater part of the She-confess nor fast. When I first arrived at the hab, with the Emir Bechir at their head, have Druse village of Aaere, there was a large comreally embraced Christianity: that branch only of pany in the Medhafe, and the Sheik had no opthe family which governs at Rasheya and Has- portunity of speaking to me in private: he therebeya continue in the religion of their ancestors. fore called for his inkstand, and wrote upon a
“ Although the Christians of the mountain have piece of paper the following questions: which I thus become more attached to their prince, their answered as well as I could, and returned him the condition, on the whole, is not bettered; as the paper : Where do the five Wadys flow to, in Emir scarcely dares do justice to a Christian your country ?-Do you know the grain of the against a Druse: still, however, the Christians plant Leiledj ; and where is it sown ?-What is rejoice in having a prince of their own faith; the name of the Sultan of China ?-Are the towns and whose counsellors and household are, with of Hadjar and Nedjran in the Yemen known to very few exceptions, of the same religion. There you ?—Is Hadjar in ruins ? and who will rebuild
it ?-Is the Moehdy (the Saviour) yet come, or is whenever they have to receive considerable sums he now upon the earth ?”
of money, they take care that it shall be first ex“I have not been able to obtain any informa- changed for other coin. The Sheik el Nedjem, tion concerning the period at which the Druses who generally accompanies the Sheik Bechir in first settled in these parts. Min Kadim a long his visits to the Emir, never tastes food in the place time ago, was the general answer of all those of the latter, nor even smokes a pipe there; always whom I questioned on the subject. During my asserting, that whatever the Emir possesses has stay at Aaere, news arrived there, that a body of been unlawfully obtained. There are different one hundred and twenty Druses had left the degrees of Akal, and women are also admitted western mountains, and were coming to settle in into the order; a privilege which many avail themHaouran.”— Travels in Syria, pp. 303–305. selves of, from parsimony, as they are thus exempt
The following delineation of the customs and ed from wearing the expensive head-dress and rich character of the Druses is taken from that part of silks fashionable among them. Burckhardt's account, which relates to those of “The best feature in the Druse character, is them who inhabit Mount Lebanon :
that peculiar law of hospitality, which forbids them “ With respect to the true religion of the ever to betray a guest." I made particular inqui. Druses, none but a learned Druse can satisfy the ries on this subject; and I am satisfied that no inquirer's curiosity. What I have already said consideration of interest or dread of power will of the Auzeyres is equally applicable to the Druses induce a Druse to give up a person who has once -their religious opinions will remain for ever a placed himself under his protection. Persons from secret, unless revealed by a Druse. Their cus- all parts of Syria are in the constant practice of toms, however, may be described ; and as far as taking refuge in the mountain, where they are in they can tend to elucidate the mystery, the veil perfect security, from the moment they enter upon may be drawn aside by the researches of the tra- the Emir's territory: should the prince ever be veller. It seems to be a maxim with them to tempted by large offers to consent to give up a readopt the religious practices of the country in fugee, the whole country would rise, to prevent which they reside, and to profess the creed of the such a stain upon their national reputation. The strongest: hence, they all profess Islamism in mighty Djezzar, who had invested his own creaSyria ; and even those who have been baptized, tures with the government of the mountain, never on account of their alliance with the Shehab fa- could force them to give up a single individual of mily, still practise the exterior forms of the Mo- all those who fled thither from his tyranny. Whenhammedan faith. There is no truth in the asser ever he became very urgent in his demands, the tion, that the Druses go one day to the mosque Emir informed the fugitive of his danger, and adand the next to the church : they all profess Islam- vised him to conceal himself for a time in some ism; and, whenever they mix with Mohamme- more distant part of his territory: an answer was dans, they perform the rítes prescribed by their then returned to the Djezzar, that the object of his religion. In private, however, they break the resentment had fled. The asylum which is thus fast of Ramadan, curse Mohammed, indulge in afforded by the mountain, is one of the greatest wine, and eat food forbidden by the Koran. They advantages that the inhabitants of Syria enjoy bear an inveterate hatred to all religions except over those in the other parts of the Turkish domitheir own; but more particularly to that of the nions."-Burckhardt's Travels in Syria: pp. 200 Franks, chiefly in consequence of a tradition cur- —204. rent among them, that the Europeans will one It will have appeared from the preceding exday overthrow their commonwealth.
tracts, that the rel ious opinions of the Druses Nothing is more sacred with a Druse than have been the object of curious investigation to his public reputation. He will overlook an insult, travellers and others. The author has carefully if known only to him who has offered it ; and will consulted what has been said concerning this put up with blows where his interest is concerned, people by the Jesuit missionaries (Lettres Edifiprovided nobody is a witness: but the slightest antes et Curieuses, vols. I. and II.) and by Nieabuse given in public, he revenges with the great- buhr, Volney, and Burckhardt ; writers, who, at est fury. This is the most remarkable feature of successive periods during the last century, have the national character: in public, a Druse may made actual research in Syria, relative to this sinappear honorable, but he is easily tempted to a gular people. Burckhardt seems to give up the contrary behavior, when he has reason to think subject in despair. We must, not, however, overthat his conduct will remain undiscovered. The look what appears to be the most authentic infor. ties of blood and friendship have no power among mation as yet received concerning their faith, and them : the son no sooner attains the years of which is to be found in the Chrestomathie Arabe maturity, than he begins to plot against his fa- of the Baron De Sacy (vol. II. pp. 334–403.) ther.
published at Paris in the year 1806; where the “The Akal are those who are supposed to know reader will find a French translation of several the doctrines of the Druse religion ; they super- Arabic manuscripts reputed to be the sacred books intended divine worship in the chapels or, as they of the Druses. The learned translator intimates are called, Khaloue; and they instruct the children in his notes, that he has, for many years, been colin a kind of catechism. They are obliged to abstain lecting ample materials for a work on this subject. from swearing and all abusive language, and dare The following extracts from what he has already not wear any article of gold or silk in their dress. made public may prove not unacceptable to the Many of them make it a rule never to eat of any English reader: and they will abundantly suffice food, nor to receive any money, which they suspect to give the missionary student a general idea of the to have been improperly acquired: for this reason, character of the Druse creed; a creed professedly